With just two weeks left to see the BRIC Biennial: Volume III, South Brooklyn Edition, get to know some of the #BRICBiennial artists! Read on to learn more about Gustavo Prado, Katya Grokhovsky, Levan Mindiashvili, Myeongsoo Kim, Sarah E. Brook, and Dale Williams.
With Martyr, his piece in the BRIC Biennial, Brazilian-born artist Gustavo Prado radically reinterprets Jusepe de Ribera’s 1639 painting The Martyrdom of Saint Philip, into a vertical triptych of pixelated images, each panel progressively enlarged by 300%. As you scan upward toward Saint Philip’s face, your eyes reach the same angle as the martyr’s, putting you in a more sympathetic position to the emotions de Ribera was trying to convey. By using Legos, Prado subverts this well-known material and the related social expectations through using the innocence of a children’s toy to depict such violent but widely distributed religious subject matter, while also demonstrating alternate uses of everyday materials.
Born in São Paulo, Brazil, Prado is now based in Sunset Park and often uses off-the-shelf materials for work in varied formats, adapting them to enable viewers to recognize his source material while understanding potential deviations from the intended use. Through processes of combining seemingly disparate materials and subject matter, Prado tests cultural assumptions of what can or should belong together.
"My project The Future is Bright, included in BRIC Biennial: Volume III, South Brooklyn Edition, deals with alienation, displacement and memory, through the account of survival of my 94-year-old Grandmother, a World War II Veteran. As an immigrant and a Brooklyn based artist, I am interested in exploration of migrant identity and legacy, as well as the idea of optimism and the reinterpretation of an ordeal in the past, which is difficult to fathom in the present" (Grokhovsky). Don’t miss her activate her work through a performative reading on Wednesday, March 27th at 6pm. Employing voice, poetic text, and fragments of songs in Russian, Ukrainian and English, the performance of The Future is Bright will be followed by a talk-back with artist, organizer, and independent curator Katie Hector.
Grokhovsky was born in Ukraine and is currently based in Park Slope. Known for delving into the grotesque to create theatrical personae that she presents through video, installation, performance, and other media, the artist creates eccentric and unruly characters, which draw from her Ukrainian family history and her experiences as a woman and immigrant.
“Levan Mindiashvili…approaches flattening and fluidity not so much as a crisis but as an opportunity to reveal the different layers and outline their important and complex nature in constructing the ‘here’ and ‘now’” (Eriola Pira, Art for the here and the now: from individual space to collective histories). Mindiashvili assembled his site-specific BRIC Biennial sculpture, Here is Always Somewhere Else, in direct reaction to the space and works around it. It has gone through two permutations during the run of the show, shifting and adapting to the fluid visual landscape it inhabits. Including liquid mirror, Jacquard tapestry, and neon, this self-reflective work asks you to see yourself as you exist in the gallery and within the landscape of the exhibition.
Mindiashvili was born in Tbilisi, Georgia and is now based in Sunset Park. He uses sculpture, painting, and tapestry to question historically accepted “truths” and explore the fragility of our sense of identity and place. He is interested in the porous relationship between the public and the personal, and the ways in which this intertwined relationship affects how we interact with and perceive our environment.
Artist Myeongsoo Kim mines his childhood memorabilia collection containing stamps, buttons, badges, postcards, and envelopes, which are representative of Korean history and popular culture in the 1980s at the time of military dictatorship. Kim believes spending 16 years in the U.S. by himself after military service created a fissure between his life in America and his past life and experience in Korea. In his current work, he draws a metaphorical connection between his missing memories of the transitional period in his life from the time he left Korea until now, with the development of modern Korean history. He is exploring his past through his childhood memorabilia collection with his current understanding of politics and identity.
Now based in Gowanus, Kim was born in Korea. In his practice, he explores the ways in which objects can act as personal, reflective conduits by using a combination of found objects and images, childhood possessions, and his own photographs. He uses these narratives to better understand those around him and to recognize what’s forgotten or overlooked.
With her work in the BRIC Biennial, All the Ways a Horizon Can Mean, sculptor Sarah E. Brook “invites viewers to explore the ways external vastness can be internalized, dismantling limited narratives of being" (Brook). By employing gradients of scale and color, and layers of opacity and transparency, she acts to reorient the body as an entity dispersed in space as well as the expansiveness of the internal psyche. This particular sculpture is a unique example of her work, acting as a reimagining of previous sculptures created and displayed in natural settings where they work directly with the environment both as a visual landscape and physical support. All the Ways a Horizon Can Mean brings aspects of these vast, natural landscapes into the gallery, urging the viewer to meditate on that space as it exists within them.
Born in Reno, Nevada, Brook is now based in Gowanus. She is interested in the process of dissolving conceptions of the self, using translucency, layering, and color gradation to morph her architectural structures into perceptual experiments that obscure clear focal points and open up space for self-orientation and definition.
Dale Williams’ work typically shows imagined figures - antic, cartoonish - that bear evidence of having been through a hard ordeal. These strugglers and stragglers are metaphors that reveal the inner under-surface of the skin of the world. The 12 works in the BRIC Biennial are from Williams’ Awareness Day Portraits and are realistic drawings of American historical and cultural figures who have been important to Williams as an artist and citizen. These portraits propose a different revelation, one of the political soul. All of these figurations have one aim: to welcome the prodigal imagination back into its deeper purpose.
Williams was born in Baltimore, Maryland and is now based in Gowanus. The Awareness Day Portraits are a facet of the America Now Suite, a five-part landscape of works including a monumentally scaled, 11 x 57 ft drawing in several panels most recently on view at The Vanderbilt Republic in Gowanus. This re-visioning and reclamation of American history was created in response to contemporary currents of division and intolerance, and is intended as a personal statement regarding the potential poetics of the political imagination.