Feedback: Working Space 09

Featuring Wonjung Choi, Christopher Clary, Denise DeSpirito, Mike Estabrook, Jen Mazza, Min Oh, Harumi Ori, Oraib Toukan

Curated by Thomas J. Lax

Opening Reception: June 27, 4-6 pm
Exhibition Dates: June 20 through August 1, 2009

Feedback: Working Space 09 is our annual exhibition featuring works selected by guest curator Thomas J. Lax from artists participating on the Lower East Side-Rotating Studio Program, in Fall 08 and Spring 09. AAI sponsors the Lower East Side Rotating Studio artist residency Program with artists chosen by a panel of outside artists, curators, and arts professionals in order to reaffirm our commitment to this vibrant and historically significant multicultural neighborhood. The artists selected are presented here in Working Space 09.

Wonjung Choi’s series of paintings, drawings and hanging installations, reflect her ongoing search for certainty and stability, evolving from childhood to adulthood, and the process of adapting to Western culture from Eastern culture.

Through Christopher Clary’s portraiture turned striptease, the artist exposes the moments of intimacy, sadness, humor, lust, even boredom of the conscious act that homos must project for others. In his site-specific installation designed for the exhibition, he has collaborated with the curator to produce a wallpaper based on an internet image search.

Denise DeSpirito paints and draws using gouache to reference the myriad, excessive images she encounters in life and through media. An intuitive approach guides the use of images and experiences in her art practice.

Mike Estabrook, through various media, including drawing, painting and video/animations, integrates fantasy with politically charged imagery to create grotesque and humorous imagery. His works are manifestations of his thoughts and imagination that operate in an overtly politicized world.

Min Oh’s “Public Secrets” play on the associations of word and image, evoking thoughts that are simultaneously sweet but disturbing, naive but violent, rational but personal. Their logic operates in a world where the sum becomes more than the individual parts.

In Jen Mazza‘s small figurative and dense oil paintings, through the reconstructing of the photographic image, there is a dialogue between the plastic qualities inherent to painting and the instantaneous capture of the photograph.

Harumi Ori’s ongoing sculptural series on paper, “I was here,” focuses on time and space expressed in seemingly simple or forgotten moments of life – moments when people pass each other on a street corner that have significance and beauty that can be studied and admired.

Oraib Toukan presents an iteration of a project in which she proposes to auction off the sixteen countries of the Middle East. Begun in 2007 when she wrote to Christie’s with this earnest proposal, she has since worked with financial consultants, economics, PR agents, media strategists, real estate agents and other experts on the documentation of this semi-fictional take on the hyper-reality of commodity exchange.

Thomas J. Lax is Curatorial Assistant at The Studio Museum in Harlem. In addition to organizing the exhibitions Kalup Linzy: If it Don’t Fit and VideoStudio at the Studio Museum, he has organized and written for exhibitions both locally and internationally at Artists Space, NY; Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo; Brandts Museet for Fotokunst, Odense; and Rush Arts Gallery, NY. His interests include contemporary art and critical theory, with a particular focus on work by queer and feminist artists as well as artists of color. He received his BA from Brown University and is on the board of the political youth organization FIERCE.