There are countless ways to propose a dialogue on the vast notion of identity. With “I Know You Know,” a new group art exhibition at Brooklyn’s Kinfolk, ambiguity stands as the entry point for discussion. Characters are referenced, and even investigated, but interpretation is left solely to the viewer. While as a concept this may feel familiar, the selections of paintings, photographs and knit-work lend a distinct, immersive edge. Each of the five artists who have contributed work leave suggestions, but encourage an active viewership—there is a figure (or hints at a figure) and a scenario, but more remains to be ascertained. The pieces request this involvement. And when united, the exhibition’s ultimate story is told as a collaborative experience between artists and attendees.
Kinfolk, a full-stop lifestyle locale (including a store, bar and a vast social space), has long partnered with artists and designers and brought in artist Tim Strazza to curate the show—his second for the venue. “An artist friend of mine, Sam Friedman, whose work I have been interested in for a long time, introduced me to Jeremiah Mandel, the brand manager at Kinfolk,” says Strazza. “He was really trying to further the space as a cultural hub and expand the Kinfolk brand with more art-related events. He expressed that to me and I said I would love to come onboard and curate a show.”
As for his theme, Strazza explains, “It’s just something I noticed, where artists make characters and make references to individuals but do not commit to them, as opposed to the classic examples of portraiture. While visiting museums, I consistently observed the difference between the classic style, where a person is very much represented as the subject, while in contemporary work, the representative figures are not specific, but they are implied.” He found this experience to be one that involved him as a viewer, rather than as a casual observer and that’s what he seeks to evoke.
With this in mind, Strazza began recruiting artists. “I started with Ian Francis because he is one of my favorite contemporary artists. As I was looking into other artists, the idea behind the show shifted some. It evolved. That was why I brought in Tamara Santibañez. As I was thinking on the idea of identity, hers was an image with no people at all, but a figure was suggested by a series of items.” Francis and artist Shie Moreno deliver more formal representations. The works from Blaise Cepis and Erin M Riley utilize style as conceptual concealer. Thus, ambiguity, implication and interaction became the ultimate uniting factors of all five artists—and creates a nicely balanced show overall.
“I Know You Know” is open to the public from noon until 6PM on Saturday 29 August 2015 at Kinfolk (94 Wythe Ave, Brooklyn).
Images by David Graver