Fountain House Gallery – the premier venue in New York City representing artists living with mental illness – announces the exhibition Compulsive Genius: Works by Fountain House Studio Resident Artists.
Compulsive Genius is curated by Suzanne Lemakis, Art Historian, former Director of the Citi art collection, and longtime member of the Fountain House Gallery Advisory Board, and by Karen Gormandy, Director of Fountain House Studio.
In a joint statement, Lemakis and Gormandy said, “In defining ‘genius,’ we cannot ignore the behavior that goes into producing results: passion, focus, and dedication. The eight artists whose work is featured in this exhibition go to their palettes daily and are never far away from possibility – the possibility in what they are working on now or the possibility of something they envision in the future.”
Gormandy, who has worked extensively with these artists over a number of years at Fountain House studio in Long Island City, provided insight into their processes.
Christine Albane surrounds herself with canvases, fabric, and paint. Canvases are used or repurposed; flowers and other natural elements are often present. Tranquil landscapes and nature scenes emerge from meticulous felting, with care applied to each trinket, each piece of gold. Albane has an agenda: It is to uplift, and she does so beautifully and often.
Miguel Colón is one of the Studio's earlier artists. His eight-foot-wide mural piece bears the influence of Mexican muralists such as Diego Rivera. Painstakingly and meticulously composed, each vignette was chosen to illustrate a recognizable event that occurred during a period of unrest in America.
The cityscapes of Roger Jones spotlight buildings and people. His works on canvas are created with markers, found objects, and acrylic paint. With a repetition of line-drawn buildings and faces of New Yorkers, Jones brings to life the crowded passages encountered through our walks to the store, the subway. They are the same and they are different. They are muted or bold, evoking how our mood obscures them. On any given day, we care – or don’t – because we’re distracted; on another day, we might see things that we had never before noticed.
Anthony Newton makes powerful street art that harks back to the early days of graffiti and ‘tagging.’ He employs strong, bold colors and sweeping, confident brush strokes. There is no mistaking Newton's signature style.
Gary Peabody finds something that inspires and something that works, then he returns to it again and again. His piece depicting a boat on placid water is haunting, like a beautiful childhood memory. It repeats as a dream and a longing.
Angela Rogers creates her pieces by wrapping. The featured piece, Andromeda, was many months in the making. During those months Rogers wrapped, unwrapped and rewrapped, made decisions about colors that sparkled or shone, about thick or thin yarn, about the selection of jewels and trinkets that reflect an expression, and chose a headpiece that spoke of myth or majesty as Andromeda came to life.
Alyson Vega is singular in the application of fabric in her work. It is a singularity that is far from simple. Utilizing a complexity of textures and patterns, Vega’s work can be woven, intertwined, stitched down or glued, resulting in a distinctive cohesiveness.
For vermilion, the world is full of potential. She redefines the mundane or the discarded. Objects are repurposed, giving them a new lease on life. Objects that could populate shelves are instead hung, displayed sideways, dyed, reshaped, or presented in surprising groupings.
This program is funded, in part, by generous support from the Renate, Hans and Maria Hofmann Trust, and the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund.