Disputed Borders

3_DSC_0520 crop
Disputed Borders

Michael McKeown
Corbett Fogue
and Christopher Brace

March 25 – April 17, 2016
Opening Reception: March 25 | 6-9 PM

curated by Wilson Duggan

ArtHelix is pleased to present Disputed Borders, a group exhibition curated by Wilson Duggan that examines the boundaries and conflicts between places, people, memory, and time.

Disputed Borders features work by Michael McKeown, Corbett Fogue, and Christopher Brace. Please join us March 25th from 6-9PM for an opening reception at the gallery.

Michael McKeown constructs large-scale missile sculptures out of found materials and trashcans, designed as parodies of weapons built and maintained to cause destruction on a massive scale. McKeown’s work presents a socio-political critique of global militarization, particularly drawing on his memories of the Cold War and the effects of global nuclear armament. The choice of materials addresses with tongue in cheek the artist’s understanding of the “colossal waste of resources” that the global arms race perpetuates. A number of ink drawings composed on old military maps complement McKeown’s sculpture. Here, McKeown’s imagined missiles float atop the contours of the maps’ charted geography, employing bright colors and playful designs that contrast with the subject matter to an effect both somber and darkly humorous.

Corbett Fogue’s multi-disciplinary practice as an artist addresses his memories of his late father, and the circumstances of his untimely death from an incurable lung condition. On view in the exhibition is a wall drawing from his series of Ark Studies, which draw from his memories visiting his father’s architecture studio as a child. The drawing is an invented and fantastic schematic of an ark or vessel that travel the boundary between life and death, transporting Fogue to reunite with his father. Fogue’s series of Breath Studies, represented here in an installation of drawings titled Drawing Breath, explore the act of breathing as a bodily function so fundamentally vital for all life, but so constant and basic that it is easily taken for granted.

Christopher Brace’s photographs capture the boundaries of time that constantly press us forward. Brace’s work deals in the aesthetics of nostalgia, depicting decaying signs and advertisements leftover from a different era, yet still present around the city. His eye for composition captures the grittiness of urban landscape with clear and direct focus, and in a style that exudes contemporary vibrance despite a subject that is fixed in a different time.

The artworks on view challenge other boundaries within the gallery itself. McKeown’s missile, initially proposed and realized as an outdoor installation, physically dominates the gallery space, stretching all the way to the ceiling and scrunched into a corner. Fogue’s Ark Study is composed directly on the gallery wall, bound to the physical limit of the space, and Drawing Breath flanks the gallery entrance, creating a portal that delineates the exhibition. Brace’s photographs of old city façades are framed and presented against the bricks of exactly that, an old Bushwick warehouse façade, now contained inside a gallery space built adjacent to the original structure. Exhibited together and with exposed tensions, the work of these three artists communes along a common perimeter.

(not) Having It All

Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 10.16.43 AM
(not) Having It All

Angela Strassheim
Jackie Cantwell

February 12 – March 20, 2016
OPENING RECEPTION: Friday, February 12th | 6-9PM

ArtHelix is pleased to present a group exhibition of black and white photography by Angela Strassheim and Jackie Cantwell, curated by Gallery Director Peter Hopkins.

The art world is full of stories of newly discovered Masterworks found by chance after silently languishing for years, or decades in attics, basements, and long unopened boxes. The truth is that most art ever created is actually meant to die this way. Very few art works will ever find an audience. To pick out those few from the vast ocean of the discarded that may have been unduly consigned to neglect requires a keen eye, and a willingness to look hard and unflinchingly at something long left in the dark. Recently forty-three years of indifference was undone to 3 simple black and white photographs found in such a box. Now we must try here to decide if this “discovery” is worth our time.

This past September Jackie Cantwell was looking through the heaped contents of her Mother, Linda Cantwell’s belongings. She was trying to find the missing pieces that could explain how a young and promising art student with a girlish face (her Mom), but a fierce gaze, had chosen the life of a working middle class woman with 2 kids and an artist husband. Where had her aspirations gone? Was the “career” she had forsaken even a possibility. Had she chosen for herself, or had the “choice” actually been a sentence with no choice whatsoever? So on this day she was not simply rummaging randomly, but rather searching for evidence. She was deciding if the mystery she was seeking to unravel was a “murder”, a “suicide”, or more likely simply “willful negligence”.

