Could New York’s best new gallery be in Greenpoint, Brooklyn? We’re beginning — no pun intended — to think it just might be so. Beginnings, a small storefront gallery on a side street off Greenpoint’s main drag, opened earlier this fall, the brainchild of seven like-minded friends and artists (two of whom are erstwhile members of Philadelphia’s artists-for-artists gallery Space 1026). At the outset, the goal was to create a warm, welcoming space that would be a home for emerging artists but also a place where even first-time art buyers might be encouraged to actually make a purchase. In their inaugural exhibition, the curators asked questions like, “What’s art for anymore? How can contemporary art be bought and sold in a healthy, progressive way? How can new artists support/be supported in their community? In the 21st century, what are the most satisfying and effective roles of the gallery? The gallerist? The gallery-goers?” The refreshingly honest answer? “We got no idea, but we’re happy to present this art and these artists.”
In the three shows that have followed, “this art” has proved to be heavy on mixed media and often united by an emphasis on color and pattern. Bad gallery art is often bad because of its humorlessness, but Beginnings isn’t afraid to show work that embraces whimsy, whether it’s the saturated rope sculptures of Eric Timothy Carlson (who you’ll remember described his work as “very lolololol”), or the found-object assemblages–turned–house plugs by Brooklyn artist Leif Low-beer. The most recent examples can be found in Beginnings’ current exhibition: “Wood Sculptures” by Merjin Hos, a contemporary Dutch artist and illustrator whose work is often compared to Alexander Girard’s or Stig Lindberg’s. Hos originally created this series of two-dimensional sculptures — mostly goofy faces or plants, or sometimes a combination of the two — for an exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum in the Netherlands, but this marks the first time the works have been collected all together and are available for purchase. Says Hos: “I began the creation process by drawing objects that appear frequently in my work, for example, plants, faces, and pottery in their most simple form, narrowing each item down to the essence of their shape. The drawings were then cut out of wood and finalized with house paint and acrylics. Being inspired by Art Brut and Folk Art, I decided to paint what are rather abstract forms in a naïve way, using about 24 colors and a uniform brush size.”
Check out a sampling of Hos’s work here, and head over to the Beginnings’ website (or storefront space!) for the full collection. And keep an eye on this gallery. We have a feeling this is only the — well, you know.