The Bitch in Me

As a small girl I kept my face in books (perhaps that is why I am writer today). Reading to my mother while she made dinner was one of my favorite pastimes.  The XX chromosome dictated my reading selection and I always seemed to fancy tales that were epic in scale, took place in a land far away and had at least one damsel in distress. Not only did the words enrapture me, but the illustrations kept me fascinated as well.  In the myths and fairytales I read as a child, the wolf always played an essential role.  In Little Red Riding Hood the wolf was a cross dresser that had such an obsession with the girl in the crimson cloak that he slaughtered her grandmother and pretended to be her in an effort to get close to his target.  In ancient mythology, a she-wolf suckled twins Romulus and Remus.  Her milk-filled tits fed the starving babies that were abandoned and left to die.  She was their first foster mother, and as men the twins would become known as the founding fathers of Rome.

Jennifer Murray has her own story with the she-wolf.  As we stood in front of one her creations last Thursday, she revealed to me the catalyst that manifested into the furry siren.  While in college, Jennifer was experiencing circumstances that required a Waiting to Exhale moment.  When she finally had the opportunity to release, a wolf was delivered.  Further developing the seed that had been planted long ago, Jennifer brings the mysticism and allure of the she-wolf and cougar that has been skulking in our social conscious to the surface in Displaced Fables/Damaged Dreams, her first solo exhibition.   Displaced Fables/Damaged Dreams is an imaginative exploration of the female mystique and its multiple perceptions.  Using charcoal sketches on stretched paper, mixed media canvases and hanging installations, Jennifer balances the fierceness, femininity and fragility of these creatures with great detail and perfect symmetry.   With baroque fabrics, flowery patterns, wallpaper with foliage and yarn she literally weaves a tapestry of visual anecdotes that create a new vocabulary for women.

With “The Queen/Bitch Diptych” Jennifer presents the face of two she-wolves, their necks surrounded with fabric like a Medici collar.  The canine lassies hang side by side one looking stoic and magnanimous, the other is tempestuous with snarling fangs.  “White Drawing I” displays a she-wolf haphazardly suspended in white sheets, perhaps the colorless cloth is preventing her from moving or could be removing her from a perilous encounter, thereby becoming her saving grace.  “Decoy Triptych” depicts a wolf straddling a sheep and a sheep mounting a wolf cleverly exposing the facades we flaunt when hiding our true selves. What I found particularly interesting about this piece were the beleaguered expressions of the mounted animals, they reflect the burden of constantly having to carry a disguise.

I first became acquainted with Jennifer Murray and her work at the last year’s Affordable Art Fair.  Upon first glance I knew I would like to see more of her creations.  In total, I was extremely impressed with Jennifer’s initial introduction to the New York City art scene.  Displaced Fables/Damaged Dreams achieved its goals in positioning the viewer in fragmented narratives and dreamlike visions allowing us to decipher how textile flying machines, birds, wolves and cougars related to our human experience.   As I toured the exhibit, I kept returning to Spiker,” a drawing of a cougar with bold material covering her back.  She was crouched, her front paws resembling a pouncing stance.  Her eyes were sexy, determined and primal.  Looking at this totemic symbol of womanhood I was reminded that within me and every woman there is a little girl playing dress up, a battle-axe ready to strike, a wolf ready to howl at the moon and an empress ready rule.  The trick is harmonizing these characters in the story of our lives as effortlessly as Jennifer composed the scenes of this exhibit.

Displaced Fables/Damaged Dreams will be on display at Raandesk Gallery, located on 16 W. 23rd Street until March 5.

Photos: and F.A.M.E NYC Editor

Slideshow:  F.A.M.E NYC Editor

Three Dimensions, One Mind

Jason Bryant is a man with a subtle disposition and an exquisitely beautiful soul.  During his openings you can find him with a glass of wine in his hand, humbly chatting in the corner or in a circle of guests; traces of his southern roots are hardly recognizable in his accent.    It is almost as if he has forgotten that the night is about him, instead he allows his work to speak volumes.  Devoid of eyes, Bryant’s work challenges the viewer to see the world through his point of view.  The realistic quality of the closely cropped images unearth an alluring elegance and symmetry that otherwise might not be seen if the entire inspiration of the work had been simply replicated on canvas.  In this way, his artistry gives direct insight into Jason Bryant the man.

