Nathalie Karg Gallery is pleased to present Unrequited Love, curated by Vera Iliatova and Sarah Peters. On view from June 21st to July 20th, 2023, the exhibition features work by Ann Agee, Inna Babaeva, Nina Childress, Jennifer Paige Cohen, Jenny Dubnau, Dana Frankfort, Louis Fratino, Rema Ghuloum, Ryan Johnson, Alex Jackson, Dennis Kardon, Craig Kucia, Julia Kunin, Susan Lichtman, Jennifer Macdonald, Shari Mendelson, Ohad Meromi, John Newman, Keiko Narahashi, Enrico Riley, Elsa Sahal, Matt Saunders, Michelle Segre, Jeremy Stenger, Alessandro Teoldi, Hannah van Bart, Jenna Westra, and Alan Wiener.
In this exhibition, one’s “unrequited love” stands as a metaphor for the artists’ yearning to grasp at something in their work that remains forever outside of their reach. This longing, desire, and tension remain present in the physical objects that are the results of individual pursuit. Each of the artists in this exhibition value the sense of touch and the physical tension in making their works, embedding them with an emotion that eludes being captured with words. The process in the studio becomes a love song between the makers and the objects that they make. Desire, dreaming, wanting, release, disappointment, revenge, confusion, and the possibility of satisfaction are the churning emotions that spur artists to make new artworks. We also look back at past artworks, our old lovers, to understand and find the new ones. This exhibition presents narrative manifestations of “unrequited love” through the stages of complicated afairs and their aftermath.
In a sculpture by Julia Kunin and paintings by Dana Frankfort, Rema Ghuloum, and Enrico Riley, emotional yearning and reverie are evoked through the luminosity of color, translucent veils of paint, and atmospheric structures. Carefully constructed grids within works by Alex Jackson and Alan Wiener create expansive visions and Michelle Segre’s celestial structure opens our eyes towards ecstatic space while Jenny Dubnau and Jeremy Stenger invent entire emotional universes from the petals of a flower.
Nina Childress and Matt Saunders’ works idolize the unattainable object of desire and from Inna Babaeva, Louis Fratino, Dennis Kardon, John Newman, Elsa Sahal, and Alessandro Teoldi, we see works that express bodily intimacy and sexual appetite.
Hindsight, longing, memory, absence, and possible regret are present in the family drama found in Susan Lichtman’s large scale painting of a dinner table and Ann Agee’s porcelain sculpture depicts a madonna figure encountering a void. Craig Kucia invokes the memory of his grandmother by painting images based on their conversations. Physical tension in a space between two people is found in Jenna Westra’s photographs while in Keiko Narahashi’s sculpture, such tension defines itself within the boundaries of a single body.
When the artwork is completed, the love afair ends. The artist is alone in their studio and must start again. The fictional protagonist is a lonely wanderer embodied in the sculptures of Ryan Johnson, Shari Mendelson, and Ohad Meromi, with each traveler accompanied by a mysterious animal companion.
The introspective smile in the portrait by Hannah van Bart and the courageous step forward in the sculpted figure by Jennifer Paige Cohen project quiet but assertive power to encounter the future.
In the end, one could see Jennifer Macdonald’s bronzes as the required armor and fearlessness needed to begin again.
– Vera Iliatova and Sarah Peters