In Bay Ridge, an Art Show About the Dire Urgency of Right Now

“A Chasm of Tumult.” Painting by Elena Soterakis, poem by Samantha Vacca. Photo by On White Wall

In Tumult, now at Stand4 gallery, Bay Ridge artist Elena Soterakis uses collage elements—sourced from collections of discarded magazines and, in some cases, actual trash—alongside versed strokes of paint, creating dispatches not from a distant future but a desperate present, holding viewers still enough to realize its imminence.

Curated by Tatiana Arocha, each of the eight scenes in the exhibit show the landscape in various throes of decay. Places where the figure doesn’t (can’t) reside, instead inhabited by what we’ve left behind. A world covered by what we’ve done.

In a two-paneled painting titled “Electric Beach,” an azure horizon breaks to the ebb of an ocean tide, either fleeing or tepidly arriving. The precipice of the sea’s edge unfurls to acid, almost exuberant colors unfamiliar to vacant and serene shores. Stepping closer, the once-amorphous daubs of contextually uncouth color become the detritus akin to urban roadside. Somewhere between paint and pastiche; books, corporate logos, favorite snack wrappers of American nostalgia, and toys. A sharp moment, stepping from representation of a shore far off in the imagination to the halting realization that the plastic bag represented in the picture plane comes off the surface and into the now, playing with a viewers perception of reality to representation—of “what if” to “right now.”

“Electric Beach” at center, surrounded by other paintings in Tumult at Stand4. Photo by On White Wall

Words on the wall adjacent to the diptych:

The sun broils the reluctant horizon with a molecular blaze.
Yesterday’s papers are just scars from battles lost.
Atop the strata of rot—we sleep, we consume, we seek, we destroy.

The indictment doesn’t end on the visual planes; Soterakis’s collaborations with poet Samantha Vacca and sound designer/artist Michael Clemow allow the works to articulate themselves literarily and audibly.

Taken together, the show is an expansive assault that alludes to the dire urgency of our condition.

Tumult is on view at Stand4 (414 78th Street), Saturdays, 12–6pm, and by appointment.

Closing party Saturday, October 26, 4–6pm.

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