Trilogy, Bryant’s latest solo exhibit at Raandesk Gallery, provides further entrée into the mind of this talented artist.  Using three diverse concepts, Rubric, Merging Iconography and Symbolic Portraiture, Jason Bryant offers an intimate view of classic Hollywood, skateboard culture and the exhibition of the human form.

Rubric is a series of four paintings whose source images are derived from vintage Hollywood movies such as Wild One with Marlon Brando.  Although the eyes are edited out, one can clearly see from the lifelike quality of the paintings that faces belong to Brando, Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn and others.  Instead of becoming just a painting from a movie scene, Bryant transforms the images into something else entirely through thought-provoking copy.  The paintings like the films that inspired them are black and white and are no less as crisp and captivating as Bryant’s works in color.   Evoking nostalgia and social commentary, Rubric is a luscious addition to Jason Bryant’s body of work.

Merging Iconography are two paintings that successfully blend the realms of skateboarding and film stills.  Bursting out of the frame are bold, colorful graphics.  Both chic and cheeky the pieces grab you and shake your ideas of pop culture to the core.  Equally beguiling as Rubric, Merging Iconography create an elevated, symbiotic union.

Music is as important to who we are as the foods we consume.  Symbolic Portraiture cleverly offers viewers a human profile without a face.  Instead, the audience sees the back of two women, one dressed in a hoodie, the other in a t-shirt.  Album covers on the back of the clothing replace features and expressions.  Although, the faces are hidden, viewers see a deeper perspective of the women in the painting.  By revealing the album cover that best represents their personality, you get a more profound understanding of who they really are. 



Not even torrential rainfall could keep me from attending the opening of Trilogy on September 16.  I found myself doing laps around the gallery space constantly changing my mind as to which piece was my favorite.  Time after time I find myself entranced by the meticulous, flawless art of Jason Bryant.   Trilogy will be on exhibit at Raandesk Gallery, located at 16 W. 23rd Street, until November 12 so you still have time to introduce yourself to the art of Jason Bryant. 

Photos:  Courtesy of Raandesk Gallery

Slideshow:  F.A.M.E NYC Editor

The Radiance of a Rainbow

A journey begins with a single step.  When someone steps passes through the threshold of Raandesk Gallery to view the exhibition of South Korean artist Jihay Kang’s A Single Journey, the caravan one embarks on is one of canvases bursting with prisms of color. 

Jihay Kang’s artwork is a potent concoction of materialism and subtle statements in bold multi-hues.  Her use of color is the catalyst that draws the viewer in, but it is her use of iconography that keeps the viewer’s feet glued in front of her paintings.  Her use of color is extremely whimsical and feminine, which is the component that makes her work a refreshing take on contemporary art. 

One would be hard press to view her work and not become flooded with feelings of happiness and nostalgia.  Her use of stenciling gives her work a rich texture and reminds me of the patterns found in my mother’s lace curtains.  But it is the application of the Mickey Mouse silhouette that made Jihay Kang’s A Single Journey an excursion worth taking.

The clever appearance of the iconic Disney character’s silhouette shows how much pop culture dominates our world.  The Disney brand is recognized as a multimedia conglomerate, but it also can be seen a vehicle for mass consumerism.  Looking at Jihay Kang’s art allowed me to remove my jaded adult contact lenses and look at the Disney brand with the same exuberance I had when I was a child watching Fantasia and Cinderella.   Jihay Kang’s art is the visual equivalent to eating a bag of Skittles – full of color and lots of fun.