Jackie Cantwell decides to respond to her mother’s “questions” by inserting herself into that question.  Photographed by Maya Meissner, Jackie re-creates the 3 works and presents them to her Mom as a Christmas gift. This gift is also meant to be a provocative act. “Mom, what happened to you”?

Angela Strassheim is a very successful artist. She is also now expecting her second child. This is important, because while it seems to others Angela “has it all” she like most artists knows that there is no such thing as stability in the art world. Her life has changed since she began making her now iconic photographs. Mostly for the good, of course, but doubt is a crucial component of all great artists, and Angela is a great artist. How has her changed life changed her work? Is motherhood and an art career, even for those with means, as incommensurate now as it was for Linda Cantwell and other first generation feminists? Angela then becomes the second point on the continuum of this dialogue.

If Linda Cantwell is the “hidden” subject from the shadows being interrogated by the emerging daughter, then Angela is the culmination of the process looking backwards, even as she confidently asserts her place in the present. In her recent move from one studio to another and her own relocation to a new home she too “lost” or had misplaced a large body of works. These too are black and white photographs. They are 4×5 polaroids made as “tests” for her series of finished photographs that now hang in many museums, and are deservedly reproduced  in high quality catalogs available for all. These photographs, never exhibited before, show younger women in states of quiet turmoil and veiled risk, capturing the crucial time when girls and young women begin to claim the shifting nature of their own identities. These Polaroids are unique one-off magical moments that got stored away in the dark, and thus, in a way these works were also forgotten. Not because they had been deemed unworthy of an audience, but weirdly, because the later works on which these photographs rested were so successful that they had become pushed back into the dark.

Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 10.16.19 AM

“The art world is overflowing with carefully curated, thoughtful, thematically consistent, dreadfully safe and boring shows. This is one more risky. Is it a mother-daughter therapy session masquerading as a thesis, or an entitled, self-congratulatory panel chat? Maybe both…or neither. The photographs here are all beautiful and powerful. The artists are proud of them, and they do not care if we like them. I asked a question, and now must step back and listen, and for now that’s enough.”

– Peter Hopkins, NYC, January, 2016

Kurt Steger | Reclaimed

Kurt Steger

January 8th – February 7th, 2016
Opening Reception:
Friday, January 8th | 6-9PM
Sunday, February 7th | 5-7:30 PM

ArtHelix is pleased to present Reclaimed, an exhibition of new sculptures by Kurt Steger, on view from January 8th through February 7th, 2016.

The works in this exhibition are from Steger’s recent ‘Urban Structures’ series, which addresses the loss that cultures or communities experience from the destruction or demolition of spaces, particularly those with personal or spiritual importance. The artist’s recent travels in Tibet, where he observed peoples’ homes and places of worship destroyed, provided an impetus for this new series, as it reflected a similar experience back home witnessing the demolition and redevelopment of structures in the ongoing gentrification cycle here in Bushwick.

The works in Steger’s ‘Urban Structures’ series use this cycle of destruction as a literal foundation; each sculpture features a found piece of Bushwick concrete rubble as a base on which the artist designs form-fitting abstract shapes. These structures, inspired by Steger’s interest in architecture, are each a unique response to their concrete base, designed to balance and contrast with the jagged, uneven shapes and surfaces in the material. Through its reduction to rubble, the concrete begins to imitate the inherent randomness of natural forms, though often in the pieces Steger has selected for the series, a trace of former function remains, like the curved imprint left from a pipe or an angle that marked the edge of a curb.

Each structure is designed as a type of sacred space that honors the memory of its foundation’s past. In most of the works, the structures contain an object or material, such as earth from Steger’s travels in Tibet, white sage, seeds, or notes composed as prayers. The spiritual aspect of the work remains largely undefined and open to interpretation, not adhering to a specific religious tradition.

As art objects, Steger’s sculptures provoke contemplation about space, time, community, and man’s responsibilities to and within his environment. In the context of the exhibition, the sculptures transform the gallery into its own type of sacred space, which contains and helps reveal the artworks to the viewer.


SHIM Invitational 1

SHIM Invitational 1

December 11-20, 2015
Opening Reception:
Friday, December 11 | 6-9PM

Join us as we host the launch of SHIM, a new art exhibition company that matches artists, curators, galleries, universities, and other organizations and affiliations with exhibition space for their projects.

