FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 23, 2008

PRESS CONTACT: Craig Hensala at Scenic, 212 608 5999

Potential Objection

Paintings by Alma Hesse* and Istvan Ferencz*

October 2 – November 8, 2008

Opening reception: Thursday, October 2, 6 – 8 pm

SLAG is pleased to present “Potential Objection,” paintings by Alma Hesse* and Istvan Ferencz*.

Istvan Ferencz paints small flower still lifes on felt and large works on canvas that depict scenes of a hazy urban industrial wasteland. Though executed in oil and charcoal, the paintings have a spare, direct quality that suggests over-sized drawings or watercolors. The pared down quality of the rendering is echoed in the mood of these urban reveries: the melancholic passersby who inhabit the paintings are unknowable, their faces are hidden, their individual personae are as mute as the walls in the barren landscapes that surround them.

Alma Hesse’s large oil paintings transport viewers into a candy-colored world of sexual fetishes. The works present staged sexual scenarios ranging from a raunchy line-up of Rockettes-like bared butts to a lingerie-wearing priest and a dildo-strapped woman. With a thick impasto, these heavily worked canvases have an almost sculptural quality; presented against highly colored, abstract planes, the figures graphic sexual antics are disconcertingly self-conscious. Hesse masks each scene: the action either takes place “off-stage” or is obscured in swirling clouds of abstract painting (perhaps an allusion to torn subway signage or the ripped pages of a porn magazine). And similar to Ferencz’s paintings, these figures appear stripped of emotion.

“There is much that could be objected to in this exhibition, most obviously its ambiguous nature, but ultimately this endeavor enables the viewer to make a case for paintings that are free from the confines of a pre-existing context. It should be acknowledged that the artists are presenting their work here through constructed identities....”

“Identity is shaped in part by external forces beyond our control, creating individuals who are wholly unique, but undeniably interchangeable. Our need for human interaction is a constant, yet we are continuously reminded of our solitary positions in this world. Who we aim to be and what we reveal remain in conflict.”

- from the catalog essay by Samantha Sterling**

An illustrated catalog including an essay by Samantha Sterling**, will be published in conjunction with the exhibition.

SLAG Gallery specializes in contemporary Eastern European art and is operated by owner/director Irina Protopopescu.

*These artists are painting under assumed identities.

** Samantha Sterling is the nom de plume of a New York-based arts practitioner.

SLAG Gallery is located at 548 West 28th Street, 2nd fl. (between 10th and 11th Avenues).

Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 11 am to 6 pm.

For press inquiries and reproductions contact Craig Hensala at Scenic: 212 608 5999.

For general inquiries contact the gallery at 212 967 9818.