When Hayv Kahraman fled Baghdad during the first Gulf War, one of the few non-essential items her family took was a mahaffa, a traditional fan woven from palm tree fronds. In recent works at Jack Shainman Gallery, the artist has woven her paintings together in strips that recall the fan, artfully combining different realities. (On view in Chelsea on 24th Street through Dec 20th).
“Looking at art is a free experience,” says painter Leslie Wayne, meaning that it doesn’t have to cost a thing, but also questioning how freely we look at something new. The title piece for the show, ‘Free Experience,’ relies on the associations we bring to its colorful, patterned drapery of oil-skins that recalls flags, modernist textiles and more. (At Jack Shainman Gallery in Chelsea through Oct 21st).
Paa Joe’s fantasy coffins, which can take the shape of a giant coke bottle, lion and more, could make anyone glad to be buried. His untitled rendition of a fort in Ghana is more (appropriately) serious, depicting a 17th century Dutch slave trade outpost. It is one of a series commissioned by late collector and Jack Shainman Gallery co-founder Claude Simard, currently featured at the gallery’s 24th Street and Kinderhook, NY locations. (On view at Jack Shainman Gallery in Chelsea through Aug 25th).
A devotional sculpture of Mary melds with the body of an anonymous girl in this provocative sculpture by northern Italian artist Gehard Demetz. Though each figure looks fragmented, the merger seems neither violent nor ecstatic (along the lines of Bernini’s Saint Teresa.) Instead, the girl is absorbed by the inner life shared with the saint. (At Jack Shainman Gallery through June 3rd).
A rosebush and clusters of rebar suggest beauty and a nascent building project in Cuban-born artist Enrique Martinez Celaya’s ‘The Brave.’ The text at top reads, ‘…a dream that can keep us asleep all night,’ compounding the surreal quality of this simultaneously barren and lush scenario. (At Jack Shainman Gallery in Chelsea through April 22nd.)