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BLOCK par·ti

Curated by Heather Zises, Founder of (READ)art 

+ Amy Kisch, Founder + CEO of AKArt Advisory


September 7 – 28, 2014


[pärtē: the basic scheme or concept for an architectural design reoriented by a diagram]


BLOCK par·ti includes artworks that serve as diagrams of emotional and physical spaces, through painting, drawing, photography, and mixed media. Using natural and constructed materials, the pieces investigate themes of disconnection and abandonment, informed by geometric and architectural tropes—including work by Charles Heppner, Melissa Murray, Robert Saywitz, Marielis Seyler, Michael Tharp, Jeff Tse, and Allison L. Wade. 


Charles Heppner’s Sanctum Boxes were originally inspired by the meditation practice during the Catholic Lenten season of the Stations of the Cross, during which the Passion is retold in 14 distinct episodes and one is encouraged to mediate on each, applying those lessons to one’s own way of life. After reading a modern interpretation written by the Maryknoll Society, Heppner was moved to create works based on his own interpretation—and subsequently—his own challenges. Each work is a sanctum, often using a cigar box, with images the artist has taken from everyday interactions. The meditations, indicated by the title, focus on ideas such as self-reflection, compassion, and gratitude.


Melissa Murray’s work from her series 246a, entitled after a 300-year-old home on Cape Cod, present her impressions of space, architecture, and the effects of time. The location became a catalyst for metaphors relating to the idea of what a home is, happenings in the outside world and a deeper understanding of what it is for time to pass. While placing focus on the structure, she delved into the theme of internalizing a forgotten space and recreating it, transmuting it through a filter influenced by her life in New York City.


Robert Saywitz’s works from his Graveyard series first appear as stark natural landscapes, but upon closer inspection, are burial grounds composed of discarded objects—killed by overuse or outdated by technology. His Suspended Beliefs look at the constructed, layered and idiosyncratic nature of storytelling and memory—and their roles within family and history. These visual diaries investigate our ability to suspend the trauma of our waking lives—seeking refuge in the altered state of sleep or in a collective identity. Words, ideas, quotes, and maps find their way into landscapes and portraits as waking life interacts with the unconscious. 


Marielis Seyler’s photographs, through interactions in public and private spaces explore the duality of the constructs and boundaries between nature and mankind. Placing large-format Trample pictures of various subjects in public spaces, she invites viewers to decide what their role in a collective narrative will be, her trampled-upon photographs becoming a record of our response to an invitation to degrade or protect, to partake in the sacred or profane. The artist’s use of imagery creates a narrative that pokes, prods and laughs—albeit derisively—at our environmental and psychological plight. 


Michael Tharp’s work involves the interplay between the known and unknown, perception, and the semiotics of sense-making. He has been working with freight pallets since the 1990s, as sculptural-painting hybrids, exploring their gaps, and the physicality of their history as ‘transporters’ (and associated ‘damage’ and repair as metaphor for the human condition). The ‘backwards four’ series questions the acceptance and sensibility of ‘sign’ and also provoke an engagement with the self-reflexivity of the plane, as if we had crossed over to the other side. His Google Search Screen Captures focus on one (and only one) Google image word search and the first page of ‘results’ as the new arbiter of the collective Jungian archetype or Platonic ideal. They address the transitory nature of our current digital web age and and algorithmic effect on our knowledge and information. His Pallets in the Wild reference naturalist photography by capturing the pallets in their natural habitats on the streets of NYC, drawing attention to their overlooked ubiquity and underpinnings as transportation and commerce functionality and as found/art objects.


Jeff Tse strives to create imagery that parallels sculpture more so than the two-dimensional photograph—paying close attention to the grace and texture of each object. A driving force in his work is his desire is to translate subliminal aesthetic forms into imagery that is timeless and flawless. A play of light and form, the images focus on beauty found in the natural world, taking on a widely varying set of subjects—from boletus to stone to driftwood. Tse carefully selects specific objects in the same manner in which a sculptor would choose the finest clay with which to work—and those from which he can build and evoke inordinately pleasing forms.


Much of Allison L. Wade’s work deals with relationships and problems inherent in contemporary modes of communication. Her paintings and photographs show text messages that have ended the artist’s own relationships, whether sent by her or to her. The texts featured in Wade’s work are an exposition of one-way communication and social distance. It is easier in our postmodern world to leave a voicemail and now a text message then talk face to face to other people. These new tools in communication put the sender even further away from the recipient. 

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Opening Reception: Sunday, September 7, 2014

During the Lower East Side Gallery Walk, 4-8pm


Press Reception: Friday, September 12, 2014



Exhibition: September 7 - 28

Thursday - Sunday, 12-6pm




21 Ludlow Street, NYC



Amy Kisch, AKArt Advisory

Heather Zises, (READ)art



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