12 Nov 2016 – 10 Dec 2016

Fridman Gallery

New York
New York, United States


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Fridman Gallery is pleased to present Un-becoming, an exhibition by four groundbreaking young artists, each of whom subverts aesthetic and social biases in constructions of figural beauty in their own distinctive ways.


The seemingly unfinished or fragile works are in fact formally complete, independent and sound.

The drawings of ruby onyinyechi amanze explore non-linear storytelling layered with cultural references. Expansive white (negative) space is an active participant, enveloping chimeric figures and isolating their stillness. The inherent characteristics of paper – its natural weight, how it folds into the viewers’ space, the way it accumulates and absorbs marks, the book-page reference of a deckled edge – take on a physical and emotional presence. Sudden infusions of color and shifts in scale and perspective alter the psychological space, beyond the confines of the white surface and away from historical context of drawing.

Michele Bubacco has a raw, visceral approach to painting, with expressive strokes and a reductive palette that emphasize the despair of his figures. His gestural, almost violent canvases are rife with ambiguous sexuality and existential anguish. Struggling for self-definition, the figurative elements are fragmented, leaving the viewer with only a partial point of entry into their chaotic history. In Bubacco’s mysteries, paint itself becomes the narrative, tension imbued in each and every daub, at once striving to define the subject’s psychological profile and to cover its tracks. The resulting characters are multi-layered and deeply moving.

Tamar Ettun’s Mauve Bird with Yellow Teeth Red Feathers Green Feet and a Rose Belly is a tetralogy of performances and videos. Each part of this ongoing body of work is named after a primary color representing an emotion. In this exhibition, Ettun premiers Part: Yellow (Desire). Inverting the duality of movement/stillness, temporality/permanence, she creates durational performances in which objects and movers perform specific tasks and gradually form horizontal totems. Ettun sees stillness as an expression of trauma that damages our ability to feel empathy. When movement replaces stillness and objects acquire new meanings, we are enticed to empathize.

Brian Fernandes-Halloran’s sculptures combine detritus and found objects into classical and highly emotive figures that explore the construction of memory as a mechanism to counter loss. The works evoke places and people important to the artist. The characters have deep inner vitality underscored by the discarded materials of which they are made. “I am looking for human qualities to overcome my relationship with material”, says Fernandes-Halloran. His Prospero – a one-legged, one-armed hollow skeleton of a man – may be maimed but he is far from damaged. What he may lack in physical prowess, he makes up in vulnerable beauty, balance and grace.


ruby onyinyechi amanze, Michele Bubacco, Tamar Ettun, Brian Fernandes-Halloran


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