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First Look Exhibition Review – Artdaily

January 18, 2013

NEW YORK, NY.- Bernarducci Meisel Gallery announced its first three exhibitions of 2013 featuring an array of artists with a commitment to the representation of reality. All the exhibitions feature artists who are part of the BMG First Look program, an initiative in showcasing artists new to New York and working in all media. Katherine Mangiardi’s Painting Lace, Randall Rosenthal’s Painted Wood Sculpture, as well as a group exhibition of new, emerging talent are on view. Some artists included in the group exhibition are Johan Abeling, David Eichenberg, Robin Eley, Stacy Leigh, and Adam Normandin.

Katherine Mangiardi is a First Look artist, whose portrayal of lace explores the imagery of European 17th & 18th century needlepoint as seen in her painting, Cape of Needlepoint, Early 18th Century (2012). After earning her MFA at RISD in 2008, Mangiardi had a solo exhibition at the Hunterdon Museum of Art in Clinton, NJ. She intricately paints antique lace. Her work is focusing on the dichotomy of the presence and absence of the individual. By painting this type of lace, which has a very dense socio-economic history especially for women, she revisits the contemporaneous strategies of life for those who would wear the lace & make the lace, inviting the viewer to assume a personal history for them. Most recently, she has been working on painting with plaster to replicate the intricate designs of antique lace. In her spare time Mangiardi teaches ice skating which, in its inception in the turn of the 19th century, was originally all about intricate designs on ice.

Randall Rosenthal lives and works in East Hampton, New York. Initially a surfer and carpenter, Rosenthal found his artistic inclination towards painted wood sculpture after carving a pair of doors for casino magnate, Steve Wynn. On view is a range of Rosenthal’s realist sculpture, such as Hush Money (series, 2009 – present), a business size envelope bursting with cash. Although each bill looks stacked on top of the other, they are all connected and carved out of one piece of wood. Rosenthal’s sculpture captures the texture of dollar bills, comic books, scrapbooks, notepads, photographs, and newspapers. It looks so real it tricks gallery visitors into attempting to pry open the rings of a binder or turn the page on a notepad. Included in the exhibition is a series of notepads with images of iconic 20th Century figures such as Yogi Berra and Marilyn Monroe. Marilyn (2012) is what looks like a photograph of the actress on a legal size yellow notepad with a quote scribbled beneath reading “If you’re going to be two-faced at least make one of them pretty”. Although the sculpture mimics the texture of paper it is all carved from one block of Vermont White Pine. Rosenthal’s sculpture is in notable collections such as the White House (Washington, DC) and the Guild Hall Museum (East Hampton, NY).

The BMG First Look group exhibition include an array of artists not limited to Johan Abeling, David Eichenberg, Robin Eley, Stacy Leigh, and Adam Normandin. Part of the First Look initiative is to exhibit artists who have yet to show extensively in New York City. Abeling, Eichenberg, Eley, and Normandin have all had solo exhibitions in their hometowns but never in New York. Johan Abeling’s For Sale (2007) is an example of a continued discourse in contemporary realism from its unyielding compositional structure, technical use of sfumato, and subject matter. Abeling’s vast landscape is a mysterious yet calming presentation of solitude. His use of sfumato, an overlapping of layers, creates a haziness that personifies the isolated subject matter; a single house in a vacant landscape with a hint of dusk falling through the hazy mist. Abeling, born in the Netherlands studied at the Academy of Minerva (Groningen, The Netherlands). David Eichenberg graduated from The University of Toledo with a B.F.A in 1998. His miniature realist oil paintings depict the minute details of the human figure from individual hairs to ripples in the skin at such an accurate annotation as seen in Jack (2012). Jack is a portrait of prolific studio glass artist, Jack Schmidt. With a pencil behind his ear and glasses tilted just so on the bridge of his nose, Jack is portrayed ever so intricately in profile. Eichenberg employs the composition of late 15th Century Italian portraiture, often depicting the sitter in profile, on his friends and colleagues. Robin Eley was born in London, raised in Australia, and educated in the United States. Oftentimes Eley underlines the human form by enveloping it in transparent plastic, as he paints it so intricately in oil paint on canvas. The attention to detail is apparent in his work, whether it is a portrait or a still-life. Eley was nominated for the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize (Australia) in 2012. Stacy Leigh, lives and works in New York City. She is a photographer of her own installations. Her work explores a variety of issues regarding sexuality and gender. Leigh photographs real dolls - a high tech doll created to imitate all aspects of the female form – dolls that are sexually available with functioning orifices. The dolls, often costing upwards of $6,000, are then set up by Leigh in situations which she photographs. Sometimes, it is difficult to tell the difference between the real doll and a living person. Sometimes, Leigh photographs both a real woman and a real doll, in provocative situations, to test the viewer’s ability to tell them apart. Adam Normandin’s interest in industrial machinery and graffiti is captured through his visual imagery in The Waiting Game (2011). His personification and vibrant color use only enhances his innate talent and focus to reveal the internal beauty of an ordinary object. Through Normandin’s talent we question the complexity of not just a train but of the very nature of reality.

BMG First Look is a unique program started by Frank Bernarducci allowing for new and emerging artists to exhibit through the Gallery. The First Look artists are new and emerging talent that is exposed to a new and expanding young collector base through the Gallery. The exhibition will run through till February 9th.      

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