571 Projects is pleased to announce Storylines: Works on Paper by Sally Gil and Jimmie James. This Artsy online exclusive exhibition sets up a dialogue between Gil's intricate, colorful collages and James' contemplative acrylic and graphite works on watercolor paper. Intrinsically poetic and intuitive storytellers, each artist creates non-linear narratives in this selection of small scale works on paper. James' simplification of form and restrained composition leans toward abstraction, while Gil's complex works are anchored in our concrete world of things and places.
Through their dedication to an intuitive art making practice, both Gil and James seek to reveal truths. Gil's work references landscapes that are built with collaged elements and paint. Playful compositional strategies belie the work's structural integrity. Seen from afar, there is a sense of the cosmos, the Big Bang, star dust. Up close, thoughtfully juxtaposed elements engage us with detail and intimacy. Choosing to paint over, embellish, or riff off of these pieces, she fully appropriates and transforms the found imagery. Employing happenstance in pursuit of authenticity, at the heart of her art making lies trust in the process and the materials at hand. In Tall Mumm, (2017, collage, acrylic and casein on paper, 12 x 7 inches) flowers become comet-like, soaring into outer space, light radiates from stars, connecting and intersecting, and a cornucopia of fruits and blossoms creates sumptuous surface texture. Of the Past Too/ Prospect (2017, collage, acrylic and casein on paper, 10.25 x 15.75 inches) presents a surreal landscape of shifting scale: tiny ice fishers in the lower left corner are dwarfed by jewel-like patterning of leaves, fruit and blossoms.
While Sally Gil's works engage the viewer with visual wordplay and unexpected juxtapositions, James' layered and painted backgrounds set the stage for automatic drawing and writing: recognizable, simplified outlines of figures, boats, birds and houses sparely populating the image. Words, etched into the painted surface, offer up fragments - of dialogue, song lyrics, poetry - we are not sure. A confrontation of the angular and abstract with the organic and rawly human is at the heart of James' paintings. Elliptically narrative titles, such as this is no ordinary life, (2017, acrylic and graphite on watercolor paper, 13 x 13 inches) are poetically elusive, as though excerpted from a dialogue. James' paintings always exhibit a strong sense of emotional integrity and truth. In good night two child like figures lean into each other as they walk toward a simply drawn bed. The artist captures a sweet, trusting moment at the end of day, eloquently rendering a loving relationship through his economic line. Sweetness is counterbalanced by the raw immediacy of James' line.
Brooklyn-based visual artist Sally Gil was born and raised in Bennington, VT. She received her Bachelor of Arts at UC San Diego and her Masters of Fine Arts at Hunter College, CUNY. She has had solo exhibitions at Helen Day Art Center, Stowe, VT; The Bennington Museum, Bennington, VT; Geary Contemporary, NYC; 571 Projects, NYC; University of North Carolina, Charlotte; and Dean Bergen Gallery, Brooklyn. Her work has been featured in group exhibitions at The Fleming Museum, Burlington, VT; The Brooklyn Museum; The Rotunda Gallery, Brooklyn; and White Columns, NYC, among other venues. The artist was a Fellow at Apexart (2013) to São Paolo, Brazil and a Visiting Artist at The University of North Carolina, Charlotte (2010) and the University of Tennessee at Knoxville (2001). Her work was included in the US State Department's Arts in Embassies program, in Brazzaville, Congo (2014-2016). She is a 2018 recipient of a New York City MTA public art commission for the Avenue U station on the N line, Brooklyn.
Jimmie James is a poet, painter, actor and singer/songwriter. Brooklyn born, this renaissanced artist has long been a fixture of New York City's art, theater and music scene, showing at a number of galleries including 571 Projects, Andrea Schwartz Gallery, Boltax Gallery, and Thomas Werner Gallery, to name a few. He has performed in works by theatrical luminaries including Richard Maxwell, Christina Masciotti, Danny Hoch, and Susan Lori Parks, and has composed for theater and film, where projects include Seth Zvi Rosenfeld's "Everything's Turning into Beautiful," Amos Poe's "Empire II." Jimmie James' works are present in a number of private collections. Recently returned from gallery exhibitions and performances in Japan, Thailand and Spain, he currently lives and works in Berlin, Germany.