The dual opening of Winston Chmielinski’s first solo exhibit “Ecstatic Skin” and SUPERM’s “Hell” at Envoy Enterprises on the Lower East Side was a visceral experience of two extremely contrasting types of artists and accompanying visuals. The top level was Chmielinki’s explosion of floral and pastel canvases whilst the lower level was occupied by the collaborative duo Superm, comprised of Slava Mogutin and Brian Kenny, as well as contributing pieces by Josh Lee, Nick Theobald, Gio Black Peter and Erika Keck. It was a busy, varied exhibit that depending on which level you were tugged at very different heartstrings and included surprises – such as live tattooing!
I have known Winston since college; or rather I would observe him in the painting room making alluring creations. It’s interesting to see how time affects an artist’s aesthetic. In this case the subject matter may have altered but the palette and the fragility of his approach to his paint has now. The collection of images is evocative and nostalgic, caught somewhere in between a thought, a moment, or memory. In more concrete terms: they are poetic.
In “Pause” a flaming anonymous figure, or rather an outline, a bright shadow rest amidst tumultuous waters. The faceless, hairless, and sexless figure could be an eye blur from the heated sun when everything goes red and you go somewhat blind. The titles of the paintings are just as important as the pieces themselves. With the likes of “Looking up, spring drips unto me” and “Canopy falling”, the poetic care is highlighted. The oils look like watercolors, gentle and soft, spread out and revealing the lush beauty of a leaf, a turned body, sunlight.
Descending into Hell
Descending downstairs into “Hell,” the other exhibition under the same roof, was quite a delight. I missed out on the opening of the first installment of the exhibit “Beauty” collages so was very curious to see what sinister work awaited me in the “hell” portion. The whole exhibit was inspired by the poems of Arthur Rimbaud, to my immense pleasure. Amidst blossoming, beaded, extravagant tumor like shaped sculptures was Slava Mogutin’s performative live-tattooing session. While his upper half was concealed in a box, his lower half was exposed to being branded.
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