"Dance me loose"

A summer group show curated by Robin Dash and John Roy featuring the work of Josh Blackwell, Jan Corash, David Dash, Robin Dash, Marlon Forrester and Saul Levine

Exhibition Dates - August 4th - August 27th, 2017

Opening Reception - August 4th, 6-9pm

How’s Howard is pleased to present our summer group show.  In Alice Munro’s 1971 novel, “Lives of Girls and Women”, one character implores another: “dance me loose”. In a variety of ways, these artists are tackling this directive.  Subject matter, materials and media, as well as conceptual concerns, are all up for grabs as the artists find their own paths to untethering themselves from the tensions and limitations of our contemporary society. As each artist introduces approaches that shake up and shake out particular preconceptions and political and social inequities, a liveliness and immediacy grips the work.

Josh Blackwell takes the overlooked and ubiquitous plastic bag and through an over the top process of decorating and desecrating, transforms it into a precious and powerful work of art: a “never use”. Stitched, embroidered and quilted, a spirit of the body takes up residence.

Blackwell's “sweaters” speak to how clothing performs gender and to the tradition of hand knitting a sweater for a beloved child. Blackwell's works on paper, shaped as small sweater silhouettes, are tenderly painted. They infuse a knitter’s attention to repetition with playful swipes and dabs of radiant color. Animated with signs of wear, they, too, feel embodied.

Jan Corash’s commanding and luminous paintings on paper bring the viewer’s attention to the simultaneously strong and vulnerable nature of each figure. These lush and rigorous paintings emit light from delicate underdrawing. Unusual cropping of the figure highlights what sometimes is the odd and ambiguous nature of the human stance. The sculptures Corash creates are less about rendering the figure and more about the artist’s own body shaping her materials. Twisted, folded and crumpled, these abstract objects take their place in the gallery’s unconventional spaces, much like the figures who seem to walk into her paintings.

David Dash’s small, tiny even, works on and of paper, hold the wall with a presence unusual for their size. Brave in their minimalism and magical in their private language, they may look at first casual, but their very essence reveals just how highly considered they actually are. Intimately shaped, collaged and constructed of crumples, creases and shadows, Dash’s work hovers between painting, relief and sculpture. The coexistence of memory and dream adds a poetic and mysterious thread to what may ultimately be landscapes.

Dash also creates artist's books and we are delighted to present a new collaboration between Dash and his partner, artist/writer/dancer Tullah Dash, writer/artist, Nica Horvitz and her mother, singer/songwriter Robin Holcomb.

In Robin Dash’s paintings on paper and canvas from “The Intrusions” series, abstract shapes and forms insert themselves into fields of slung and swiped paint. Multilayered and multicolored space provides unexpected arenas for life’s intrusions. Dry surfaces and offbeat color relationships result from a wet engagement with wildness. Nuances in nudging forms and encroaching borders remind one of just how revitalizing big and little dilemmas can be.

Marlon Forrester’s large, striking wall-sized drawing on tar paper is forceful in its bigger than life figure on the verge of breaking out of the paper’s perimeters. In “His Airness”, the loosely drawn Michael Jordan reference is constructed of black and white painted fragments which are composed of the schematic delineations of the basketball court: 3 point line, foul line, key and hoop.  Power and dignity emanate from the figure, like a spiritual icon. He can be viewed as a basketball star commanding the court, as well as Black royalty holding Court, merging and defying symbolic and historic stereotypes.

Saul Levine’s shimmering, ecstatic short film, New Left Notes, splices together quick glimpses and glances of the turbulent summer in the 1970s, when the Watergate hearings were televised and young people were protesting the government’s crackdown on the Black Panthers. Erratically paced and shot, fleeting images of Nixon on TV and student protests are interspersed with sensual passages of young people happily drenching themselves in a public fountain with the hippie exuberance of Woodstock. Gorgeous color and textural interludes of filmic abstraction weave in and out of the political and the personal, including an air of sexual pleasure. The complete absence of sound heightens the visual and political impact of the images of the Times. The aesthetic quality of the entire film, frame for frame, finds multiple correspondences in this group show.

Marlon Forrester’s video, “Playoff X”, plays on a monitor juxtaposing Levine’s seminal work. Forrester is concerned with the corporate use of the Black body as logo. He describes his video as a meditation on the implicit and explicit fear ( thatthe dominant white culture has ) of the muscular male, Black body. While exploring the metaphors and space of ritual created on the basketball court, Forrester engages the duality of escape and usury.  In the process, those parallels and paradoxes include the interstitial and urgent issues of race, class and identity.

Dance me Loose is curated by Robin Dash and John Roy


For additional information please contact John Roy - John@howshoward.com