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By Peggy Roalf   Wednesday March 31, 2021

Friday, April 2, 6-8 pm: Owen James Gallery
David Sandlin | Belfaust: Paintings, screenprints, books

The artist will be in attendance at the gallery Saturday April 3rd (from 2-5 PM) to meet with visitors and discuss his work. The following is a preview. Above: David Sandlin, Belfast Bus, acrylic on canvas.

From the late 1960s until 1998, Northern Ireland suffered through The Troubles: an era of severe political and sectarian violence, which was particularly brutal in the cities of Derry and Belfast. It emerged from a tormented national history as a call for more civil rights by the area’s Catholic minority. At its heart was, and is, a bitter debate over whether Northern Ireland should remain part of the United Kingdom or rejoin Ireland as a united republic. Born in the late 1950s, artist David Sandlin grew up in Belfast during the 1960s and 70s, as the violence drastically increased. Sandlin’s family was Protestant, but siblings had married into Catholic families. Due to continued threats Sandlin’s family moved to rural Alabama in the United States. 

Removed from the civil war in Northern Ireland, Sandlin found himself living in a part of a divided America where religious, political, cultural and racial divisions recalled conditions in his homeland. These burning, dual realities have remained central to the artist’s work, in which his narratives unfold through paintings, drawings, screenprints, large-scale screenprinted books and comic books. In these, politicians and religious leaders alike are cast as snake-oil salesmen. The devil works behind the scenes, reveling in the chaos he creates. All the while sinners and innocents alike try to find a way to persevere. 

Sandlin says, “The Troubles ‘ended’ in the peace treaty of 1998. Here in America, our civil war concluded in 1865. And yet, the root causes of both these violent chapters lack sufficient resolution. History is key to the future, and we are perhaps at a turning point again.”  As the press release concludes, recently, both Brexit and the Trump Administration have tapped into veins of angry nationalism and populism.  As they grow they threaten to awaken the havoc and violence of the past. David Sandlin’s paintings are reflections on history by one who has lived, and suffered, through it, not just studied it.
David Sandlin | Belfaust, April 2-June 5 at Owen James Gallery. 59 Wooster Street, NY, NY Info

Friday, April 2, 6-9 pm: Established Gallery
Sean Qualls | Magic Doesn’t Sleep 

While all but one of the paintings in Magic Doesn't Sleep were created in the last six months, they all build on themes and concepts that Sean Qualls has been working with over the past fourteen years. The subjects of these works are mostly people from history, often obscure figures amalgamated through his lens of imagination. Characters from literature like Little Black Sambo and Uncle Tom have also become recurring figures in the series.

In all cases, Sean's intention is to reveal a greater truth about his subjects by reframing their stories in order to free them from the constraints of conventional narratives. Alongside these figurative pieces, the recent works of graphic patterns critique our relationship to perfectionism. By creating these imperfect geographic paintings, the artist hopes to reveal how idiosyncrasies and imperfections make people and things more attractive, not less.
Sean Qualls | Magic Doesn’t Sleep. Established Gallery, 758 6th Avenue, Flatbush, Queens, NY Info

Closing day, Sunday, April 4: Daily 9:00am-6:00pm Socrates Sculpture Park
Monuments Now, Part II 

Don't miss the last week to see Parts II & III of the MONUMENTS NOW exhibition! Part II, Call and Response, comprises ten monument projects by the Park's 2020 Artist Fellows. And Part III, The Next Generation, features a monument installation and 'zine realized collectively by high school students.

Daniel Bejar’s Monument for Immigrants (In Advance of an ICE Raid)’, above plays with ideas of visibility both in terms of public monuments and human rights as it pertains to citizenship. In response to recent raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), this hollowed out faux rock, equipped with a burner cell phone, water and legal information, provides a utilitarian escape hatch for undocumented people to enter and safely hide from their tormentors.

Like the statue of Liberty, the plaque on Bejar’s monument features a poem. This one, by Rupi Kaur reads, “They have no idea what it’s like to lose home at the risk of never finding home again to have your entire life split between two lands and become the bridge between two countries.”  
If you can’t get to the park, you can hear Daniel speak about this work here
Photo by Nicholas Knight Studio; and Sara Morgan, courtesy Socrates Sculpture Park.
Monuments Now, Park II. Socrates Sculpture Park, 32-01 Vernon Boulevard, Long Island City, NY. Info

Continuing at Garth Greenan Gallery
Derek Boshier | Alchemy Alchemy

David Bowie said that the work of Derek Boshier “cascades over the decades and is utterly real and convincing.” At age 83, Boshier [who did album art for Bowie’s 1979 Lodger] is at once a living legend and an unsung hero of postwar British art.

A working-class kid from Portsmouth on track to take up the trade of butchery, Boshier got himself into the Royal College of Art at just the right time, becoming, along with his classmates, David Hockney and Peter Blake, among the avatars of British Pop art. His 1961 Special K—an eye-grabbing riff on the familiar cereal box—made a splash around the same time Hockney was doing his Typhoo tea, Ed Ruscha his Sun-Maid raisins, and Andy Warhol his Campbell’s soup.

New York Times critic called him a “supersonic Parsifal,” and in the intervening 35 years, Boshier, peripatetic and protean, has jetted his way from London to India, to Texas, to Los Angeles, where he lives today. Boshier’s paintings, drawings, and graphics—with their jittery line, raucous color, and rueful humor—have ranged similarly, unpredictable to the last. As one observer noted, approvingly, Boshier “has always been nothing if not inconsistent.”
Derek Boshier | Alchemy Alchemy at Garth Greenan Gallery, 545 West 20th Street, NY, NY Info

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