Jihay Kang’s A Single Journey is on exhibition at Raandesk Gallery, 16 W. 23rd Street, until June 11, but you can also view Jihay Kang’s work online at

 Photos:  F.A.M.E NYC Editor

The Art of Living

Art plays a pivotal component in the chromaticity, aura, composition and overall look of a space.  Generally when we see art, it is in a museum or gallery with white or bricked backgrounds and minimal furniture; a curator designs the space to tell a story about the art and the artist.  But when bringing art into our home, the task can be a bit challenging.  Most people approach buying art with the same methodology used for buying clothes, shoes and accessories, purchasing separate pieces and afterward attempting to create a chic look. Rarely, does one obtain a complete ensemble at one time.

Karen Chien, Jessica Porter and Dominic Lepere

Stylists are hired to create memorable looks for their clients and interior decorators do the same for rooms; however the look is expected to last a lot longer than a 15 minute photo op.  That is why it is essential to blend the right art, lighting, furniture, textiles and other decorations in order to produce a room that is reflective of the owner’s personality.  But in today’s economy not all of us can afford to hire an interior decorator.  Luckily, three of Manhattan’s connoisseurs of creation have produced an exhibit that combines stunning works of art and sleek, modern pieces of furniture.   Art & Living: Emerging Interiors opened May 13 and combined the talents of Karen Chien (Cheeky Living), Dominic Lepere (Lepere showroom) and Jessica Porter (Raandesk Gallery).

Art & Living: Emerging Interiors is comprised of several mini-room installations and is a unique display of style and function.  Walls of the intimate spaces are adorned with artwork from Juan Astica (Buenos Aires), Anne Marchand (Washington D.C.), Teresa Pereda (Buenos Aires), Matej Sitar (Slovenia), Laura Viñas (Buenos Aires) and Roy Wiemann (New York City).   Massachusetts sculptor Andrew Maglathlin’s three dimensional pieces were featured on end pieces and tables.  Raandesk Gallery owner Jessica Porter chose to showcase artists whose art was more abstract; their color palettes enhanced the furniture.  The furniture was comfortable and contemporary.  During the opening reception, guests mingled, sipped glasses of sparkling wine and turned the showroom into a real living space.  Watching people bring the exhibit to life truly illustrates how a beautifully designed area assists in promoting good feelings.

Art & Living: Emerging Interiors will be on display at Lepere showroom, located at 20 West 22nd Street, Suite 1105, until July 5th.  To learn more about Cheek Living, Lepere and Raandesk Gallery, please visit, and

Photos and slideshow courtesy of and F.A.M.E NYC Editor

Pockets of Beautiful An Interview with Laura Salierno

FAMERS a few months ago I wrote about Raandesk Gallery, an online art gallery.  One of the artists I have been exposed to through Raandesk was Laura Salierno.  She is a photographer that takes the random flashes of life and turns them into framed eternities.  March 3:42 p.m. was the photo that drew me in.  The complexity of the picture wove so many stories in that one shot that I was compelled to look further into her work.  As I explored her work, I realized that all her photos shared that same complex frailty and depth, proving what a magnificent medium photography is.  Recently I was able to interview this vibrant young photographer and learn more about how she sees the world.

SKYLINE/BOOTS (2006), Two individual C-Prints, unframed, 16" x 20" each,

Was photography a passion you had since you were a child?



I was always very interested in art, loving to draw and paint, but I found photography later. I started to become interested in it at a young age, but it was not until college that I really developed a love for it.

At what age did you begin taking pictures?

 I am not really sure. I always took pictures, mainly of our pets and local squirrels.

At what age did you receive your first camera (Polaroid, disposable camera, etc.)?

I was probably around five or six. It was a bright pink point and shoot, and I loved it. I got my first SLR 35mm camera when I was eighteen.

PLAZA 8 (FROM THE PLAZA HOTEL) (2005-2006), Chromogenic print, 16″ x 20″

How did the darkroom influence your love of photography?


