Slag Gallery is pleased to present Tight Connections, a solo presentation of recent works by Naomi Safran-Hon. This will be the artist's fifth solo exhibition at the gallery.
In this new body of work, the Tight Connections may not be obvious. The artist embeds photographs into paintings with cement, fabric, lace, and acrylic. The oeuvre explores the space between photography and painting. The invisible seam lines between the works' disparate materials bring into focus how easy it is to overlook how we are all connected. An aspect, the artist suggests, which the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light.
Tight Connections are present throughout the exhibit, drawing a relationship between cement and lace, as well as in the subject matter and content. In the painting Behind Her Eye the artist extends the reality of the photograph occupying the work’s middle into its upper and lower sections, recreating the image in the picture’s material. In Babel, an image of a building under construction is expanded into a grid-like abstraction, creating a tension between illusion and actuality. These works and others ask the viewer to question what they believe in, and how it is connected to their own identity and story.
About the artist, Naomi Safran-Hon
Naomi Safran-Hon creates work that makes gripping statements about the fragility of human experience, the complicated nature of one's home, and the vicissitudes of collective identities. The artist is seeking the narrative that is hidden and buried in the landscape.
Safran-Hon received her BA Summa Cum Laude from Brandeis University in Studio Art and Art History in 2008 and an MFA from Yale University School of Art in 2010. She attended Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture in 2012, Art Omi in 2016, and was a 2019-2020 Workspace Resident at Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Her last show at Slag Gallery in Spring 2020 garnered a profile in The New York Times. Safran-Hon was a recipient of the BRIC Colene Brown Art Prize in 2020 and was a finalist for Jerome Hill Artist Fellowship.
Safran-Hon has been exhibiting extensively in the US as well as internationally. Her work was featured at venues such as Marfa Contemporary, Marfa, TX; Haifa Museum of Art, Haifa, IL; Brooklyn Museum, NY; Queens Museum, NY; Islip Museum, NY; Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art, Herzilya, IL; Museum Africa, Johannesburg, South Africa.
At the same time, the gallery present A Self Apart, a series of paintings by Alida Wilkinson. This will be Wilkinson's first solo show with Slag Gallery, NY.
In A Self Apart, Alida Wilkinson presents three series of life size works which imagine the many selves a person inhabits, releases, and protects. These series trace the evolution of Wilkinson’s figurative work, from monochrome and unanchored installations, to layered and desaturated wall-based works, to vivid single layer portraits.
Wilkinson draws from a range of art historical sources; her vertical formats and watery inks stem from an early and enduring interest in Japanese sumi-e scrolls, her stark likenesses and impressionistic strokes evoke John Singer Sargent’s monumental portraits, and elements of installation and layering are inspired by Ann Hamilton’s immersive works.
Wilkinson’s use of liquid ink and water on mylar alternates between sharp, intimate detailing and organic chaos. The unpredictable nature of her chosen medium lends a simmering, volatile energy to each work. Using herself, her girlfriend, and her close friends as subjects, Wilkinson captures a vulnerable aliveness in each figure. Her life size figures elicit a visceral connection with the viewer with their gazes, and her layered works provoke both a desire to see what lies beneath the top layer, and a reluctance to touch the work. Wilkinson is interested in this tension between viewer and painting, especially in the context of women as subject. Her paintings prompt both connection and confrontation; they grant the viewer access to each subject’s hidden selves, at the same time as they give agency to the subjects.
About the artist, Alida Wilkinson:
Alida (Allie) Wilkinson was born and raised in New York City and received a B.A. in Visual Arts from Bowdoin College. Her works have been exhibited in galleries across the United States, notably at Slag Gallery, Pen + Brush Gallery, Deanna Evans Projects, and Corridor Gallery. Her debut solo show in New York will open at Slag Gallery in January 2022. She has been an artist in residence at the Byrdcliffe Residency (NY, 2021) and the 77Art Residency (VT, 2019). Her ink paintings are held in private collections in the United States, France, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. She currently lives and works in Brooklyn.