THE STOREFRONT PROJECT ANNOUNCES ARTIST SARA ERENTHAL’S UPCOMING SOLO EXHIBITION BACKSTORY
July 25- August 18, 2019
Opening Reception:Thursday, July 25, 6-9
Artist SARA ERENTHAL and Lower East Side gallery THE STOREFRONT PROJECT are pleased to announce the artist’s solo exhibition at the gallery Backstory, curated by Nina Blumberg. Erenthal will present new mixed media works which showcase her instantly recognizable artistic iconography and seasoned ‘upcycling’ technique.
Backstory deeply explores Erenthal’s preoccupation with ‘upcycling’: the process of converting old or discarded materials into something useful and often beautiful. The majority of the works in the exhibition are created from old, thrifted paintings, upon which the artist paints her signature motif-- a graphic silhouette of a woman’s form with wide eyes and red lips-- thereby creating a new work entirely. Underpainting subjects include a Catholic pope, a Jewish rabbi, old-fashioned portraits of unidentified anonymous men or women, and still lives of flowers or plants, among others.
The underpaintings’ subject matter may seem random; however, Erenthal chooses which paintings to rework with much consideration. They must speak to her visually, but quite often not in the way the original artist may have intended. Rather, an undertone or connotation of the imagery connects with one of her past experiences. Born into an ultra-Orthodox Jewish family, Erenthal left home at 17 to avoid an arranged marriage. Thus, the rabbi in I’m in Control (2019) understandably has conflicting implications for the artist. By painting her trademark motif over the rabbi, she figuratively subverts the power dynamic and reasserts her hard-earned independence. Or, in Inner Peace (2019), the beautiful field of flowers peeking out from under Erenthal’s superimposed silhouetted woman symbolizes a tranquil, safe place that she has found within herself.
A self-taught artist, Erenthal’s studio practice traces back to early childhood. She views her practice as a deeply meditative study of human figuration, femininity, and identity. Given her early struggles with her religious faith, she considers artmaking to be cathartic and uses it to explore themes of displacement, survival and liberation. Everything the artist creates is inspired by her specific life experiences, yet is still widely relatable, as those who encounter it tend to see themselves in her central, repeated figure. Erenthal refers to it as a ‘subconscious self-portrait’-- but one that is generalized enough in its characteristics that it could represent anyone.
When not in her studio, Erenthal can be found making art on the streets, reinventing discarded objects by painting provocative portraits on their surfaces. Rather than be forced to stop creating art in early days when she couldn’t afford canvases, Erenthal began to source cast-off materials from the streets or thrift stores to use as surfaces on which to create her art. The artist is known to leave her re-finished artworks in the street where she finds them, so that anyone who comes along can enjoy them in situ, or even take them home. Erenthal sees this repurposing of found materials as a way for her to give back to her community. By taking cast-off objects that other people have designated as trash and turning them into art, she is able to give them a second life and a new purpose.
Over the last decade, Erenthal has participated in both solo and group exhibitions in New York and beyond, most recently and notably at the Museum of Jewish, Montreal, Canada (2018) and at the Red House Shapira in Tel Aviv (2018). In addition to museum and gallery shows, Erenthal has been commissioned for numerous murals and other public art projects throughout New York, Montreal (Mural Festival), Tel Aviv, Guatemala, and more. Her work has been reviewed and profiled in notable publications such asThe New York Times, Vice, The Village Voice, Artnet, Oprah Magazine, and Haaretz, among others.
ABOUT THE CURATOR
Nina Blumberg (@artstagram__) is an art consultant working full-time for the New York City-based firm Samuels Creative. She fills the rest of her time with freelance projects as a social media specialist, writer, and budding curator. Blumberg received her BA in Art History from the University of Virginia and an MA from FIT’s “Art Market: Principles & Practices” graduate program.
Blumberg is also the founder of @artstagram__, the art world Instagram account that covers contemporary art happenings in NYC and beyond. The account is known for its punny and relatable art world updates.
ABOUT THE GALLERY
The Storefront Project's mission is to connect both established and lesser known artists influenced by pop culture, celebrity and advertising with the general public via their gallery storefront space on the Lower East Side. The gallery’s clients range from local LES residents, to indie art collectors and colleagues working for small and big brands (either via ad agencies or for brand direct).
Gallery Hours: Tuesday - Sunday, 1-8pm
Curator: Nina Blumberg @artstagram__ For press inquiries: email@example.com
Gallerist: Gina Pagano @thestorefrontproject firstname.lastname@example.org