Gabriela Galván is a visual artist originally from Mexico City who lives and works in New York. Photo by Matt Moment
In the latest exhibition at Ann Street Gallery, visual artist Gabriela Galván shares an homage to Downing Park.
On December 10, Hudson Valley attended the opening of Gabriela Galván’s We, an exhibition of several textile works and photographs depicting Newburgh’s Downing Park. Her compositions are on display at Ann Street Gallery—less than a mile from the public park—as part of its 1x1x1 series, which affords one artist the opportunity to show one work over a period of one month.
Galván, who is originally from Mexico City, concentrates her practice on the “relationship between the viewer and the site” with the aim of magnifying one’s sensory experience of her work’s various referents. The elevated quality of attention one pays to her “formal meditations,” Galván hopes, will galvanize a transformation both in the viewer and in the site’s social contingencies.
The artist’s celebration of Downing Park manifests in blankets printed to scale with a digital photograph of a small plot of land. In fact, the unabbreviated title of her show is We No.1, Fall, 1:11 pm at 41°50’62.2”N 74°01’6”9.4W, 2022, which specifies the season, time, and precise location at which the image was captured.
Accordingly, there is a temporal element to Galván’s work; she is interested in how landscapes evolve over time, insisting all that is physical is also animate. “The land is under our feet, under our houses, breathing and growing in constant transformation,” the artist muses. “We represents the conscious connection we cultivate with our habitat, stemming from genuine love and care for nature and for each other.” One blanket rests on a twin bed at the center of Ann Street’s main gallery space, and Galván—who, at the opening, was as generous, as dreamlike, as warm as her creations—encouraged us not just to touch the work but to literally tuck in. Curator Diana Mangaser echoes that directive in her statement about the exhibition, saying that by “laying below [the blanket’s] surface, sitting upon it…we may find it is not only the ground which has been displaced.”
As part of the opening, Katharine Schub, a Newburgh-based artist “interested in the intersection of fragrance and gastronomy,” facilitated an interactive cocktail workshop. Attendees chose from a colorful assemblage of liquids like “masala nectar,” “Calabrian pepto,” and “salted oleo-saccharum” to make their very own beverage. (These heady nicknames were followed, helpfully, by a list of ingredients.) The idea, while simple enough, is actually quite novel in that it transforms spectators of creativity into active participants.
In tandem with the exhibition and workshop, Terence Trouillot, senior editor at Frieze Magazine—one of the foremost publications in the art world—curated a reading list. The titles he chose to display as part of this exhibition were all published since 2015 and will remain in Ann Street Gallery’s permanent collection. “These publications track, for me, a kind of personal timeline of my journey navigating the art world as a Black art critic,” Trouillot reflects. His selection includes A Black Gaze: Artists Changing How We See by Tina M. Campt, Assembling a Black Counter Culture by DeForrest Brown Jr., Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration by Nicole R. Fleetwood, PÒTOPRENS: The Urban Artists of Port-au-Prince, and The Sellout by Paul Beatty.
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Ann Street Gallery—a component of Safe Harbors on the Hudson, a nonprofit organization based in Newburgh—is open Saturday 1-5 p.m. as well as Thursday and Friday by appointment. We No.1, Fall, 1:11 pm at 41°50’62.2”N 74°01’6”9.4W, 2022 will remain on view through January 14, 2023. Visitors may leaf through Trouillot’s list in the reading room during business hours.