Arches and Ink
Sheree Hovsepian, Nate Lewis, and Sahana Ramakrishnan
February 6 - April 3, 2021
Arches and Ink includes artworks by Sheree Hovsepian, Nate Lewis, and Sahana Ramakrishnan, bringing together mutual concerns among their practices; the disruption of traditional displays of the human body and shared material sensibilities.
There is a certain poetry to each artists’ work in the show. Hovsepian, Lewis, and Ramakrishnan take different approaches to the body but all possess an empathy, spirituality, and an interest in relationships and performance. Using a variety of techniques with paper, photography, and assemblage, there is a strong focus on texture, form, and shadow, rather than a reliance on color. These tendencies lend themselves to a slowness, an earthiness, and again, a poetry in the work.
The title of the show “Arches and Ink” refers to these common threads. “Arches” as a word relates to the body, perhaps even the sensual shapes of the body, including the arching of a back. It also suggests inanimate physical structures such as the curved shape of a bridge or the thickness of strong paper. “Ink” has long been used to adorn and alter the surface of the human body through the inking of tattoos, while it is also the traditional medium of choice for use on paper, in photography, and beyond.
Sheree Hovsepian explores the materiality of photography through modes of assemblage. Her work combines images of the body with angular forms and a variety of tactile materials, such as wood, ceramic and string. Hovsepian highlights the degree to which “structures” — physical, political, and otherwise — shape one’s sense of place, and one’s sense of self.
Influenced by the “visual language of medical diagnostics,” Nate Lewis creates highly textured photo-based collages that are inspired by his background working as an I.C.U. nurse in Washington D.C. This series of work by Lewis, titled “Signaling,” showcases abstract images of black figures in motion. Here, Lewis concentrates on the theme of movement, as it relates to both histories of dance and migrations of the African diaspora.
Sahana Ramakrishnan uses symbols and diverse visual references in her work as a way of addressing “the violent and shifting processes by which we form our cultural, gender, sexual, and human identities.” The mixed-media works on paper presented in this exhibition center around the artist’s more personal relationship to histories of spiritualism, mythicism, animals, and art.
Sheree Hovsepian (b. 1974, Iran) earned her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2002. Recent solo and two-person exhibitions have been organized by Halsey McKay Gallery, East Hampton; Higher Pictures, NY; Team Bungalow, Los Angeles; and Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago. Recent group exhibitions include shows with the Tang Museum Saratoga Springs, NY; Half Gallery, NY; Anat Ebgi Gallery, Los Angeles; CHART Gallery, NY; Stony Island Arts Bank, Chicago; and The Drawing Center, NY. Hovsepian’s work is in the permanent collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Bronx Museum, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Studio Museum in Harlem, and the Everson Museum, among others. Hovsepian lives and works in New York City.
Nate Lewis (b. 1985, Beaver Falls, PA) earned a BA in Nursing from VCU in 2009. Lewis’ work has been exhibited at Fridman Gallery, NY; David Kordanksy Gallery, Los Angeles; the California African American Museum, Los Angeles; The Studio Museum in Harlem; The Yale Center for British Art; 21c Museum Hotels; and with the Smithsonian Institution’s Traveling Exhibitions. Past residencies include Art on the Vine, Pioneer Works and Dieu Donne. Lewis’ work is in the public collections of the Baltimore Museum of Art, The Studio Museum in Harlem, Grinnell College Museum of Art, Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Austin at Texas, among others. Lewis currently lives and works in New York City.
Sahana Ramakrishnan (b. 1993, Mumbai, India) received her BFA in painting from RISD in 2015. Ramakrishnan’s work has been recently exhibited at The Rubin Museum; Field Projects, NY; Gateway Project Spaces, NJ; Elizabeth Foundation of the Arts, NY; A.I.R. Gallery, Brooklyn; and Front Art Space, NY. She was previously an artist in residence at Yaddo, NY, and Gateway Project Spaces, NJ, and an artist fellow at the Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop, and the Yale/Norfolk Summer Art Program. She was also a recipient of the Florence Lief Grant from RISD. Ramakrishnan lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
A zoom conversation between Hovsepian, Lewis, and Ramakrishnan took place on the occasion of their exhibition at Rachel Uffner Gallery. Access a recording of the conversation by clicking here.