Art Show at Namas Tea

Art Show at Namas Tea

23 Nell Rose at Namas Tea.JPG

On July 25, I went to Namas Tea to see a display of art in the passageway between the cafe and the garden in the back. The show was curated by two artists who also put works in the show. They are Samantha Lober and Victoria Anine; the latter also lives in an apartment off the hallway. When I arrived I realized the art show was just one piece of what was a party. Namas Tea sells tea and pastries; they wanted something more substantial for this event. So Tali and Hannah from Babydudes came and set up a table outside selling various items that were more filling. In the garden I encountered Kai a waitress at Colina Cuervo who I know: she was going to play the keyboard and sing later in the evening, and I heard rumors there would be dancing.

Five artists were on display and the hallway made for a difficult site to view art as there was a continual stream of people headed back and forth to and from the garden. Overall, there seemed to be a theme to the show; the different artists, besides mostly being from Dayton, Ohio, had, I thought, various takes on the environment. Victoria Anine had dubbed the space “Turf” suggesting the curators wanted an informal natural environment where one could feel comfortable; however, the artists suggested such an environment is hard to come by. I first talked to Nellie Rose and saw her ceramic work about adaptation. There were paired figures to the side of the display and in the middle what seemed a kind of shell, but the hole of the shell was empty, suggesting it was dead, and it seemed to be gaping. To me the pairs seemed the usual way nature has of reproducing itself, but the central figure suggested something had gone wrong. Nellie also sold small bowls and medallions that could be put on a cord or necklace and hand-made clothing, very simple and attractive. Nellie is just passing through Brooklyn. In the fall she will be on scholarship at Alfred University upstate to pursue her studies. Simon Kingston's work suggests the disjunction between the human world and the rest of nature. Using very simple solid colors, he has one picture called “Animal Kingdom” that shows a deer standing over a prone human with breasts whose entrails have spilled out onto the ground. Another called “Red Moon and Mountain” displayed an environment too hot for life, a place where no human could survive, and finally there was painting called “Sick in Bed.” Again the person's entrails were coming out from under a blanket and ominous black tadpole figures were coming into the room through a window and a pipe. Simon revealed that he had been quite ill recently and needed surgery. He told me his work owes a lot of Matisse and horror movies. I could see the both influences clearly. Victoria Anine has two pictures in the show. They both show naked translucent figures passing through space in an uncomfortable way, intersecting but not coming together, like some frustrating dream. She told me she had started to use water colors since she arrived in Brooklyn because they are less expensive. They seemed to be used to portray an environment where things don't work out. Samantha Lober also has two pictures in the show. In a different way they too show things not coming together. One shows two figures at the beach, sun bathing on the sand but around them are other figures that make the beach scene seem odd and artificial. The other picture has a head in it suggesting a decapitation. I thought of the story of Salome in which a seductive dance leads to a request for the head of a holy man. Yet again something has gone very wrong. The last artist is Fernando Reuben. He did a powerful figure all in black of a young man standing but looking down, a romantic work suggesting alienation.

I am not sure if the show will still be up by the time we go to press, but I would advise anyone interested in art to keep an eye on what goes on at Namas Tea. Lober and Anine should be proud of the show they put on, even if the hallway is a bit too narrow.

– John DeWind

Robbie Klein