Our friends at The Untitled Space contemporary gallery in NYC are currently exhibiting a new group collection of works titled ‘True Stories’ featuring the work of over 30 artists whose work addresses storytelling through narrative painting, drawing, or portraiture. Running from April 9th and on view through May 27th, 2022, the show is curated by gallery owner and artist Indira Cesarine.
“A picture is worth a thousand words.”
Storytelling through art is historically one of the oldest forms of communication dating back to early cave paintings thousands of years ago. Although once used as an essential tool due to the constraints of language and literacy, it has over time evolved into an art form exploring what it means to be human, allowing for a deeper understanding of our experiences, relationships, and selves.
‘True Stories’ group show presents a diverse range of contemporary artists who navigate the complicated world we live in by sharing their stories. Whether based on real people and events or drawn from their imagination, each artist provides a window into their unique universe in order to elicit emotion and allow audiences to connect and engage. The artwork of ‘True Stories’ addresses themes of public and private life, encounters, dreams, suspense and drama, the absurdities of life, lived experiences, traumatic moments, celebrations, memories, time, love, loss, and survival, while touching on notions of the eerie, the familiar, and the déjà vu.
Through their depictions, the artists present complex narratives featuring characters and scenes that provoke our imagination, address our hopes, fears, and desires. They channel their abilities to give shape and character to stories that can be read across time, language, and cultures.
What is a ‘true story’?
“The concept of truth revealed through a narrative be it art or otherwise is a concept that has always fascinated me. Stories are by nature colored by the person who shares them. Whether it be the aristos and rulers who relayed “reality” to the populace centuries ago or modern-day movies based on true events, often the stories we are presented with are significantly swayed by opinion, bias, or intended to influence the viewer,” said Indira in a press release about the new show.
Exhibiting Artists include Annie Brito Hodgin, Annika Connor, Bartosz Beda, Boris Torres, Bria Fernandes, Danielle Muzina, Eva Redamonti, Faustine Badrichani, Gabriel Zea, Grace Graupe Pillard, Hannah Duggan, Ian Clyde, Indira Cesarine, Jared Freschman, Katie Commodore, Ken Mar, Kerry Lessard, Kestin Selwyn Cornwall, Kristin O’Connor, Louise Campion, Meegan Barnes, Mel Reese, Michael Hubbard, Michele Brody, Rebecca Bird, Robin Tewes, Siobhan McBride, Sophia Oshodin, Tabitha-ann Whitley, Tracy Brown, and Watson Mere.
“The artists featured in ‘True Stories’ are not necessarily defined by being merely storytellers. Each in their own way through their works on canvas, paper, and panel, share their contemporary vision of the world we live in. They use narrative themes to address moments of the past, present or future as well as the characters that engage in those dialogues in order to confront the complexities and nuances of the complicated world we inhabit. Their works investigate our concept of reality and shared experience, providing insight into the human condition. They question our motivations, priorities, and obsessions with subtle details and emotional triggers,” added Indira.
A handful of the featured artists shared their thoughts on what storytelling through art means to them, and how they approached their work for this collection:
“I’m interested in how much a single narrative moment can tell us about ourselves and our culture. I think of the world as a stage, loaded with images that I’m interested in redefining, evaluating or making sense of… My paintings are about public and private life, true and imagined stories and the fine line between those perceptions.” – Robin Tewes.
“I think of my work as a window. For some, the window reflects the viewer’s own experiences or ideologies, for others, it presents a view into a world they may have never noticed or understood, allowing them to analyze and consider new ideas and perspectives.” – Watson Mere.
“I paint alternative, heightened worlds within which women reckon with personal and communal agency amidst crisis and uncertainty… My paintings are informed by bodily rhythms of family, friends, and myself as we witness social movements and looming environmental changes. Both tension and collaborative solidarity form as women gather for defense, vigilante justice, magic, and healing amidst cataclysms.” Danielle Mužina.
“My work is informed by religious mysticism, childhood trauma, and the idea that we may be living in a computer simulated reality…It is both unsettling and fascinating to consider that the absurdities and contradictions in my life may be clues that I am living within an invented narrative.” – Ken Mar.
As Indira shares, with the rapidly-changing world we live in, spurred on in recent times by the pandemic, politic shifts and cultural upheavals, art can often we a welcome window into processing these changes and seeing a different perspective.
“The world we live in has become increasingly complex, with the concepts of truth, right and wrong, reality and fiction, constantly thrown into question. Each detail, moment, and character we encounter becomes part of the greater puzzle of life. Somewhere in between the experiences we live and the stories we tell there is a notion of the truth and the desire to share it. What is your true story?”
You can learn more about ‘True Stories’ via The Untitled Space’s website, and head to the gallery through May 27, 2022 if you are in the NYC area.