Everything beautiful and noble is the result of reason and calculation
José León Cerrillo, Jon Connor, Alex Hubbard, Daniel Lefcourt, Justin Matherly, Andrea Merkx, Megan Pflug, Eileen Quinlan, David Adamo with Michael Portnoy. Curated by Howie Chen and Gabrielle Giattino
The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts announces a new exhibition program at the EFA Gallery. Located in the EFA Studio Center in mid-town Manhattan, the gallery focuses on the work of independent curators. EFA Gallery opens its inaugural season this February with the exhibition, Everything beautiful and noble is the result of reason and calculation, curated by Howie Chen and Gabrielle Giattino.
Everything beautiful and noble presents ten New York artists who work between the poles of illusional narrative and opaque conceptualism. Through alluring visual content, rigorous techniques and diverse media, a unique attention to surface aesthetics emerges. Artists in this exhibition use various methods to create work that simultaneously direct attention and deflect interpretation to construct beauty and to smuggle underlying structures, calculations and narratives. Manhattans fashion and design district acts as a backdrop for the exhibition, where industry focuses on the mastery of line, finish, color and form. Everything beautiful and noble considers a group of emerging artists whose strategies of controlling surface and appearance create visual constructions that both engage and divert meaning.
The exhibition title refers to Charles Baudelaires essay, Painter of Modern Life, which addresses how the visually appealing and shifting surfaces of fashion and beauty can reveal societal truths. In the contemporary context, Baudelaires observation is relevant to the construction, instrumentalization, and rerouting of surface aesthetics and formalism in creative practice. Eileen Quinlans photographs start from her arrangements of mirrors, smoke and colored lights. Mechanically capturing such elusive subject matter brings uncertainty to halting formalism. The subtle play between reflective light, nature and the hand of the artist are echoed in the sublime distortion of Alex Hubbards video sunset. Jon Connor and José León Cerrillo utilize industrialized fabrication and strategies of graphic design to critique production and authorship. Through performance and documentation, the collaborative team David Adamo and Michael Portnoy underline that even a single elegant experience is a construction of circuitous protocols, scientific procedures, and labor capital. Andrea Merkx topples idols through repetition and wit, while Megan Pflug mixes patterns and photographic reproduction, extending surface beauty. Daniel Lefcourt, working with methods of representation and display, shuffles a growing set of source material; and Justin Matherly, through meticulous sculptural constructions, lures the viewer toward potential instruments of cultural action. Everything beautiful and noble considers an alternative proposition to the current strategies and aesthetics of disappearance marked by resurgent conceptualism and dematerialization of object.