“Melancholy characterizes those with a superb sense of the sublime…”
Immanual Kant, 1764*
Melancholy has been defined as a feeling of thoughtful sadness. According to Kant’s definition, sublime feelings arouse ‘both enjoyment and dread.’ There has been a persistent link between melancholy and art throughout the ages. ‘Cotton Candy on a Rainy Day’ presents current manifestations of this tendency, in a group show of emerging and emergent artists: Christine Bailey (Baltimore), Elizabeth Bick (New Orleans/NY), Ann Craven (NY), William Downs (NY), Rashawn Griffin (NY), Kira Lynn Harris (NY), Sabeen Raja (Pakistan), Sean Ryan (NY), Sigrid Sandstrom (Sweden/NY), and Jina Valentine (Philadelphia). These artists evoke the melancholic nature of life through their works in a broad range of medium, ranging from drawing to video and installation. Curated by artist, Shinique Smith out of her research and interest in understanding the relationships between melancholy and art.
Christine Bailey’s sensitive renderings of natural disasters, call to mind the subtle beauties that can be seen while waiting at the edge of a storm.
Elizabeth Bick’s photographs are developed through minimal interaction with prostitutes and taxi drivers. She captures the distance between herself and her subject, and between her subjects and the rest of the world as they voluntarily exist in a realm of anonymity.
Ann Craven’s paintings of birds or deer imply the impossibility of arresting time and through their multiple renderings become a metaphor of loss.
William Downs’ drawings come from internal places; in surreal, romantic and at times empty landscapes hybrid figures navigate their emotional surroundings.
Rashawn Griffin creates ‘surrealities’ using discarded and natural materials, most of which are items that he likes or he has used. In this way his work engages a personal and an expanded sense of time and space that carries an extreme sense of intimacy.
Kira Lynn Harris explores the possibilities and texture of light, capturing the invisible and fleeting moods that light casts on objects, spaces and memory. Sabeen Raja works out her personal demons by crafting contemporary Pakistani miniature paintings using traditional techniques with themes of love, sadness and displacement.
Sean Ryan navigates the similarities and differences between reason and objects, disrupting their physical function and identity. Through his drawings and sculptures he seeks to express an awkward beauty that lieswithin us, within objects and the space that they inhabit.
Sigrid Sandstrom depicts vast and desolate spaces that exist somewhere between fire and ice. The winter holds a persistence presence in her paintings, video and projected works. “It is as if things are put on hold in the winter. I find the waiting during this season melancholic, but beautiful.”
Jina Valentine laments of love and heartache in her intricately cut paper pieces, made using found items such as wallpaper and album covers.
Shinique Smith has had several solo exhibitions including ” No dust, no stain” at Cuchifritos Gallery and “Overstock” at The Proposition in New York. Her work has been included in many prominent group exhibitions such as “Frequency” at the Studio Museum in Harlem, “Material Abuse” at Caren Golden Fine Arts, and “25 Bold Moves” hosted by House of Campari in New York. Smith has received fellowships from Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Henry Street Settlement and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council among others. This is her first curatorial project.
Cotton Candy on a Rainy Day
November 2 - December 16, 2006
Featuring Christine Bailey, Elizabeth Bick, Ann Craven, William Downs, Rashawn Griffin, Kira Lynn Harris, Sabeen Raja, Sean Ryan, Sigrid Sandstrom, Jina Valentine