Cathouse – One is Not Enough

Jade Sea, with Daniel Swanigan Snow

Jade Sea, with Daniel Swanigan Snow

I first encountered David Dixon at the Outsider Art Fair , where his gallery, Cathouse FUNeral, was showing work by Daniel Swanigan Snow  .  A few weeks later I found myself at the opening of an exhibit of Snow’s work at the Cathouse FUNeral in East Williamsburg (yes, it’s in a former funeral home – I didn’t ask about the Cathouse part).  There are about 10 pieces in the show, all made from found materials (antique tools, car parts, tubes, wood) which he transforms into playful sculptures.  I especially liked Jade Sea, fashioned from wood and cardboard, and possessing a working motor (but not seaworthy).  Several of his pieces have lights and wires as integral elements.  But no matter the materials, Snow’s pieces all have personality.  The show  closes this weekend, on March 13th.

Detail from Brooklyn Institute for Fashion and Curatorial Studies by Michael Ryan

Detail from Brooklyn Institute for Fashion and Curatorial Studies by Michael Ryan

At the end of February, over in Carroll Gardens, David opened Cathouse Proper  , a white cube designed to display one work of art at a time.  One very large work, that is.  I think he found the perfect inaugural piece in Michael Ryan’s   Brooklyn Institute of Fashion and Curatorial Studies.  Ryan began this piece by taking apart a pad containing 250 sheets of drawing paper.  He originally thought he would do a grid drawing, and laid out the 250 sheets in a gigantic rectangle, but over the course of nine months, it evolved into his interpretation of a group photo.  He took old, found photos of posed, arranged men in an institutional setting  (think early 20th century class photos), which he recreated, reinterpreted and scaled up, using hard and soft pencils, adding in relevant details and content of his devising.  These life-size black & white drawings are carefully rendered – he’s got great technique – the subjects are carefully arranged, but the overall effect is one of having stepped back into another era which is familiar, and yet…    Ryan’s work will be on display until April 9th at Cathouse Proper, 524 Court Street.

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