Elissa Levy

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What is my work about?

Using pre-existing objects and images, I search for inherent dualities in visual representations of the masculine and feminine, specifically the qualities that lend themselves to antithetical positioning – power versus weakness, action versus stagnation, glory versus shame, beauty versus ugliness, kindness versus brutality.

Though highly mediated and visually reduced, every object or image retains a certain base amount of information and history that I won’t completely obliterate despite the many possible mutations. Within this method, I upset the balance of the aforementioned qualities to draw out information about our perception and, by extension, our selves.

 

Artist Statement

Taking imagery from newspapers and magazines, I deconstruct the icons of power that populate printed media, such as soldiers, athletes, celebrities and politicians. When their forms are isolated, they become stripped of identifiable cues of influence or fame and reduced to ghost-like apparitions; yet they still retain their posture of authority. Here, soldiers and politicians evoke the two-pronged waging of war from the metaphorical halls of power and the trenches, each isolated from the realities of the other. Athletes and celebrities invoke social hierarchies in which entertainers are cultural idols, and sports matches provide endless dramatizations of the heroic gearing up and going into battle.

The public platform of the newspaper shows us our own fascination not just with glory, but also shame and self-loathing. The shamed figure is remarkably similar in its media depiction, and it is clear that public shaming can bring one fame as well. What are the differences between glory and dishonor? Even suffering loss is celebrated in the media, and we can pin our fears on that person, and hope that they will help assuage our own guilt. When we see the president bow his head in shame for a national crisis, he carries that weight for us.

As a medium that is nearing obsolescence, the newspaper is becoming a relic, a found object to be edited and transformed with cuts, tears, stitching, color and plaster into a makeshift future remnant. Some pieces are crumpled and spray-painted as if they are carefully constructed trash and then presented, or in some cases, reprinted on archival papers to add another layer of construction. Other imagery is cut up and sunk into plaster and hydrocal, evoking fossils or fragments of monuments.

I approach this work with a punk DIY ethos; using craft and everyday materials, I alter not only the shape, but also the context. While aggressively eradicating these figures in their current mass-reproduced form, I am changing them into otherworldly silhouettes that distract from their social constructs and allow us to see the whole of them.

 

EDUCATION
1993
Rhode Island School of Design Providence
Bachelor of Fine Arts

1989-92
Brown University Providence
Liberal Arts

1988, 1992
The American University in Paris
Liberal Arts, Division of Art History

1989
Instituto D’Allende San Miguel D’Allende, Mexico
Studio Art

1988
Parsons School of Art Paris
Studio Art

 

SOLO & TWO PERSON EXHIBITIONS
2008                       
Phantom,
Stonefox Artspace, New York, NY

2006
Purfle; Cal Lane & Elissa Levy, Foley Gallery, New York, NY, 2-person exhibition

2004
Camoufleur, Brooklyn Fireproof Inc., Brooklyn, NY

1998
Symmetry, The Living Room, San Francisco, CA

 

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2015
Coordinated Disregard (upcoming), Terrault Contemporary, Baltimore, MD
In Our Cave We See Shadows (upcoming), Projekt722, Brooklyn, NY

2014
All the News That’s Fit to Print, Center for Contemporary Art, Santa Fe, NM
Out to See, Various locations in the South Street Seaport, NY, Curated by Sara Reisman

2013
The Written Word, John A. Day Gallery, University of South Dakota, Vermillion, SD
Burying the Lede, Momenta Art, Brooklyn, NY
Paper, Mirror, Torn. Brian Morris Gallery, NY, NY

2012
Creative Nonfiction, Kunstalle Galapagos, Brooklyn, NY
Quantum Effect, The Active Space, Brooklyn, NY
Wise Blood, Field Projects, NY
Cut-Up, Storefront Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
Permanent Collection, Nancy Margolis Gallery, NY NY

2011
Splitting Infinity, Studio Salon Series, curated by David Gibson

2010
What is left, Curatorial Research Lab@Winkleman Gallery, NY. Curated by Rachel Gugelburger

Painting with Pictures, Casita Maria Center for Arts and Education, Bronx, NY Curated by David Gibson, Savannah Spirit and Asya Geisberg

