Check out this mini video about us and Piemont, NY.
Here are some of the many works of Mitsushige Nishiwaki. Each piece capturing a moment within a story that leaves you wondering. Gitana Rosa and other galleries here at Piermont NY will be open till 8pm or later on Friday July 1st.
Here are some photo of what's going on at our new location in Piermont, NY.Read More
We have opened a new location!Read More
Art Review: Two Visions of Feminism at Gitana Rosa and The HoleRead More
The super talented Michele Basora was recently interviewed by NY Arts Magazine.
Leah Oates: How did you become an artist and did you know early on that you would be in the arts, or did you begin as something else? Where there other artists in your family?
Michele Basora: Yes, I knew I was an artist at a very young age. My uncle was a visionary artist and encouraged me since I was 7. I should say that my uncle was a huge influence on me and my work. He was very much an eccentric, he was a monk traveling the world, living on mountain tops, and he would visit me on occasion to show me his visionary paintings. He would also tell me magical stories of experiences he had during his travels. He believed very much in the spiritual world, and I always find his influence in my paintings.
My mother also encouraged me without thinking about it, having taken me to the Met and the Frick Collection when I was very young and having intellectual conversations about art at a very young age. This was unheard of having been raised in a very tough neighborhood in the Bronx.
LO: What are the themes of your work and what inspires you to make art?
MB: My paintings are based on mythology, superstition, religion, and race. It is not necessarily a theme I set about going after, but they tend to go in that direction.
LO: Who are your influences? Teachers, artists?
MB: Michael Goldberg, Lucio Pozzi, and Marilyn Minter were teachers of mine whilst going to SVA. They were the ones I felt a close connection to. In my early years I obsessed with many of the female surrealists, including Leonor Fini.
LO: Why do you think art is important for the world and why is it important for you as an individual artist?
MB: I often think about this and think about how the average person would think it that it is a very bourgeois activity. Especially being a woman and a person of color, I often think about my roll as an artist. I began my early training in art school as an abstract painter because of the push to be one and how it was looked down upon to be a figurative painter. But, I felt I had so much to say as a woman, a person of color, and one who came from a poor working class family. So, in my third year I changed and began to make paintings which, to me, had more meaning and a subtle message that sometimes incorporates the figure.
LO: What advice would you give other artists who want to exhibit in NYC etc?
MB: My advice would be to not judge a book by its cover. Generally the ones who look the least important are the ones that are actually the most important, and have a website!
LO: Please talk about upcoming bodies of work, shows etc that you have coming up.
MB: I am continuing my series of paintings from the influence of living on the upper east side and dealing with class, race, and the bourgeois culture. I will be part of a summer group exhibition, “Juicy” at Gitana Rosa Gallery, Chelsea, opening June 19, as well as artmrkt Hamptons, from July 10 – 13. I am also excited to announce a group exhibition that I am curating, “The New Bitch, Twilight of the Idols.” It will be open from September 4 – October 4 at Gitana Rosa Gallery, Chelsea.
Unbridled Muses focuses on zoomorphic figures. That’s notably different from much of your previous work, which focused on flowers and other plant objects. What led to that change, from floral to animal?
NG: I actually started with animals in my paintings and then moved away from them. I was doing normal animals—not conjoining them into zoomorphic figures. I was doing apes and chimpanzees and African wildlife and what-have-you. And then, for whatever reason, I just kind of stopped. I didn’t feel connected to it. I did beautiful pieces but that was it. Then I moved back to Tennessee from Asheville, North Carolina, and I moved during the springtime when all the redbuds and dogwoods and everything were in bloom and the tulips and what-have-you. I had forgotten how beautiful it was because I had lived in Chicago for so long—not a city of nature, basically. I was also getting very inspired by the Japanese and Chinese woodblock prints of the 13th century, and it’s all based on floral motifs and nature, a rearrangement of that. Then when I got back to doing animal figures, I felt that I had experienced enough of what I needed from the floral directly.
From the floral to these zoomorphic figures, one continuous aspect of your work has been the use of glitter, which you’ve told me about before. How did that start?
NG: I think it’s fascinating when you take a material that’s considered so juvenile or pedestrian or tacky or saccharine and redevelop its purpose into something completely different—you elevate it. It’s no different than taking silk and making, instead of silk shirts, tapestries. It’s how far you want to take the product. I also think glitter does things that physical paint can’t ever do: it introduces that whole idea of fairy tale and myth and beyond the idea of reality and what-have-you.
You’ve also said that you often don’t produce preparatory sketches before you begin your paintings. What does that bring to your work?
NG: Immediacy, energy, happen- and circumstance, the ability to make mistakes and work with them and find pleasure in them. The art is in the mark making and not in the planning. In my opinion, if I planned my paintings they’d be stagnant bands of boredom. When I make my marks, I make my marks because that’s what my body’s telling me to do.
Immediacy seems to play a pretty important role in your work and also in your personality, if you don’t mind me saying. Has that always been the case?
