Taymour Grahne Projects is excited to announce the launch of Intimacy – A Group Show – the gallery’s second Satellite group exhibition, featuring an exciting line up of 28 artists exploring the theme of intimacy. The exhibition will open on May 4, 2022 from 4 - 7 PM at an off-site space at 59 Greek Street in Soho, London. New York - based writer and curator Osman Can Yerebakan has written a wonderful catalogue essay for the exhibition.
The gallery’s Satellite exhibition program features a series of yearly off-site themed group exhibitions highlighting artists that are an integral part of the current and future cultural zeitgeist. Each group show will be accompanied by a catalogue and a commissioned text.
Promises of Intimacy
by Osman Can Yerebakan
The geometric possibilities of harmony—contortions, knots and bends of the body—populate Justin Liam O’Brien’s The Flower Forgives Us, two men’s bodies are determined by sharpness that contradicts the inherently soft flesh. A painterly play with light washes their torsos and limps; they seem monumental like buildings brutally apart, surrendering to the impossibility of a union, cemented by their estranged gazes. A geometric corporality is even more evident in Alexandria Smith’s drifting on a memory, almost to a point of measurable abstraction in the artist’s rendition of the female body: gently angular and determined in her airless resilience. Two bodies float towards each other, motivated by their triangular breasts that seem to elevate them, physically and sensually. In the world Bryan Rogers builds, lush trees coalesce with hefty bodies; trunks become torsos, limbs grow into branches. Blossoming are both youthful flowers and tender feelings, between tightly sealed caresses and gently erected roots. The nocturnal light renders the exchanges discreet, an otherworldly ramble for saplings to spring.
Nature penetrates into carnal intimacy in Nadia Ayari’s Locked I, a botanical bacchanal of sharp-edged flowers intertwined through their branches. Their pink petals drape like velvet shrouds, concealing their inner ovaries. Unfettered by any gaze, floral intimacy defies bodily proportions and physicalities. A sense of surreality spills to Armin Boehm’s Slow Light, which fluctuates between corporeality and the subconsciousness, the seeping of the mind into the skin. Eyes intersect and mouths lock, bearing possibilities of a third being in two women’s becoming of one. Mirroring of the selves, a bond beyond the touch, as the painting reminds, is the most daring of attempts for inwardness. For Hilary Doyle, the mind represents liquidity, the mercurial maneuvering of the acrylic over the surface. Streams of paint flow in her paintings of affectionate mothers, whose caresses blend into a sharply glistening sun or argent piles of snow. Nature’s accord with the women exceeds maternal instincts, bleeding into painting’s tactility. Nicko Cecchini’s assumption of a surreal intimacy guides his assumption of a queer duality. In The Baths of Caracalla, two showers wash two bodies, dotted with massive sheeny droplets that dress the skin like diamonds under stage light. The impossibly blue encrusted bodies feel enamored and protected, disinterested in the world surrounding them while plunging into their own. Surreality in Sharon Madanes’s Awake All Night lies, not in suggestion of an alternative reality, but rather in her defiance of our very own. Interiors occupied by lovers resist the optic limits imposed on our sights; walls burst like skies and bodies rest akin to mountains. The artist’s commitment to subjectivity—to ways things are remembered and felt—yields ample versions of togetherness chronicled by none other than her brushstroke.
Delving into memory comes along with its awkwardnesses, alienations in closest vicinities. Christina Giuffrida’s Night Protector is immersed in a loneliness shared by two. The fire—with its equal power to make and destroy—illuminates the lovers pulled apart by one’s sleep and the other’s contemplation. The comfort of a bonfire tends their distance as one plunges deeper into dream state while the other stares the void her eyes wide open. A pictorial airiness also determines Grace Mattingly’s universe where pastel hues recall smears of memory, faint slivers of unclarity between a dream or the past. Erratic brushstrokes lead to ample renditions, of whether a burning candle, a lonesome pony, or a pair of high heels with claws. Between the logical and the unfathomable, her visuals refuse intimacy through togetherness but rather in the bare openness of imagination. I Do Nothing but Think of You, Kyle Coniglio’s late night painting of a lovelorn man is lit by his burning cigarette and light emanating from apartments occupied by those still awake. His loneliness—a one-man intimacy with his solitude—is barely covered by his bed sheets and an aching expression on his life. In contrast to the inwardness of Coniglio’s man, Nick Hoover’s are extroverts, bridging their instincts and their surroundings with their bodies. The man in Navel Gaze slowly bares his shirt, his eyes fixed onto our gaze; his offering creates a triangular form of skin enveloped his denim shorts and his green t-shirt over an orange chair. There is an invitation of connection though his blue-eyed stare and a comfort on his end as we will settle for his proposition. Intimacy within a gaze rests in Polina Barskaya’s paintings of subjects within delicate interiors. In The Maker, a mother and her child are encased by an old-worldly setting, a cafè adorned by oval light fixtures and fluffy couches. They're committed to a dialogue through the eyes, asking us questions with their gaze and expecting answers in the same way. Madelynn Green’s My Bed muddles the dynamic between the subject and the viewer, completely eliminating one party to leave us alone with their traces, an unmade bed occupied by remnants of a body and its belongings. We question our limits of intrusion and the extents we can take our voyeurism. Stranger or friend, we feel naked in the absence of the other. Collins Obijiaku’s Norbert and Justina on the other hand finds power in the two sitters’ presence, their determination to be and stay within the pictorial frame. While their eyes look away, their hands are locked and so are their bodies. Intimacy starts at Obijiaku’s illustration of Black skin, the artist’s traceable hand gestures over the faces and the hands, as well as the hallucinatory pattern of Norbert’s shirt that backdrops the couple’s unity along with the deep purple of Justina’s attire. Gaze is a source of power also in Lily Kemp’s paintings of female solidarity, in the subjects’ immediate eyes amidst absorbing landscapes. The women revel in nature’s spring offerings—lakes wind, grass blooms and birds glide—all while a determined serenity meanders through their existence—their friendships and unities are narrated in their eyes.
