Feb 23, 2010

Opening Reception: Vast | Amelie Chabannes Saturday Feb. 27, 7:00 PM

stephan stoyanov gallery
29 orchard street new york ny 10002 212 343 4240


STEPHAN STOYANOV GALLERY is pleased to present, Vast, a solo exhibition by Amelie Chabannes.


Reception: Saturday, February 27th, 7-9pm

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Amelie Chabannes (Brooklyn Based Artist) continues her investigation into the monumental topic of identity. “Vast” follows her 2008 exhibition at Luxe Gallery entitled “My Portrait of Your Identity”. With the current title, the artist is front and center concerning the scope of her limitless topic. Vast conjures up endless vistas, the great sun lit expanse. Chabannes describes, “vast” as directly referring to Baudelaire, whose use of this word imparted the “immensity of the intimate”, which the artist molds and coaxes into the “intensity of the intimate being”. In this exhibition, as in 2008, Chabannes places herself in the hotspot of her inquiries, as well as, taking the view from the outside and often intermingling the two, allowing the viewer a glimpse at the vacillating, vague and often counterintuitive aspects of defining the individual.

Chabannes employs sculpture, drawing, video and installation in her entangled enterprise. All of these offerings have an outspoken tactility, pushing the viewer’s awareness of the works as physical objects and yet, all the while, whispering about our interior, delicately grinding away at our psychology. Referencing the grandeur of the landscape, she builds her pieces mimicking the earth’s processes: fossilization, stratification, glaciation, often using topography, maps and measures. These processes, in turn, quote the layered, multivalent complexities and tectonic shifts of the subconscious and yet simultaneously, oppose it. The wide-open world vs. tiny private thoughts, which we well know are not so tiny. The artist gets at fractured and disrupted identity with several installations and the drawings, “ Oskar, Alma And I #1 and #2”. Oskar Kokoschka was a major Austrian painter who forlornly constructed a doll of his ex-mistress, Alma, to combat his grief over her absence. Chabannes creates dolls, decayed and aged, embedded within a reconstituted emotional land mass, showing the history of a violent impact on the psyche as the revelatory rings inside a tree’s trunk. The artist’s face flickers in and out of the drawn portraits of Oskar and Alma, the interplay confessing her sympathies and own personal disruptions as if a geological remnant.

The artist hints at the complications that arise when rigid categories, inferring technical or bureaucratic systems, are forced upon ever-shifting entities, such as ourselves. In “Anthropometric Self Portrait”, a glass-encased head juts out from the wall. The unobstructed face is partitioned on its surface with official, yet officious looking circles and measurements. A similarly constructed sculpture, “Self Portrait Dream”, is ensconced in a spinous charcoal latticework, obscuring the entire top half of the head. Chabannes very physically posits our clear-eyed definitions against our mind’s eye, the inept category trying to surround the labyrinth. Chabannes subjects squirm and mutate underneath, yet in defiance of miniscule designations and inescapable histories, bristling at reduction. In the age of internet profiles and downloadable status, she seems to be tempting us to cherish our right not to fit in.

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Stephan Stoyanov Gallery is located on the Lower East Side at 29 Orchard Street between Hester & Canal. Hours are Wednesday through Saturday 11am until 6pm, and Sundays Noon until 6pm.

For more information, call (212) 343 4240 or email: stephan@luxegallery.net

Posted from Jon Cronin's Stream Of Consciousness

Feb 16, 2010

Tom, the Concierge of Court Street, Brooklyn at it's Best @overinbrooklyn


Tom was someone who I saw two, three sometimes four times a day. He was a genuine man, who was always willing to chat. When my wife was pregnant with our son, Tom would carry things for us and he always remembered the exact birthday of our son. He would see us months later and tell us that our son was 21 weeks now and he was always correct down to the day. Tom told me he was born in 1945, so I guess he must have been 64 when he died. He was a great part of this neighborhood and will be missed. The neighborhood is Brooklyn and Tom was the neighborhood, "Tom Was/Is Brooklyn". He was always "Doing All Right For a Monday Night" and when he disappeared a few month back, we had a feeling that something was off. The neighborhood changed, but his presence is still felt.

