Review of Cheim & Read Gallery
All Over The Moon, which ran at the Cheim & Read Gallery from July 12th to August 30th, was a group show that featured work by Laurel Sparks, Lily Stockman, and Richard Tinkler. Through the careful curation of specific works from each artist, Cheim & Read wove together a unique narrative that each piece spoke to, while simultaneously sparking a conversation centering the works of these artists. Taking the viewer on a journey of self-realization of their spiritual, physical, and mental health, each individual work directly conveys a daily practice for wellbeing.
The tone of any exhibit is instantly set through the initial works the visitors first encounter. Cheim & Read emulated a sanctuary as they coupled Lily Stockman’s artwork with their first gallery room, decorated with a skylight. Her work speaks to 20th century abstract painting, and evokes spirituality through engrossing viewers into each of her settings through careful color choices. Lily has experience studying the art of painting Thangkas in Mongolia. Painting a Thangka is one of the most difficult ventures an artist can take on due to the complex and layered spiritual meanings, coupled with the technical difficulty of executing it. Her work looks as though it is an exploration of one inch of a Thangka, as it focuses on internal and external spaces found within the body and nature.
While Lily Stockman’s work inspires a silencing call to restore spirituality within yourself, Richard Tinkler’s subsequent room brings the viewer back into their physical awareness through his body of paintings. As his body of work filled up each wall in the room, it became almost over-stimulating, leaving no resting space for the eyes. In crafting this environment, Cheim & Read guided visitors through an exploration of Richard’s own physicality when he creates his work, as viewers can feel his presence in the room with them. The more visitors walked around the space, the more they understood that each piece needed to sit in conjunction its neighbor to reveal more about itself. Through further investigation, it is confirmed that Richard makes each painting in a single sitting. As Richard never leaves a part of his painting untouched, the curation of the show was able to compliment his fast paced brush strokes, while using each painting as a marker of time.
Upon entering the space showcasing Laurel Sparks’ work, an uncommon element of the space caught my attention– the wall color. In all of my previous knowledge of Chelsea galleries, this was to first one to paint the wall a different color for the artist. When visitors see another color other than white in a gallery space, it makes them feel as though the work is not precious, or unattainable.This is very rare because with the rise of modernism, galleries were painted white in order to be “pure”, and to showcase a clean slate for the art to be in charge of a space that could be deemed as transparent. The inclusion of a color breaks this phenomenon as it forces you to see both the artwork and the gallery it is in, and how they are both dependent on each other. As Laurel’s work requires her cutting into the canvas or playing with the multiple different planes of one specific object, she reminds visitors of the healing power of ritual for mental wellness. As she investigates every part of a canvas, she develops healthy habits that promote self-investigation through another outlet, just like the show she was in at Cheim & Read was able to curate. This was done by the curator instilling a feeling of calm upon entry, that would be challenged by moving to the room that withheld Richard’s paintings, as it forced viewers see how they felt through the transition.
As it consistently breaks the commonalities that are placed within every commercial gallery in the world, Cheim & Read emanates an aura of distinguished fearlessness. The gallery seeks more than making a sale, it aspires to make an experience for viewers and buyers alike. The focus on artistic process, as was highlighted in Tinkler’s collection, reveals a specific intimate look into the artist’s life, inspiring connection between viewer and artist. When next visiting the galleries of Chelsea, make sure to break away from the usual galleries and experience the refreshing exhibits of Cheim & Read.
Netanel Saso is a BFA student at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. She is originally from Tel Aviv in Israel, and moved to the United States at a young age. At the Cooper Union, she is primarily grounded in printmaking and the moving image. Her work plays with trust as she recreates through manipulation and exploration of space in a whimsical manner, the original state of objects, childhood memories, and found footage. Her passion for art and education grew when she worked as an assistant and teacher at Studio Arts Dallas in Texas and volunteered at the Trammell & Margaret Crow Collection of Asian Art. She is currently a volunteer at the Rubin Museum of Art. As a VAR Fellow, she looks forward to working towards her dream of opening her own creative art studio for all ages in the future.