February 7 - March 10, 2019 ● Opening Reception: February 9, 6 - 8 PM
440 Gallery is proud to present Heaven And Earth, a solo show by multi-faceted artist Fred Bendheim. This is the artist’s fourth solo show at the gallery, and will run from February 6 through March 10, 2019. The exhibition highlights Bendheim’s large-scale constructions, works on paper, and shaped paintings, all created during the past three years. Distinctive pieces that Bendheim refers to as Shapings—paintings on shaped wood and PVC board—will be featured in this show. Bendheim has used this format of shaped or non-rectangular paintings for over ten years. He enjoys the freedom to make work that is filled with unlimited expression, yet he still maintains a controlled compositional method for structural integrity. Also on display are new cut-paper pieces made during a 2018 artist residency in Costa Rica. These colorful works on paper have a playful exuberance and explore Bendheim’s philosophical speculations on nature, work/play and of being alive in the 21st century.
Heaven And Earth represents the artist's interest in Chinese philosophies, and the division of space into these realms. Heaven And Earth also refers to the artist’s working life, one that has a fascination with the disparity between the idealized notion of heaven and the earthly domain of work/play. Bendheim deliberately juxtaposes visuals that include the abstract vs. the everyday, darkness and light, grandness in scale weighed against attention to detail. Bright color set against contrasting hues of deep blues and purples are part of his dramatic use of pictorial tension as a recurring theme. Says Fred, “I like using the open-ended format of shaped, non-linear works. It allows me to move away from the banality of the rectangle. I can then consider the wall that the artwork hangs on as an integral part of the piece—the wall begins to have a conversation in space with the shapes and colors I have chosen to work with.” Bendheim’s process involves making extensive drawings, paintings, and maquettes, and then transferring the compositions to rigid, dimensional PVC board. Ultimately, the artworks become finely-crafted objects that reflect the artist’s many hours of contemplation and hand-work.
Fred Bendheim has had numerous one-person shows and his works are in collections world-wide including: The Museum of Arts & Design, NY; The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; The Montclair Art Museum, The National Gallery of Costa Rica; The Instituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti, Venice, Italy; The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, The Plotkin Museum, The Brooklyn Public Library, NY; Denise Bibro Fine Art, NY; Jason McCoy Gallery, Bradley International Airport, Los Angeles, CA; The Mayo Center for Humanities, Scottsdale, AZ. His commissions include fountain-sculptures for Frank Lloyd Wright buildings and paintings for the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, among others. His past art has taken the form of large room-sized installations, outdoor billboards with children's art, sculptures, and fountains made with many materials, as well as mural-sized drawings. He has written articles about art for the British journal The Lancet, and has taught at the Art Students League and The College of Mt. Saint Vincent in New York City.
Project Space: “Feminine Reaction”
A second visit to Oaxaca, Mexico was the influence for Ellen Chuse’s painting Goddess. Chuse has chosen to break away from an austere series of paintings, Dark Matter, and work more lyrically. While echoing the visual vocabulary that her work is known for, Chuse instinctively incorporates aspects of Oaxacan art and culture—vibrant color, organic forms, as well as the region’s well-known barro negro black clay pottery—into this new acrylic on paper.
Through the use of collage, Shanee Epstein exhibits a fascination with technique as well as visual content. Epstein’s newest pieces explore spatial give-and-take, the shift between simple and complex, as well as narrative versus abstract. The geometry of shape plays off of the sensuality of color and texture. Incorporating handmade paper and fragments from earlier pieces, Epstein’s new pieces are both simple, yet layered and complicated. Epstein pushes the boundaries of the rectangle by creating new shapes within the surface of her work. Shanee says, “I have introduced using my sewing machine—a skill traditionally associated with women—as a great way of attaching and uniting multiple layers of diverse materials. I like the tactile effect of the stitching on the surface, one that is delicate yet strong at the same time.”
Amy Weil’s encaustic work is created with a minimal vocabulary that intimately visualizes how organic forms interact within a grid to explore narratives and relationships. Says Weil, “I am interested in creating abstractions that have vulnerability as well as strength. I strive to distill emotion through paint by a direct and intuitive method, one that allows for a faith in sense and mystery that goes beyond not being able to predict visual results. It is fluid and non-linear. The techniques I use to build up layers of wax, along with incising, scraping and fusing pigments lends itself well to this process-driven, abstract painting style.”