For ACK 2023, Karma presents an exhibition of still lives by artists Gertrude Abercrombie, Henni Alftan, Dike Blair, Marley Freeman, Reggie Burrows Hodges, Zenzaburo Kojima, Kathleen Ryan, Jonas Wood, and Manouocher Yektai. The works on display, dating from 1937 up to this year, represent a wide range of approaches to the challenge of representing inanimate objects. Paintings by Jonas Wood and Dike Blair, Americans working in Los Angeles and New York respectively, appropriately center on Japanese subjects. Blair’s suite of paintings emerged after a trip to Kyoto in 2009 and are based on photographs taken during his travels, locating the still life in the world outside of the artist’s studio. His nearly photoreal depictions of cocktails, sake, beautifully presented dishes, and a pond of koi highlight the affective quality of light, its capacity to imbue an everyday sight with the power of a mnemonic device. Wood’s bonsai still life celebrates the manicured, cultivated fir tree in his signature geometric planes and graphic, unmodulated colors. Chicago surrealist Gertrude Abercrombie’s renderings of bowls of fruit project shadowy emotion, lending psychological depth to everyday tabletops, while Manoucher Yektai’s take on the same subject revels in the gestural impasto the abstract expressionist perfected in post-war New York. In Reggie Burrows Hodges’ Morandi-like still lives, hazy grays and ochres layered over matte black grounds create a tranquil atmosphere of soft edges and subdued beauty. Finnish artist Henni Alftan’s colored pencil drawings isolate objects like bandaids, screws, hoop earrings, and keys against monochromatic backgrounds, estranging them from their contexts and flattening them into two dimensions. Kathleen Ryan’s rotting bejeweled cherry sculpture, on the other hand, brings the still life into three dimensions. Zenzaburo Kojima’s oil paintings of flowers, one of the Japanese modernist’s favorite subjects, exemplify his fusion of traditional European painting genres with Japanese aesthetics principles.
Karma is a contemporary art gallery with locations in New York and Los Angeles. Founded in 2011 by Brendan Dugan, Karma represents a multigenerational roster of artists and estates. Each year, Karma organizes over 25 exhibitions; publishes distinctive monographs, artist books, and exhibition catalogues; and organizes public programs with leading scholars and artists.