I was not sure what to expect when I arrived to the gallery late last night, but was immediately surprised and impressed by the incredible effect the plants had on the space. The one room gallery space was brimming with green and I could literally feel the space teeming with life and energy. Associated co-directors Jen Hitchings, Theresa Daddezio, and Julian Jimarez-Howard, responsible for the new collaborative exhibition at Associated Gallery, were kind enough to give me a preview of their show, You Are My Sunshine that opens at the gallery at 566 Johnson Avenue this Saturday.
Hitchings and Jimarez-Howard had an open call last month to artists, gallerists, and other Bushwick locals to lend them plants and flowers stating, “we’re looking to bring together this unifying source of inspiration and nurturing process that so many of us partake in on a daily basis from [your] studios, galleries and office spaces.” While the genesis of this show was, ahem, an organic one, willing participants enthusiastically responded to the gallery’s email, sending not just living (and sometimes dead) plants, but also a wide array of works inspired by their photosynthesizing friends.
Jimarez-Howard gave me a mini-tour around the space as they put up the last minute touches, explaining the backstory for many of the plants: one was a gift from a long-past ex, another was a petrified lemon that the artist carries around for luck, and yet another used to be a plant but has been relegated to serving as an ashtray that usually resides on the artist’s roof. My favorites were often the understated pieces that had a deep connection with their artist-owner. Some of the “plants” were a bit less conventional, such as the performance artist Mary Martin’s construction of a tree consisting of locks of hair, and Seldon Yuan’s “living coffee table.” To complete the show, artist Ryan Brennan brought the sun: a video installation that projects sun and moonlight into the space, hopefully ensuring that all of the plants will successfully make it through the exhibition to live to inspire another creative day!
To learn more about each of the artists and the plants that inspire them, come to the opening reception of the exhibition this Saturday, September 21, 7-10PM, at Associated Gallery, 566 Johnson Ave.