Puzzles & Gems (And Maybe Skip the First Paragraph)

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Tucked into a not exactly bustling block of western Crown Heights, Gridspace is yet another gem among Brooklyn’s many practically impractical, and therefore particularly wonderful art venues. That is, it is yet another gallery of sorts that exists primarily because someone has a bit of extra space in a studio, commercial setting, apartment or even window; and because art is a very fine thing to put in that space; and because not all endeavors, especially with relation to art galleries, need always have serious pecuniary advantages in order to substantiate themselves; and because the assumption that all labor should be financially logical is a tired one anyway; and because if you live in New York and your life and labors are largely logical, then you’re doing something dramatically wrong (or yeah, sure, maybe in fact quite right, but maybe you also have an occasional awareness of boredom); and because, much more simply, why not? After all, we all navigate and inhabit for variable expanses of time this ever questionable, ever malleable meantime called life, so we might as well make it as ponderable and bendable as possible while we can. In other words, we might as well fill it with activity and curiosity rather than let it steep in tepid baths of tedium. Right? Because of course, once the aliens come, or the robots take over, or eternal winter commences, or plasmic summers melt us away, or our fair planet just implodes—or the potential outcomes of certain electoral campaigns lead many humans to seek refuge on the Moon, Mars, or Sedna—we’re all screwed anyway. Ars lunga, vita brevis, et cætera. Or whatever.

Well, now that we’re all in full agreement about all of that—or now that you have in fact skipped the first paragraph—I’d like to share with you some aesthetically specific reasonings for which visiting Gridspace sometime soon would be well worth your while. It would be because, in more words rather than fewer, Nina Meledandri’s current solo show there, Pieces of a Puzzle, is a subtle, whispery, chromatically invigorated, spiritually invigorating gathering of a great many works in an array of media, including dozens of rich abstract oil paintings filling up the ‘cubby’ spaces gridding out the front window; dozens more watercolor renderings of brightly colored, organically suggestive, carefully accented forms; several hundred photographs shown in slide-show format, which themselves feature enough mixed-media embeddings to constitute an exhibit on their own; and one lone, very keystone-like ‘input portrait’ of sorts, a pristinely mounted digital juxtaposition of a scanned watercolor and a photographed forest, in which the former’s deliquescent forms read like fungal characters engaged in a dual-sprouting of shoots or radicals, if you can see beyond their ready likeness to jellyfish, while the latter’s sylvan setting furnishes not only a plausible patch of earth for these possible fungi to call home, but also one of this quiet show’s few nearly audible components, for here you can well conjure the sound of boots treading upon damp foliage in misted woods. Meledandri’s layered, significantly worked oil paintings facing outside harmonize very well with her much thinner, more spontaneous works on paper inside. Opposite these is a monitor that scrolls through her photographs of flowers almost too brilliant to be real, dramatic yet spare spreads of lusty organica, and keenly captured nooks and nuggets of urban splendor and decay, many of which feature backdrops provided by her own paintings. That other most singular work, then, on a wall all by itself, serves to bring the hundreds of pieces factored into this exhibition—one rather broadly informed by color, line and a dash of chance—into consummate confluence. It is, in other words—and as you can glean from the photos below—the crucial piece in Meledandri’s complete puzzle.

And now in fewer words rather than more, visiting Gridspace soon would be well worth your while because you can never be sure how long such spaces will be around. What you can be sure of at the moment, however, is that if you make it there in time to see and meander through Meledandri’s Pieces of a Puzzle, you will leave very pleased with how you chose to spend that expanse of your mortal meantime. Try making your life just malleable enough, then, to find yourself soon on a quiet block in Crown Heights.

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Gridspace is located at 112 Rogers Avenue, between Park and Sterling. Pieces of a Puzzle is on view through April 3rd. More information about the space and the current show here.

Paul D’Agostino is @postuccio on Instagram and Twitter.

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