Every night you would find Tom:


Article from NYTimes

Panhandlers in this city are often ignored, stiffed, even reviled, but sometimes, if they hang around long enough and take the right approach, they can work themselves not only into the wallets, but also into the hearts of those they solicit.

Such was the case with Tom, the Concierge of Court Street.

Tom was the guy who held the door as you walked in and out of the Super Deli, outside of which he was a daily fixture, on Court Street between Baltic and Kane Streets in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. He was the guy who offered to carry your shopping bags, or simply offered a bit of conversation. Tips were welcomed but not required.

“Tom was genuinely friendly, even to people who never gave him money,” recalled Ursula Alexander, who lives nearby. “He was good-natured, one of those people in the city who have a big impact, even though we never get to know them.”

So when word spread on Court Street that Tom died last month, he was honored with a sidewalk memorial of posters, flowers and photographs. It was stomach cancer, somebody heard. How old was he? Somewhere around 50, it seemed. Supposedly he lived with his mother in nearby public housing projects: Wyckoff Gardens, was it? Or maybe Gowanus Houses. And what was his last name, again?

He was cheery, talkative, helpful and benign, many said, a secondary character in the daily narrative of this busy street. He would arrive in the afternoon, in time to catch riders streaming up out of the Warren Street exit of the Bergen Street subway station, returning from work in Manhattan.

Court Street memorial.

Tom was no wino, and he was not homeless. He appreciated gifts of food, and would load them into his backpack to bring home at night. When Tom stopped showing up, several months back, his many friends and benefactors on Court Street did not know where to look, or even have a last name to go with.

“I spoke to him every day but I never knew his last name,” said Robin Gurung, who works afternoons and evenings in the grocery store. “No one did. Everyone just knew him as Tom.”

Here is a photo of Robin @joncronin:

Tom would often take dollar bills and walk across the street to Ruben Liquors, to try for bigger winnings. He would buy scratch-off lottery cards, said the owners, Brenda and Rick Ruben.

“If Tom was a drinker, we’d know it,” said Rick Ruben. “He was just a happy-go-lucky guy.”

Ms. Alexander, paying for a bottle of Jack Daniels, looked over.

“Are you talking about Tom?” she asked. “At first I ignored him when he offered to carry my shopping bags, I didn’t know anything about him. But I saw he was good-natured and that’s worth a lot.”

Next to the deli on Court Street is Sam’s Restaurant, now in its 80th year under the same family ownership.

Louis Migliaccio, who took the place over recently from his father, Mario Migliaccio, 82, was doing his billing at one of the tables.

“Why is everyone making such a big deal about this guy?” he said, gesturing out the window toward the sidewalk memorial. “Fifty thousand people walk in here asking about Tom, no one buys nothing.”

The specialty at Sam’s is pizza made in a brick oven. The elder Mr. Migliaccio has been making them himself for nearly 60 years.

On the wall was a sign:

Today’s Menu, Two Choices:
Take It.
Leave It.

Louis Migliaccio talks tough, but he too had a soft spot for Tom. He’d chat with him, maybe give him a sandwich. But when it comes to coddling the poor, he takes after his old man.

“I liked Tom, but I never gave him a penny,” said Mario Migliaccio. “That’s not how you help someone. I came to this country when I was 22, with five dollars on credit. I washed dishes here 18 hours a day, for 20 bucks a week. It’s called working for your money.”

Tom’s death was confirmed recently by a woman who came in to the deli and through tears said she was Tom’s sister. Mr. Gurung offered condolences, and resisted asking for additional information. He had managed to preserve one memory, however: Tom, winking, photographed on his cellphone not too long ago.

Posted from Jon Cronin's Stream Of Consciousness