Cy Gavin’s recent paintings, such as Untitled (Snag) from 2022, conjure landscapes and the natural world. His imagery frequently starts from his observations of his immediate surroundings, but his selections also carry metaphorical weight. Recent paintings have depicted cosmic phenomena, a failing human-made dam patched by beavers, native and invasive flora, and a forest’s regrowth in the wake of earth disturbances such as construction activities.
Creating cool, modern furniture from upcycled car parts is not an entirely new idea, but in this case there is a unique motivation behind the design. This fun and funky Side Chair and Cocktail Table — which incorporate discarded car tires and refinished bike wheels — is by Xtreme Upcycle, a small business whose proprietors have a deep social conscience behind everything they produce.
Embracing the theme of Turning Trash Into Treasures, Xtreme Upcycle (established in 2012) lives its vision of reducing waste and combating climate change; finding alternative uses for discarded items and recycling them into up-cycled new products! Based in Ghana, West Africa, Xtreme Upcycle works on most of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by halting climate change in its own small, but significant, way. In partnership with it upcycled fashion accessory business MH Couture, they promote positive environmental sanitation processes, create employment for all (with an emphasis on women), and contribute to the education of underprivileged young women and girls in West African society. They also embark on regular tree planting exercises in rural communities. Fantastic!
Follow and contact Xtreme Upcycle via Instagram at @xtremeupcycle!
Photographed at the New York Now Show at Javits Center
The Sansa Chair, an inventive deconstruction of the chair form, is among the original creations that have established Cheick Diallo (b 1960 in Mali, West Africa), as one of Africa’s leading contemporary designers.
Built from steel and nylon material by artisans from Bamakos at Diallo’s direction, the half-reclining Sansa chair seems to sit midway between a European notion of the chair as a leisure object and a West African idea of the chair as a support for displaying a person of status.
I think it is simply stunning!
Part of the Brooklyn Museum’s Arts of Africa Collection, this chair is on view in the Double Take: African Innovations Installation, East Gallery, 1st Floor (Through July 2016).
I remember when I first saw the trailer for Night at the Museum, and I was so excited for the movie because it had long been a fantasy of mine to be in NYC’s Museum of Natural History after closing time to see if all of those animals in the nature dioramas might come to life. Just being serious.
Hedy Klineman’s Ancestral Spirits, African-American Portraits, is a solo exhibition of more than twenty paintings from two series on view at Smart Clothes Gallery through December 20th, 2013.
The genesis of the African-American Portraits is framed by two significant events. In the eighties, Andy Warhol presented Klineman with a pair of his glasses, which she would incorporate into one of her “Fashion Portraits,” marking her first use of the silkscreen technique. Donning the eye-wear, she exclaimed that she ‘saw the world Andy sees.’ Years later, she received an African mask on her birthday. Instinctively, she put it on, repeating the gesture in a silkscreened self-portrait. These gifts and their presentation echo a kind of ceremony, and their performance would give Klineman new perspective on her art.
Since then, Klineman has been commissioned to create portraits for some of the most eminent members of the African-American cultural community, including Russell and Danny Simmons, Mary Schmidt Campbell, dance choreographer Bill T. Jones and actor Malik Yoba. Her choice of masks reflects a sensitivity to the cultural significance of these objects and their innate beauty. Ancestry is reawakened through the masquerade of photographic superimposition. The earlier sister series, Ancestral Spirits, is a celebration of indigenous sculpture in the tradition of modern art’s fascination with these objects.
If these paintings are in the mode of Pop icons, Hedy Klineman’s spiritual counter-narrative for the process is entirely her own. Employing an understanding of essence influenced by Eastern philosophy, her silkscreened paintings hold the presence of their subjects within. Coupled with colorful grounds that relate to the artist’s history as an abstract painter,
Ancestral Spirits, African-American Portraits is a celebration of ancestry and community.
Hedy Klineman’s Ancestral Spirits, African-American Portraits will be on Exhibit Through December 20th, 2013 at Smart Clothes Gallery, located 154 Stanton Street (Corner of Suffolk St), New York, NY 10012. Hours are 12:00 Noon To 6:00 PM
Wednesday to Sunday.