Selections by Larry Ossei-Mensah at Elizabeth Dee Closes Tomorrow

As evidenced in their launch of a new initiative entitled Selections, Elizabeth Dee is wired and live in Harlem. Curated by the puissant Larry Ossei-Mensah, this first installment of the series perfectly examples the aims of the program.

Kenny Rivero The Fire Next Time, 2014 Oil, acrylic, oil and chalk pastel, colored pencil and collage on canvas 60 x 70 inches 152.4 x 177.8 cm (image courtesy of Elizabeth Dee Gallery)

The beautifully executed painted views of self and community and self and world of Kenny Rivero; Lucia Hierro’s conceptualized objects of home and other; the breakdown and re-manufactured structural blueprint quality of Emily Henretta’s objects of found parts and woven patterns that render perspectives of a self-in-the-world  ‘architectural technology’; and the connectivity of Derek Fordjour’s art of the competitive nature of humanity as a pivot point in our everyday lives.

Derek Fordjour Rally Finale, 2017 Oil, acrylic, graphite, newspaper, and foil on wood panel 60 x 40 inches 152.4 x 101.6 cm (Image Courtesy of Elizabeth Dee Gallery)

Fordjour’s inquiries of competitive valuation of personal self-worth are arguably stunning in execution. A collage of repetitive line, color, and shape form the sportsman who must navigate a terrain of value in a mixed-bag of human interaction and engagement. This interminability also elucidates the ingrained liturgy of what one might say of as being a natural instinct—but even so, an instinct ingrained traverses through the phenomenology of unconscious and conscious ways of being in the world.  In Rally Finale, repeating figures are made distinguishable from the next. One pops bright with orange or with a crossword puzzle, another with the number 7. Each color or print, creates an interaction, friction, or perceived difference in an interacting compact dimension. Rather than his inquiries ending in oppositions, as he would say himself and under the influence of Stanley Whitney, they are acts of love.

Emily Henretta Past Particle, 2016 Relief, photogravure and silkscreen prints. Acrylic and oil based ink on paper and landscape fabric, rock powder, magnets 79 x 36 inches 200.7 x 91.4 cm (Image Courtesy of the Elizabeth Dee Gallery)

The “how we live” of Emily Henretta’s constructed pieces peel back the layers revealing constructed and re-structured armature. The architectural qualities of everything, in a sense. Bits and pieces gathered in one place, stunningly reflect an urban landscape accentuated with metal objects. Woven materials demonstrate connectivity or an intermingling of object species.

Lucia Hierro Navideño, 2016 Digital print on cotton, felt and foam 42 x 26 inches 106.7 x 66 cm (Image Courtesy of Elizabeth Dee Gallery)

Lucia Hierro communicates from the home. A reflection of Dominican life as it exists here in New York, her work engenders a specificity about the experience. Taken from everyday objects out of the home, Hierro’s felt paintings are an experiential collage of personal and shared cultural keepsakes. Her series of digital prints (smart pieces), pages out of the New Yorker, highlight and blot out subjects based on a value of importance. A widely read publication, like a bible to some, but for others the content is subjective. Yet somewhere in our cacophony of opinions, these marked up prints express a viewpoint that is relatable.

Lucia Hierro  A Bunch of Tildes in a Brawl, 2016 Digital print on brushed nylon felt 26 x 18 inches 66 x 45.7 cm (Image Courtesy of Elizbeth Dee Gallery)

Rivero ignites his abstract canvases with a collage of content from a day in the life Kenny reliquary of objects, symbolisms, and his everyday environment. His narrative is something of an exasperated spoken exhale, but of carefully chosen words. A voice from particular experiences finally heard, emotions abound, fluttering with intensity, perhaps even rushing as if to leap off of the canvas, yet contrasted with moments of stillness. Floating heads set against a dark palette channel ghost-like fears; hauntings of things “de trop.”  The presence of the hand, flowers, random letters and numbers cipher a sense of longing.

Kenny Rivero  It Happened on the Corner, 2014 Oil, acrylic, and collage on canvas 60 x 84 inches 152.4 x 213.4 cm (Image courtesy of Elizabeth Dee Gallery)

Ossei-Mensah has curated a fine but sturdy thread of interconnectivity and collage. His curatorial eye is specific and mystic in such a way as to remain a gentle guide. The inaugural “Selections” Exhibition closes this Saturday, February 25, at Elizabeth Dee in Harlem.