Apr 29th 2022

Bed-Stuy to Chi: Artists from LAND Studio & Gallery

@ Western Exhibitions

1709 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60642

Opening Friday, April 29th, from 5PM - 8PM

On view through Saturday, June 18th

Western Exhibitions is thrilled to present Bed-Stuy to Chi: Artists from LAND Studio & Gallery, a group show of artist from one of favorite progressive art studios, LAND Studio & Gallery. Founded in 2005 and located in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, LAND is a unique nonprofit day-habilitation program that teaches life skills through the modality of art, nurturing the talents of participating artists, while integrating individuals into the community of contemporary art. Bed-Stuy to Chi, a companion exhibition in Gallery 2 to fellow LAND artist Micheal Pellew’s solo show in Gallery 1, features drawings and paintings by Raquel Albarran, Carlo Daleo, Garrol Gayden, Kenya Hanley, Byron Smith and James Rosa. The show opens on Friday, April 29 with a public reception from 5 to 8pm, and runs through June 18, 2022.

Raquel Albarran (b. 1987) is a Puerto Rican born artist living and working in Brooklyn, New York. Preoccupied with toes, noses, and encapsulated forms, Albarran’s art is full of juxtapositions and playful explorations of life, illness, and objects begging to be squeezed. Albarran’s drawings and sculptures reflect her delight sense of mischief, humor, and energy. Albarran describes the fantastical and sometimes bizarre pairings in her work are as an endearing “mix of light and dark”. She warns viewers that there will be “a lot of amputations going on” in her upcoming exhibitions. 

Carlo Daleo (b. 1961) was born in Elmhurst, Queens. After a short stint living on Long Island, he moved back to New York City’s Bushwick neighborhood in Brooklyn with his family in 1964. Daleo has been attending LAND since its inception in 2005. He is a talented draftsman, painter, writer, animator and voiceover artist. Daleo started making art at the age of five following two pop culture tragedies: the unfortunate car accident injuring Jan Berry and the death of Walt Disney. Daleo decided he wanted to continue the legacy of Disney and other cartoonists like Hanna-Barbera and DePatie-Freleng. Daleo’s interests and aesthetic influences are incredibly diverse, including Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Soupy Sales, New York City cultural institutions, newscasters, and local librarians.

Garrol Gayden (b. 1960) has been an artist at LAND since 2005. Inspired by a childhood trip to New York City’s historic Coney Island, Gayden’s saturated images often start with layers of figures, landscapes, and words related to the amusement park. The famed Spookarama is a favorite. Interwoven between these landmarks, however, one will find phrases related to Gayden’s life, family, and fellow artists. “I write the things I see,” Gayden says, “It makes me feel a whole lot better.” His unique line quality is bold and sculptural, alternating from simple hatch marks to a complicated orchestra of tangled, yet descriptive lines. This fusion results in highly detailed and deeply personal compositions that have been featured in numerous exhibitions, including the Paris Outsider Art Fair, London’s Jennifer Lauren Gallery, and The Coney Island Museum. 

Kenya Hanley (b. 1975), one of LAND’s founding members, has devoted countless hours a day to assiduously drawing his two great loves: food and reggae musicians. Hanley’s meticulously organized images, often color coded and labeled, pay homage to the food he grew up eating, the sweets he tries to stay away from, and the music he so lovingly listens to. Hanley has been featured in multiple Outsider Art Fairs in New York City, Belgium’s MADmusée, and Tokyo’s UTRECHT design store. His work has been the subject of an exhibition at the flagship J Crew store on Madison Avenue and has since become part of J Crew’s corporate collection. His art also figures prominently in The Museum of Everything in London, England. Hanley has been reviewed in VICE Magazine’s Creators Project series, Art Forum and Disparate Minds. In 2017, Hanley’s work was featured in his first book, Tasty Reggae, published by All-You-Can-Eat Press. 

Byron Smith (b. 1963) is originally from North Carolina and now lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. Smith’s drawings and paintings are often gentle, celebratory, and intriguing depictions of women. Sourcing his images from fashion magazines, Smith exaggerates his model’s features. His figures have long, bold eyelashes, polished nails, and plump and puckered lips.

James Rosa (b. 1965) is a Brooklyn based artist and documentarian. Rosa draws inspiration from his environment. His drawings, paintings, and collages begin with simple outlines of found objects. They grow into intricate compositions of narrative and abstract worlds. These illustrations of Rosa’s colorful inner life and environment often include houses, faces, flowers, rats, circles, and teeth. Throughout his work, Rosa’s use of harmonious, saturated colors bind his pieces together across subject matter and style. Each individual story and arrangement acts in relation to the work before it.


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