NG: Yes, I live my life to the fullest if I can. I don’t question the outcome because the outcome hasn’t happened yet. I can only question it or say I’m sorry after it’s done—after I’ve done whatever I’ve done. It’s the same with people as with painting: if I’ve made a mark and it does not work and it does not look right, I correct it somehow, but it’s usually done later on. It’s not usually corrected at that moment. I will let a mistake sit because sometimes a mistake can be the right move. You learn from your mistakes.
The pieces in the exhibition tend to contrast these realistic zoomorphic figures with this very surreal, dreamlike scenery. What can you say about these two contrasting elements, realism and abstraction?
NG: Well, two of them are the facts that—and this sounds like kind of a cop-out, but—part of the reason I do the abstraction is because I get so emphatically engrained in the detail that I need something that’s going to literally be the opposite to release whatever I’m doing in the painting. I think that full realism paintings are beautiful, but I also feel like they miss a connection. And it goes back to dreams: you call it childhood fantasy, but there is no such thing. A child cannot have a fantasy because a child has not lived long enough to know what a fantasy is because at that time the child’s mind works only in its own reality. So, what a fantasy might be for us, that child is experiencing it for the first, second or third time, and they make these wondrous things.
My paintings are about getting back to that, to the point of, “Why did we have to stop? When were we told to stop?” And I don’t think we ever really were. I think our “realities” became too real. That’s why we stopped living in those worlds as people. But, you know, artists didn’t stop, designers didn’t stop, even doctors, surgeons—there are certain fields where people refuse to stop because that’s where you get everything from. I think that it’s an adult’s fantasy but a child’s reality, and that’s the meshing of it. So the background and abstract parts are more organic and definitely more childlike, but then at the same time, it’s a contrived mark. It’s a very orderly mark that’s made. It’s not a frantic mark. And then when you go to the animals—the zoomorphic animals—those are actually painted in a very adult way, but it is still what a child could think of, laying back in the yard and suddenly imagining those things.
I understand that you have another show coming up in June. You seem to stay really, really busy. How do you keep it up?
NG: I work fulltime. I work fulltime as an artist and I do nothing else. The other thing, too, is that I suffer from manic depression. My body naturally stays on the manic side. I’m continuously going and moving and I fatigue every couple months. When I make my work, I do literally two, three, four shows—solo shows—in a block of maybe three months, and then I take off for two or three months, where I do absolutely physically nothing. I only touch a pen to write down my name or something like that. I will do nothing. So that’s pretty much it. I do that because I believe that, when it comes to you, you have to act on it. You have to take control and deal with it, because it’s the whole thing with, “What was I thinking of?” You get that moment later on where you forget what it was, but if you’re in that pendulum effect, you make it. And that reacts with something else, so you’ve got to do it and you’ve got to do it. Then there’s that point where your mind no longer has the capacity to grasp what you’re thinking anymore.
How did you and Vanessa Liberati come to this show? How did this show come about?
NG: Oh, I told her this is what I’m doing. To be perfectly honest, I’m very fortunate that I have galleries that believe in my work tremendously, and I’ve not had to ever come up with an understanding or an agreement or a projection with any of my shows. All the gallerists that I’m with I’ve been with for a very long time. I think the shortest has been over three years and the longest has been like ten years. When it’s time for me to have a show, I pretty much just bring in whatever it is. I might send an image or two of course. I do try to make each show symbolically its own show. Some of the things do carry thematically in a sense, but they’re still very different shows. This show here, I would never show this anywhere else. It’s committed to this show, and if it gets separated that’s fine, but this show will never be shown anywhere else—unless a museum wants it.
This is your first solo show in Chelsea. How does that feel?
NG: Like any other show. It’s the truth. If you’re going by the dealer, it’s very different. If you’re going by the crowd, there’s no difference. I don’t get nervous anymore because I’ve been around. I’ve been doing it too long. It’ really interesting that New York has—this might get me in trouble, so let me think this out carefully—New York has this idea that it’s the art world center and this and that. But when you’ve experienced enough in other cities, you realize that it’s really no different here than it is anywhere else where the art market is of a high value, a high level. It’s really the same kind of people, the same wheeling-and-dealing, the same stupidities, the same graces—all of that.
I kind of find it interesting that you say that because I can see where a lot of artists that have not had my experiences in the last ten years would come in here thinking this is great. I’m very appreciative, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not...it’s part of my career. It’s what I do, that kind of thing. Performing on stage in Chicago in theatre and then all of a sudden coming to Broadway: it’s a great thing that’s happening, but in reality you’re doing the same damn thing. You’re still doing your job. And that’s the thing that younger artists today aren’t taught. They’re all taught that they’re going to come out of school and be the art star. They’re all taught that they’re going to be the greatest thing on Earth or that they’re doing something different. First up, no one’s doing anything different—it’s impossible. Until there’s another atom discovered or this or that, nothing new is going to happen. But they’re not taught that this is a business. I run this as a very disciplined business. When I’m in my painting mode, I’m up by ten o’clock in the morning, I’m painting by eleven, I take a lunch and then I’m painting until two or three in the morning. There’s no breaking—once I’m in my studio, I’m in my studio. That’s how I can achieve the amount of works that I do. The other thing I do, too, is that I go between doing works on paper and painting, paper and painting. So there’s even a tactile sense, an odor, all of that in the room that will make the next round of work that I do more...I’m more placed in it because I’m not just dragging on from that last thing.
