It’s been a while since we’ve had a new offering from the folks at Mana Contemporary, the multi-faceted art space on Newark Avenue in the Journal Square area. Last summer the Eileen S. Kaminsky Family Foundation debuted “Our Own Directions,” a sample of photorealism pieces from the collection of Louis K. and Susan P. Meisel, which was on display through January. Mana also hosted a couple of art-related panel discussions hand hosted the opening party for the 2011 Artists’ Studio Tour. Since then, things have been pretty quiet at that end of the Avenue.
It appears the winter lull may have been the quiet before the storm.
Mana will this month roll out two new exhibitions that will launch a series of interesting long-term events at the arts institution.
Beginning this Sunday, March 11, Mana will debut Joshua Kirsh’s “Sympathetic Resonance,” and new acquisitions and prints from the Eileen S. Kaminsky Family Foundation.
Look, and touch
Far from being one of those pedestal-laced pieces that can be seen but not touched, Kirsh’s “Sympathetic Resonance” is described as an “interactive sculpture.” The piece is simultaneously designed to be a tool reminiscent of an instrument and a work of art. Viewers are specifically invited to look at the sculpture and interact with it.
Kirsch’s Sympathetic Resonance has transformed Mana’s first floorinto a touch-sensitive instrument. The installation that utilizes the keys of a marimba (a mallet-percussion instrument of African origin) to create four and a half playable octaves. Visitors play a sensitive aluminum keyboard that triggers the sounds of 56 different notes projecting throughout the space. Kirsch spent three years creating Sympathetic Resonance as part of his senior thesis at the School of Visual Arts in New York, and the installation was a big hit at the Grand Rapids Public Museum during ArtPrize 2010, placing in the top 50.
Kirsch says the root of his inspiration is to create work that he would be thrilled to discover. “We see signs at the museum that say ‘don’t touch’ or ‘stay behind the line,’ but that separation keeps people from really enjoying art,” he says. “I create work that I myself find fun.”
Mana’s other exhibit to debut this month is a collection of new works that have been acquired by clients of the Eileen S. Kaminsky Family Foundation. A more traditional exhibit, this collection of new works is no less vibrant than Kirsh’s “Sympathetic Resonance.”
The pieces were selected by Kaminsky herself and include works by the contemporary art world’s most fascinating artists. The ESKFF, which has been described as a museum without walls, showcases the artwork of private collections from the United States and abroad. The foundation pays tribute to the fact that many art collections are currently unseen by the public.
Kaminsky traveled the world in search of the pieces that will be on display, a reflection of her love for art. She acquired them by interacting and conversing with the artists at studio visits and art fairs. The exhibition will feature the work of international artists including Christian Vincent, KAORUKO, Kim Dorland, Stefanie Gutheil, Trudy Benson, Yigal Ozeri, Hermann Nitsch, Paul Pretzer, Matthias Meyer, Oleg Dou and Ryan Mosley. A number of these artists had New York solo exhibitions in 2011.
“Sympathetic Resonance” is described as an “interactive sculpture.”
With a total of 1 million square feet, Mana Contemporary is a multi-dimensional art center that will ultimately serve several functions for artists, art patrons, collectors, and the community at large. Already Mana has leased out several custom-designed art studios to a number of visual artists and Shen Wei. The center includes a vast climate controlled warehouse in which art collectors are already storing valuable paintings that are not currently on display in museums or galleries. And private viewing rooms are available in which art collectors can meet privately to negotiate sales.
Mana’s staff includes art professionals skilled in the areas of repair, restoration, and appraisal. Mana co-founders Yigal Ozeri and Eugene Lemay, painters both, also lease out space to gallery owners, like the Eileen S. Kaminsky Family Foundation, who wish to exhibit the collections of art investors/collectors.
Later this spring Mana Lemay and Ozeri plan to host a wide scale exhibit of work by Israeli and Arab artists from the Middle East. The project has been a labor of love for the two men, who both hail from Israel. The exhibit has been a year in the making.
“Sympathetic Resonance” and the “New Works” exhibit in the Kaminsky space will open to the public on Sunday, March 11 from 1 to 5 p.m. After that date the public is welcome to see these works weekdays from noon until 5 p.m. Access to the exhibition spaces is free. Mana Contemporary is located at 888 Newark Ave.
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