Rush Arts Gallery is pleased to present Signs of Life an artist submission based show and will feature seven emerging artists, Carla Aspenberg, Selin Balci, Stephanie Calvert, Florine Demosthene, Rachel Frank, Heidi Lau, Mishele Lesser, and Andrew F. Scott, whose work ranges across multiple disciplines and mediums. The tonality of the exhibition is alive with a heady blending of right brain/left brain functionality, with laser technology, biology, chemistry, genomics, and sociology. Signs of Life exhibition has a strong bioart element and proudly shines light upon the artist whose work is starting conversations that transcend traditional, visual art narratives.

Man has always had a profound fascination with life and has used a variety of sciences, disciplines and doctrines to explain, better understand and search for life in alien or foreign places. The inevitableness of life’s expiration casts a shadow on man’s perceptions, thinking and actions to make sense of life. Age old questions of why are we here and what is life about, guides our drive to qualify and define our experience of being alive. The certainty of death manifests a deep desire for self-exploration, but it also creates darker, external reactions like tension, hierarchy, homogeny, bias and a long list of isms that speak to man’s desire to derive the maximum value out of a relatively short life-span.

Mishele Lesser, raised in the Bible Belt of the south and from a scientific family, has used genomics and the mapping of the human genome as a platform for her work. She uses imagery of the genome mapping as an artistic element, and marries it with patterns created with Intaglio printing to produce artwork on mylar, that speaks to the commonality of people that belies the notion of race and difference. A university background in both science and art, informs Mishele’s work, including her projection piece, Mapping Humanness: A Work In Progess.

In the current, photograph obsessed, social media culture that has yielded billions of personal profiles often dominated by precocious of tikes, tabbies and terriers, the ubiquitousness of the “selfie” has garnered official word status by Webster-Merriam dictionary. Andrew F. Scott, an Atlanta based artist and professor of sculpture at the Savannah College of Art and Design, has utilized laser technology to create the ultimate, sculptural selfie. Materials like cardboard, wood, plexi-glass, polychromed ABS plastic and bronze are used by the artist to create self reflected, sculptural busts.

The exploration of how black culture is commodified and interest of the black female body in contemporary, visual culture are a few of the flints that have sparked the artist Florine Demosthene, as she chronicled her journey throughout the Caribbean and Western Africa in a series of drawings titled “Capture”. The series features voluptuous female figures in the post-earthquake rubble of the nation of Haiti, where she was born. It’s based on a black heroine navigating the physical, social, mental and emotional landscape of an island nation devastated by a natural disaster. The mixed media pieces use textual ink, oil, graphite and charcoal to convey a strange world of decay and destruction.

The marriage of biology and art, coined bio-art, has seen incredible exhibitions, often in the form of video, mobiles and installations, yet the artist Selin Balci has created a technique where her implementation of biology yields bright and vibrant colors on flat surfaces, similar to an artist working in paint. In the words of Selin “I reference the fundamental, underlying social dilemmas and principles of our existence in an effort to understand and highlight social issues” She uses microorganisms and creates art through the coloring, aggression and interaction with other microorganisms, with the resulting work mirroring human behavior and speaking to social and geopolitical issues in the real world.

The energy and beauty that’s created by nature is breathtaking and the paintings of complex mineral forms, by artist Stephanie Calvert, transfers that energy and beauty onto aluminum panels, resulting in a painting of mineral forms onto a metal that is sometimes a mineral. Sounds very periodic table of the elements, but in person it’s very sexy, moody and filled with tension. The microscopic crystals and the intense color and vibrancy that they yield is nature at it’s finest and normally the provence of scientists with a host of three letter abbreviations after their name, yet the beauty and power of nature has long inspired and provoked visual artists like Stephanie Calvert.

If it’s any place where magical crystals should grow, it’s in the worlds that the artist Heidi Lau creates. Future ruins, fantasy lands, sculptural odes to memorable, childhood places are all terms to describe Heidi’s clay work. Her process of growing moss on the sculpture brings out Heidi’s inner horticulturist and adds a living element to her pieces, that when combined with the glazed finishes, presents a sculpture with dual qualities of old and new. Flush with chemical processes, symbolism, traditional, sculptural technique and a bit of “magic” as Heidi says, the pieces reveal a loose and loving conversation between a young child in Macau, where she was born and the idea of “the future”.

Carla Aspenberg uses found materials in her work and has been strongly influenced by the Italian art movement Arte Povera, in which everyday materials are used to create works of fine art, in opposition to the art world establishment. Pro-envirionmental seems like the no-brainer stance to take, being that the earth is providing everything needed to live, so Carla’s usage of found objects, like rubber floor mats that replicate honeycombs in her pieces featuring bees, is smart artistry. Incorporating common print methods, including image transfers and woodcut stamps, her work shows the interconnectedness of man and nature and how we subconsciously replicate shapes or better yet “bite” the shapes we admire that, nature creates.

The Signs Of Life exhibition at Corridor Gallery also features the work of Rachel Frank, a Brooklyn based artist who will show sculptural work that spans from trees to trilobites without missing a beat. Performance and Sculpture are the primary expressions for Rachel’s work and the thematic elements of man, animal, and loss along with the fantastic, are threads running through her pieces in the Signs Of Life exhibition. The beautiful, glass beaded tree looks like a tree from another dimension, perhaps used in ceremony or as part of an alter. The possibilities of what lies beyond what we think we know is an area frequented by Rachel Frank as she wants to be a reminder of the chaos that lurks beneath the facade of reality.

Curated by Charlotte Mouquin and Richard Burroughs.

Rush Arts Gallery
Corridor Gallery
334 Grand Ave
Brooklyn (NY) 11238 United States
Tel. +1 (718) 2305002

Opening hours
Friday - Saturday
From 12pm to 6pm and by appointment

Related images

  1. Rachel Frank, Tree
  2. Carla Aspenberg, Detail of Untitled print on paper
  3. Installation view
  4. Andrew F. Scott, Laser Head
  5. Florine Demosthene
  6. Andrew F. Scott, Light Cube