Let’s face it, the cost of living in New York City and the surrounding boroughs is high. This is true across the board and has forced those in particular income brackets to change neighborhoods, close shop, and think differently. The latter is true for the founders of Secret Dungeon a new alternative exhibition space in Bushwick. Already residing in one of the coolest, most desirable parts of Brooklyn, a group of like-minded artists and art professionals have opened a gallery in an unlikely location; a private parking garage. Currently appointment only and with hours on Saturdays, they inaugurated their first exhibition this past Sunday, with the aptly titled “Outer Storage Spaces”. Featuring the work of three artists, Norm Paris, Lucy Lord Campana and Zach Nader, the small group show showcases various skill sets and interests of each artist, bordering on the obsessive. It is in this obsessive nature and desire that finds a cohesion and thread amongst them. While aesthetically dissimilar, the three each choose to highlight a particular area to a hyper-real level, and in doing so taking away the agency by assigning something else. Norm Paris, made a geode sculpture by dividing a free-standing bust of the former basketball star Michael Jordan. A laborious process, Paris made the sculpture slowly using various types of resin and a slow pour before cutting the sculpture in half with a hand saw. The most successful piece in the show, it is both eerie and accessible, carrying a false weight of material expectation and the cultural perception of athletes throughout the US. The artist has also made a series of small works on paper transforming various trading cards using collage, draftsmanship, paint, and cut-outs to explore two- and three-dimensional space. The cards are installed using the plastic pages one might have in order to collect or organize his or her collection in a book. The result is somewhat painterly, however certain spatial combinations or placements of cards are better than others.
Lucy Lord is a painter who is currently exploring images from the Hubble telescope before they’ve been retouched for public consumption. Once that detail is revealed, it is evident as a focal point in the installed painting. She has honed in on details that are usually not made directly available for a larger audience, unlike the intention of a painting. Working in layered, short, quick brushstrokes, her work is both frenetic and calming. One small observation is that the surfaces could require more nuanced attention as the unevenness can detract from the subject matter which seems to be of obvious importance. The painting chosen by the Secret Dungeon team however, works really well with the spliced sculpture by Norm Paris. On the opposite side of the small space, closer to the door is a short video loop by Zach Nader. Nader works with appropriated content such as television commercials and has removed all evidence of the humans who consume the products being sold as well as the products themselves (except in this piece evidence of what looks like a few drum sticks of KFC chicken. A quick-moving video mash-up, the piece merges background and foreground erasing any sense of what might have been an object (or subject) of desire.
Secret Dungeon promises to present more exhibitions in the near future and currently “Outer Storage Spaces” will be on view until August 28th, 2016. The best part of visiting the gallery is the journey of getting there. Having to open a garage and enter into a dimly lit, concrete and metal interior the storage space now made white cube is a refreshing change from the busy streets of Chelsea and the Lower East Side. Looking forward to what they have up their collective sleeves and if you get lucky enough to see picklebeholding, give her a pat for me.
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