Miles McEnery Gallery I 525 W 22nd Street
Miles McEnery Gallery presents exhibitions by a multigenerational roster of artists whose works are linked by their drive to discover the points at which the paths of pleasure and knowledge intersect.
Sometimes that happens organically: minds and bodies working in concert as insight and enjoyment dovetail gracefully. At other times it’s awkward. And unsettling. And consequential.
Conflict enters the picture when what you feel and what you know tug you in different directions. That tension creates experiences that compel you to reorganize your relationship to the world—starting with your self, which is, hopefully, a fairly complex constellation of experiences and imaginings, facts and fantasies, realities and relationships.
The art exhibited at McEnery highlights the multilayered nature of identity, not to mention history and humanity. It also leaves people free to experience things for themselves. And once that individual experience has begun, it invites you to determine what that experience means for you, but not just to you alone.
Freedom and responsibility—or independence and interconnectedness with others—take shape before works that do not strive to provide answers to life’s big questions so much as to draw visitors into conversations with themselves, with their friends, and with strangers. Both internal and external, these dialogues can be insightful, and they can also be infuriating. They are often both. At their best, they sharpen perceptions, excite the imagination, stimulate thinking, and change behavior by making us aware of realities previously unseen.
Prescriptive art is nowhere to be found. Nor are one-dimensional works, single-issue statements, or academic rehashes of ideas that have been thoroughly worked through by previous generations.
Painting and drawing predominate. This is not because these media are historically important or intrinsically valuable, but because they are basic: simple technologies that record, often in exceptionally nuanced ways, the gestures and maneuvers of a consciousness in action (making decisions, adapting to circumstances, working through rough spots, and coming to conclusions—only to start all over again in the next painting or drawing). The drama—of striving to do something and then striving to do more—opens up all sorts of stories. Each story has lots to say about all sorts of situations, artistic and otherwise. Often both.
Both abstract and representational, the works at McEnery invite viewers into worlds within worlds. Familiar details give way to strangeness. What you thought you knew turns out to be different from what you actually know. Strangest of all, your journeys through the overlapping, intersecting worlds in these works do not take you away from the real world so much as they take you more deeply into it—more attentive to subtle differences and inspired to share such discoveries with others.
1967 · United States
1967 · United States
1974 · Israel
1949 · United States
1964 · Republic of Korea