I really fell in love with the darkroom in college; it was a quiet place for me. The process of standing in the dark and watching your work come to life really enchanted me. I worked in the darkroom during my time in school and printing almost became therapeutic for me, it is such a craft and a labor of love.

As a photographer that works with different forms of photography, what do you believe are the drawbacks of digital photography?

I think that the biggest drawback of digital photography is that less people print out their photos and create albums. I would hate to see photo albums disappear; they are such wonderful tactile experiences of personal memory. I am also scared that people will slowly stop learning how to develop and print film. Digital photography has some really great benefits. You don’t have to (despite how much I love it) expose yourself and the environment to the caustic chemicals in the darkroom, and in a lot of ways digital photography is more accessible to people.

Seeing the world through a camera lens, how do you see the world?

I tend to see the world as a series of small moments, little pockets of beautiful, even if [it’s] sometimes ugly events. Plus I am always looking up; sometime I think I must look like a tourist on the streets.

MARCH 3:42 PM (2005), C print, shot on 645, 220 Fuji film, printed on Fuji crystal archive paper with a luster finish, 24″ x 20″

My favorite photo is March 3:42 p.m., could you tell me more about that photo?


This photo is part of a large body of work that is really about those in between moments in life, the times when you are not really doing much of anything. These pauses really make up a lot of a lifetime. I think of these shots as a kind of removed self-portraits, although they feature different people, they are all me observing the beauty in the still times during life. 

Could you tell me more about the SKYLINE/BOOTS series and what prompted you to begin that project?

I thought that it was important to support New Orleans after Katrina, so I went with a few friends for the first Mardi Gras. I thought it would be a gesture of both economic and emotional support, especially since this Mardi Gras was severely under attended. I did not have any real project in mind before I went down there. While visiting it hit me that I was there during such a strange moment, I thought that the juxtaposition of images of the damage from Katrina and the celebration of Mardi Gras was an important thing to share; it spoke loudly of the grace and spirit of New Orleans to me. It also struck me as a fleeting moment something that hopefully will never happen again.

Could you tell me more about the Plaza Series?

The Plaza Series was also a project that sort of found me. The initial concept behind The Plaza series sprang from a conversation with a friend about the ensuing liquidation sale of all merchandise tied to The Plaza Hotel. I immediately wanted to capture that moment especially since The Plaza was such an iconic hotel. I really wanted to make sure that someone captured it in this transitional stage. I joined my friend and went through the hotel trying to capture the eerie nature of such a scene. I am really happy that I seized that moment, I feel as though it is a special time in the history of The Plaza, one that may not come along again.

NEW YORK CITY AQUARIUM (BOYS) (2004), Chromogenic print, 16″ x 20″

How does living in New York influence your photography?

I think that New York influences my work in the same way that it influences anyone who lives here; it is a constant stream of information, visual and other. I think that being in NY you are exposed to such a variety of scenes and happenings that you can’t help but allow them to color your existence. 

To view more of Laura Salierno’s photos, visit

Photos courtesy of Raandesk Gallery

Reflections of a Colorist

The use of or lack of color is the foundation of most artwork.  Color draws upon memories and emotions.  It can make a grand or simple statement, or just be pleasing to the eye.  Washingtonian Robert Kent Wilson has brought his idea of color to the island of Manhattan with Pixel by Pixel, currently showing at Raandesk Gallery until April 16.  Pixel by Pixel marks the culmination of a decade of Robert’s work.  “I don’t know if people are really going to get it,” Robert comments when asked what he would want the audience to take away from the exhibition. 

“This is ten years of mental snapshots that I have articulated in larger form.  I see them as little scenes, little vignettes that one person has captured.  Sometimes it’s like focusing on a little bit of color.  Other times it’s focusing on a scene and taking this one little thing that’s going on there that most people would never look at.  So it’s kind of like I’m a photographer capturing things and putting it out there.”

Robert Kent Wilson is a native of D.C., but one would be hard pressed to find political statements in his work.  “It has caused me to not focus on politics in my art,” Robert remarks about living in our nation’s capital.  “I choose to focus on what I consider to be positive artwork,” he adds.  “Usually my messages are more social than political statements.  I like more positive influences; I think it makes a big difference.”

