On 17 June, at the Ivy Brown Gallery in Manhattan, the opening of the exhibition “Can You Hear the Silence?” will be held. This is a group show marked by a sort of ethereal, impalpable imprinting that takes us back with the mind and the body to a somewhat difficult and challenging time, the lockdown; an interval which we will never forget, but which, paradoxically, managed to allow us to connect more profoundly with ourselves and our identity.
A connection which, in normal circumstances, we tend to shun, swallowed up by the frenetic rhythms of a fast-moving, pitiless society, which takes a lot and gives little back. A condition of distancing and social isolation, which we survived by living long months in a standby state which we had never known before and which imposed a hitherto unknown silence on us.
A block on the natural progress of the world; a standstill which, if on the one hand reduced drastically interpersonal relations and the hectic rhythms of daily life we were used to handling – choosing to not focus enough on ourselves with any depth – at the same time it forced us to pause and reflect, to develop, at least for those who didn’t just shrug their shoulders, a new condition, sometimes more painful, but one of greater awareness.
Indeed, the gallery owner and creator of the exhibition, Ivy Brown, confirms the focus on this theme in the exhibition, aimed at exploring the time of the pandemic from a very intimate artistic, hence more profound and introspective, perspective.
Ivy, how did you come up with the title of the exhibition?
“We put this title to a group of artists to see how silence appears to them and how it would be expressed in their art. As our lives return to normal and the silence disappears, we can certainly try to grasp what this period has taught us as we go forward. Because the pandemic has also given us a different prism through which to view ourselves, it has
created a new context in which we can be more objective and sincere about ourselves.”
The word “silence” is very evocative: in fact, the exhibition’s title is highly introspective. How does one approach such a subject? In what sense?“The exhibition’s theme refers to silence as being correlated to the absence of interpersonal and social relations due to the lockdown and social distancing: conditions that have modified our relationship with life and ourselves.”
Coming back to exhibiting, meeting people, looking people in the eye when we talk. How do you feel about the first post-pandemic “live” exhibition? Is it a bit like experiencing a new “artistic spring”? A sort of rebirth of activities, we might say?
“We seem to be at the beginning of a new existence, and it will take time to find our way. Nevertheless, it’s exciting to host people regularly and get away from the computer a bit. It is rediscovering and rediscovering ourselves, exchanging impressions. It’s definitely a new beginning, and I’m thrilled.
How did you choose the artists for this exhibition? What poetic quality unites their works?
“When we have a group exhibition, we choose the artist’s work that is most suited to the theme. Every artist has their distinctive visual voice and stays faithful to their artistic language. For this reason, I’ve chosen various artists but specifically works of great intensity: whether their message is whispered or shouted, the intensity is on a par. Together, they contribute to making music with the most diverse notes, high and low, but of great harmony. The artists are, in alphabetical order: Ashley Benton, Angelica Bergamini, Joshua Goode, Elizabeth Gregory-Gruen, Ak Jansen, Elizabeth Jordan, David Paul Kay, Kenjiro Kitade, Juliet Martin, David Mellen and Judy Rushin-Knopf.”
Do you think that art, in general, can somehow help us to understand what has happened and what is happening, be it good or bad?
Art is undoubtedly a sincere way of exploring the experiences we live through. Of deriving a key to interpretation from it, sometimes even intuiting a response.
I totally agree, Ivy. Future plans?
“We’re beginning to see a significant increase in the number of people dropping in and making appointments. We’ll resume putting on events in June during the summer schedule; on the 24th, there will be a poetry reading by the author Jonathan Goodman; apart from the opening, this will be the first event we’ll have had in over a year. As far as future projects are concerned, the gallery is booked until 2022. We’ll catch up with all the shows we had to put off because of the pandemic, plus we have two new artists for 2022, which is really exciting. From now on, we will continue to do a hybrid of in-person and online events and shows. One of the things we have learned during this time is our reach and accessibility to the public has a wider reach when we can be accessible to people who may not be able to come to the gallery in person or are far away. Therefore, we will continue to do online events for each exhibition and viewing rooms on Artsy, where we also sell artwork. Moreover, we will record the virtual events so that anyone can see them at any time. It has been a great advantage to be able to offer to the public as well as to our collectors who are in many different places. It is a lot of work to do both, but it is worth it, and I feel strongly it is the path forward.”
Thank you, Ivy. I hope to be able to attend the opening of the exhibition.
From 1 June to 17 August 2021, at the Ivy Brown Gallery – 675 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014