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Psychedelic Landscape

Eric Firestone Gallery

40 Great Jones St. | New York, NY

thru August 26, 2022

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Featured artists include:

Isaac Abrams | Jennifer Coates | Amie Cunat

John DeFazio | Angela Dufresne | Martha Edelheit

Inka Essenhigh | J.A Feng | Elliott Green | Mimi Gross Elizabeth Hazan | Sheila Isham | Jacaeber Kastor

Judith Linhares | JJ Manford | Joseph Parker

Suzan Pitt | Lisa Sanditz | Thomas Sills | Olga Spiegel

Bob Thompson | Fred Tomaselli

Eugene von Bruenchenhein | Peter Williams

Agatha Wojciechowsky | Saya Woolfalk

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Fred Tomaselli | Untitled (cloud), 2019 | photo collage, acrylic, and resin on wood panel |

24h x 24w in

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Psychedelic Landscape is inspired by a current in the art world: a desire for dreamscapes, invented topographies, and utopian visions of the environment. As the San Francisco-based ceramic artist John DeFazio noted, “Psychedelics create optimism in dark times.” The exhibition includes a cross-generational group of more than 20 artists, from estates to young New York-area painters like Amie Cunat and J.A Feng. Cunat has conceived a site-specific painting installation that extends the show’s subject onto the gallery’s walls, while Feng has contributed a recent oil on canvas that is both organic and uncanny in nature. 

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The landscapes in this exhibition utilize a hallucinogenic color palette and depict acid-trip-like visions. They are not always idealistic; they also reflect frightening and painful realities. Raised in Nyack, Peter Williams—whose estate Eric Firestone Gallery now represents, and whose work the gallery is presenting for the first time in New York City—explored the beauty and horror of  Black life in America. His work is defined by delirious color, complex orchestrations of figuration, and abstract patterning. Desegregation (2020) shows a mindscape/landscape divided into quadrants; a body swimming against the current as star forms burst at the top.

Suzan Pitt | La Artista, 2001 | acrylic on canvas | 60h x 72w in

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Suzan Pitt, the Kansas City-born painter and pioneer animator who is especially known for her film Asparagus (1979), explores fantastical gardens that blossom out of longing and desire. La Artista (2001) is her only known self-portrait. It shows the artist lying in a coffin, cigarette and paint brushes in hand, a magic garden generating from the cloud of smoke.

In other canvases, like those of Thomas Sills (who hailed from Castalia, North Carolina) and Elliott Green (who was born in Detroit), an abstracted psychedelic landscape emerges from an intuitive, unconscious working method. Now represented by Eric Firestone Gallery, Sheila Isham conceived her acerbic storm of color, #8 Sagaponack (1972), by scavenging seaweed and sponges from her beachy surroundings in the Hamptons. She held up these organic substances against canvas, using an airbrush to spray acrylic paint around them. Linked to the 1960s and ‘70s counterculture of the California Bay Area, Judith Linhares has cultivated the practice of lucid dreaming, which informs her painting and a trust in the process. Her recent work is particularly radiant and joyful: working women and invented animals populate landscapes in which bands of sunrays assert their power.

The exhibition also touches on the history of psychedelic art, as envisioned by a few self-taught artists in New York City. Isaac Abrams predicted a new art reflecting the intensity of psychedelic experience. He met with the famed American psychologist Timothy Leary and, with Leary’s guidance, opened the Coda Gallery in 1965 to present this genre. Crossover (1971) by Olga Spiegel,who showed with the East Village Psychedelic Solution gallery, will be on view. The work of legendary Milwaukee-based self-taught artist Eugene Von Bruenchenhein explore the meeting point of celestial dreamscapes and menacing, atomic mushroom clouds.

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Bob Thompson | Entombment, 1963 | oil and gouache on paper mounted on Masonite

12 1/2h x 17w in

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Figurative expressionist Bob Thompson from Louisville reconfigured art historical and religious motifs into enigmatic countrysides and chromatically intense scenes that suggest themes of human collectivity and struggle. Angela Dufresne reimagines the landscapes of Courbet or van Ruisdael as an upstate New York post-apocalyptic flood party, with half-naked women fishing off the rocks while a great egret stands guard. Dufresne says of her work, “I agree with André Breton—queer is about finding that skewed, other iteration of things that defy the mythical.”

Psychedelic Landscape reflects Eric Firestone Gallery’s mission to bring together past and present modes of expression—illuminating underrecognized yet highly significant artists and genres from across the postwar and contemporary eras.

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PSYCHEDELIC LANDSCAPE

will be on view through August 26, 2022

Eric Firestone Gallery | 40 Great Jones, New York, NY 10012

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Eric Firestone Gallery

Charting its own course since 2010, Eric Firestone Gallery reexamines significant yet under-recognized artists from the 20th and 21st centuries. Defined by its scholarly approach, the organization is recognized for taking a fresh look at historic work with a contemporary eye—reintroducing postwar artists to the discourse and the field at large. The gallery supports rigorous scholarship and archival research exploring the entirety of an artist’s creative vision and life, in close collaboration with institutions, academics, and collectors.

Eric Firestone Gallery established its first location in 2010 at 4 Newtown Lane in East Hampton, New York. In 2015, the gallery expanded with an additional loft space in a historic artist live/work building at 4 Great Jones Street in New York City. In 2020, the gallery opened its third location only a block away from its first New York site, at 40 Great Jones Street. Summer 2022 marks the inauguration of the gallery’s fourth space, and second in the Hamptons, at 62 Newtown Lane.

Each of these spaces is situated in an area of art historical importance, from the East End of Long Island to the heart of New York City—aligning with Eric Firestone Gallery’s mission to promote past modes of expression that remain ever present.

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