Dwellings: An Inaugural Exhibition for a New Type of Gallery
On October 5th, 2018 Brooklyn was introduced to a new type of gallery, LoBo, owned and operated by Nicole Castaldo and Morgan McAllister, for a new generation of art goers. These two young owners, specialize in Pop-Up exhibitions set in unique, off-beaten sites that one would not associate with a traditional white box gallery setting. Delivering exhibitions that include both high-caliber artists and thought provoking work, viewers will not be disappointed in LoBo’s shows. Although the age of the owners/curators and lack of familiarity with the ins and outs of the gallery scene may at times seem apparent by no means write this gallery off. Yes, they are a new gallery operated by emerging gallerists, but honestly this is what makes LoBo so refreshing and exciting. With no ties to the past or any grandiose expectations, Castaldo and McAllister approaches exhibitions and art with a fresh, new eye that often takes the viewer to new places that they may have never have considered art could go or would want to go to. Lobo, which is Spanish for Wolf, lives up to its name. Like the lone wolves of the frozen north or the wolves roaming the deserts of the American Southwest, LoBo goes wherever it wants and exhibits whomever they want wither that be established artists, new emerging artists, outsider art, or even children’s art. In addition to the obvious connections with the lone wolf motif, the image of a wolf has often been seen as the catalyst for often great things to come such as the she-wolf who raised the brothers Romulus and Remus, the future founders of Rome. Only time will tell, but maybe LoBo will one day be that spark for a new way of thinking amongst galleries, they certainly are off to a strong start.
LoBo’s first inaugural exhibition Dwellings kicks-off Castaldo and McAllister’s curating careers. This small seven artist show highlights our often times deeply rooted connections with the places and dwellings that we inhabit. The fact alone that the show is staged throughout the apartment of LoBo’s co-curator and exhibiting artist McAllister’s apartment plays to the overall theme of the show and gallery’s quirky-like nature. From new media projections to traditional painting to mixed media assemblages, the viewer is confronted by several different takes on what a dwelling means to a person. Just like the trajectory of a sliotar as it traverses the pitch of a hurling match, the viewer’s eye bounces from one work to the next all the time noticing that this show is not like any other gallery show they have seen. From off-centered hung paintings, artwork perched atop of a fridge, projections in the kitchen, and no labels that forces the viewer to come to their own conclusions of individual pieces, the show feels like an actual occupied home, a space meant for people, activity, and at times the unexpected. The curators could of have used the apartment hallway as the main showcase for the artwork in the show, but instead they choose to keep with the overall theme of personal narratives in the home keeping that sense of authenticity of the home such as non-tampered lighting or spacing. Yes, the lighting may have been less than desirable, but in reality if a patron was to buy a work of art from the show and take it home to hang that is how it would really look.
Highlights from the show range from Shaun Ellison’s hauntingly Munch-like interiors inhabited by Idol-like figures radiating in brightly lit rays of gold and orange to Susanna Heller’s massive abstract painting of the Greenpoint neighborhood sprawling out in tides of greys and blues engulfing the viewer in layered textures of paint, definitely a centerpiece for the show. Moving to the bedroom, Leah Guadagnoli’s fabric/upholstery piece’s patterning and design invokes images of public waiting rooms such as airports or train stations or your local doctor’s office. This funky work is juxtaposed with Ky Anderson’s more subdued woven-like paper tapestry, which oddly balances out the room in an almost yin and yang way. Back to the living room, the viewer is presented with pieces from Daniel John Gadd’s For the Moon series, which are tondos with extremely bright and reflective surfaces that seem to provide a sense of centering to the overall show’s environment. LoBo’s very own McAllister displays a new series of drawings that explore spatial relationships on paper. Her work is both eye catching and intricate taking the viewer on a visual rollercoaster of color and form. Somewhere between Dan Graham’s Homes for America (1966-1967) photographs of suburban living to a Christo wrapped object, Ryan Sarah Murphy’s thought-provoking work sums up the show and are my personal favorites.
Overall, Dwellings is a comprehensive show that definitely does not disappoint and is a clear indicator that LoBo is on the right track to carving out a name for themselves. It has a very rough, quirky, raw feel to it in the overall curatorial layout and show locale, but I think that works to the strengths of the exhibit and not to the greenness of the curators. This show and the overall gallery itself is something that is refreshing to see and reignited my interest in the often times endless monotony of the New York art scene with it’s over played Basquiat knock-offs and interior design abstractions. With Dwellings, LoBo has thrown down the gauntlet to our established preconceptions of what a gallery and a curator can be and I for one am excited to see what this young gallery will do next. Stay tuned because I feel that LoBo has a very bright future ahead of it.