Oct 31, 2011

REVIEW | Unraveled and Intertwined (Ta Da!) | Jordan Faye Contemporary | Baltimore, Maryland

Jordan Faye Contemporary was founded as a platform to give emerging artists a wider audience. Its located in the heart of Federal Hill which is a hip neighborhood composed of extremely old buildings housing a multitude of galleries, boutiques and bakeries in Baltimore Maryland. The current exhibition Unraveled and Intertwined or it's self made nickname Ta Da! will be up until November 11th. Ta Da! featured the work of Stewart Watson and Gallery owner Jordan Faye Block.

Jordan Faye Contemporary prides themselves in supporting local. They feature art primarily from local artists who focus on green, local and sustainable practices. Ta Da! is the unveiling of the "elegant, playful and deeply enchanting" works of the artists. The show is comprised of drawings and paintings by Jordan Faye Block and new installations and constructables by Stewart Watson.

Walking into the gallery you see the low hanging barbershop sign displaying the name and logo of Jordan Faye Contemporary. Like most of the stores and bakeries in Federal Hill Jordan Faye Contemporary is a small brick building. It used to be the South branch of the Enoch Pratt Library and will be celebrating 125 years of existence in February. The set of decaying stairs leads up to a set of heavy wooden doors. After entering you pass through a small narrow hallway that could have easily housed one or two of Jordan Faye Block's detailed wall paintings but was instead painted a particularly uninteresting shade of boring.

The First piece you see is a small white cloth hung over the edge of an old rocking chair. While some might notice the intricate detailing upon closer inspection, at first it just looks like an old blanket I swear I just saw at my grandmothers house. Overall Stewart Watson's piece Nostalgia was really interesting. It's all hand stitched and naturally dyed materials (beets, berries etc.)

Nostalgia, Stewart Watson, 2011, Fibers

The crisscross pattern that covers the whole cloth was fine to the touch and the lavender bows were reminiscent of old Easter dresses my mother used to make me wear. I thought the piece could have been displayed better but found it to impact me with the exact emotion the title boasted; Nostalgia.

The description of Watson's work stated that her arrangements were created to disarm the viewer with a tangible experience and anticipation, and in that respect I think she succeeded.

After a brief and unpleasant run in with the gallery owner and other featured artist (she instructed my 86 year old grandmother and I to please "hurry the **** down the stairs") I may have a hard time staying impartial. The first painting we stumbled across was More Thoughts. It wasn't particularly impressive or thought provoking but interesting to look at. I really enjoyed the variety in the shades of blue paints she used.
More Thoughts, oil and acrylic on panel, 12x12x2.5 Inches 
Jordan Faye Block's work is a combination of vast landscape, microscopic map and unraveled pattern.
Her lines and strings of words span from flowing and meditative to energetic and urgent. Experiencing this work is a surrender to hints of curving tree limbs, entangled lifelines, pulses of energy, and rhythmic tracings. When viewing Block's work, loops and swirls captivate, cavernous spaces engulf and the viewer is carried into a world of continuous movement and undeniable interconnection.
Personally I found this much more evident in her work on the back wall. It was titled Until One is Committed... and although you can't tell in the picture the artist had used a very beautiful technique to blend the reds and blues into one fluid painting.
Until One is Committed, Jordan Faye Block, 2011, oil on canvas
Overall I enjoyed the show, whether that was the free wine and snacks or the talent in the room I'm still determining. The space was not utilized well and the lack of natural light made the building almost stuffy. Despite these technicalities both artists showed immense amounts of talent and dedication.

-Marian Mabry


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