2009
NEVERandagain, International Studio and Curatorial Program, Brooklyn (ISCP), NY curated by Elissa Levy
All Suffering to End Soon!, Callicoon Fine Arts, Callicoon, NY
Kayosties with Elissa Levy and Bjorn Meyer-Ebrecht, Pocket Utopia, Brooklyn, NY

2008
Enantiomorphic Chamber, NURTUREart Gallery, Brooklyn, NY, Curated by Kevin Regan and Christopher Howard

2007
One Day We Shall Control the Sun, The Arsenal Gallery, New York, NY
Playing With Fire, Texas Firehouse, LIC, NY

2006
Gimme Shelter,
Shelter Island, NY, Curated by Megan Riley
Altoids Living Spaces 2006, Exhibition of New American Design, Curated by Dave Alhadef & Jason Miller, Brooklyn, NY
Other than Art, G Fine Art, Curator’s Office, Provisions Library, Washington, DC, curated by Milena Kalinovska

2005
Altoids 7th Annual Curiously Strong Collection,  Consolidated Works, Seattle, WA
Blue Star Arts Complex, San Antonio, TX
Soo Visual, Minneapolis, MN
New Museum Of Contemporary Art, New York, NY
Luckman Center Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

2004
Gifted,
The Future Perfect, Brooklyn, NY
Shape-Shifter, Emerging artists at audioEngine, New York, NY curated by Elissa Levy
Extreme Diversity, Great Neck Arts Center, Great Neck, NY

2003
Wish for Color, Presented by Gen Art and Banana Republic, Tribute, NY, New York and online at  www.BananaRepublic.com
Breaking Ground, White Columns, New York, NY curated by Lauren Ross
Scope New York ’03, Art Fair at the Dylan Hotel, New York, NY

2002
Bodies and Forms, Art Under the Bridge Festival, Brooklyn, NY

1998  
Chateaux Marmont International Art Fair,
Santa Monica
Museum of Art, West Hollywood, CA

 

RESIDENCIES
Scottish Sculpture Workshop, 2013, Lumsden, Scotland
The Glenfiddich Artists in Residence Programme 2006, Dufftown, Scotland

 

SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPGHY
Kathleen Roberts, “Newsprint Works are Inspired by New York Times,” The Albuquerque Journal, Friday January 24, 2014 (picture).
Weidman, Paul, “News Prints: Artists Transform The New York Times”, Pasatiempo, January 24, 2014.
Smith, Roberta. “Burying the Lede: News as Art,” The New York Times, October 18, 2013, p. C25.
Downes, Lawrence. “The Writing on the Wall,” The New York Times, October 20, 2013, p SR12.
Cowan, Sarah. “All the Art That’s Fit to Print,” Hyperallergic.com, October 14, 2013.
Hitchings, Jen. “The Quantum Effect at The Active Space Brings a Touch of Mystery,” BushwickDaily.com, January 14, 2013.
“Cut Up and Julie Torres, Ghost in the Machine, at Storefront Bushwick,” Design Porteur, June 8, 2012.
Hedstrom, Sofia and Schori, Anna. Modemanifestet, The New Fashion Manifesto, (Foreword by Vivienne Westwood), features “Sewing Social” organized by Elissa Levy, 2011, (picture).
Rubenstein, Bradley. “All of This and Nothing,” Culture Catch, www.culturecatch.com, December 12, 2010.
Short, Aaron. “Pocket Utopia Stumbles through Williamsburg,” New York Post, November 17, 2009.
Reviews, Art Review, April 2009, p.96
Neyenesch, Cassandra. “Enantiomorphic Chamber” The Brooklyn Rail, March 2008, online (picture).
Glickman, Aaron. Arts & Culture Feature, SocialMiami.com, April 2008, online (pictures).
Lawrence, Sidney. “Capital Roundup,” Artnet,com, May 2006.
Cohen, David. Artworld Digest Magazine “Unambiguous”, 2006, p.11 (picture).
Dawson, Jessica. “Art That Seeks Its Higher Purpose,” The Washington Post, April 1, 2006, p. C01.
Abbe, Mary. “Curiously Fun,” Minneapolis Star Tribune, June 17, 2005.
Goddard, Dan R. “Altoids Gives Art Show Breath of Fresh Air,” San Antonio Express-News, March 13, 2005.
Isono, Nobue. 2005 New York Ateliers, 2005, p 14-19. (book)
Farr, Sheila. “Altoids: A Refreshing Mixture of Work by Talked-About Young Artists,” The Seattle Times, January 23, 2005.
Chen, Aric. “Generation Next,” Surface, November 2004, Issue #50, p. 64-6.
Kahn, Eve M. “Power to the Paper,” I.D., November 2004, p.86-9.
Wolff, Zoë. “Renaissance Fair,” TimeOut New York, June 3-10, 2004, Issue No. 453, p.46.
Ross, Lauren. “Warcraft,” NY Arts Magazine, Vol. 9 No. 5/6, 2004.
Harris, Jane. “Breaking Ground,” TimeOut New York, October 16-23, 2003, Issue No. 420, p.83.
Gibson, David. “Featured Artist’s Portfolio,“ articlemagazine.com, Fall 1999 edition.
Berry, Colin. “Top Picks Review,” Citysearch San Francisco, citysearch.com, October 1998.

