Occasionally, attending a Bushwick gallery opening can feel like stumbling into a hidden garden of rare and enchanting foliage amongst a barren and lonely landscape. That’s the experience TSA New York tends to provide, given their location of a studio on the third floor inside an unmarked factory building on Stewart Avenue. TSA opened their doors in Bushwick in November, but the members (all artists as well) have been curating exhibitions in their Philadelphia location, Tiger Strikes Asteroid, since 2009.
In Search Of… opened on February 22, and was actually too crowded to walk in at times! Upon a second visit during open hours, I was given the privilege of spending ample time with each piece. According to the press release, this group show “brings together a group of emerging and established contemporary visual artists whose practices examine the realms of science fiction, mythology, alternative histories and other forms of creative speculation.” One piece by each artist, all modestly spaced and mostly medium-sized, allows room for said creative speculation, and each work takes a vastly different approach in both medium and content to evoke the themes that tie together the exhibition.
Sean McCarthy’s incredibly detailed ink and graphite drawing on paper depicts an entirely unknown and mysterious creature. The delicacy of the marks invite the viewer to stand intimately close to the piece, as well as its lack of color and thus domesticity, despite the nightmarish animal that fills the entire page.
On the opposing wall, Rachel Frank’s sculpture, consisted of a stretched Holstein cowhide, glass beads, thread, wood, and cloth, complements the primitive McCarthy drawing. It too has a sense of domesticity given the glass beads and beautiful fur, but it is also abrasive and may be slightly repulsive to some.
Christopher Ulivo (a co-organizer of the exhibition) presents a small egg tempera painting of some fictional (perhaps?) scene involving struggle and triumph. This piece seems to be the only obvious narrative work in the show, and it’s one that makes the viewer really question the story and moment being painted. There may well be a specific reference driving the work, possibly relating to the title, but the mystery of the subject and execution of the painting is enough for me to contemplate.
Jackie Hoving’s work on paper relates to the overall themes present in the show, most directly in the primitivism evoked by earth tones and the rough texture of the materials.
Not all of the works in the show are included here, in an effort to induce a level of curiosity similar to the one you will receive once spending time with each piece. Works not pictured here are by David Humphrey, Andrew Prayzner (co-organizer), and Amanda Lechner (co-organizer). Dustin Dennis was also behind the organization and curation of the show.
In Search Of… is on view through March 31, 2013. TSA is located at 44 Stewart Avenue, #49. Open hours are Saturday – Sunday from 1-6pm and by appointment.