PRS is pleased to announce a new show to be held in the Hansell Gallery and Auditorium, GRAVEN IMAGE by artist Zhenya Gershman.
Opening Reception: Saturday, September 28th, 5-7pm
Art Panel: Sunday, October 20th, 1-2pm, featuring Pinchas Giller, Ph.D. (American Jewish University), Jack Rutberg (Jack Rutberg Fine Arts) and Zhenya Gershman
Closing Reception: Saturday, November 16th, 4-6pm, featuring classical guitar performance by Fabio Zini
Exhibit Hours: Tuesday 5-7pm, Friday 11am-4pm, and by appointment (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Address: 3910 Los Feliz Blvd., LA, CA 90027
Show dedication: In memory of my friend John Slifko ⏤ your dream is alive! -Zhenya Gershman
Artist Statement: GRAVEN IMAGE is inspired by the Sefer Yetzirah, known as The Book of Creation, one of the earliest surviving books on Jewish mysticism. This group of paintings holds questions more important than answers. To ask a question—is to wonder, to open a door, to see the old in the new way, to engage in a conversation, to embark on a journey without preconceived destination, to discover the unimaginable, to peer into the dark, to be blinded by the light, to challenge the taboos, to follow the destiny. The word Graven itself is directly related to the very root of artistic creation: "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul" (Genesis 2:7, King James Bible). GRAVEN IMAGE is thus a mirror through which the painter invites the viewer to explore the world filled with the "breath of life" together. A particular relevant passage from Sefer Yetzirah is beautifully loaded with meaning and poetry:
Three: Water from Breath.
With it He engraved and carved / [22 letters from] chaos and void / mire and clay
He engraved them like a sort of garden
He carved them like a sort of wall
He covered them like a sort of ceiling
[And He poured snow over them / and it became dust / as it is written
“For to snow He said, ‘Become earth'” (Job 37:6)]
GRAVEN IMAGE merges traditional oil painting with unorthodox sculpture technique application. Experimenting with ceramic tools allows the artist to literally carve out the material and physically engrave into the body of paint. As a result, a sculptural painting⏤a hybrid form of art is developed, stimulating the viewer to experience two-dimensional art in a surprisingly tactile and phenomenological way. This technique facilitates a kind of psychological archaeology in portraiture, challenging the core of a viewer's perception of the very border separating what we call our reality and that of art.
Artist Bio: Zhenya Gershman is an internationally renowned artist. She was born in Moscow and held her 1st solo exhibition in St. Petersburg at age 14. She was selected as a subject of the TV documentary film Our Generation, a project dedicated to searching for the five most talented teenagers in Russia, showing hope for the cultural future of the country. The youngest student to be admitted to Otis Art Institute, Zhenya graduated with Honors and later received her MFA from Art Center College of Design. Today, Gershman's portraits are featured in public and private collections including Douglas Simon and Richard Weisman (she is included in the book Picasso to Pop: The Richard Weisman Collection). Gershman's portrait of Sting was acquired for the permanent collection of the Arte Al Limite Museum in Santiago, Chile. Zhenya participates in important international exhibitions including Art Aspen, Art Miami, and Art Chicago. The GRAMMY MusiCares Foundation selected Gershman to create portraits of Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen. Her exhibition "Larger Than Life" was broadcast by Entertainment Tonight, Extra, and featured in The New York Post. A documentary film, The Model's Artist, highlights Gershman's innovative approach to working with artists' models. In 2000, Gershman was a recipient of ALEX Award in Visual Arts from The National Alliance for Excellence, Honored Scholars and Artists Program, presented by Peter Frank, who is quoted as saying that Gershman's effort evokes not only Whistler's and Sargent's but that from which they took inspiration, Manet's and Velazquez's⏤masters of the figure who in their own ways avoided the banal literalities of their contemporaries for a rendition truer to the vagaries of vision, and (thereby) to the dynamics of human presence.
