|Jason McCoy Inc.
41 East 57 Street
New York 10022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Rachel Hovnanian: Preservation of the Narcissus
November 7 - December 22, 2007
Opening Reception: Wednesday, November 7, 5 - 9 pm
Jason McCoy Inc. is pleased to present an exhibition of recent painting, sculpture and installation works by Rachel Hovnanian. In this body of work, Hovnanian focuses on the Narcissus flower as a distilled symbol of beauty and explores variations on how the essence of the flower as well as our memory of it can be preserved. This analysis is vast and Hovnanian's subject manifests in oil on canvas (Memory series), encaustic painting (Fractile series), photography, sculpture, as well as multi-media installation.
In her essay for the catalog, which accompanies this exhibition, Merrill Falkenberg, Ph. D., notes:
"In this series of works, the artist has examined virtually every aspect of the narcissus flower, coating them in wax, crushing the blooms to produce ink and working with a chemist to recreate the sickly sweet aroma of the flower at the moment when the bloom begins to decay. The scent is then instilled in candles, which act as momento mori to a flower that withers immediately after it comes fully into bloom. In the Fractile paintings, the flowers are virtually mummified. Created through a time intensive and ritualistic application of hot wax, the encaustics recall Egyptian funereal portraits. Just as the ancient portraits commemorated the deceased as they were in the prime of life, Hovnanian's paintings memorialize the flower at the height of its beauty. In her haunting Memory of the Narcissus paintings, Hovnanian again works with layers, painting the flowers in great detail, wiping away at the image and then starting again. The result is an exquisite palimpsest, where ghostly traces of each layer can still be seen."
Preservation of beauty is life, as we know it today. Art reflects and imitates in order to document, defend and educate. Although subjective, our culture finds universality in the opinion of what is and what is not beautiful. In general, the preservation of beauty is equivalent with the preservation of youth. To freeze beauty at its most accomplished and "perfect" has been the ambition of art throughout the ages. However, due to today's advancing technologies, medicine, and cosmetic surgery, this idealistic notion is more vehemently pursued than ever. The question remains: does the artificial preservation of a formerly living organism enrich or diminish our memory of it?
Rachel Hovnanian lives and works in New York. This will be the first exhibition of Hovnanian's work at the gallery. A catalogue will be published and available through the gallery with full-color reproductions.
Stephanie B. Simmons
Hours: Tuesday - Saturday, 10 am to 6 pm