A Street of Many Corners
Curated by Omar Lopez-Chahoud
September 6 – November 10, 2018
Opening Thursday, September 6, 6-8 pm
We hope to see you at the opening on Sept. 6, 6 - 8 pm in Tribeca. Sapar Contemporary is located on 9 N. Moore (corner of W. Broadway, Canal St on A,B,C trains and Franklin St on 1). Kindly RSVP on Facebook or to firstname.lastname@example.org (not required but appreciated).
Marela, Omar, Raushan and Nina
Sapar Contemporary is proud to present a solo show by Marela Zacarias titled A Street of ManyCorners that includes the artist’s signature sculptural wall pieces, a free-standing sculptural video piece incorporating the 1999 Tim Robbins-directed film Cradle Will Rock about a group of actors uniting against censorship at the height of the Great Depression; as well as a wealth of research material related to early abstract painting in New York and other influences in her work. This exhibition continues a line of investigation that began with the artist's 2013 Brooklyn Museum exhibition. Here again, Zacarias looks back at the 1930s generation of abstract painters and the socio-political context of the time. Zacarias, who emerged as a muralist before turning to abstraction, continues to be interested in the early beginnings of abstraction in New York and through this exhibition brings into the conversation the work of Alice Trumbull Mason, one of the often unsung founders of the American Abstract Artists.
Zacarias immersed herself in the world of early abstraction while organizing Alice Trumbull Mason’s archives at the studio of Emily Mason, Alice’s daughter (also an abstract painter). Trumbull Mason helped to found the first group of abstract artists in America along with Ilya Bolotowsky Ibram Lassaw, Albert Swinden, Balcom Greene and others at a time when social realism occupied the primary mode of political expression through art. Despite her huge influence on American art, Trumbull Mason's life and work have remained largely unnoticed by an art world that has historically favored male painters. The exhibition borrows its title from a small abstract canvas by Alice Trumbull Mason that Zacarias has chosen as a source of inspiration for her own mural. “By paying a tribute to Alice I hope to make a small contribution to telling a more complete story about the beginning of abstract painting in New York.” The exhibition in turn explores Zacarias’ own evolution from a socially engaged muralist of the great Mexican tradition to an artist who constantly innovates through abstraction by bringing in her research in the history of abstraction, anthropology, historic textiles and pottery, and cultural history of Central America and Middle East.
Omar Lopez-Chahoud writes about the artist's approach: "Marela's work is informed by a constant investigation and research of historical moments that are revisited and re-contextualized to address current social and political issues.The history of abstraction is successfully integrated in her sculptures and murals to provide a new interpretation of symbols and geometric forms that are in many cases connected to Pre-Hispanic forms and patterns in Middle Eastern textiles, both intrinsic to her personal history. The subjective takes over the objective, and we start to see a set of codes and meanings that overlap to facilitate a visual structure providing a platform for a contemporary discourse."
Marela Zacarias works with a labor-intensive process that merges sculpture with painting. She fabricates forms out of wire screen attached to wooden supports or found objects to which she applies layers of plaster to create undulating forms. Through sanding, polishing, and painting, she creates sculptures with the quality of fabric, filled with movement and life-force. She then paints the sculptures with original patterns and geometric abstract shapes that are inspired by her research. Her work is characterized by an interest in site specificity, socially committed history, and current events. Zacarias’ resumé includes solo exhibitions at the Brooklyn Museum and the Brattleboro Museum, Vermont. Zacarias is well known for her signature large-scale installations, including commissions from the Sea-Tac International Airport in Seattle, the American Consulate in Monterrey, Mexico, and the William Vale Hotel in Brooklyn. Her murals can be found in Washington, D.C., Virginia, Connecticut, Ohio, Mexico, and Guatemala. Zacarias was profiled in the Art21 New York Close Up video series in 2013, 2014, and 2016. Zacarias received her B.A. from Kenyon College and her M.F.A. from Hunter College, New York. She lives between Brooklyn and Mexico City.