Nathaniel Galka's solo show, Unbridled Muses, is on view at Gitana Rosa through June 14, 2014
Photos from the preview for Nathaniel Galka’s solo show at the gallery on May 6th.
For those of you that couldn't make it, below is a better peek at his work on view.
The public reception for Unbridled Muses will be held on Thursday, May 15 from 6-8 p.m at Gitana Rosa Chelsea.
Nathaniel Galka's new series bridges the space between childhood fantasy and adult reality. The artist compares his largest paintings to those great cultural unifiers, flat screen televisions—they’re entertaining, and designed to be the center of attention in whatever space they occupy. Featuring shimmering zoomorphic creatures and glitter bombs–they have a mass appeal.
Galka tends to move quickly through each body of work, exhausting its potential before moving on to follow his next muse. His high-speed style produces consistently unique works that illustrate his changing interests and progression as an artist.
The exhibition will be on view through June 7, 2014.
For April’s First Thursdays, we proudly reopened our doors in Chelsea with an expanded exhibition of Michele Basora’s artworks on canvas and paper. The exhibition, titled Out of the Sea and Into the Woods, features new work by the artist that explores, among other topics, the spaces between places and people. Birds’ eyes twist into each other, strong, ghostly women stare out of black, void-like backgrounds, and scattered geometric shapes create a complex dialogue between shape and form. In the front gallery space, seven large oil paintings are hung. The women depicted stare into their neighbors—and onlookers—with large, impenetrable eyes. Basora’s works on paper have been allotted their own stretch of gallery space. The cohesive effect adds an important contextualizing component to the exhibition: through their segregation, the paper and canvas works embody the show’s geographic dichotomy of sea and woods.
The opening brought together a diverse segment of the art-interested public: eager collectors, authors, artists and critics accompanied an ebullient general public through the doors. The opening’s inclusive atmosphere contrasted sharply with the artworks’ focus on societal exclusion and separation. Basora’s canvas works feature richly adorned women whose pale complexions reference the artist’s sense of estrangement from most of her Upper East Side neighbors. Several of Basora’s works feature deep black backgrounds that seek to consume their subjects even as the women’s ghostly features foreground their figures. In her works on paper, Basora’s emphasis on eyes remains. Much has been written about the correlation between eyes and gateways. As guests gazed into the myriad bird and human eyes around the gallery on Thursday, several took note of this thematic consistency across the pieces. “The eyes,” one said, “and Basora’s emphasis on them, are the counterbalances to the pieces’ alienated worlds.”
What inhabits the void? In the darkness when we close our eyes, as in the closing door of a wardrobe, there opens a passage into our psyche. The dreams we experience while our bodies rest and repair during the hours of darkness are a significant source of imagery and thought. What we see, feel and sense while navigating our dreams are like fables whose consequences are too cryptic for us to discern.
It’s easy to get lost in the vespertine dreamscapes of Michele Basora’s Out of the Sea and Into the Woods, a series of surreal oil paintings and works on paper. The hybrid flora and fauna coexist within mysterious portraiture. Shadow figures and stylized motifs coil fingers around a gaunt porcelain dream subject in Delites Of The She, and a swan feeds a lady from their bill into her pink lips in Tea Time.Read More
Fedele Spadafora, represented by Gitana Rosa Gallery will be participating in "Cat Show Los Angeles" opening January 25. Fedeles' work will be shown alongside that of globally recognized artists the Clayton Brothers, FAILE, Gary Baseman, Shepard Fairey, Tracey Emin and others.
Cat Show Los Angeles
Jan 25th - Feb 2nd, 2014
6205 Santa Monica Blvd LA, CA 90038
Read the Press Release for more information.
View the Photo Blog of Vincent Romaniello to see a brief fun account of the opening of Everything Will Be All Right new paintings by Fedele Spadafora.
Check out this exhibit by the infamous... Mr. Tom Billings!
Join Us This Friday, September 13th As We Kick Of The Fall Art Season With Whitney Oldenburg's Solo Exhibition Inside Out (extended through September 22nd). Don't pass on this exhibition while in Williamsburg this 2:nd Friday. Oldenburg's enchanting locomotive patterns might just make your night all the more special.
Gitana Rosa is a proud supporter of Artsnapper. Through successful fundraising efforts, they're closing in on their goal of funding a pilot program slated for later this year. If you've never heard of them, they're definitely worth checking out. Get in early and request your invite here.
Artsnapper is filling a major void in the art world. It's a platform similar to Tumblr and Pinterest that gives you access to art -everywhere- galleries, museums, murals, street art...you name it. We now have the ability to share art with like-minded individuals to unify, inspire and connect. Brilliant.