Look Closer, An Exhibition of Surrealist Drawing at Hell Gate Arts, Mott Haven, Bronx

March 2nd – April 13th, 2019
Opening Reception: Saturday, March 2nd 4PM-7PM
Artist Talk: Thursday, March 28th 6PM-8PM
Gallery Hours: Fridays and Saturdays, 12PM-5PM or by appointment

Hell Gate Arts
755 East 133rd ST
Bronx, New York 10454
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February 7, 2019 – Look Closer, Opening Reception Saturday, March 2nd, 4pm-7pm, on view through April 13th, at Hell Gate Arts, Mott Haven, Bronx. Free and open to the public.

BXNYCreative and Hell Gate Arts are pleased to present the work of three New York based artists who explore human nature and themes of interconnectedness through surrealist drawing. Organized by independent curators Laura James and Eileen Walsh, who work under the name BXNYCreative, this exhibition features drawings, painting, and sculpture by artists Janita Lanzó, Alexis Duque, and Rafael Melendez.

Look Closer invites viewers into the subconscious minds of the artists to experience how they tackle questions of proximity, our impact as humans, and beauty. Upon closer thought and inspection, one will see the sinews of entanglement that worm through each piece and threaten to strangle or delight. Forms both recognizable, abstract, and anthropomorphic interweave and interact with one another in true surrealist fashion. They tell stories of colonial influence, environmental decay, corporate invasiveness, and loving human support.

Alexis Duque’s work approaches the idea of corporate encroachment and how it forces itself into culture and space with its seductive promises of ease and pseudo-improvement to daily life. A native of Columbia, his highly detailed drawings include a world where vegetation and indigenous life are impregnated with icons of American corporate culture. Duque’s art is highly detailed and rich; the mastery of his craft is evident.

Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Juanita Lanzó works with non-objective spaces and semi-recognizable forms that bring to mind appendages, cells, tissue, genitalia, and vegetation. These elements interact, penetrate, sprout, and decay based on a combination of her own notions and a universal understanding of pain, pleasure, loss, and memories. The sensual, surreal, and corporeal quality of her imagery addresses issues of sexuality, body politics, and the organic world. They peer into the beautiful aspects of connection, as well as the overpowering and strangling factors these human interactions sometimes bring.

Rafael Melendez was born in California, and moved to Texas as a teen, and later to New York City. The series of work on display focuses on his time in Texas, where he was involved with a community of artists in a space rife with inspiration and support during difficult times financially and artistically. Melendez remembers it as a time of great creative output, and his work comes at us with feelings of a delightful and perverse fantasy world. This series of intuitive drawings uses anthropomorphic and trans-human figures to create an imagined world that examines the feelings of frenetic joy and creativity that the artist felt at the seminal time in the early part of his career.

BXNYCreative is the artistic support and event production partnership of Laura James and Eileen Walsh. They promote underrepresented artists, musicians, and other cultural workers, and offer expert curation, and artist development. Together they have produced a myriad of events around the city, and have strong ties to the Bronx art community.
Look Closer runs through April 13th, there will be an artist’s talk on Thursday, March 28th from 6pm-8pm.

Participating Artists:
Janita Lanzó
Alexis Duque
Rafael Melendez

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