Play It First

November 2017 – January 2018
Opening Reception Friday, November 17th, 6-9pm

SITE 57 is pleased to present the group painting exhibition “Play It First ”. While making a live studio recording with his quintet for which there was no rehearsal and no new material - Miles Davis said, “I’ll play it first and tell you what it is later”.  The quote encapsulates an in-the-moment artistic process that is intuitive, and barring description, provides the freedom to innovate and listen in the moment to what is actually there unencumbered by preconceptions.

This notion reflects a selfless creativity many artists recognize, and also describes the curatorial process by which the show has been assembled. The paintings were chosen by feel for how they would exist in concert, but without a stated theme. Jazz itself is not a bad metaphor for what these paintings express as a group. Evident in each painting is a play between liberal gestures of line and color metered by degrees of structure, often marked by architecture or the frame itself, which lend the work their kinetic compositional character. Whether it’s the natural gesture of branches over the geometries of a cityscape in a work of Erik Benson, the exploded space of a Francesca DiMattio with its interplay of planes and objects, the vivid organic forms of a Carrie Moyer, the riotous tableau Angela Dufresne presents, the surface and depth of an Angelina Gualdoni, the push and pull of Todd Arsenault’s painterly and system-like architectures, or the dynamic movement and surface of a Maggie Michael composition, each here expresses its active nature in conversation alongside the others with the continuum of abstraction and representation that the show features.

Curated by Jimi Billingsley.