The artists featured within haptic/optic explore perception, sensation, and awareness through the haptic and the optical, two disparate, yet corresponding elements in the process of seeing and the comprehension of visuals. The haptic encompasses a tactile, visceral sense of perception. The artists’ expressions of physicality and movement, as well as the materials they use, are all deeply present as well as an intimate, personal component, which feels almost invasive and confrontational. Artworks in the exhibition that focus on the optic possess a dream-like, disembodied haziness, as they focus on the act of sight itself, leaving other aspects and characteristics of perception behind.
The artists in haptic/optic approach, meld, and expand the linimal area, connecting these two different dimensions of perception in distinct and varying ways, ranging from the implementation of color and texture to the use of space on their canvas. For example, Berger uses intense, gestural bands of color in tandem, Brock suppresses color-laden smears and scrapes with a plastic mesh-like surface, and Nielsen-Fried's robust use of color, shapes, and compressed flatness brings an the component of optical illusion into the interaction of touch and sight.
Meanwhile, the artwork of Letven, Ancis, and Bendheim work in the space between painting and sculpture, invoking the body through spatial presence. Letven intricately layers sharply detailed vibrant geometric cut outs, flat yet tactilely hard-edged, and composes them to produce pictorial depth. By contrast, Ancis’ work utilizes more traditional three-dimensional sculptural elements, using color to soften and obscure sharper, more severe features. Bendheim’s work occupies a unique position in the group, as his use of shape appeals to a sense of touch and kinesthetic presence, yet his use of color deliberately plays with negative space and the perception of space. His painting straddles the haptic and optic in equal measures.
The pleasure in haptic/optic is discerning, in these distinctions, the fine interplay that animates the work of all these artists. The exhibition is on view through March 31, 2018.
About the Artists:
Miriam Ancis is a woman with many identities (former rabbi, mother, Caucasian, Californian.) Much of the personal experiences that drive her work involves boundaries – breaking through, or negotiating the periphery. Drawn to symbol and metaphor, her academic interest in Judaism focused on identity markers of daily life – particularly clothing and hair – for insight into views on sexuality, beauty and modesty. Now as a full-time artist, she applies her understanding of symbol and meaning making to art. Miriam Ancis received her MFA in sculpture from Parsons School of Design. She currently lives and works in New York City.
Fred Bendheim, an Arizona native and now Brooklyn resident apprenticed with pioneer surrealist painter, Philip Curtis. Bendheim’s work has been viewed and collected world-wide including such institutions as The Museum of Art & Design, NY; The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; The Montclair Art Museum; The National Gallery of Costa Rica; The Instituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti, Venice, Italy; The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, The Plotkin Museum, The Brooklyn Public Library, NY; Denise Bibro Fine Art, NY; Jason Mccoy Gallery, Bradley International Airport, Los Angeles, CA; The Mayo Center for Humanities, Scottsdale, AZ. His commissions include sculptures for Frank Lloyd Wright buildings and paintings for the Waldorf Astoria Hotel.
Emily Berger lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. She is a graduate of Brown University, attended the Skowhegan School, and received an MFA at Columbia University. Berger has been awarded several art residencies and exhibited widely, including exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art in Bogota, Colombia, and the National Academy Museum in NYC which awarded her the John Hultberg Memorial Prize for Painting. Her work has been reviewed in many publications and included in several private and public collections. Solo exhibitions include Rhythm and Light, at Walter Wickiser Gallery, and New Paintings, at Norte Maar, both in New York City in 2017.
Hovey Brock is an artist, writer, and educator who lives and works in Brooklyn. His preferred medium is painting, but he also works in performance, and video. His work focuses primarily on the nature of awareness and subjective experience.
Karen Nielsen-Fried was born in Binghamton, NY. She is a graduate of Pratt Institute (Master of Professional Studies in Art Therapy). She did postgraduate work at The Institute for Expressive Analysis and at the National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis. Her training in art therapy and in expressive analysis are the underpinnings of her exploration of ephemeral states of emotion, observed and realized through painting. The desire to apprehend the inchoate, to synthesize thought and feeling into a language of abstraction, and to make a record of process are what drive her work. Her work is held in numerous private collections both nationally and internationally. She lives and maintains a studio in Montclair, NJ.
Wendy Letven is a New York area visual artist who received her BFA from Tyler School of Art and her MFA from Hunter College. Letven has been teaching at Parsons School of Design in New York for over ten years. She has been an artist in residence at The MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire, at Gallery Aferro in Newark and at Dieu Donné in New York. Her work is represented by galleries in New York, New Jersey and Michigan and has been exhibited at The Bronx Museum, The Montclair Art Museum, Aljira Gallery and other well-known museums and institutions. Letven has been commissioned to create a number of public sculptures and installations for venues including Summit Public Art, Activate Market Street in Newark and Playtime New York at the Metropolitan Pavilion in Manhattan.