SHIM Invitational 1 is an inaugural exhibition of ten artists, selected from SHIM’s first group of applicants, featuring Barry Carlsen, Katherine Evans, Shani Ha, Roberto Jamora, norton, Janet Passehl, Marcy Rosenblat, Malu Tan, Joan Zalenski, and Alex Zenger.

For more information about SHIM and its projects, visit http://www.shhhim.com.

Distance / Absence | Mari Rantanen

Distance-Absence-Sea of Holes 1
Distance / Absence
Mari Rantanen
Curated by Bonnie Rychlak

October 23 – November 29, 2015
Opening Reception:

Friday, October 23 | 6-9PM

ArtHelix is proud to present, for a second time, the paintings of Mari Rantanen. Rantanen is a Finnish artist who has been living and working in Stockholm for almost 20 years and currently spends alternating three­month periods in New York City. Since her last exhibition at ArtHelix in October 2014, she has transitioned her paintings from sites that explored visual, historical, and cultural motifs, works that referenced those contextual patterns, colors, and designs, to a more complex emotional place that is at once exuberant and conflicted. Rantanen is now combining a more personal dissonance to her opus.

Mari Rantanen’s new paintings move away from her oval shaped canvases, a shape that hearkens back to traditional portraiture. Now the oval motif is imbedded inside a rectangular frame. She sees the shapes as a forces of two worlds, occupied in one place to mingle. The novelist Jhumpa Lahiri, from a lecture that Rantanen attended, inspired these new paintings. Lahiri discussed her Indian heritage, having been born in India and raised in the U.S., she spoke of how her parents would systematically save their money to take the entire family back home to India every year. Traveling from one culture to another, Lahiri noted that when she was in the U.S., she felt the absence of her Indian culture, effected by her parents but conversely, when she was in India, there was a sense of absence from her more westernized daily life in the U.S. Her parents’ longing for India was constantly palpable; creating a home life that was filled with feelings of isolation and longing.

This lecture had a profound impact on Rantanen, recognizing for herself this cultural dilemma; a sad sense of something that is always lacking wherever she is working and living. The oval shapes within rectangular frames are tropes for Rantanen, seeing the motifs as a complex sense of absence and distance, where one shape lacks what the other contains. The oval in the rectangle is the absence, one world within the rectangle as the container, which is off in the distance, always in the background.

However unlike Jhumpa Lahiri, whose description of absence and distance is melancholy and discontented, Rantanen is exhilarated by what would seem to be a state of dearth and remoteness. The exuberant colors she uses are combative and optically cheerful and pleasurable. Her distance and absence composition holds an extremely vibrant palate, creating a dissonant and frantic visual excitement. Everything seems to be happening at the same time in Rantanen’s paintings. The light the paintings generate and reflect presses on our frontal lobe, almost blinding anyone who looks upon them but not sad for those who do not recognize her narrative.

Mari Rantanen’s work is in the private and public collections of most all Nordic countries. She is also represented in numerous collections in Germany, England, Holland, as well as the United States. In 2015 she will be included in an exhibition Dark Days, Light Nights at the Kemper Art Museum in Kansas City, Missouri, October 1, 2015 to February 20, 2016.

Happy Hour | VCU MFA Alumni

Happy Hour
Virginia Commonwealth University
Painting + Printmaking MFA Alumni Exhibition 2014 – 2015

Curated by Arnold J. Kemp and Jackie Klempay

August 28 – September 20, 2015

Friday, September 11 | 6-9PM
rsvp to rsvparts@vcu.edu

Featuring work by:
Annie Albagli
Thomas Burkett
Adriane Connerton
Philip Hinge
Michael Hunter
Nicholas Irzyk
Harris Johnson
Aaron Koehn
Mike Linskie
Christine Navin
Lee Piechocki
Jason Rood
Aaron Storck
Grace Weaver
Matthew Yaeger

Image: Grace Weaver, In Search of Delicious, 2015
Oil on linen. 75 x 67 inches.



Bushwick Open Studios
June 5-7, 2015

ArtHelix, in collaboration with Chez Bushwick, is pleased to present a series of art installations and performances at Mona Liza Fine Furniture as part of our program for Bushwick Open Studios 2015. Please join us for a weekend of art, music, performance, and dance as we celebrate our neighborhood and community.

