BROOKLYN – Armchair/Shotgun, a Brooklyn-based literary magazine, will host a group exhibition at Williamsburg art gallery 7Dunham from May 4 to May 11, with an opening event on Saturday, May 3 from 6:00 to 9:00 PM. The show, titled “Traces,” will feature the work of seven visual artists whose work has been published in the pages of the journal.
Armchair/Shotgun, which also publishes poetry and short fiction selected anonymously and interviews with established writers and artists, prides itself on choosing work exclusively on its own merits without regard to biography, credentials, or past publication. This commitment has resulted in the mix of new and experienced artists appearing in “Traces.”
Steel Stillman, a New York photographer, exhibits works from his series “Incidents,” excerpts of which were featured in Armchair/Shotgun’s inaugural issue. Taking as their foundation snapshot-like images from the last 40 years—to which Stillman adds hand-drawn black shapes—these pictures rewrite the past from the perspective of the present and construct an abstract documentary of a world that no longer exists, if indeed it ever did. The effect is often eerie, making the viewer uncomfortably aware of the frailty of his or her own memory.
Painter and sculptor Sono Osato combines found objects and paint in layered constructions that often resemble a river bottom laden with half-buried relics including animal bones and fragments of clocks, typewriters, and old tools. She describes a sacred voice, muffled but defiant, crying out in a “groping for light and air.” Osato has worked and exhibited extensively in San Francisco and New York galleries and museums as well as in Berlin, and now divides her time between the American coasts. She is exhibiting her large diptych Silent Language No. 6, a detail of which appeared in Armchair/Shotgun No. 2 alongside an interview with Osato.
Soft, ghostly landscapes characterize Massachusetts artist Adina Bricklin’s work. Her drawings and rubbings in graphite on black paper, which she describes as “translations of photographs,” slip in and out of view in a tantalizing, dreamlike dance.
Frank Lentini’s paintings “live as though they teeter in and out of existence,” he says, echoing his feeling that his own existence is in flux. Through his subtle and colorful canvasses, he seeks to communicate the sense of his private thoughts, at once “whimsical and crude,” in the hope of engendering a return to an unmitigated, child-like sense of wonder. He has had a number of solo and group shows and is based in Brooklyn.
Steve Chellis revels in the physicality of his craft while taking full advantage of its psychological possibilities, saying “The paint is very real. The image is a lie. I let them fight it out.” His highly narrative paintings, which often incorporate found images, can induce an inexplicable dread—one wants to hear the end of the story so one can stop being scared of it. A member of the bluetan collective, Chellis lives in North Carolina.
The “Object Physicality” series by Jen Plaskowitz explores the relationships among the physical body, the emotional self, and the external environment in haunting silver gelatin prints. Plaskowitz previously traveled to Israel and Palestine to document human behavior at pilgrimage sites, for which she was granted a residency at the MacDowell Colony.
Photographer Andrew Wertz explores the small and mid-cities of the rural Northeast and Appalachia, where layers of history build up in tenuous relationship. Drawing on both formal training under Pablo Delano and a life including years of warehouse work and cross-country travels in a pick-up truck, Wertz composes with a sensitive eye. The subtle palette of beiges and soft violets in the photographs selected for this exhibition has a surprising intimacy that contrasts with the sense that his subjects—architectural and human alike—may not welcome the scrutiny of outsiders.