PRISKA C. JUSCHKA FINE ART
Guest curators Emily Sundblad and Hanna Liden found a perfect title for their bittersweet group show in a song by Royal Trux: You're Just a Summer Love But I'll Remember You When Winter Comes. It fits because the show is a love song to a scene, a glimpse into a close-knit group just now emerging into its artistic summertime. But it also fits because these artists all share something, and not just their home territory in Williamsburg and the Lower East Side.
What they share is a certain sentimentality. Without ever looking back, these artists have developed a nostalgia for the moment they're in, an acute awareness of their own youth and, more to the point, its transience.
This sentiment, as contradictory as it sounds, is at its most evident in the group's photographers, Ryan McGinley, Michelle Cortez, Justine Kurland and Hanna Liden. By freezing moments from their immediate world - of their families, friends and lovers - Cortezand McGinley create elegies to last weekend, desperate efforts to remember emotions that were hazy from the start. With their skinned knees and dirty fingernails, the young women in Liden and Kurland's photos are also pointedly real, but the world they've built for themselves - no authority figures, no rules, no responsibilities - is pure fantasy.
Sculptor Meryl Smith and painters Amber Ibarreche, Emily Sundblad and Claud Gilbert take this fantasy a step further. With Smith's ghostly creatures standing by like silent totems, Gilbert and Sundblad's illustrated narrative fragments, together with Ibarreche's emotive abstractions, suggest that the shortest line between the heart and the hand is often a squiggle.
The alleys and railroad trestles of the world are covered with their own squiggles, marks whose memorial function remains hidden in a coded visual language. Alicia McCarthy, Nathan Smith and Steve Powers have each been fluent in this code since a very young age. Their work fuses the nostalgia of graffiti - marks that live long after the hands that made them - with a canny sense of materials, telling a tale of time in layers of decay.
Painters Amy Gartrell and Mark Hundley, on the other hand, seize on the persistence of pop music, a fade-proof medium if ever there was one. Band mythology is the closest thing young people have to an oral history. Scrawled on binders and bedroom walls, the lyrics from their favorite songs speak in a voice teenagers aren't often permitted to use, and, as a result, the pop stars who sing them become ciphers for youthful emotion. Like ethnographers, both Gartrell and Hundley wield these words and images to unpack their own personal iconography.
Favoring humor over hero worship, video artists Kid America, Alexander Hubbard and the GuiltyGuilty collective are the iconoclasts of the group. They wield their video cameras with a youthful exuberance to target soap operas, new age healers and public decorum with equal playfulness.
Gallery hours: Tuesday through Saturday 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM or by appointment.