Review: "Powerpop Trio", LITM, Jersey City NJ

September 11, 2017

Every so often a group of artists is assembled that is perfectly right- and this exhibition gathers three artists together that indeed  does that while also packing a visual punch.  The artists in the exhibition are:  Kayt Hester, Robert Piersanti and Joe Waks  curated by Andrea Morin.  

 

Upon entering the space , you are first introduced to  Kayt Hester's work.  Hester's work comes off as very graphic; but on closer inspection you see the hand of the artist.  She uses mostly black masking tape, sometimes with a touch of color on a stark white canvas.  The tape is torn and placed carefully but in chunky bits giving them a physical quality which is unexpected.  Some of Hester's work is effectively simple and streamlined while some pieces hold a curious narrative.  Her subjects run from daily mundane activities to more mysterious happenings.  In one, people are gathered under a tree with red thread like lines running from it.  Here, she offers us a strange yet known setting and the piece really wins.  I like her balance of elevating simplicity  while investigating more opaque subject matter.

 

Joe Waks' work appears very slick- almost like a screen print.  Again, as you get closer to the work you see the meticulous and laborious hand painting of the pieces.  The work appears flat; but brush marks are then surprisingly detected.   He uses a limited palette with text and pattern.   Waks harkens back to 50's /60's and gives us a celebratory view of this time period yet there is a cynicism that sneaks in.  He makes social commentary about what was and what is; are we any better for it?  Waks pulls from an advertising slant- making us keenly aware of commercialism and its power over us.  Yet, his images and text work together to create statements that make us reflect on where we have been and where we are now as a society.

 

Robert Piersanti is a master of making a medium to small canvas explode.  His subjects almost seem too big in character to contain the space.  Although this work out of the three has the most seemingly slick surface,  the intimacy is found within the people he chooses to paint.  It seems apparent he knows most of this subjects personally and he creates an atmosphere for which they can live, be provocative and breathe.  His style is indeed his own as he presents to us people as he sees them and in their element.   The work is highly crafted and vibrant which celebrates people and their personalities while putting them in unique and tailored environments.

 

This exhibition is not to be missed .   The artists invite you to take a closer look at their processes and content.  The closing party is this Wednesday, August 30th, 7pm.  As a side note, I have met all three artists and each is approachable and willing to share their processes, a breath of fresh air in the self-absorbed art world.   It's notable that all three were present for a mid-exhibition event and will be available for the upcoming closing party.   Kudos to the curator for gathering these three artists together for a sensational and airtight exhibition.

 

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