Instinctual Drift

Sculpture by Stacey M. Holloway

March 27th – April 26th 2015
Opening Reception: Friday March 27th, 7 -10 pm.

Chi Chi and Pablo were Capuchin monkeys who lived in a Florida sanctuary in the nineties. Chi Chi had performed in the circus, and wore a little skirt. She and Pablo had been a couple for twenty years. When Pablo got sick and was taken to the vet, no one thought to bring Chi Chi along, or to bring Pablo’s body back for her to see it when the little guy died, so Chi Chi never got “closure.” She plucked out her fur and stopped eating. The sanctuary tried everything to alleviate her pain, and eventually settled for just numbing it. They ran an extension cord out past the other cages and put a TV in her enclosure. She didn’t really play like she used to, but she started eating again, at least. 

According to Psychology Today, "Convergent evidence indicates that non-human animals have the neuroanatomical, neurochemical, and neurophysiological substrates of conscious states along with the capacity to exhibit intentional behaviors. Consequently, the weight of evidence indicates that humans are not unique in possessing the neurological substrates that generate consciousness.” No one at the Florida sanctuary would have been at all surprised by the finding that animals demonstrate “intentional behavior,” nor would most pet owners. They’ve been observing their animals demonstrating what we arrogantly deem “human traits” for years, as has Stacey M. Holloway.  

Stacey M. Holloway’s astoundingly rendered sculptures of animals combine traditional carving and casting with found or collected parts to “hyper-exaggerate human nature.” The results are staggering depictions of animals with convincing fur surfaces and shiny eyeballs, whose animal nature is rendered accurately, while their “intentional behaviors” are enhanced; a flocked deer balances on four stilts, making her already spindly legs even more precarious, two seals perch nose-to-slippery-nose on a iceberg made of wooden scaffolding. These are gorgeously made sculptures that impress us with their precise craft, but touch us with their less precise (but maybe even more true) feeling.

Wayfarers is extremely proud to present Stacey’s first solo exhibition in New York.



New works by Magda Mortner

This spring, Wayfarers is pleased to exhibit Ensemble, a solo presentation of paintings, sculpture and works on paper by Magda Mortner on the TOBY project wall. Drawing from the rich legacy of figurative painting, Mortner’s works fall within the complex historical trajectory of the classical portrait, and are the inheritors of such painters as Félix Edouard Vallotton, Alice Neel, Lucian Freud and Elizabeth Peyton. Like her predecessors, Mortner’s artworks act as a selective reflection of the artist’s world, documenting not only herself but also her circle of friends, her family and her home and studio. 

Painting is a cathartic activity for Mortner. In her practice, the gestural action and the realization of the composition are ultimately paramount with the finished image. Underscoring each artwork is also the artist’s omnipresent awareness of the long-standing tradition of portraiture, and her desire to create something honest in the face of this history. Represented in these works in oil, gouache, watercolor and collage are an ensemble of moments that are alternately tender, humorous and reflective. They are taken from photographs, Internet searches and studies, yet they also project a refreshing immediacy and directness. 

Mortner’s newest works are wooden cubes that add up to fractured, sculptural portraits. Each side of the blocks features a fragmented body part or object, images which become sentimental or iconic in their isolation. Speaking about this jump in her practice, Mortner explains that the blocks grew out of her frustration with the two-dimensional. After spending so much time with each painting or work on paper, the artist sought to find a method of creation that would allow her to undergo the therapeutic process more quickly. As she states, “To put an image in its whole form on the canvas elevates that image in a way. I was living with these figures for so long while I was making them, and after a while it became harder to do.” Presented together with her two-dimensional works, Ensemble offers a view into contemporary portraiture, and the creative possibilities inherent in this form. Visitors are encouraged to rearrange the blocks and become active agents in the installation.

Born in New York City, Magda Mortner holds a BA in Studio Arts from Bard College. Her work has been exhibited throughout New York at Greenpoint Gallery, Java Studios Gallery and the Contemporary Arts Center Woodside. Mortner has completed residencies at City Art Lab in Mariestad, Sweden and at the Contemporary Arts Center Woodside. This summer, she will also participate in the CAMP (Collaborative Arts Mobility Project) residency, a nomadic project-based residency in upstate New York in which artists gather to participate in workshops and exchange ideas with each other. Mortner lives and works in New York.

Curated by Candace Jeanne