News & Culture in Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill and Points Nearby
March 7, 2021
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Organic Alchemy

By Alexandra Glorioso
Untitled 32x40 C-print 2007 (Rosa)

Now to Sat., Feb. 26: BRIC Arts | Media | Bklyn is pleased to present A Strange Alchemy, a group exhibition about transformative power. The show is curated by Persis Singh, the winter 2011 recipient of the Lori Ledis Curatorial Fellowship, a program that fosters emerging curatorial talent in the field of contemporary art.

Using photography and sculpture, the artists in A Strange Alchemy transform organic materials to create work that borders on the baroque, uncanny and transcendental. By assuming the role of alchemists, the artists utilize an array of natural materials and organic refuse––wood, plant life, raw meat and human hair––converting base matter into complex objects that have accrued value, alternative functionality and new meaning.

Working as a collaborative duo, Kathryn Hillier and Rebecca Veit create intricate photographic tableaux from discarded organic waste, assembling striking aesthetic compositions through the recombination of materials such as hair, fish heads and wilted leaves into vivid still-lifes. Influenced by Northern European Baroque painting, Veit and Hillier’s photographs are somber organic arrangements that relay a transient, decaying beauty evocative of vanitas and memento mori.


David Shaw’s work explores the intersection of nature and technology, uniting the organic with the artificial to explore notions of ‘slippage.’ Utilizing found pieces of wood culled from New York City construction sites and public parks, Shaw’s formal preoccupations lie in the displacement of materials to create objects that appear to be mutating or actively in flux. Using such disparate media such as wood and holographic laminate, his sculptures are simultaneously futuristic and elemental. Through a focus on the interaction of light and surface, Shaw’s sculptures become a study of visibility, perception and shifting forms.


Pinar Yolaçan’s disturbing portraits of elderly women donning clothing composed of raw meat and animal parts are both sensuous and unsettling. Her series of photographs, Maria, taken amidst a community of Afro-Brazilian women on an island off the coast Bahia, Brazil, forms a stark commentary on the body as a site of exploitation, as well as intense carnality and sensuality. Sourcing sumptuous fabrics from local markets, Yolaçan interweaves these materials with raw animal meat and offals––such as cow placenta, bull testicles and tripe. Raw flesh is transformed into lush garments that are reminiscent of traditional Portuguese costume, highlighting the dark legacy of Brazil’s troubled colonial past.

The exhibition is accompanied by a fully-illustrated brochure with an essay by curator Persis Singh. The brochure is available at request and is free of charge.

Exhibit Hours: Tues. to Sat., 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.


BRIC Arts Media

647 Fulton Street


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