 

COLLECTIONS
The AltoidsÒ 7th Annual Curiously Strong Collection, part of the New Museum of Contemporary Art, NY, permanent collection
The Glenfiddich Collection, Dufftown, Scotland

 

RELATED PROJECTS

2014
Limited Edition of hand sewn prints with Field Projects, NY

2012
David Bown Projects, 3rd SemiAnnual Competition, featured group of 25 artists, www.davebownprojects.com

2010
Visionaire 2010, A Survey of Art in the Year 2010, calendar curated by 52 influential figures, featured artist, artwork featured in the week curated by Anne Ellegood
Sewing Social, a monthly series of events where people are invited to wear clothing that needs repair and a special team of darners mends the clothing on one’s person; held at various locations including Robert Goff Gallery, NY and Morgan Lehman Gallery, NY

2008
CAKE Magazine: Outhwith, cover image, curated by Hilary Nicoll and Claudia Zeiske, Scotland.

2005
Tour T-Shirt, The AltoidsÒ 7th Annual Curiously Strong Collection,
Featured artist for annual t-shirt that accompanies the exhibition tour

2004
Soldiers Symmetry Wallpaper,
Wallpaper of own design installed in and sold exclusively at The Future Perfect, Brooklyn, NY

2001
KIDSART Interactive Coloring Book for Children, published by
Clifford•Smith Gallery; Boston, MA, curated by Bradley Rubenstein

 

CURATORIAL PROJECTS

2011-2012
InContext Tours, NY, A series of artists’ studio tours around the New York City area with Elizabeth Tenenbaum

2011
Pratt Harlem Project, NY, curated by Elissa Levy and Heather Darcy Bhandari

2009
NEVERandagain, ISCP, Brooklyn, NY curated by Elissa Levy featuring Alisa Baremboym, Balam Bartolomé, Rhys Coren, Rico Gatson, Rena Leinberger, Elissa Levy, Sam Martineau, Björn Meyer-Ebrecht, Austin Thomas and Ian Umlauf

2007
Alex Da Corte, I Attach Myself to You, Stonefox Artspace, New York, NY solo exhibition curated by Elissa Levy

2005
Souvenir, Exhibition of emerging artists at audioEngine, New York, NY curated by Elissa Levy

2004
Shape-Shifter, Exhibition of emerging artists at audioEngine, New York, NY curated by Elissa Levy
neverland, Exhibition of emerging artists at audioEngine, New York, NY curated by Elissa Levy
Gifted, The Future Perfect, Brooklyn, NY, curated by Elissa Levy