In 2007, at its location at 36 Orchard, Miguel Abreu Gallery mounted Regroup Show, an exhibition meant to highlight the then burgeoning scene of artists showing together and side by side in the Lower East Side. Exploring the diverse modes of working and broad range of expressive capacities of this talented group, the show was a striking inquiry into just how one might understand shared space, and sharing space.
Fast forward fourteen years, and this focus on creative friction and interaction seems more significant than ever, following up on a year of social turmoil, pandemic crises and political friction, all drawn from the wake of a global pandemic and the end of a presidential administration that even in its last days continued to threaten the democratic values of the country. Now, with the Covid-19 vaccine already being distributed, Regroup Show offers a chance to pause, temporize, and reenergize before a new phase of potentially innovative, inclusive, and yes expansive cultural activity finds a way to take root.
The show takes progression and evolution as its text and credo, the proposal to create an opportunity to bring recent works by artists in the gallery’s community into immediate proximity, reaffirming the gallery space as a site for exchange, and simply put, a place to regroup. Accordingly, the exhibition draws on a range of artists mining the current moment, and a range of aesthetic projects that makes the show all the more compelling. For instance, the viewer is promptly greeted by a peculiar, vibrating column of wood by Flint Jamison, while nearby, one is confronted with an unnerving set of hands by Jean-Luc Moulene, distended, bloated arms and hands that give the work an increasingly bizarre sensation of bodily dread. By contrast, more whimsical pieces by Dana Lok and Matthew Ronay give the show a sudden twist towards the playful and graphical.
Moving throughout, one is greeted by a range of concepts and aesthetics, a welcome and refreshing reminder of the voices and perspectives that have sustained and survived during such a challenging time. As the world aims to move beyond a year like 2020, Miguel Abreu’s show is a welcome reminder to take a moment for yourself.
The show closes April 17th.
– D. Creahan
Miguel Abreu: Regroup Show [Exhibition Site]