Friday, July 31, 2015

True Confections Opens Thursday, Aug. 6th, 6 - 8 p.m.

Sara Nightingale Gallery
is pleased to present True Confections, Monica Banks, Christa Maiwald opening Thursday, Aug. 6th from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. The exhibition runs through Sept. 3rd.

True Confections is a multimedia exhibition featuring sculpture, installation, photography, embroidery, performance, and edible sculpture. As mothers who are responsible for nurturing others and maintaining domestic life, Christa Maiwald and Monica Banks explore the surreal and emotional aspects of feeding others, honoring occasions, and witnessing life's transitions inside and outside the home. The artists share an ethos in their separate practices which reflects Flaubert’s declaration that “We are bourgeois in our lives so we can take chances in our work."

Monica Banks’ sculptures of miniature porcelain figures—humans as well as bees, mice, birds and teacups—depict organic forms on the threshold between life and death or figures who are suffering. The tiny scale of the works acknowledges the larger universe we inhabit and brings history and world events into the present moment. In True Confections, Banks creates porcelain cakes and cake stands as pedestals for her sculptures. The cakes are an homage to her experiences, which include the joys and playfulness of domesticity as well as the cruelty of nature, the despair of loss. Other works included in the exhibition are her swings, "Abject Pottery", which are playground swings crafted to hold miniature distressed dinnerware, a tribute to the fleeting nature of childhood.

Christa Maiwald will exhibit work from her ongoing Landscape Cake Series, in which she bakes elaborate cakes, then photographs them in nature. She will also present a cake performance at the opening reception. These performances, now becoming a convention in her practice, investigate the ritual of sharing her freshly baked cakes/confections with strangers. They also explore themes of consumption, ephemerality and craft, as well as gender roles (baking has long been associated with women’s work—as has embroidery, the other medium that Maiwald pursues with prolific obsession). The act of an artist cutting up his or her work and disseminating it among a crowd is subversive, but also generous. Slices of cake are given for free to willing participants, bypassing the traditional monetary exchange and commercialism associated with the art world. The exhibition will also include work from Maiwald’s hand-embroidered Cat Series, in which cats and humans engage in activities ranging from the sweet to the feral.

Monica Banks was born in in New York City and lives and works in East Hampton NY. She has exhibited sculpture at White Box in New York City, The University Museum of Contemporary Art at U Mass Amherst, The Carriage House at the Islip Art Museum in Islip NY, the Catherine Konner Sculpture Park in West Nyack NY, The Fells in Newbury New Hampshire, The Center for Architecture in New York City, The Heckscher Museum of Art in Huntington NY and other venues. She created "Faces: Times Square", a block-long sculpture which stood in Times Square from 1996-2009, for which she won an award from The Public Design Commission of the City of New York. Her permanent public works are located in the Bronx, Binghamton NY, and Charlotte NC. She has been exhibiting sculpture and doing site-specific installations since 1989.

After earning her M.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1973, Christa Maiwald moved to New York, where she established herself as a video artist with solo exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Anthology Film Archives, Holly Solomon Gallery, and Franklin Furnace, among others, and was included in the 1979 Whitney Biennial. After a detour into screenwriting, children’s book illustration, cooking school, restaurant work, and starting a family, she resumed her career as an artist with paintings, sculpture, installations, and, since 2000, hand embroidery and photography. In addition to a one-artist exhibition at Guild Hall in 2013, her embroideries and photographs have been shown in solo and group shows internationally, including at the Museum of Art and Design in New York City, Galerie Houg in Lyon, France, the Parrish Art Museum, the Heckscher Museum of Art, and galleries in New York and on the East End. She has lived in East Hampton full time since 1985.

For more information or images contact Sara Nightingale at

There will be an artists’ talk with coffee and confections in the gallery on Sunday, Aug. 16 at 11:00 am.

Images: Top: Monica Banks, Tribute, porcelain, 10 1/4" x 7" x 7"
Bottom: Christa Maiwald, Sky Cake (Angel Food), archival pigment print, 16" x 20", edition 5

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Reinventing the Helm closes Monday, Aug. 3rd

Sara Nightingale Gallery is pleased to present Reinventing the Helm, June 6th - Aug. 3rd.

The artists in this invitational group exhibition examine the genres of traditional maritime and marine art using ship portraiture, seascapes, novels, folklore and ancient myths about the sea as inspiration. The obvious and straightforward have been mostly, but not altogether, thwarted here in deference to an updated and contemporary view of all things nautical. One painting by Perry Burns, whose swerving lines suggest the surface of the sea, was literally turned on its side and renamed “Waterfall” - a good metaphor for what one can expect from the exhibition.

While not specifically divided into categories, the works address several themes such as “lost souls”, meteorological events, marine life, nautical terminology and even edible “fruits of the sea”.
Seagull sculptures by Rossa Cole, fabricated from the plastic six-pack holders that endanger marine life, hover over a large scale sculpture of a wooden boat’s ribs by Simone Douglas. Peter Buchman’s rubbings/ stencils of manhole covers juxtapose one from New Orleans with one from Santa Monica, implicitly reminding us of the potential impact of too much or too little water. Dalton Portella’s White Water super-imposes images of multiple storms in one composite photograph, yielding a surreal depiction of waves, clouds and sunlight which, according to one viewer, “looks almost biblical”. A lighthouse made of reclaimed lumber by David McQueen aims its beacon through a gallery window toward the ocean, its light a guide for someone trying to return.

The list of artists includes those with international representation and museum exhibition history, as well as emerging artists from Brooklyn, Wynwood, the West Coast and Ireland. One can expect a plethora of boats, ships, sharks, clouds and even a cake, as well as characters who may or may not be schooled in the art of helmsmanship.

Reinventing the Helm opens on Saturday, June 6th from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. and runs through Aug. 3rd.