Brooklyn’s star is rising: a behemoth of arts and culture for hundreds of years now, downtown Brooklyn especially is experiencing a cultural resurgence and a new place in the public’s imagination. In the shadow of the hip Barclays Center lies CoLab-Factory, an engaging co-working space that has built out a wide array of programming for the community. This programming is forward thinking enough to include arts and cultural offerings in the mix, and the current exhibition in the space’s gallery, entitled but what about me?, succeeds as an effervescent and electrifying foray into the works of rising art stars Jule Korneffel and Manuel Angeja. Curated by Alex Maldonado Projects, the exhibit claims the gallery’s space as a site for intervention and declaration: bright colors and enigmatic text greet delighted visitors to the space. The exhibit creates surprising modes of engaging with the space in thoughtful, creative ways.
Layering, obscuring, and text obfuscation are key elements in works by Manuel Angeja. His work creates unstable meditations that lie somewhere between abstraction and text-based art: there are hints of both, and yet his work is ultimately undefinable. The nuance of brushstroke and elegance of minimal yet thoughtful layers combine to exude an ethereal effect. The combination of materials that the artist employs in his work - oil and graphite on panel/canvas - is well suited to serve this sense of layered abstraction. While the formal elements are easily definable - painterly, minimal color palette - the approach the artist takes in this endeavor is harder to uncover. This ambiguity results in stunning body of work by the artist - Angeja mounts a coup in this series as part of but what about me?
Jule Korneffel takes a relational approach to the environment in which her work is being shown, indicated by her wall paintings (sans canvas) and sculptural response to elements within the surrounding space. Her interventions directly marking the immediate area surrounding the visitor flatten the space between the artists’ work and the eye of the viewer. Korneffel’s works have piquant titles, but the works themselves take a serious consideration of formality and its limitations on the picture place. Some works include patterns of color across the canvas while other pieces play with bright color combinations across 2-3 color families. Korneffel exhibits a keen insight into space and dimension, relying on brief painterly strokes to delineate the flatness of the picture plane. Her unique approach to creating environments in which her works can speak results in a truly stunning collection of artwork for this exhibit.
The vibrancy and light, contemporary touch of but what about me? is due to Alex Maldonado’s fresh approach to both site and artists: she’s captured the right balance between environmental response and the germination of new ideas, transforming the space itself to fit works on view by Jule Korneffel and Manuel Angeja. Maldonado’s thoughtful combination of abstract and literal work across multiple dimensions with impact, bringing the bright young things to light in downtown Brooklyn. And really - where better to showcase the rising stars that in that rising crown jewel of Brooklyn itself, downtown Brooklyn?
but what about me? is on view through Sunday, May 28th at Co-Lab Factory, 14 DeKalb Ave (Floor 3) in Brooklyn. Hours are Saturday-Sunday 1-5 pm with additional hours upon request by contacting Alex Maldonado. Come and visit while it’s hot!