Blindfolded in Gravity’s Shadow, Nelson Saiers’s first New York exhibition will be on view at Studio Vendome Projects, a new gallery in Soho, from November 5 to December 1, 2014. There will be an opening reception for the artist on Wednesday, November 5 from 6 to 8 pm. Studio Vendome Projects is located at 32 Grand Street, New York, NY.
The paintings in the exhibition reference Saiers’s deep understanding of topology – a field of geometry – his vivid dreams, and images from a childhood haunted with warfare in Ethiopia and Afghanistan. Saiers uses simple geometric shapes to wrestle with complex human emotions and mysteries.
Primarily focused on the circle shape, braille markings make up the central vocabulary of the work in the exhibition. The frequent use of flat circular spots points to the nature of infinity in our world, a quest for truth in the shadows of simplicity, and the prevalence of humanity’s blindness to societal issues.
In the painting Genocide is Evil, colorful circles connected with black line segments allow Saiers to wrestle with truth and evil. In this piece, Saiers honors Georg Alexander Pick whose mathematical expertise helped Einstein formulate general relativity, but who tragically died in the barbarity of the Holocaust. The central form in this piece is a polygonal shape created by connecting the dots that spell “Genocide is Evil” in Braille. The simplicity of the form, and the choice of bold and primary colors used to fill the dots, suggests the innocence expected of childhood, as well as the moral and ethical obviousness of genocideʼs evil: Even a child knows when evil is at play.
Gravity, shown both concretely and metaphorically, plays a central role in the exhibition. For example, in the painting Broken, an apple representing Newton’s Theory of Gravity sits at the top of the painting. An unexpected grid on the apple’s base implicates Einstein’s geometric description of gravity. Due to properties of its geometry, the Klein Bottle shape is imposed on the apple to describe a different kind of fall: the fall of man and the choices that lead to evil. The strange symbols on the apple spell out the Axiom of Choice. The color red is used, in part, to signify the stem’s passage through the fourth dimension. To Saiers, the entire structure is the perfect form to describe gravity, the fall, and choice. Broken’s other elements include an intentional square background and two Möbius bands. The work’s hidden meaning centers on a broken heart. The show honors the upcoming 100th and 350th year anniversaries, respectively, of Einstein’s magnum opus on gravity and Newton’s falling apple.
Imagery from Saiers’s childhood, during which he survived two wars in Ethiopia and Afghanistan, appear through the work as subtle reminders of the violence regularly experienced in our world. What Goes Up, an installation consisting of a baby’s crib covered by a painted board with Ethiopian Amharic text and bullet holes, refers to the perilous years Saiers spent in Ethiopia during the Civil War between the Marxist Derg and Emperor Haile Selassie.
Studio Vendome Projects 32 Grand Street, New York, NY 10013