“Where the material ends, art begins” —Etienne HajduMindy Solomon is pleased to present the second solo exhibition of artist Asif Hoque entitled “Terracotta”. Drawing from the ancient folk trades of Dhaka . the capital of Bangladesh, Hoque explores the relationship of the figure to utilitarian vessel. Incorporating mythology, classical figuration and urban cultural references, Hoque creates a two-dimensional homage to object as subject.
Hoque, Bangladeshi, raised in Rome, Italy and West Palm Beach, Florida is a conduit of cultural ideas. In his largest work, Speedin thru I95 in a White Ferrari, memories of his youth in South Florida and Italy form the bases of his imagery. We see the mythological male figure interacting with what appears to be an ancient beast. The lush green grass a universal background for the follies of youth. Moon River 1 and Moon River 2 are about love and longing. The mythological beast on a metaphorical, preening vessel emblazoned with hearts. The pieces bursting with ego and need. Bankura Mustang is a direct connection to traditional sculptural figuration with Hoque’s signature graphic style providing a comic relief element- the besotted protagonist searching for meaning in an ephemeral world.
Rum and Redbull 1 and 2 stand firmly upon the water. Both ancient and contemporary, the story of the youthful bon vivant forever recorded upon a historical artifact. The trio of drawings, Twist and Turn 1, 2 and 3 are playful gestural forms, moving and swaying to a timeless narrative of love and youth.
Hoque’s exploration of history, craft and storytelling continue to propel his art making forward in a way that embraces the long-held notion of artist as hopeless romantic.
Mindy Solomon is pleased to present the 3rd solo exhibition of painter Ezra Johnson, Paintings from a Room. Drawing from a long tradition of still life painting Johnson elevates the mundane to a subject worthy of contemplation. Utilizing his well-honed painting skills and his sharp eye for identifying beauty, Johnson assembles a body of work that gives voice to a year in repose.
Johnson states: “My paintings combine two different approaches- working from observation while also working from my imagination. An emphasis is placed on interior spaces, using rooms as stages for contrasting elements, interior and exterior light, contrasts between objects and figures framed within the straight lines of the architecture. I aim to create spaces that are both carefully observed and at times distorted, depicting the rooms my family and I spend much of our time, lit by windows that allow the impression of an abstracted tree scape in the distance or a neighbor’s fence. A table where meals are served doubles as an office. My wife and son, and our two cats inhabit these spaces and they naturally find their way into the paintings as well.”
A flattened sense of perspective combined with a geometric representation of light and shadow informs much of the work. This flat surface belies the painterly application of color that appears to dance across the forms- particularly figures. Simplistic marks create objects that appear to be in motion- a nod to Johnson’s background in film making and stop action animation. The use of pattern to create a decorative visual element as well as a sense of space enhance the picture plane.
“I have always admired the early Modernists for their ability to make epic paintings of simple or intimate subjects. Cezanne, Vuillard, Bonnard, Matisse, Van Gogh; these artists offer a mythical backdrop for my endeavors. Their works functioning as both a role model and an impossible goal of abstracted representation.”
Johnson reflects: “These paintings were created during the year of Covid-19 and represent a looking closer to home for subjects than I have in past bodies of work. In my previous exhibition at the gallery, I created a series of still lives depicting trash gathered from the Hillsborough River. For this new group of paintings, I didn’t even need to leave the house.”
From my point of view, humour and irony include tragedy; they’re two sides of the same coin. —Maurizio Cattelan
In Shai Yehezkelli’s second solo exhibition at the Mindy Solomon Gallery we see imagery that explores the vastness of human emotions reduced to both simple and complex ideas. A visual master of comedy, Yehezkelli puts human interaction on canvas in a way that makes us both uncomfortable and engaged. Yehezkelli states: “I am thinking about a point in time in which catastrophe got bored with us.” Yehezkelli continues: “We live in the midst of an explosion. Big politics, big money, big ideas. Soon the ashes will rise up. We will overlook it.”
In Original Sin Painting,2020 the viewer becomes the voyeur in the act of fornication between a man and a woman. Bold color and gestural line convey the frenzy and joy of the moment, while the question of morality hangs in the air like a swirling blue line. Continued exploration of sexuality exists in Essence Painting, 2020 a minimalist visual confection where two faces and two breasts confront each other as if to say, “you need me”. Yehezkelli opines: “A safe haven can be found in the hysteria of absolute truths.”
Spiritual Guidance, 2020 illustrates the recurring character of the religious Semitic man presumably wrapped in a prayer shawl, illuminated by the sun, searching for meaning in a cloud of abstract ambiguity. Contemplation shrouded in anxiety. Three Messengers, 2020 shows three religious leaders that appear to be graffiti, a visual talisman to the casual passerby. Like ancient prophets speaking to an audience of non-believers. Yehezkelli Writes: “We’ll hear the bubble pop but it will be a heroic pop. Truths will rise up as well, so it is easy to confuse them with the ashes. We can overlook both, actually.”
In I Shall Be Free II, 2020 the subject appears like a hermit, unkempt and newly released unto the world; a stranger searching for truth- like the artist. Shai Yehehzkelli brings a refreshing a depiction of life on the edge-without apology, but always with humility.
Mindy Solomon Gallery specializes in contemporary emerging and mid-career artists and art advisory services. The gallery represents artists working in painting, sculpture, photography, and video in both narrative and non-objective styles. The gallery program explores the intersection of art and design through an ongoing dialog between two and three-dimensional objects, while embracing diasporic voices. Utilizing the gallery space as a platform for inventive exhibitions, museum visitations, and public lectures, Solomon invites a sense of community and aesthetic enrichment.
Solomon founded the gallery in 2009 in St. Petersburg, Florida, where she established her reputation as a contemporary art dealer. She is a Board member of the Miami Art Dealers Association and is currently located in the Little River Arts District of Miami.