Blossoms | Magic Mirror is an exhibition by Joel Handorff comprised of new works that explore transparency, surface, and layering, reimagining the idea of a “flower painting.” The flowers in these paintings melt and fold into a mysterious space. Blossoms emerges out of a spirit of experimentation. Conventions are discarded, producing a new vernacular.
Handorff’s process uses thread, paint, and transparent materials. Surfaces mix and match with overlays. The paintings free themselves from representation and become essences. The techniques were developed at Handorff’s studio in embroidery factory Penn & Fletcher, with the guidance and support of master embroiderer Ernie Smith.
Handorff explains: “For these new works, I used an embroidered template to create something that has given me a whole new understanding of my painting. Through sewing I transformed the abstract imagery. By laying one skin on top of the other and pounding the paint into myriad surfaces through the template, I moved into a more integrated advancement of earlier experimentation. The imagery of fossils has always intrigued me. These blossoms have become fossilized through this process.”
The concept of a “Magic Mirror” is tied to a community. It is an allegory of the art of the East Village of the 1980s, an all but vanishing world that produced multiple styles in an environment of exploration.