(noun) nonchalant absurdity with a dash of embarrassment.

(verb) to be shark bitten.

(adverb) in a manner that is nonchalantly absurd and embarrassing.


17 March 2014

Jason Bereswill and My Healthy Portion of Poor Farm Food

A weekend away. The phrase itself seems inconceivable to most New Yorkers barely able to pay their rent, living paycheck to paycheck just to get by. Luckily, for me, some of my best friends made the decision to leave the city. As much as NYC seems like the epicenter of art and creation, actually being able to create requires ample amounts of self- discipline, money and time. One must ignore the invites to this opening or that event, turn their apartment into a studio or office or surrender to paying exorbitant amounts for a small box in a building with hundreds of other small rooms. Some would argue, the pros outweigh the cons, that living in NYC matches their lifestyle, that their job is here. And others leave. And I'm not talking about moving back in with their parents. Others leave and create something different, planting the seeds for something profound. And this is how I spent my weekend: surrounded by friends on a farm, steeped in goodness, and contemplating the lingering question: will NYC always be the place for me?

When I was not helping raise a barn (I was there for moral support) and eating delicious food à la Poor Farm Food, I sneaked in a studio visit with Jason Bereswill. The studio is brand new with windows facing west, which allows for rays upon rays of afternoon sun. Both painters, Jason and his wife, Jane LaFarge Hamill, are owners of the farm, and, like my friends Robin and Douglas Piccinnini, founders of Poor Farm Food and not to mention Douglas' Tea Party Republicans Press, left the city as a permanent residence for the country.

Jason Bereswill, Untitled Wave
Water, a recurring theme in Jason’s work, is present in several of the paintings I saw that Saturday afternoon. In the waves series, inspired by the trigger moment of Andy Irons’ ride in a surf competition some time ago, the artist paints water as if it is dripping off the canvas. The absence of the figure, focuses the viewer’s attention on the white trail of water beneath the tube of the wave. Where this trail, covered mostly by shadow, meets the sun, is where one can imagine the surfer standing atop his board, yet the absence of the figure creates some sort of stage set. Andy Irons death in 2010 adds a level of eeriness to the painting, further relating absence to death, at least in its theoretical explanation.

Jason Bereswill, Polanco Triptych, 2013
From his solo show at Casa Maauad in Mexico City, Polanco Triptych, addresses the ubiquity of walls as an architectural element in Mexico City and how the walls can exacerbate and draw attention to oneself as an outsider. Inspired by the work of Luis Barragán and the artist's own response to the minimal and imposing architecture of the city, Bereswill's paintings reflect Barragán's idea of how a simple, heavy-walled structure can induce inward contemplation and passive thought. Here, the cloud is the piece of what lies beyond the wall, it is an entry point to an idea, or simply, a daydream.

Spacious studios, roosters crowing, artists-in-residence, a beautiful old farmhouse rich in history, a greenhouse and soon-to-be fully functioning farm, this place is amazing. Will I return? Of course. Mostly, this weekend getaway has got me seriously thinking about whether or not New York City is the place to be for artists, writers, and creatives alike. You start young in the city and you gain that experience, build relationships and a following, and then what? Some visit the same old bar, ride the same trains, creating the same NYC routine. New York is not sustainable for most. It's too close to the market, more time is spent schmoozing than creating. Many say time is money. Well, all my money goes to my apartment, my studio, and bills. Without money and astronomical bills, all we've got is time and, if one leaves this place, that enviable word all New Yorkers fawn over when they leave their city: space.


Gil Scott-Heron and Jamie XX - NY Is Killing Me from vivi on Vimeo.


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