Sneaking into the monument lot from the building on the right
December 13, 2018 - February 03, 2019
Opening Reception: Thursday, December 13th, 6-8pm
Spencer Brownstone Gallery is pleased to present Sneaking into the monument lot from the building on the right, a solo exhibition of work by Sonya Blesofsky. The exhibition will feature site-specific installation and sculpture based on the history of the space and surrounding neighborhood.
“This is the city as it is.
Hot summer pavements,
the children at play...
the buildings in their naked stone...
the people, without makeup.” (Naked City intro)
Blesofsky’s artistic practice is truly specific to site. The making of her work only comes after intense research and on-site investigation into the exhibition space as well and the surrounding locale. After combing through historic archives at the library, online probing, and physical inspection of the Lower East Side on and around Suffolk Street, she found that the gallery was formerly an open lot to a headstone business called Forsyth Monument Works.
In reference to the objects that were once stored in the space, Blesofsky erects monuments of her own. The outdoor sculpture, Monuments (Tripartite Arch), alludes to the standard arched tombstone shape as well as the tripartite windows that make up the upper floors of the nearby Rivington House --a building embroiled in development-related scandal. Like many features in New York City, the illusion of permanence is undone by closer inspection -the back being held up by loose scaffolding.
In Fenestration 1, Blesofsky excavates the windows that once lined the adjacent store. The outlines of these windows are still visible on our backyard wall, clearly sealed with cinder blocks on a brick wall. This patchwork architecture, as Blesofsky finds, is evident throughout the city and most notable on the lower east side due to the variety of unique moldings. Lining the opposite wall are arches from Fenestration 2, examples of a nearly extinct method of in-situ mold making. The arches float high on the wall framing a long gone phantom doodad. Blesofsky’s process itself - inquiry, reduction, and addition - mimics those methods that make the city’s physical history.
Blesofsky received her MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and BA from UC Santa Cruz. She has received numerous residencies and fellowships, including Urban Glass, the Lower East Side Printshop, Museum of Arts and Design, CUE Art Foundation, Smack Mellon, Dieu Donne, and MacDowell Colony. Blesofsky’s work has been shown at galleries in Miami, San Francisco, Kansas City, Minneapolis, New Orleans, and Washington DC. Blesofsky’s work has been written about in The Village Voice, San Francisco Chronicle, New York Times, NYFA Current, Art Fag City, Hand Papermaking Magazine and The Brooklyn Rail. Blesofsky will be a Iaspis Grantholder at the Swedish Arts Grants Committee’s residency in Stockholm, in 2019. Born in Boston and raised in California, she currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.