The Grenning Gallery’s latest group show, “Compte Rendu,” which will be on view from Saturday, October 10, through November 8, references the 18th century French term for “Report to the King.”
“Compte Rendu” was supposed to be an honest and clear report of what was actually happening in the kingdom and it was delivered directly to the king. So, in this show — offered during the month before the presidential election — the Grenning Gallery has curated a socially conscious exhibition of international artists, inspired by their individual responses to the current world crises.
This exhibition was first conceived after seeing new work from Canadian artist, Kristy Gordon. In response to the 2016 presidential election, Gordon felt inspired to address what she imagined were pressing social issues through her art. Little did she know that her paintings would come to life. Gordon spent a long while absorbing famed works from pre-renaissance masters Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Hieronymus Bosch, and Jan Van Eyck at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Jan Van Eyck’s “The Last Judgement” was a major inspiration. In “Daily Reprieve” Gordon depicts a walk through sunny Central Park, with a view of reality on several levels. This painting highlights the unseen (and unforeseen) but deadly risks that are everywhere, literally haunting the mostly unaware citizens. The skeletons, which are a symbol of deadly risks are walking with and guiding what seem to be unsuspecting folks, amid unseen dangers which are lurking below the water and ground.
At the time of creating these paintings, well before the pandemic hit, Gordon explains that she was thinking of the bipolarity of destiny: where hope and conflict co-exist. She explained that multi figure compositions are technically challenging — using artifice to create theatricality. Weird unexplainable elements play along with “normal life” in this series of works from Gordon.
The group show continues with work from local East End painter, Adam Straus, who shows environmentally-concerned paintings; Steven Levin’s multi-figure interiors investigating human-reactions to different forms of media; Melissa Franklin Sanchez, whose paintings were executed while quarantined in her modest Fiesole apartment together with her two small children; Patricia Watwood’s depictions of strong images of contemporary women; Patrick Byrnes’ tender portraits; Emily Persson’s three canvases of the beautiful Australian landscape, from which she has experienced one of the strictest federal lockdowns in the world; George Morton’s original drawing of “Mars” which is currently on view at the MoMA; Leo Mancini Hresko who submitted a painting of Mar a Lago, which he executed on-site a few years ago; and finally, Scott Bluedorn who will exhibit a few recycled “found fiberglass objects” with his intricate ball-point etchings.
Due to social distancing guidelines, the gallery will not be having a typical opening reception. The Grenning Gallery, 26 Main Street, Sag Harbor, is open Thursday to Monday (by appointment only on Tuesday and Wednesday). For a private appointment, call 631-725-8469, text Laura Grenning at 631-767-5302 or email email@example.com.