'My Front Lawn' by Corey Grayhorse courtesy of dnj Gallery.

‘Development’ @ dnj Gallery

May 30, 2019

The eponymous Development at dnj Gallery showcases clear artistic growth by the each of the exhibiting artists. The simplest demarcation of evolution in artistry is change as opposed to repeating a successful note over and over until the key breaks. Often times growth in itself is a challenge for artists who, upon finding their voice, lose the daring and impetus for new melodies. Genuine art is not concerned with evanescent anxieties which may sink the songs of novel and timeless beauty that are possible to be created in every phase of life. And this exhibition gladly demonstrates such courage to create.


Flanking the entrance of the gallery space are two exquisite photographers yet with radically different aims, preciously demonstrating the power of unique subjectivity imprinting onto the world. Ms. Corey Grayhorse has presented a chronology of her artistry which shows a refinement of her art that may be considered to be an autobiographical exuberantly playful reminiscence – which I’ve called “zany” in the past. The works show a chronology with a clear mode of perfection, to paraphrase the words of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, by removing from her efforts what is unnecessary and leaving only what can’t be taken away from her artistic vision. And this vision, self-described as “dark humor”, may have been tainted with moroseness by another artist – which may not be an indication of her upbringing per se but that such memories elsewise might have been negatively filtered by a weaker spirit. Instead, she affirms her very memories with an elegant and crafty cheekiness and a positively charged California Venetian wildness to her nostalgia. This enables our subjectivity to reflect on our own growing pangs as the necessary ingredients to what we are now – and nobly challenges us to smile and warmly embrace Nature’s recipe for our individuality as good.


Opposite Ms. Grayhorse’s works, Catherine Asanov shows evolution in her own style from her satirically Russian self-portraits to a vexing yet enchanting Conatus series. Each of the series, however, showcase her high fashion photography pedigree with a keen level of artistic embellishment which marks the photographs as distinct from editorial pages. And what may be lacking in the depth of artistic focus, of a self-similar focal refinement in vision over time a la Grayhorse, is more than compensated for with artistic dexterity.


Conatus, one of the more challenging artwork series to interpret, appears to be probing the quintessence of beauty. But it is more forceful with its candid meditation on the feminine. Graciously, Ms. Asanov does not conflate “female empowerment” within a temporal, masculine, demeanor; her aims at representing elements of the divine in the female form are absent violent weaponry, for instance, which would have been a plausible reproduction of Hindu pagan expressiveness. Instead, we have a purer concept of where femininity is most sacred, and that is in the potency of timeless beauty. Indeed, the sculptural piece exuded is outlandishly impractical; and yet that serves the intention of the edification of woman’s unequivocal possession of superior physical beauty – which necessarily elevates our perception towards The Good.


Suda House exhibits a similar dexterity with her photography, with a taste for experimenting with new media. Her rationale, that photography intrinsically has technological creep requiring artistic responsiveness to new cameras or new film, is a tacit understatement of her capabilities as an artist to supply such creativity to her compositions. Her Aqueous Myth series, for instance, is an incredible exercise in creating cinematographic luminosity as a result of Cibachrome film; and the cinematic sensuousness is only amplified by her treatment of water and its ever-diffracting playfulness of light.


And Ellen Cantor presents the most inventive of artworks with her Prior Pleasure series. Her attempts to capture the written word immemorially through photography reveals a wonderful plasticity to the art form and is a terrific expression of the courageousness not only of her artistry, but of dnj Gallery’s persistent celebration of expanding the conceivability of fine art photography. There is a purposeful overlooking of the actual text to the stories. Instead, the memories which Ms. Cantor seeks to reverberate are purely visual and imaginary. One can imagine illustrations to be exactly this imaginatively inducing, rather than insipid words, and her marvels of fiction pour out of the book-bindings, evoking a sense of warm and intimate nostalgia to bed-time and rainy day readings.


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