In addition to her artistic career, Gershman is an independent scholar and a museum educator. She has worked for over a decade at the J. Paul Getty Museum, and has contributed to such exhibitions as Rembrandt's Late Religious Portraits and Rembrandt: Telling the Difference. As a co-Founder and President of Project AWE, a nonprofit foundation for the arts and education, Gershman has dedicated her scholarly and charitable work to provide new dimensions in understanding and experiencing the cultural icons of Western European heritage. Gershman's groundbreaking discovery regarding the presence of a hidden Rembrandt self-portrait was published by Arion, Boston University and was brought to European audiences by Le Monde. She continues to work in her studio and is currently working on a book Dürer's Labyrinth: Melencolia in the Context of Early Modern Knowledge following her article Dürer's Enigma: A Kabbalistic Revelation in Melencolia §I published by Brill's Aries Journal.
WELL BORN: A two-part art, performance and literary salon
Friday August 30th 7pm-10pm
Saturday August 31st 6pm-9pm
A two-part art, performance and literary salon featuring works by Yunuen Rhi, Elizabeth T. Vazquez, Silvi Naçi Vinhay Keo, Sterling Hedges, Ana Estela, and a discussion with Kandis Williams in conjunction with CASSANDRA Press. Over the course of two evenings, artists Kandis Williams, Yunuen Rhi and Elizabeth T. Vazquez present a salon of creative discourse from institutionally othered perspectives using art, film, writing, and performance to reframe quests for knowledge through Black, Brown, Immigrant, and Queer narratives. Friday night will start the event with performances and readings outside in the courtyard. Artist, writer and publisher Kandis Williams will lead a discussion in conjunction with CASSANDRA Press at the Hansell Gallery where multimedia works will also be exhibited. Beverages, snacks, and opportunities to mingle will be provided at the reception outside the gallery space. On Saturday, all video works (including performance documentations from the previous night) will be showcased in the auditorium throughout the evening.
Kandis Williams is an artist, writer, editor, and publisher living and working in Los Angeles and Berlin. She received her BFA from the Cooper Union School of Art, New York and has had recent solo shows in New York, Los Angeles, Baltimore and Vienna. She has an active curatorial and writing practice, and runs CASSANDRA Press with artist Taylor Doran. Her work often explores contemporary critical theory including, but not limited to, racial-nationalism, authority and eroticism. She is also a visiting faculty member at CalArts. Kandis is represented by Night Gallery in Los Angeles.
Yunuen Rhi is a two-spirit martial and performance artist, anthropologist, and healer. Her roots are in Mexico, the United States, and Korea. She has cultivated herself in western, eastern, native medicine pathways and practices as a way to deepen the understanding of “selves.” Rhi’s performance work incorporates ritual and psychomagic elements. Her performance interests lie in social practice as a way to build bridges between performance and the communities with which she interacts.
Elizabeth T. Vazquez is a first-generation, Mexican-American artist, writer and filmmaker from Los Angeles. She received her B.A. in Film at the Arts University of Bournemouth and is a regular attendee at the Philosophical Research Society. Her films have been screened in numerous festivals and spaces around the world—most recently Greece and Mexico. Her work often incorporates deconstructions of logic through text and image discordances.
Silvi Naçi (b.1987, Albania) work with performance, video, sculpture, photography, text, and installation. Working with traumatic memories from their childhood, collective and familial, Naçi investigate gender and cultural identity as it relates to exile, migration, the idea of the illegal body, and citizenship. Naçi hold a dual BFA in Fine Arts and Graphic Design from Suffolk University (2011), and an MFA in Photography + Media from California Institute of the Arts (2019).
Vinhay Keo is originally from Battambang, Cambodia. He received his BFA from Kentucky College of Art + Design at Spalding University and is currently an MFA candidate at the California Institute of the Arts. As an interdisciplinary visual artist, his work examines intersectional identities as an immigrant, a Cambodian-American, a brown-body, and a queer person. His practice unpacks the nuances of trauma in a historical and contemporary context in order to address the marginalization of minorities.
Sterling Hedges was born in Pasadena, CA and lives and works in Los Angeles. They/them hold a BA in Art History from the University of Arizona and are currently an MFA candidate for Art & Technology at the California Institute of Arts.
Ana Estela is a writer born and raised in South Los Angeles to Salvadoran immigrants. She leads writing workshops and meditations at Mostly Angeles, a metaphysical shop based in L.A. Her work at the shop and in her writing aims to hold space for those needing to find their place.