H. Nazan Işık – New York

This year in May, I was invited to a photography exhibition opening.  The name of the event was “Photography Salon”.  It was only for one day, only for four hours.

Paul Fabozzi, a painter and an Associate Professor in the Department of Fine Arts at St. John’s University in New York City, organized this event in his studio in Long Island City, NY, to feature works by Michael Marfione, Alex Morel, Andreas Rentsch and Helen Rousakis.

It was one of the most intimate opening, beautiful photographs, warm conversation, delicious homemade food, generous drinks, and bright and comfortable space.  Everybody stayed more than four hours.

I had a little chat with the host, Paul Fabozzi.  I would like to share it with you.

What was the purpose of the Photography Salon?

Paul Fabozzi: In the most basic sense the purpose of the Photography Salon was to give four artists an opportunity to showcase their work in a casual non-commercial setting. I was in many ways motivated by their need to show their work. They are all friends of mine. They are all accomplished and I wanted them to have a chance to show together and get to know each other. I feel very strongly about the need for artist to create community.

With the advent of the current recession I began to think about ways I could open my loft space up to artists who I admire. I have the feeling that exhibition opportunities might be harder to come by and artist need to show their work in order for it to grow. Also with the economic expansion of the art market over the last ten years I feel that artist have gotten used to placing to much of the psychological energy attached to the dialogue about art on the abstract notions of success and legitimation offered by the galleries. I wanted this event to remind artists of the need to stick together and focus on ways that they can control to cultivate their work. And anyway it seemed a bit selfish of me to have this big space and not allow other to benefit from it!

Besides being friend with them and admiring their work why did you choose these four artists?

Paul Fabozzi: The other reason I chose Alex, Andreas, Helen and Michael is that all of their work is deeply involved in a contemporary dialogue about the current state of photography.  It has not been that long sense photography has been taken seriously in fine arts circles and currently I sense that it is in a very interesting and strange place between convention and innovation. Exhibiting these three allowed me a chance to think more about these ideas. I love work that is smart but not self consciously so. I also want it to have an emotional depth and generosity. That is what I think links these very diverse artist. Even though I am a painter I imagine that I the qualities that I described above are also what I want of my own work.

What do you mean, would you elaborate it please?

Paul Fabozzi Photography is however part of my painting process. I begin my newest work by tracing shapes from photographs I took on walks around New York City and then used these shapes to make configurations. Next, I created drawings that articulated the interior of these configurations, limiting my vocabulary to ruled lines, bits of geometry, and six colors. I then used these forms as the building blocks for further drawings, made by separating colors, shifting scales, and so forth.

In a previous series, I turned the original shapes into data—and then used this data to create drawings, paintings, and sculptures. So, these shapes have a history. Why do I find it necessary to reconfigure and rearticulate these shapes? Because this process changes my relationship with the original walk—bringing me farther from the objective qualities perhaps, but closer to the energy of the experience.
The signs we use—whether linguistic or visual—are arbitrary. Signs do not contain the thing but rather the idea of the thing. I am fighting a battle inside the container of the sign because I want to hold onto the experience itself. For me, this is a continuous process of turning experience into signs that can be disintegrated through endless translation.

What is the next project for your space?

Paul Fabozzi As for what is next for my space. I have a few ideas brewing and do plan on having more events. Preliminary plans are in the works for a film screening and maybe a collaborative installation between a painter and a fashion designer……we will see!

Yes, we will see! If   this approach, using studios, apartments to show the artwork, is the alternative to the gallery spaces!

H. Nazan Işık