Friendships, camaraderie, solidarity and sex, forms of intimacy blend and infuse in Brea Weinreb’s painting of the Pride celebrations on San Francisco’s Gay Beach, blurring the borders of affection and confidence while weaving interchangeable forms of closeness. Friends seem like lovers, exes might be confidants—the artist frames queer possibilities of togetherness in her illustration of bodies donning exuberant speedos. Energetic glares encapsulate another form of intimacy in James Bartolacci’s night life scenes. Bodies near, sway, and touch all while neon lights and booming music wash the nocturnal rituals of being—club is the backdrop both for reverie and fellowship, a home to foster pleasure and alliance. The subtleties of closeness and its vulnerability is captured in Mahmoud Khaled’s Please Stay Blurry, an image of two men posing for a camera in front of a snow-drenched mountainous landscape, on a peak that feels like the far edge of the world. Their isolation is shared by two photographers immersed in capturing the two men whose faces Khaled leaves blurred, veiled with anonymity. The two men’s joint posture resists evanescence as they pose for the lens, while we find ourselves in contemplation of their closeness.
In contrast to subtlety, Asif Hoque’s paintings burst with expression, hefty explosions of bulbous bodies frozen in radiant gestures. The painter’s figures—wild tigers, vigorous horses or ardent gods and goddesses—demonstrate a unison in their glorious devotion to mythological transcendence as well as a tireless urge to soar. Minyoung Kim’s painting Lilies brings glory back to subtlety, in a black cat’s gentle attempt to claw a porcelain vase full of lilies. The feline’s curiously beaming eyes is in accord with its paw reaching out for the flower’s gentle petal which the artist paints in a radiant tone. A humorous tension is in place, as well as surreality, hinted by the view of the moon shining outside, which might as well be a night time painting on its own.
Mystery seeps deeper into Anika Roach’s painting of singular subjects engulfed in sweet introspection. They idly lounge across couches, approach the beach or simply immerse into the moment. In defiance of another, Roach’s figures clutch their multitudes like possessions inside and out, diligently gentle and committed to the instance. Fleeting flickers of the everyday occupy Mikey Yates’s paintings of mundane moments. Corner of a modest apartment, front porch of a remote house or settings in-between domesticity and the public, the artist’s juxtapositions peel layers of both joy and boredom. Shared or alone, his subjects radiate modesty and ardor in their gestures of being. Sikelela Owen illustrates the tenderness in sleep, stretched minutes and hours in which the consciousness is freed from the worldly logics. Plunged in fluid dreams, a father caressing his baby or a child immersed in illusions appear hazy, the artist’s brushstrokes capturing the impossible vision of the dream-state. The singularity of dream is defied with Owen’s powdery finish that veils the paintings’ surfaces. A similar mistiness shrouds Dominic Musa’s A Blunt Quiet, an intimate painting of a boy and a dog washed in various shades of blue. Another boy hides at the far end of the juxtaposition, an observer, a threat or another friend. The dog’s tender procession over the cobblestone is challenged by the boy’s deadpan expression, all awash in cobalt, sapphire, and teal hues that dance between warmth and strain. Unclarity is also the key in Madeleine Bialke’s uninhabited forest landscapes in which soaring trees marry one another through their branches. Their bulky bodies seem sculptural and monumental, almost otherworldly through the artist’s radiant palette. Forests devoid of human occupation exult at their colors, a solidarity of trees, an immaculate intimacy of the nature.
The human touch is unmissable in Jeanne F. Jalandoni’s Transcience, a sewn painting of fabric pieces in addition to oil and acrylic. The artist’s labor of weaving wool and cotton on the canvas inhabits the threads that align the figure’s sleeves and the carpet she steps on. Texture and volume define Jalandoni’s process, as much as her urge to embody a memory with the insistence of the needle and the thread. Tactility and process are synonymous for Krzysztof Strzelecki whose glazed ceramic earthenware vessel is adorned with scenes that revel in homoerotica. With a nod to antiquity, Strzelecki’s men plunge into the carnal, bathing in the ecstasy of sexual plethora through the artist’s bold colors gleaming on ceramic’s lucid surface.
Osman Can Yerebakan is a New York-based writer and curator.
Featured artists in this Intimacy exhibition include:
Christina Lucia Giuffrida
Jeanne F. Jalandoni
Justin Liam O'Brien