A conversation with painter and curator Basha Maryanska provides the title for this article as she showcases, with a mix of joy and relief in her voice, six superb artists who bring forth exciting fresh work in the aptly named, “New Wave Art Show!” debuting this November at Jadite Gallery on Tenth Avenue, Maryanska tells us that these talented artists, no longer restrained by the pandemic induced isolation, can share with us what they created alone at home and Maryanska can now show her own curatorial skills for the first time since the malaise onset with artwork that can be seen in person as well as online. The artists hail from Europe and America and the pieces chosen for the exhibit are strong with rich colors and psychic impact, awakening our senses to life returning to optimism.
The young Martel Chapman, a jazz aficionado, paints in a cubist style employing strong lines in his work, as seen in the painting of trumpeter, Thomas Heflin, where precise rendering accentuates the musician’s abilities for clear and crisp musicality. Chapman’s piece on Dostoyevsky, the literary “psychologist” and sometime mentor to nihilist Nietzsche, is a portrait of suffering in a man who lived a tortured life. His pain is overwhelming in his distorted eyes, with his beard and hair rendered like menacing projectiles protruding from a grieved face. The divided portrait of American Jazz trumpeter and composer Keyon Harrold emphasizes the regal ancestry of African Americans while simultaneously providing commentary about American racism.
Virginia Donovan, a former gallery co-owner in Beacon, NY, is a modern expressionist painter, working freestyle with color, line and texture, harmonizing as visual symphony. Her magnificent blue and gold assemblage, Blue Serenity, has almost palpable paint textures, her dramatic palette knife scraping and defining the surface in strong blue downward strokes covering two thirds of the vertically thrusting canvas. A gold passage glowing through blue paint applications provides a sense of organic luminosity to the work. The predominant radiant blues becoming dark in the work’s right side, provide a sense of an added dimension of dark mystery to the work’s shining beauty.
An expressive soul is reflected in the paintings of Basha Maryanska in which movement and energy are paramount in the works where spontaneous techniques are employed by the artist. The works she has created, bursting with vibrant colors, bring forth a flood of feelings and emotional awareness. Her painting Nocturne is her reflection on darkness, the music of Chopin providing impetus for the artist to coalesce deep feelings on canvas through color and composition. The Speed, an acrylic on canvas, portrays a bicycle in frenetic motion, its wheel whirring as it is almost caught in midair, propelling itself into space. Her painting City Perspective is also filled with movement where the vibrating metropolitan scene is an energetic gestural blur of paint.
In this exhibit, Neela Pushparaj can be seen in a new light. She has moved from her realistic delicate floral watercolors to more expansive abstract post-modernist influenced works. Pushparaj, like Stanton Macdonald-Wright, has great respect for Japanese art in her painterly touch. Most particularly, she shares some affinities with Macdonald-Wright’s synchronism in color choices and compositions. I find this true in her painting Pandemic Waning-Hope, in which abstract fragments float in pale ethereal colors of pink and blue. The artist envisioned this work as confetti floating in a tickertape parade to celebrate the pandemic’s end.
Czeslaw Sornat’s paintings also convey strong psychological import. Originally from Poland, he now resides in Austin, Texas. Trained as a therapist, he has traveled throughout the world, experiencing many cultures and political situations gaining mystical understanding of life. Multi-talented as sculptor and painter he has even participated in the Camino de Santiago influencing his spiritual artistic pursuits. Here, he demonstrates love for a heavenly blue color, and uses it to expressive effect in his untitled anthropomorphic painting intimating an abstracted face, rendered with some Magritte sensibility, repeating black squares standing for eyes as cerulean rivulets pour down the canvas surface to complete an exquisite novel form. In another work, using a simple outline, Sornat renders a brilliant red female nude seated between a divided background of dazzling blue and orange, creating a sense of emotional ambiguity.
Elaine Weiner-Reed also portrays the abstract human form but in introspective gestural assemblages. Female figures are placed carefully in relationship to each other, paint layered on the canvases to create feelings of enigmatic transcendence over the mundane. In this exhibition the acrylic and latex depictions of faceless females provide a sense of emotional universality where the emphasis is on psychic interrelatedness. The paintings consist primarily of a lone female figure in the foreground of each with anonymous smaller figures placed in groups in the distance. Only one painting contains discernible color washes while the rest display ghostly sheens. Perhaps Weiner-Reed refers to the Greek fates in these groupings, with the future mysteriously unknown. However, this is just my conjecture.
At Jadite Gallery, Basha Maryanska has given us a memorable show of emotional
depth, with works that reveal complicated feelings that have remained dormant during the past two difficult years. This cathartic exhibition suggests the restorative strength of the human spirit. G&S