Mona Liza Fine Furniture
23 Meadow Street
Brooklyn, NY

Open Hours:
Friday June 5: 6PM – 10PM
Saturday June 6: 12PM – 2AM
Sunday June 7: 1PM – 6PM

Bushwick 1
a special sculpture installation by Michael McKeown


Audacious Auspicious Anfractuous Anomalous Asynchronous Autonomous Artists
Curated by norton

Featuring artwork by:
norton, Chris Ketchie, Patrick Paine, David Miller, Greg Reynolds, Joshua Rosenblatt, Yukari Edamitsu, Jeffrey Leder, Chen Dongfan, Chris Rucker, Angelino Salerno, Lindsay Packer, Levi Haske, Audrey Ryan, Rob Lomblad

with a performance by Bakarock Sunday, June 7, 5PM


La Gioconda
Curated by Wilson Duggan and Julie McKim

Featuring artwork by:
Albert Shelton, Amanda Millet-Sorsa, Beata Chrzanowska, Brett Wallace, Cannon Hersey, Christopher Tandy, Claudia Chaseling, Daniel Djuro-Goiricelaya, David Pierce, Ehren Clodfelter, Elia Bettaglio, Elizabeth Meggs, Eric LoPresti, Fanny Allié, George Horner, Guy Nelson, Hazel Lee Santino, Heather Green, Jaynie Crimmins, Jon Newman, Kelsey Shwetz, Kenneth Browne, Kiki Carrillo, Kurt Steger, Laura Charlton, Linda Schmidt, Luan Gashi, Marcy Rosenblat, Margaret Lanzetta, Mari Rantanen, Mary Cooke Cosh, Meer Musa, Michele Hemsoth, Miguel Libarnes, Patricia Fabricant, Patrick Farrar, Rachel Blackwell, Shingo Francis, Thomas Burr Dodd, Tif Robinette, Wilson Duggan …and more.

with a performance by Dirty Churches on Saturday, June 6 @ 9PM


a special presentation of work by Yuliya Skya


Performances from Chez Bushwick:
Sunday, June 7, 3-5PM

Sarah Lifson
Laurel Snyder
Alex Romania
Evvie Allison
and Judy Iocovozzi

Somewhere Between

Caption: Erik Hougen. Wells, 2015, Silkscreen on canvas, 30 x 40 inches

Somewhere Between

June 5 – June 14, 2015
OPENING RECEPTION: Friday, June 5, 2015 | 6-9PM

Curated by Julie McKim

A group exhibition featuring artwork by:
Sonya Blesofsky 
Matthew Conradt 
Angeles Cossio 
Jon Elliott 
Rob Fischer
Daniele Genadry 

Erik Hougen 
and Wyatt Nash

with performances throughout BOS weekend by:
Jeff Thompson | Performance for Modified Chord Organ and Laptop
Friday, June 5 at 8:30PM at ArtHelix

Jeff Thompson will perform using a modified chord organ outfitted for micro adjustments and a laptop running custom software, creating slowly shifting drones and subtle dissonances.

William Hempel | read red read
Saturday, June 6 at 4:00PM at ArtHelix

William Hempel is a New York City based conceptual and visual artist who creates language based works often pulled from the everyday landscape, both physical and mental.  Hempel uses strategies of collection to represent languages as aesthetic experiences and exercises in free thinking.  His multi person reading performances are read from texts prepared by these methods of language collection.

Dirty Churches | Saturday, June 6 at 8:45PM at Mona Liza Fine Furniture

Performance by Rachel Blackwell
Music by Jesse Gelaznik
Violin Carolin Pook
Viola Eric Elterman
Cello Eric Allen

ArtHelix is thrilled to host Somewhere Between as part of our program for Bushwick Open Studios 2015.

The work in Somewhere Between finds weight in the uncertain place between the familiar and the unknown. The eight artists in this show employ sculpture, site specific installation, painting, silkscreen and photography to look at memory, history and place. Pulling source material from their everyday lives and surroundings, they construct work that collapses times, balances between the abstract and the delineated, and is layered and fragmented. Their work offers fleeting glimpses into histories long forgotten, hints at unfounded narratives, and presents cloudy reminders of places, perhaps, never visited.

The visual clues offered seem both familiar and hard to place, taking the viewer on a circuitous hunt for recognizable forms and meaning. Once engaged in the work, only then is it discovered, that what appeared familiar, is actually unknown. The viewer is confronted with a memory, history, landscape that is not their own. It is here, in this limbo, between object and viewer that the work of these artists balances. This middle place where meaning is open ended, connotations multiple and subjective and possibilities infinite.