Paul Branca, Takao Ono and Kimber Smith

When 10 May 2014 - 21 Jun 2014
Where Longhouse Projects
285 Spring Street
New York, NY 10013
United States
Enquiry (646) 590-1982

Longhouse Projects is pleased to present three solo exhibitions: Paul Branca‘s Commedia (Nut Delight)Takao Ono’s Summertime Fragment, and paintings by Kimber Smith.

For Branca’s first exhibition at the gallery, he presents a new series based on the Commedia dell’arte. Originating in 16th century Italy, Commedia was an improvisational form of theater in which professional actors assumed archetypal roles, distinguished by specific costumes or masks. Each maschere, “mask” in English, embodied a mood definitive of and applicable to one character. There are three main groups: the servants (zanni), the masters (vecchi) and the lovers (innamorati). Branca has chosen to portray a maschere from each group: Arlecchino (also known as Harlequin), Brighella, and Isabella, respectively.  The plays, while providing political commentary and comedic relief, also focused on fundamental themes such as love and tragedy.

The two-panel paintings act as metonyms for the maschere. A cyclical reflexivity of “stand-ins” characterizes certain tropes: the “servant” is impish, entertaining, and eccentric; the “master” is deceptive, cunning, and opportunistic; the “lover” is beautiful and narcissistic. The paintings act as physical euphemisms, and perhaps effigies, of a theatrical humanity.

In addition, the artist will present new tondi and a limited edition bronze nutbar. Branca’s continued investigation of art consumption within the marketplace embeds a sense of self-deprecating humor into the role of the object.

Paul Branca, b. 1974 Bronx, NY, lives and works in New York. He received his MFA in painting from Bard College, New York. Branca’s has exhibited at The Kitchen, New York; Sculpture Center, New York; Anat Ebgi/The Company, Los Angeles; Kavi Gupta Gallery, Berlin; Golden Parachutes, Berlin; Galeria Sabot, Cluj, Romania; and Galerie West, The Hague, Netherlands. His work has been featured in Artforum.com, Modern Painters, GalleristNY, Art in America, Art Papers, and Flash Art International.

Takao Ono’s exhibition, Summer Time Fragment, will be his first in the United States. Having formal training in the restoration of Italian Renaissance frescoes, Ono’s work is rooted in the techniques and traditions. For this exhibition, he created a series of tronie: six works on paper, three oil and tempera on canvas paintings and one painting on panel. Each face, while individual and distinct, also bears a sense of homogeneity. Ono’s rendering of the Panama hat presents a prop as a distinction of identity.

Throughout Ono’s work is a consideration that everything is an artifact to be documented and captured, from an accessory to the visage. The lack of context within each work, the palette, and the dismembered accouterment evoke a seemingly contradictory relationship between purity and unease.

Takao Ono, b. 1950 Iwate Prefecture, Japan, lives and works in Bianzano, Italy. He studied at the Instituto Centrale di Restauro di Rome, Italy. His work has been exhibited internationally at the Shiseido Gallery, Tokyo; Miyagi Museum of Art, Miyagi, Japan; The Museum of Modern Art, Ibaraki, Ibaraki, Japan; Kunst Galerie Panina, St.Blasien, Germany; Kun Start 10, Bolzano, Italy; and Kunst 09, Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland. His work is included in the collections of Shiseido Art House, Shizuoka, Japan; Ikeda Museum of 20thCentury Art, Shizuoka, Japan; Yamanaka Lake Museum of Art, Yamanashi, Japan; Ishigami-no-oka Museum of Art, Iwate, Japan; Iwate Museum of Art, Iwate, Japan; and the Miyagi Museum of Art, Miyagi, Japan.

On view will be two large scale paintings by Kimber Smith: Red Smiles, 1973 and Diamonds in Outline, 1960. In these works the diamond shape like that found in the Harlequin’s pattern, and the smile, are painted with spontaneity and out of representational context. The referent shapes detach from an adherence to a relational meaning. They act as signifiers, with various conscious or unconscious meanings, floating on the canvas.

Kimber Smith, b. 1922, Boston, MA – d. 1981, East Hampton, NY. He studied painting at the Art Students League of New York after the end of World War II. Smith and his wife Gabrielle moved to Paris in 1954. It was Gabrielle’s work as a foreign correspondent for Life Magazine that brought them to France. In Paris, their community included expatriate painters and poets such as Joan Mitchell and John Ashbery. In 1960, Smith exhibited with Shirley Jaffe and Sam Francis at the American Cultural Center in Paris, run by Dorthea Speyer. Having spent over 10 years in France, he returned to Ohio in 1965 for a professorship at the Dayton Art Institute. He moved to New York City in 1968. In 1971, Smith received the Guggenheim Fellowship in Fine Arts.  Following deterioration in his health, he and Gabrielle moved to East Hampton in 1975. Smith’s work has been exhibited internationally during his life and after his death at Parrish Art Museum, South Hampton, NY; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA; Kunstmuseum St. Gallen, Switzerland; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Kunstverein Kassel, Germany among other institutions. His work is in renowned public collections including: Art Institute of Chicago, IL; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA; Musée des Beaux-Arts, Reims, France; Musée d’Art Moderne, Geneva, Switzerland; Guild Hall Museum, East Hampton, NY; The Dayton Art Institute, OH; the Musée d’Art Moderne, Geneva, Switzerland. The Kunstmuseum Winterthur in Switzerland held his retrospective in 2004, which traveled to the Joseph Albers Museum in Bottrop, Germany. In 2011, solo presentations of his work from the 60′s and 70′s were held in galleries in London and New York. James Graham & Sons, New York represents The Estate of Kimber Smith.

Photo courtesy of the organiser/s

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