Barry William Hale, Pomba Gira Sigill Vinyl Wall Installation, 2015 (All Photos By Gail)
The only art gallery that consistently draws us from Manhattan all the way to Brooklyn, the Stephen Romano Gallery, has reopened at its new location in the heart of Bushwick, Brooklyn’s thriving local art scene — very exciting! The gallery’s inaugural group show, Lexicon Infernali, reunites many of the cutting-edge contemporary artists we’ve come to know and love from Romano’s always intriguing exhibits over the course of 2015, while offering up an assortment of welcome surprises.
Here are a few of our favorite pieces from the show!
Art By Hunter Stabler: L- Garmr (2015) , hand-cut paper mounted to plexiglass Edition of 3; R – Baba Yaga Misquotes The Face To Steeleye Span, laser-cut paper mounted to plexiglass, Edition of 24
2 Watercolor Triptychs by El Gato Chimney: Top – The Right Way; Bottom – The Good Proportion
Limor Gasko, Sheep Head
Elizabeth Shupe, The Great Weight of The Soul (Mixed Media)
Elizabeth Shupe Green Ophelia (2014), Laser-sintered Nylon 3D Print, with Mixed media in a plexiglass case
Green Ophelia Detail
Elizabeth Shupe, Beautiful Creature (1 of a Triptych)
Rob Bowen, Pink – Pollination
Caitlin McCormack, Long Stands a Rapture (Diptych) Crocheted Cotton String
Matthew Dutton, The White Owl Shaman
Art By Shawn Thornton: L – Brahmastra for A New Age (UFO/Time Machine); R – Black Pyramid Meditation
Brahmastra for A New Age (Detail)
Left: Photo By William Mortenson. Right: Art By Stephanie Lucas, Top- Equation de Plumes, Bottom – Welcome
Detail from Equation de Plumes
The Bride by Lori Field
Eric Richardson, Coronation
GiGi Chen, What She Sees (This Image Courtesy of Stephen Romano)
Art By David Molesky: L –Rusalka; R- Acteon
Stephen Roman Gallery is located at 177 Gartan Street in Bushwick, Brooklyn, but the actual location is the corner of Harrison Place and Porter Avenue (don’t ask). Best train directions are to take the L to Morgan Ave, then walk three blocks east on Harrison to Porter and you can’t miss it. Go to This Link for a map.
It’s been more than a few months since the Stephen Romano Gallery closed its location in Dumbo and went in search of a new home, and it has been sorely missed; not only for its unique exhibits of engaging art, and the cutting-edge artists that Romano goes out of his way to promote and support, but for the invaluable sense of community he has helped to cultivate among artists, writers, collectors and fans – which is just indispensable. Fortunately, while the gallery waits to move into a new space, Brooklyn’s Morbid Anatomy Museum stepped in to offer Stephen Romano the opportunity to curate another fantastic exhibit, Opus Hypnagogia, featuring items from his expansive personal collection as well as new works from many of the artists we’ve gotten to know through him and his gallery over the past year. This is an exciting exhibit!
The Morbid Anatomy Museum is a building that’s easy to spot, thanks to its imposing signage and its excellent corner lot location at Third Avenue and Seventh Street. You really can’t miss it. In addition to a gorgeous second-floor exhibit space, the museum is home to an eclectic gift shop and a lovely tiny café, both of which inhabit the ground floor of the building.
The gift shop also serves as a place of exhibition and education, with its collection of taxidermy animals, specimens and collectible curios. Very fun!
On the second floor, adjoining the exhibit space, you’ll find a fascinating research Library with rare and collectible editions, as well as many glass vitrines showcasing a collection of fascinating medical specimens, Day of The Dead figurines and religious iconography from around the world.
Siamese Baby Ducks
Angel and Devil Day of The Dead Dolls Keep Company with a Collection of Teeth
Be sure to explore the Museum in its entirety during your visit, because there’s something to see and be fascinated by at every turn!
Illustration of Demons from Faust’s Magia Naturalis et Innaturalis
With its inclusion of interconnected themes such as Religion, Horror and the Occult, Opus Hypnagogia, like the Museum itself, is both entertaining and informative. Perhaps the most enchanting and enigmatic item on view, or, rather, protected from handling in a vitrine in the room’s center, is Romano’s personal copy of a rare edition of Doctor Johannes Faust’s Magia Naturalis et Innaturalis, which is an elaborately illustrated book of spells and conjuring, with text written in old German. Fascinating.