Omar Lopez-Chahoud has been the Artistic Director and Curator of UNTITLED. since its founding in 2012. As an independent curator, López-Chahoud has curated and co-curated numerous exhibitions in the United States and internationally. Most recently, he curated the Nicaraguan Biennial in March 2014. López-Chahoud has participated in curatorial panel discussions at Artists' Space, Art in General, MoMA PS1, and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City. López-Chahoud earned MFAs from Yale University School of Art, and the Royal Academy of Art in London.
SAPAR Contemporary Gallery + Incubator is the brainchild of Raushan Sapar and Nina Levent. SAPAR Contemporary’s artists span three generations and five continents. They engage in global conversations and develop vocabularies that resonate as strongly in Baku, Almaty and Istanbul as they do in New York, Berlin, Paris and Mexico City. Their artistic practices vary from meditative traditional ink painting to writing programming code; what connects them are the artists’ capacity for empathy, insight, and imagination; their whimsy and generosity of spirit; and the rigor and depth of their studio practice.
9 N Moore, NY, NY 10013
Tue. - Sat. 12-6 pm
Marela Zacarias, “Echoing Forms,” February–April 2017
1515 Broadway, NYC
Visible throughout the 44th Street entrance and Visitor Center, Zacarias’ work featured painted geometric patterns on billowing, fabric-like sculpture that seemed to defy gravity. Zacarias also led a workshop for Viacom employees about creating art from everyday found objects.
There are many parallels between the work of visual artists and the work of those who work at Viacom, as we are all involved in the creative process. We are given (or we give ourselves) a set of tools — problems to solve, materials to work with, stories to create and interpret — and we let our creativity and intuition take over. We create magic by bringing things to life that didn’t exist before. We are culture catalysts; we help transform information that surrounds us into art or, in Viacom’s case, media. Having these overlapping similarities in mind, I have created the works for Echoing Forms, a site-specific installation that is about the creative process itself. The explosion of form and color seen in these works is based on the potential of a medium to create meaning using plastic elements and materials as expressive devices. As in any art form, the final interpretation of the works is up to the viewer. I put the work forward with an intention of meaning, but the final reception of such intent depends on the people who see the works. While creating sculptures that are suspended in mid-air, for example, I thought about how their upward movement and colorful nature embodies a sense of optimism and lightness. Will others feel this too when they look at the works, or will they project their own feelings and imagery onto the sculptures? Leaving rigid definitions of early abstraction behind, these works combine biomorphic sculptures with geometric shapes to create dynamic works that interact with the architecture of the building and with the people who walk through the installation on their way in and out of work. It is my hope that the people who see and experience these works will jump into an echoing dialogue between my creative process and their own.
Opening Reception: Material Cultures Exhibition
DATE • Sep 7, 2016 • 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Gallery at BRIC House
647 Fulton Street (Enter on Rockwell Place) Brooklyn, NY 11217
Marela Zacarias, Oulad Bou Sbaa, 2016
JOIN US FOR THE OPENING RECEPTION!
Jordana Munk Martin, founder of Oak Knit Studio and TATTER.org, Brooklyn
Elizabeth Ferrer, Vice President of Contemporary Art, BRIC
Jenny Gerow, Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art, BRIC
Material Cultures is a group exhibition featuring the work of eight contemporary visual artists who engage with and respond to essential elements of textile: weaving, pattern, draping, embellishing, and wearing. One of the oldest forms of human production, textiles maintain profound connections to history, ritual practice, cultural identity, creative expression, and politics. Working with sculpture, installation, performance, and social practice, the artists in Material Cultures produce works that highlight the role of textiles in shaping traditional and contemporary culture, recognizing the conceptual power of cloth as reflective of the human experience. Exhibiting artists include Laura Anderson Barbata, Xenobia Bailey, Lucia Cuba, Adrian Esparza, Elana Herzog, Lorenzo Hurtado Segovia, Sophia Narrett, and Marela Zacarias.
Some of the artists in Material Cultures respond to existing cloth as objects with the power to stimulate memory or meaning, using the charged implications of textiles to unravel specific aspects of culture. Laura Anderson Barbata exhibits a group of costumes that explore the ways in which indigo - a dye used in fabric internationally and carrying varied political and social implications - functions when activated by the body. Elana Herzog explores the physicality of the Persian rug—a domestic object, an emblem of civilization—as well as ideas of collapse and growth. Her work tells a history of evolution yet alludes to the ruinous fate of objects, nature, order, and social structures.
