A fresh breeze of West Coast air courtesy of five female pop surrealist artists will be blowing through Ad Hoc Art on July 25, as the gallery will open its new show, “5 Identities 5 Destinations.”
The show, featuring the work of Jenn Porreca, Amy Crehore, Molly Crabapple, Ewelina Ferruso and Lizz Lopez, consists of a survey of surrealist and illustrative art that is popular on the West Coast and is making its way to Chelsea galleries run by Jonathan Levine and Joshua Liner, as well as Ad Hoc. It is the second show focusing on works from pop surrealist-minded artists, representing Ad Hoc’s continuing expansion beyond the street art shows that the gallery has become known for.
“There are different sensibilities wherever you go,” said the gallery's director, Andrew Ford. “As a gallery we have to decide what kind of style we want to have.”
Ford has been trying to bring West Coast artists, such as Porreca, Crehore and Lopez, to Williamsburg to get them more exposure to the New York art market. The pop surrealist movement, often associated with the work of painter Robert Williams and his magazine Juxtapose Magazine, has been growing to include an orbit of artists from Portland, San Francisco and New York, as well as cities all over the world.
“The work gets a different reception from New York viewers and the reaction of the press has been interesting,” Ford said. “The Village Voice is doing a piece on this show. They have been viewing us as a street art gallery but they’re recognizing that we’re doing different things.”
One of the artists Ford is bringing to the show has not shown her work in a gallery before. Ferruso, a Jersey City, NJ, resident, will be showing several paintings revolving around themes of nostalgia for her own childhood set in an environment acutely sensitive to mankind’s development of the natural world. Some of Ferruso’s paintings show little girls painting pictures under a mass of earth, interacting with a Buddha statue of the girl, and playing with a pastel-colored baby giraffe, while other show the giraffes fleeing the polluted skies of a power plant and a series of pipes running through the ground.
While she mainly uses oil on canvas, Ferruso’s works also feature a mix of textures from several gel mixtures that feels almost like Braille and the viewer must observe at a close distance to detect.
“There’s a real narrative quality coming out of the work,” Ford said. “The little girls in the paintings represent her when she was a child. Everything in the painting is based on this toy giraffe that she is.”
Several of the paintings by San Antonio native Lizz Lopez reflect on youth with strong tinges of sadness. Her works are more overtly sexualized and are strongly influenced by Mexican-American Catholic iconography and Japanese Manga-style animation.
“There is an uncomfortable sexual tension here, as you can see the girl has braces on her legs and looks very sad,” Ford said pf a small portrait by Lopez that will hang in the show. “I really love the roses she uses.”
Crehore is contributing a series of contemporary American folk art paintings that resemble French post-Impressionist Paul Gauguin’s nude women portraits. The portraits have a pre-religious theme running through the collection, evoking the lushness of the biblical Garden of Eden and the pre-settled American landscape.
In addition to including a high number of women artists in their programs, Ad Hoc has developed an interesting pattern of featuring work with strong religious influences and a range of earthy to repressed forms of sexuality.
“It’s better to paint about religion than to talk about it sometimes,” Ford said.
“5 Identities 5 Destinations” opens on July 25 with a party from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the gallery (49 Bogart Street) and runs through August 24. For more information, call 718-366-2466 or go to adhocart.org.