Stephen was kind enough to personally page through the book with me so I could photograph some of the drawings. He told me that he outbid a famous Rock Star to become owner of this coveted and legendary grimoire.
Fortunately, he did not have to sell his soul in the process. HA!
These drawings of beasts, demons and creatures are just amazingly detailed, and there are at least a hundred of them.
Being a huge fan of sculptor Kris Kuksi, we were delighted to see a miniature edition of his famous Church Tank, which was created specifically for this exhibit.
One of our favorite artists, Italian painter El Gato Chimney, contributed this large watercolor, as well as several smaller triptychs, which are beautiful and quite collectible.
His work is amazing!
One of the hottest contemporary artists on the scene right now, Martin Wittfooth, contributed this fantastic painting of a dog with ferns coming out of its mouth, which is displayed above a set of occult plaques.
This Scrimshaw Ceremonial Wand, which was actually used as part of authentic incantation ceremonies, is displayed in the case alongside the Faust edition.
Tennessee-based sculptor Matthew Dutton has a couple of his signature pieces in the show, including this Conjoined Demon Skull.
And this Demon created from found objects, which is holding a ceramic statue of a kitty wearing a wizard hat.
Opus Hypnagogia will be on exhibit through October 18th, 2015, and you can call the museum in advance of your visit at (347)799-1017 with any questions. Everyone who works there is very nice.
The Morbid Anatomy Museum is located at 424-A 3rd Avenue (Corner of 7th Street), Brooklyn, NY. Closest Trains are the F and the R. Admission is just $8.00.
My Black Heart By El Gato Chimney (All Photos By Gail. Click on Any Image to Enlarge for Detail)
El Gato Chimney is a fantastic, Milan-based surrealist whose compelling work I doubt I would have come to know and love so well if it weren’t for the Stephen Romano Gallery, which has lovingly featured El Gato’s work in each of their eclectic group shows.
Lost in Thoughts
Currently, the Romano Gallery is hosting De Rerum Natura (On the Nature of Things), a show dedicated entirely to this young artist’s exciting work.
The artwork of De Rerum Natura is accompanied by a high quality catalog, which includes several intriguing and extremely insightful essays, one of which is by fellow surrealist Martin Wittfooth. By way of introduction to El Gato Chimney’s enigmatic images, I offer a brief but richly descriptive passage from Martin’s essay:
El Gato Chimney’s paintings are a kind of visual alchemy: a unique witch’s brew or shaman’s potion of mysticism, therianthropy (the mythological ability of human beings to metamorphose into animals by means of shapeshifting), mythological and religious symbolism, and visionary fractals.
These works echo the technique and compositions of the naturalist painter John James Audubon, while envisioning a psychedelic menagerie summoned on paper from the often-diabolical nether realms of Hieronymus Bosch. Crowned hydras, chimeras, masked birds and crucified crows inhabit a barren world, wherein sacred hearts, disembodied eyes, mysticist dice, skeleton keys and beehives float above or lie upon the landscape.
El Gato Chimney’s imagination implores us to contemplate our collective symbolical archive, while simultaneously offering alternative allegories and personal readings of these devices.
Here are more pictures from the show!
The Right Proportion (Left), Guide Me Home (Right)
At the Opening Reception: El Gato and Writer/Curator Pam Grossman Admire and Discuss The Charlatan
El Gato Chimney’s De Rerum Natura will be on Exhibit Through April 30th, 2015 at Stephen Romano Gallery, Located at 111 Front Street in Dumbo, Brooklyn. Please note that this will be the final snow at this location before Stephen Romano moves to its new, storefront Gallery space at 145 Plymouth Street in Brooklyn!
Show Catalog Featuring Cover Illustration of Speak the Truth
What a great discovery it was to find out about the existence of the Stephen Romano Gallery when I went to one of their first group shows last June. Even though it is a teeny bit of a jaunt from Manhattan to DUMBO, going there gives me an excuse to visit a very cool neighborhood that is home to lots of amazing street art. I also appreciate that Stephen Romano has a keen talent for curating these Surreal, Dark Pop exhibits that harken back the early days of the Last Rites Gallery, and even incite feelings of nostalgia for the late, great Bold Hype Gallery. What a bummer that that place had to close.