Locals only: New Bric biennial highlights Downtown artists

The Brooklyn Paper
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Downtown is going up on the wall.

Fort Greene arts institution Bric is launching a new biennial art show on Sept. 19. Every two years, the exhibition will feature artists from a specific Brooklyn neighborhood or group of neighborhoods. And the show is starting close to home, with the inaugural display centered on artists from and around Downtown.

“We choose it simply because its our immediate surrounding area,” Elizabeth Ferrer, a vice president at Bric who helped organize the show.

The narrow geographic focus has allowed the curators to unearth some hidden gems, she said.

“Focussing on a neighborhood allows us to dig deeply,” Ferrer said. “We wanted to do a lot of research and uncover artists that might not otherwise be included in a show like this.”

Boerum Hill painter Eleanor Ray, who has several pieces in the show, is one artist whose small-scale works might be overlooked by some big galleries — most are smaller than six inches on either side. Ray’s work is “quiet,” said Ferrer, but she nevertheless expects her to develop into an important painter.

“Her works are not painted with a lot of detail, but every brush stroke means something,” Ferrer said.

Ray often paints places with which she is very familiar, such as a coffee shop next door to her apartment. Ray knows the cafe so well, she was able to paint it from memory, she said.

Ray is excited to see the other artists in the show. She thinks her neighborhood often flies under the art-radar.

“Williamsburg and Bushwick get a lot of attention,” Ray said. “It’s like a hidden world down here.”

Ferrer initially thought plucking artists from Fort Greene and its neighboring areas would be a cinch, but she found that a lot of artists who once lived there have since left.

“It’s not quite the great center it used to be,” she said. “But we’ve still got a really great pool of artists.”

“Bric Biennial: Volume 1, Downtown Edition” opening reception at Bric [647 Fulton St. between Rockwell and Ashland places in Fort Greene, (718) 683–5600,]. Sept. 19, 7–9 pm. Free. Show runs through Dec. 14.

Reach reporter Matthew Perlman at (718) 260-8310. E-mail him at Follow him on Twitter @matthewjperlman.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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