Group Shows

As long as you want, at My Pet Ram

Heather Drayzen, Walking the Puppers, 2022, oil on linen, 16 x 12 inches

Contributed by Jenny Zoe Casey / The two-person exhibition “as long as you want,” featuring work by Julia Blume and Heather Drayzen, on view at My Pet Ram on the Lower East Side, is perceptively based on the referenced fragment of poetry written by Sappho over two-and-a-half millennia ago as a reminder of love, endurance and adaptation, and complemented by a slyly kindred show of Joshua Drayzen’s drawings. 

Heather Drayzen’s paintings depict family, pets and friends in quiet moments of intimacy and joy. Loose, confident brushstrokes evoke the fleeting nature of time and the fuzziness of memory in a palette employing neutrals and darks to frame golds and fluorescents. Walking the Puppers invites the viewer to peer down the length of a straining arm into a glowing world. The white sleeve sparkles with pink and purple highlights, the air is punctuated by reflections on rain, and the hand grasps a double leash attached to two dogs eagerly straining forward. Bending towards abstraction, the painting’s faint lines suggest pavement, its green-and-yellow ground evening, its shadows a figure long, loose, and animate. Getting Ready for the Party likewise draws the viewer in with angles and skewed perspective. A man stands in a bathroom wrapped in a towel, swiffering the floor while a spaniel “helps.” Vibrant and pervasive pinkish-orange light reflects onto the man’s skin, deepening its color to that of a setting sun.

Heather Drayzen, Getting Ready for the Party, 2022, oil on linen, 14 x 11 inches

Julia Blume’s sculptures are similarly modest in scale, oddly tender, and unconventional in palette. Each is wall-hung, and most are divided into three elements of roughly equal visual weight. Artificial flowers gracefully tapering into bulbous shapes convey the sustaining capacities of earth or tuber, with a curtain of polyester string hung from the structure enhancing lovely plays of light and shadow. Grouped together and lit from above, the sculptures impart a fecundity that borders on theatrical. Blume very deliberately martials the artificial. Her flowers are manufactured, her colors unnatural, the fringe synthetic where a tangle of roots is expected. Juxtaposing plant species from different ecosystems, Blume also conjures symbiosis. Her pieces could be zoomed-out stand-ins for the earth itself.

Julia Blume, wall installation, 2022-23, wire, epoxy, acrylic, pumice, plaster, faux flowers, dyed polyester fringe, dimensions variable
Julia Blume, it pulls them down, wire, epoxy, acrylic, pumice, faux flowers, dyed polyester fringe, 36 x 15 x 9 inches

At first glance, Joshua Drayzen’s work seems quite different from that of Blume and Heather Drayzen. He makes intricate pencils drawings inspired by Valis, Philip K. Dick’s 1981 science fiction novel, and tiny figures, which he thinks of as ant men, modeled in Sculpey. What links the three artists is their shared acknowledgment of our time with calm realism and a delicate touch of hope. Heather Drayzen’s portrayals of ordinary life, though acutely resonant of mortality, are nonetheless fluorescent. Blume deploys anthropogenic language, but in an ode to the biosphere. As Joshua Drayzen’s tiny creatures engage intently in mysterious ceremonial activities, a charming zebra – just a step away from the iconic unicorn – emits benign pink rays.

Joshua Drayzen, VALIS (Time Immemorial), 2023, pen, color pencil, collage and sculpey on board, 12 x 16 inches
Joshua Drayzen, Ant Men installation, 2023, sculpey, dimensions variable

as long as you want: Heather Drayzen and Julia Blume,” My Pet Ram, 48 Hester Street
New York, NY. Through March 26, 2023. Also on view: Drawings by Joshua Drayzen.

About the author: Jenny Zoe Casey is a Chicago-based painter and art writer.

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