Other artists produce their work using such textile-specific techniques as crochet and embroidery. Working with crochet since the 1970s and drawn to the “aesthetic of funk,” costume designer and artist Xenobia Bailey presents a crocheted tent, a form that suggests protection, the gospel revival tent of the American rural south, and the realm of mythology. And Sophia Narrett uses complex embroidered paintings to explore the dark underside of American popular culture and its expectations of women, gathering content from reality TV, tabloids, social media, and her own experiences. Artist Lucia Cuba finds meaning in textiles by conceiving them as wearable objects with agency. She continues exploring issues of health and politics through her project Exercises on Health - Part 2, a series of garment-base explorations developed through interviews conducted with individuals dealing with cancer. The garments are meant to trigger conversations about illness and health, and the ways we experience and understand them.
Still other artists find powerful content within the technical aspects of cloth-making, drawing formal connections between textile technique and artistic concept. Inspired by his childhood on the borderlands between Mexico and the United States, Adrian Esparza uses the stereotypical symbol of traditional Mexican culture, the serape, and deconstructs it to create ephemeral geometric abstractions, expanding upon the ability for cultural objects to be understood and interacted with. Also growing up near the Mexican/ United States border, Lorenzo Hurtado Segovia paints long strips of paper that he painstakingly weaves together to create large-scale works that entwine artistic techniques and disparate ideas of popular tradition with contemporary aesthetics, of art with craft, and of the artist’s roots with his current life. As a stunning centerpiece to the exhibition, Marela Zacarias presents a monumentally scaled white monochrome sculpture that appears to cascade down the gallery wall that mimics the appearance of fabric and highlights the significance of draping to textiles and to art history.
Additional support for this exhibition provided by the Mexican Cultural Institute of New York.
The 3,000 square-foot Gallery in BRIC House has soaring 18-foot ceilings that permit major exhibitions focusing on emerging and mid-career artists and curators.
Women Directors: Sharing Immigrant Experiences Through Film - Artist Marela Zacarías
Event: Thursday May 5, 2016
New York Women in Film & Television (NYWIFT) presents Women Directors: Sharing Immigrant Experiences Through Film — a five-part screening series of work by women filmmakers focusing on the immigrant experience in New York. This five-month long series showcases a themed exhibition of short and feature-length films.
The third installment of the series is an evening with local immigrant artist Marela Zacarías featuring three short films about her life and work from the Art 21 series New York Close Up. A conversation with Zacarías and filmmaker Ava Wiland follows the screening.
A reception with Mexican food and margaritas rounds out the evening.
DATE: Thursday, May 5th, 2016
TIME: 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
LOCATION: Maspeth Town Hall, 5337 72nd St. Maspeth, NY 11378
RSVP in advance to reserve seats.
Taking Over Space: Exploring Three-Dimensional Paintings by Marela Zacarias
Tuesday, July 7, 2015 at 12:10pm
Visual artist Marela Zacarias will discuss her work, which combines painting and sculpture, and is characterized by an interest in site specificity, the history contained in objects, and current events. Ms. Zacarias' wall and free-standing sculptures are constructed from window screens and joint compound, and painted with original patterns and geometric, abstract shapes.
Most recently, Ms. Zacarias completed a 58' x 11' permanent sculptural installation for the new American Consulate in Monterrey, Mexico. She had her first solo show at the Brooklyn Museum as part of the Raw/Cooked series in February 2013. She was part of El Museo del Barrio's S-Files Biennial in 2011, and the Hunter M.F.A. show at the Times Square Gallery in 2012, in addition to many group shows in galleries in New York City and Brooklyn.
A longtime resident of Brooklyn, Ms. Zacarias was born in Mexico City. In 2012, she was the first Artist in Residence at El Instituto, the Insitute of Latina/o, Caribbean, and Latin American Studies at the University of Connecticut. She is a graduate of Kenyon College, and received an M.F.A. in Painting from Hunter College. She has taught mural art in Washington, D.C., Connecticut, and Mexico City.