The Jam 3.0

Andrea Bergart Matt Phillips Meghan Brady Tara Geer Peter LaBier Kyle Staver Janice Nowinski July 8 - August 15, 2014

“It’s a F.U.N.K. Box… a F.U.N.K. box.”
– The Jam- Graham Central Station

Andrea Bergart, Matt Phillips, Meghan Brady,Tara Geer, Peter LaBier, Kyle Staver and Janice Nowinski. The exhibition draws its name from a famous breakbeat hit by 70s funk outfit Graham Central Station.

The Jam is designed as a total painted environment.A mural by Andrea Bergart and Matt Phillips, and a sound component by the chill-wave band Color set the stage for an eclectic mixture: half DIY geomet- ric abstraction and half figurative painting and works on paper.

This exhibition expands on SHFAP’s installation “Meta-Decorative” for the Scope Art Fair 2012 – where Andrea Bergart designed a geometric mural for the walls of the booth, inspired by Pendleton patterns, which was in turn hung with contemporary paintings, works on paper and textiles that con- nected to a home-grown geometric tradition. Less homogeneous in its vision,The Jam creates a synco- pated space, like a free-ranging jam session.While some of the works in the show harmonize with the painted decorative environment, others representational works form a kind of earthly second line

Included in the mix of paintings, drawings, mural and music are representatives of several traditions. Andrea Bergart, Matt Phillips and Meghan Brady all share an affinity for funky DIY abstraction that draws upon decorative traditions. Bergart’s vibrant paintings are infused with an energetic rhythm that is reminiscent of West African textiles. Matt Phillips paints boldly colorful abstractions as well, yet his geometry retains a softness more related to Gees Bend style quilting. Both are active in the Brooklyn pop-up art scene. Phillips has also previously collaborated with Meghan Brady, whose abstract images combine underlying geometric structure with spontaneous whimsy.All three artists previously studied at Boston University.

Tara Geer and Peter LaBier both dig into drawing as a medium: Geer exclusively and LaBier to great effect. Geer’s large-scale charcoal drawings recall Cy Twombly and Joan Mitchell. Geer does not draw nameable things, but rather gets so close to her subjects that they become abstract.Whether render- ing frayed sock or a bus depot, Geer gives voice to the beauty and complexity in the commonplace and small. She also teaches drawing (both in classes and individually, as she does with the filmmaker Andre Gregory); Geer will hold a drawing workshop in the gallery on Friday August 3rd at 2pm. Like Geer, LaBier pays careful attention to the every day. His colored ink drawings of flower bunches have a wiry, virtuosic thicket-like density of line. LaBier is also the frontman for the darkwave band Pychobuildings.

Close friends and figurative painters, Kyle Staver and Janice Nowinski make work in direct conversa- tion with the history of painting. Staver’s playful, figurative compositions evoke the painterly qualities of Matisse, Bonnard and David Park while they often take there compositional underpinnings from earlier masters. Her image of a boy on a rope swing in a dark wood reads like a mix of Dana Schutz and Elie Nadelman, simultaneously personal, humorous and mythic. Janice Nowinski’s feel for paint is reminis- cent of Edouard Manet and the Bay Area group. Her paintings have a self-aware wit that can be seen in her transcriptions of historical works. “Recumbent III,” her transcription of Boucher’s reclining nude (included here) was a pivotal painting for her:“I came across the odalisque by Boucher…all of a sudden I realized what was missing from my work: a sense of humor and also the possibility that sex could be a great painting subject for me.”

Like two sides of a 45rpm single dividing a long song into two parts,The Jam is the extended funky breakdown section that follows the more conventional stating of song themes on side 1 stated by the Meta-Decorative at Scope.The Jam creates a dense multi-layered funky space that layers painting and drawing over painting.

Simultaneously with The Jam, SHFAP presents in the rear gallery a single important 1959 work by the American Abstract painter Alfred Jensen (1903-1981.) The painting dating from the period of Jensens’s investigation into the Spanish Rennaissance forsakes the artists alternating black and white checker- boards for diagonal patterning derived from Moorish geometric motifs.