Equity Gallery is pleased to announce Sans Toi, a group exhibition featuring works by Sarah Kurz, Iris Lan, Kristina Libby, and Julia Whitney Barnes. The exhibition is curated by Melinda Wang, an independent curator and a former executive director of New York Artists Equity and Equity Gallery. It will be on view from April 6-30, 2022, with a public opening reception on Thursday, April 7, 6-8pm.
Anticipation. What ifs. Anxiety. Time suspended. Two years into a global pandemic and now living under the dark clouds of war, we’re caught in a liminal space of waiting for what’s next while confronting our own mortality. The artists in the exhibition bring us new perspectives of memento mori and the imbuing of beauty into reminders of the inevitability of death. Through painting, film, sculpture and music, the works help us process the world around us, understand the passage of time and perhaps conjure a call to action.
Sarah Kurz’s paintings investigate stream-of-consciousness moments when memory and reality coalesce. Capturing the feeling of being caught in the moment, and the mystery of whether a visual memory is imagined or real, these paintings create a swirl of thoughts about longing, beauty, death and the passage of time. Iris Lan explores litanies as memento mori. Her composition, “Prelude: Litany,” recalls petitionary prayer and the imagery of snow and dust as a meditation on Ecclesiastes (“For everything there is a season”). She performs Jehan Alain’s ardent response to a time of distress and Maurice Durufle’s tribute to Alain and his last moments as he faced death in World War II. Kristina Libby’s works are an invitation to process grief by connecting with one another. “Heartbleed'' honors the lives lost during the pandemic, with each fallen rose petal representing one American we have lost and becoming a storm of red as we recall our collective trauma. Her bone and floral sculptures remind us of the mutualistic relationship among the organic, the ephemeral and the eternal. The beauty of Julia Whitney Barnes’s painted cyanotype flower works is immediately apparent with their saturated colors and engaging composition. Upon closer look, the flowers are ghost-like -- capturing both “light” and “death” as the cut flowers will soon be discarded. Only the flowers’ images remain; they are a permanent symbol of the subjects’ impermanence.
Each artist gives us layers of emotions and contradictions to examine and understand, while also offering us the opportunity to reflect. “Beauty” is transformed from physical beauty to the beauty of a deeper understanding of our own mortality. A memento mori illuminates and inspires. How will you live your life today?
“Sans Toi” is the theme song of Agnes Varda’s film, “Cleo from 5 to 7,” a memento mori that explores beauty, authenticity, existentialism and French feminism through the vehicle of liminal space.
Image: Sarah Kurz, Your Image of Me (2021), oil on linen, 16 x 22 inches
Sarah Kurz is a New York-based artist whose paintings depict familiar and contemporary objects, landscapes and human forms loosely based on the artist’s own relationships, experiences and research. Kurz primarily uses personal photographs but also culls images from a variety of sources including film, the Internet, and print media. The narratives explore the psychological and associative power of images and how they can signify a memory, moment, or feeling. Kurz’s solo exhibitions include Say Something Loving, Gaa Gallery, Provincetown, MA; Made for Love at Allegra LaViola Gallery, New York, NY, and Yellow Sea at Gaa Gallery, Provincetown, MA. Selected group exhibitions include: Sargent's Daughters, New York, NY; Spring Break Art Show 2016, New York, NY; I-20 Gallery, New York; Gaa Gallery, Provincetown, MA; Geoffrey Young Gallery, Great Barrington, MA, among others. Her work has been featured in numerous publications, including Flash Art, The New York Times, Vanity Fair, Artnet Magazine, and Art Critical. Kurz is the recipient of the Robert Rauschenberg Residency and the Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant from the Atlantic Center for the Arts.
Iris Lan is a classical and liturgical musician. As a composer, Lan has written and transcribed works for dual use in either concert or liturgical contexts. Her “Prelude: Litany” for string quartet has been performed in concert and used in liturgical services in the United States and Europe. Her transcription of J.S. Bach's Goldberg Variations for string quartet has likewise served dual purposes. At the same time, Lan has also transcribed works for organ, including works originally scored for string quartet. As an organist, Lan has given recitals across the United States and internationally, including in London at Westminster Abbey, St. Paul's Cathedral, Temple Church and Westminster Cathedral. Lan has performed the complete solo sonatas by Paul Hindemith extensively, including in New York City at St. Thomas Church 5th Avenue, Trinity Church Wall Street and Cathedral of St. John the Divine, and in Washington, DC at St. John Lafayette Square and the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
Kristina Libby is an artist based in New York City. Her work is an ongoing investigation into the profound experience of being human. Through sculpture, design, public art and fine art, she utilizes surprise, whimsy and disconnections to cultivate a sense of curiosity and playfulness. Through an expanding universe of known and imagined experiences, the work draws on science, history, anthropology, biology and technology to create speculative futures and alternative memories. Libby has used art to help heal the community during COVID-19. Her COVID-19 artwork titled the Floral Heart Project has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, NY Post, NY Magazine, NBC, ABC, FOX and been featured at the Arizona Historical Society Museum, One Community Museum and the Milwaukee Art Museum. She has a B.A. from Dalhousie University and a M.A. from the University of Denver.
Julia Whitney Barnes is an artist living in the Hudson Valley who works in a variety of media from cyanotypes, watercolor, oil paintings, murals and site-specific installations. She has exhibited widely in the US and internationally. She is the recipient of awards from the New York State Council on the Arts, Arts Mid-Hudson, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and Abbey Memorial Fund for Mural Painting/National Academy of Fine Arts, among others. She received her BFA from Parsons School of Design and her MFA from Hunter College. Whitney Barnes has created site-specific installations at Brookfield Place/Winter Garden, New York, NY; Arts Brookfield, Brooklyn, NY, the Wilderstein Sculpture Biennial, Rhinebeck, NY; The Trolley Barn, Poughkeepsie, NY; GlenLily Grounds, Newburgh, NY; ArtsWestchester, White Plains, NY; Gowanus Public Arts Initiative, Brooklyn, NY; and Space All Over/Fjellerup Bund i Bund & Grund, Denmark, among other locations. Her work is available through Carrie Haddad Gallery, Hudson, NY, Garvey|Simon New York, NY and Kenise Barnes Fine Art, Kent, CT.
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