Quality of Life: Aliza Nisenbaum, Claudia Cortinez + Carlos Vela-Prado, Daniel Bejar, Ethan Breckenridge, and Reka Reisinger
Curated by Allison Galgiani
In collaboration with the Rema Hort Mann Foundation
June 19 – July 19, 2014
Opening Reception: Thursday, June 19, 6-9 pm
Bosi Contemporary, in collaboration with the Rema Hort Mann Foundation, is proud to present Quality of Life, a group exhibition featuring Daniel Bejar, Ethan Breckenridge, Claudia Cortinez + Carlos Vela-Prado, Aliza Nisenbaum, and Reka Reisinger, all past recipients of the Rema Hort Mann Foundation Emerging Artist Grant. The meaning, significance, and success of an individual life defies a single definition, and each artist contends with these themes in their own way, demonstrating the complexity and never ending way we seek to quantify a life well lived.
The artists in this exhibition, whether directly or obliquely, reflect, challenge, or illuminate the way in which we measure or choose to define the quality of life. Whether spurred by the unyielding American mandate—to live better, to prosper and succeed, or driven by a spiritual inclination towards a more enlightened state, the concept of “quality” is a rubric used to measure something intangible. Delving into issues of nationalistic propaganda, personal identity and false idolatry, the artists explore what it means to be human; the things that drive and console us, and the histories we contrive to prove that there is meaning despite the chaos. The exhibition captures the indefatigable spirit of life and the artists’ own concepts of humanity, through various signifiers and conventions both familiar and devised by the artist themselves.
Daniel Bejar’s work is informed by his identity and response to the proliferation of media and propagandist messages that consciously and subconsciously permeate our surroundings. In his “Rec-elections” series, Bejar focuses on the tendency of political candidates to rely on clichéd and vague terminology in order to secure support, taking advantage of the public’s knee-jerk reaction to nostalgic and idealistic views of the “American Dream.” What initially seems to be a cynical outlook, the pieces themselves do not drip of contention for these mottos, but rather resolutely reaffirm the fact that we still desperately want to believe them.
Daniel received the Rema Hort Mann Foundation Emerging Artist Grant in 2013 and holds an MFA in sculpture from SUNY New Paltz and a BFA from the Ringling College of Art & Design, Sarasota, FL. His work has been exhibited internationally and was recently selected for the 5x5 Castelló 13 International Contemporary Art Prize in Castelló, Spain and the upcoming “Crossing Brooklyn” exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum. Other exhibitions venues include El Museo Del Barrio, SITE Santa Fe, Artnews Projects, Berlin, and the Bronx Museum of the Arts. Daniel currently lives and works in Brooklyn
Ethan Breckenridge’s “prisms” are perfectly contained representations of life, captured under glass. Like miniature biospheres, Breckenridge has created the ideal environment for his plant specimens to live and grow. Each microcosm will develop and thrive, but is simultaneously universally reliant on someone to cultivate it. Rife with connotations of survival and those elements that we can or cannot control in our own life, the prisms speak to a desire to create order and semblance to an otherwise chaotic life mechanism.
Ethan was a Rema Hort Mann Foundation Emerging Artist Recipient in 2010, and received his MFA from Columbia University and his BFA from the School of Visual Arts, New York. He has shown both nationally and internationally, including solo exhibitions in San Diego, Chicago, and New York, and group exhibitions in London, Rome, Lisbon, Los Angeles, and New York. Ethan currently lives and works in New York City.
The collaborative photographs and sculptures by Claudia Cortinez and Carlo Vela-Prado are presented as archival documents of a moment in time isolated from the present and the past. New York’s Governor’s Island’s unique history and relationship with Manhattan creates a liminal space, where artifacts act as the only connection to an ambiguous past. While inspired by real objects, Cortinez and Vela-Prado’s sculptures are almost entirely fabricated, aged and photographed to act as a proxy for the real, and left up to the viewer to decide what is authentic and what is imagined.
Claudia was a Rema Hort Mann Foundation Emerging Artist Grant Recipient in 2013, and she works collaboratively and independently. Together they were recipients of the 2013 Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Governor’s Island Residency program. Separately, they have exhibited in and around New York. Both artists received their MFAs in sculpture from Yale University, and both are currently based in Brooklyn.
Aliza Nisenbaum’s paintings give equal weight to her own and her shared history, taking cues from art historical conventions of portraiture and still-life, while also very much rooted in the contemporaneous moment. Working with undocumented Mexican immigrants, Nisenbaum listens to their stories of their experiences and sacrifices they endured in the hopes for a better life. Each of her works possesses the living spirit of her subjects and this pursuit.
Aliza was a recipient of the Rema Hort Mann Foundation Emerging Artist Grant in 2013.
She was born in Mexico City and received her MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2005. Recently she has exhibited in New York City, Detroit, Chicago, Dublin, and Mexico City, and will have a solo exhibition at White Columns, New York later this year. She currently lives and works in Brooklyn.
During a number of trips across the United States, Reka Reisinger documented her visits to tourist-approved destinations by photographing a cutout of herself in real places. The life-size cutout inhabits the memories of these journeys—as she travelled, her avatar was the recipient of the experience. Focusing instead on the documentation and capturing the memory, she realized that she was entirely removed from her experience of a time and place. The viewer experiences these memories as she did—removed and distant from the actual experience, raising implications of how we choose to record and measure experience and success in our lives.
Reka Reisinger was the recipient of the Rema Hort Mann Foundation Emerging Artist Grant in 2012 and received her MFA in photography from Yale University. Her work has been shown nationally and internationally, including exhibitions at MoMA PS1, Sculpture Center, Exit Art, and the Art + Commerce Festival of Emerging Photographers. Reisinger was born in Budapest, Hungary, and lives between New York and Hungary.
About the Rema Hort Mann Foundation
For almost twenty years, the Rema Hort Mann Foundation has been dedicated to the support of life and art, inspired by the memory of Rema Hort Mann, whose own life was cut short at the age of thirty due to stomach cancer. The Foundation has made its mission to fund the continued support to cancer victims and their families through direct support with the Quality of Life grants, and promising visual artists through the Emerging Artist Grants. The Rema Hort Mann Foundation is a small organization that continues to have a large impact and play a vital role to the populations that it reaches.
A portion of the proceeds from the exhibition will go to benefit the Rema Hort Mann Foundation.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue with texts by Allison Galgiani and Laura Cottingham available for purchase at the gallery or online.