Although his political views can be seen in his work, Robert Kent Wilson does not beat the viewer over the head with highly wrought displays of political opinions.  Instead, his beliefs deepen the depth of each piece.   “My work always has a statement, but is the statement shocking?  My meanings are how people respond to color and how people respond to composition,” Robert affirms. 



A perfect example of a colorful hidden statement in Robert Kent Wilson’s artwork is #05 (pictured on the left), an awe inspiring piece that blends multi-hues of blue, green and hints of brown creating harmonious balance on canvas.  #05 is Robert’s homage to the shore, a location that has been a constant muse for artists since the beginning of time.  Looking at piece I got lost in the colors; they seemed endless, similar to the feelings I receive when I stare at the ocean, infinite and hopeful.  I wanted to dive into the canvas and float with the tides as they crashed against the shore.

 Their America (not shown in the exhibition) is another example of how the use of color and subtlety create a powerful image of beauty.  Upon first glance, the piece seems to be a commentary about America’s roots.  The rustic reds blended in the cowboy’s faces illustrate people that are of the land; however as Robert pointed out when we spoke, art is subjective.  The subtle statement waiting to be discovered in this work is about homosexuality, but unless the viewer was actually looking for the statement, they may not find it.  Then again, the statement is whatever the viewer wants it to be.  Robert prefers when the audience is able to enjoy his art by finding the element that makes them personally connect with a piece.

One of the reasons I believe it is easy for anyone, regardless of their knowledge of art, to connect with Robert Kent Wilson’s body of work is his focus on an element he calls “discarded stimuli.”  “Things always aren’t what they appear to be,” he states, “There’s more than what is put right in front of your face, and often times there’s something more interesting going on when people are put off guard.  My original inspiration for disregarded stimuli is the road trips my father, brothers and I would take growing up.  Everyone else would be sleep, except I couldn’t sleep, so as the car drove down the road I’d take pictures of the countryside and the people, analyzing a girl or boy in the backseat of a car passing by.  They were all momentary but there was something about them that stuck.”

Robert Kent Wilson took those moments and other experiences (as he also admitted as child he felt put to the side) and created imagery where disregarded flashes in time would live in vivid splashes of color.  In fact, his use of color is captivating and exquisite and is another reason why his work would appeal to the public.  The microcosms he uses to explain the larger story are well selected and along with his use of mix media tell a story that is even more revealing then the bigger picture.  Although there is always more than meets the eye with his work, one can simply enjoy the beauty of color, even if the colors are black and white. 

To learn more about Robert Kent Wilson visit or

Photos:  Courtesy of Raandesk Gallery

Behind the Curtain Unveiled


On the 14th, Raandesk Gallery unveiled its first exhibition for 2010 with Behind the Curtain, featuring artists Jason Bryant and Kevin Cyr.  I was introduced to both these artists in 2009 while visiting separate exhibitions at different galleries; from my initial introduction these two men left an indelible impression.  Although both artists showcase contrasting subjects, the realistic quality that exudes from their work makes them a match in art exhibition heaven. And indeed it was fate that brought these two men together having first met as assistants at Kehinde Wiley Studios where they first discussed the possible collaboration of an exhibit.  Thanks to Jessica Porter and Raandesk Gallery, their idea came to fruition. 

Jason Bryant’s portraits are inspired by pictures of models, actors and various ad campaigns, although at first sight, you would never know.  Removed from the closely cropped images are the eyes, thus removing the souls, but like an individual stricken with sudden blindness whose senses compensate for their lack of sight, other features of the face are highlighted to reveal the essence of the portrait.   A laugh line here, a wrinkle there, the positioning of the lips and check bones reveal a deeper story than the eyes ever could.   The richness of color coupled with the superimposed skateboard graphics gives the portraits a 3-D aesthetic and the earnest quality of the portraits combined with the whimsical effect of the graphics provide each work with sublime balance.

