Group Shows

Bushwick: Cause-and-effect at M. David & Co.

“Causality,” installation view, M. David & Co. From left: Judy Pfaff, Elizabeth Murray, Christopher Vazquez

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / Fifteen years ago, Jason Andrew was one of relatively few adventurous impresarios and gallerists who together established Bushwick as a New York art community and destination. For nearly five years, his project space Norte Maar was a steady source of the neighborhood’s sublime, funky buzz of possibility for aspiring, often young, artists. Andrew and Norte Maar have moved on, but he has not forgotten Bushwick. After a ten-year absence, he has returned to curate the relentlessly energetic and eclectic group show “Causality” at M. David & Co.

From left: Greg Wall, Ali Della Bitta, Sarah Bednarek
From left: Trevor King, Wade Schaming, Ellen Letcher, Elizabeth Murray

His typically confident curatorial conceit is that highly distinct works of art, properly configured, can forge a coherent “visual equilibrium” that simulates the challenging logic of an increasingly busy – sometimes chaotic – real world.

Elizabeth Murray and Ellen Letcher are very different kinds of artists, one an extroverted painter and the other an introverted conceptualist, yet their work juxtaposed suggests how remote contemplation might give way to effusiveness. Flanking them on one side is Brece Honeycutt’s thickly woven fabric piece, embodying both characteristics, on the other Wade Schaming’s warmly stable mantel of totems made from stacked household objects and Trevor King’s solemn wall piece, which may question each in turn.

From left: Elizabeth Murray, Ellen Lechter, Brece Honeycutt

In another part of the gallery, Paula Barr’s vertical diptych of subdued urban landscapes look to be presenting Judy Pfaff’s colorful and explosive wall sculpture and Christopher Vazquez’s hermetically personal floor piece as contrasting aspects of life in the city. Elsewhere, Sarah Bednarek’s series of six spheroids explores transformation – and implicitly, perhaps, mortality – through incremental geometric alteration, while Ali Della Bitta (using clay and more) and Daniel John Gadd (wood and more) embrace loss and struggle on the environmental and the existential level, respectively. Greg Wall’s droll, kinetic combines confirm the dynamism and jeopardy in this ecosystem: a cheerfully brooding reality-check.

From left: Paula Barr, Christopher Vazquez. At back: Judy Pfaff
Greg Wall
Daniel John Gadd

In theory, Andrew’s expansive notion of causality and his use of the concept as a curatorial principle may seem an exotic reach. In practice, though, the approach works remarkably well. He nimbly avoids both obscurantism and obviousness, at once challenging and gratifying viewers with invariably engaging and accomplished artwork.

Causality,” M. David & Co., 56 Bogart Street, Brooklyn, NY. Curated by Jason Andrew. Featuring Paula Barr, Sarah Bednarek, Ali Della Bitta, Daniel John Gadd, Brece Honeycutt, Ellen Letcher, Trevor King, Elizabeth Murray, Judy Pfaff, Wade Schaming, Christopher Vazquez, and Greg Wall. Through May 14, 2023.

Note: Closing Event: Sunday, May 14, 2023, 3 PM / 2. B. ! : a poetic end for “Causality” / Featuring Bob Holman, Elaine Equi, Jerome Sala and others.

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