Works at New Exhibit ‘A≠A’ at Panepinto Galleries Are Not What They Seem

Doreen McCarthy's "Sunray Knot"

Some paintings are not paintings and some sculptures are not sculptures. This seemingly contradictory truth is explored and put in the spotlight at Panepinto Galleries’ new exhibit, “A≠A.”

The show is part of curator Kara Rooney’s exploration of contemporary artists’ departure from the conventional formalist idea that painters ought to work with paint, sculptors with sculpture, etc. In this old thought, Rooney says paint was to remain true to the shape and flatness of the canvas, as would sculpture to the nature of its medium.

Today, however, she says the lines between all media is blurred. Works by three local artists–Glenn Garver of Hoboken and Carolyn Salas and Doreen McCarthy of New York City–that aim at crossing or sitting on these boundaries are featured in “A≠A.”

“(These artists) work with these formal principles of visual perception and really challenge what the materials could be,” says Rooney.

Highlights of the show include McCarthy’s inflatable sculptures (one of which, “Sunray Knot,” is seen above right).

“They’re going to be really wonderful in the space. They’re going to appear like extremely large, imposing structures but they’re inflatable and have a lightness to them…And with the knotted form, there’s no beginning and no end. It’s not really a sculpture in a sense…it’s not a material we usually associate with sculpture, but it meets the definition of sculpture because it exists in the round,” says Rooney.

Garver, on the other hand, is a trained artist who knows all the rules of painting but finds ways to defy them. “He comes out of tradition and is using that language, but is pushing against it at the same time with his materials…and (isn’t) bound by those parameters. He uses found materials, spray paint, enamel, and lots of different things,” says Rooney.

The curator says the show is more than just a pretty display and prompts art aficionados and casual art lovers alike to think on a deeper level.

“The slippage that happens between the material form and what’s presented in this show is an interesting allegory for the contemporary world we’re in,” she says. “We’re constantly being presented with something that appears to be what it is, but ultimately is something else. There’s this play between reality and illusion, fact and fiction, that we’re constantly navigating in our everyday lives.

“It’s wonderful when we can look at a tangible object that acts as a reminder of that constant reassessing of the world around us, which is most often done subconsciously.”

“A≠A” opens with a reception on Friday, Sept. 27, from 6 pm to 9 pm at Panepinto Galleries, located on the fourth floor of 371 Warren St. The show will be on display through Nov. 24. For more information, visit the gallery website.

Photo courtesy of Kara Rooney

Summer Dawn Hortillosa

is a freelance arts and entertainment writer whose work has appeared in the Jersey City Independent, The Jersey Journal, the International and other publications. She is also a creative writer and theatrical director.