What is more New York than delivery trucks parked on every corner?  We curse them as we navigate through traffic and scramble to find parking. It is our traffic nightmares that provide Kevin Cyr’s inspiration.  Kevin takes the dilapidated delivery trucks and other vehicles and places them on large panels of wood using striking palettes of color.  Jason Bryant removes the eyes.  Kevin Cyr removes the background scenery making the trucks and cars the single focus in his portraits.  By placing the vehicles behind a solid colored background, the trucks become omnipresent – they could be anywhere.  The vehicles’ details seem to be enhanced and give them a new found charm.   

By featuring unconventional subjects, both Jason and Kevin challenge the audience to pay attention to the details – the various fragments within our society and even ourselves that tend to be dismissed.  Each time you peer into their portraits a new layer is exposed, a new detail is revealed and your sense of awareness is heightened.  The exhibit is designed to build on the color and themes of the portraits accomplishing a harmonious synergy against the white and bricked walls and provides a new meaning to the words “parallel universe.”  Bravo to Jason Bryant, Kevin Cyr and Raandesk Gallery for pushing the concept of portraiture into a new, intriguing territory.

Behind the Curtain is currently on display at Raandesk Gallery at 16 W. 23rd Street, 4th Floor until March 12, 2010.  You can also view more of Jason Bryant’s and Kevin Cyr’s work on

Photos courtesy of

Stimulating Simulation

Sergey Dikovsky ANSWER (2008) Oil on canvas

December in New York City guarantees three things – hordes of people at Rockefeller Center, a steady drop in the temperature and the occasional cold.  While fears of the H1N1 virus have the whole country in the grips of fear contemplating whether to get a flu shot, I am waging my own battle with the common cold.  Since the topsy-turvy weather and my cold have kept me indoors this week, I unfortunately was unable to go to any galleries, parties or shows.  Then I remembered, thanks to Jessica Porter I have a gallery right at my fingertips.

Jessica Porter

In 2006, Jessica launched Raandesk Gallery with an accompanying live exhibition in Chelsea.   Raandesk Gallery is an alternative to viewing art in a traditional venue allowing anyone with access to the internet the chance to broaden their visual horizons and expose potential art buyers to an experience that is less stodgy than the traditional gallery visit.

Jessica has always dreamed of owning a gallery.  The dream was present when she attended the University of Delaware where she studied Art History and French Language & Literature with the intent of becoming an international corporate curator.  A dwindling market prompted Jessica to become a consultant for an international fine arts shipper.  She also attended at the University of Maryland and received her Juris Doctorate in 2001.   Throughout her various career paths, Jessica never abandoned her original dream and in 2005 she began to turn her dreams into a virtual reality.

Raandesk Gallery currently represents over 30 artists and their work is only a click of a mouse away.  Along with the virtual gallery, Raandesk conducts several live exhibitions in venues throughout the city including Vino Vino and Gallery Bar.  In fact, my first introduction to Raandesk Gallery and Jessica Porter was at Gallery Bar.   From our first meeting I could tell that Jessica is passionate about what she does as well as the artists her gallery represents, which is always a good thing for an artist. 

Laura Salierno MARCH 3:42 PM (2005) C print, shot on 645, 220 Fuji film, printed on Fuji crystal archive paper with a luster finish

ART2Gift, Raandesk Gallery’s latest exhibition, can be found at 16 W. 23rd Street and online.  ART2Gift is a multi-medium marketplace that allows consumers to buy cotemporary art at extremely affordable prices ranging from $35 to $500.  The exhibition will be on display until January 2010.  So if you’re stumped for ideas for Christmas this year, a piece of art might be the way to go.  Whether you are viewing the work in person or online Raandesk Gallery always delivers the opportunity to dive headfirst into the world of contemporary art, stuffy nose and all.

To learn more about Raandesk Gallery, their artists and art rental program please visit

Photos courtesy of Raandesk Gallery