July 20 - August 23, 2019
Allsorts: Curated by Natalie Shahinian
(main gallery)
Public Reception: Saturday, July 20th, 5-8 pm

From July 20th to August 23rd, 2019, BoxHeart Gallery welcomes guest curator Natalie Shahinian as she presents Allsorts, an exhibition of artworks by five Canadian artists - Carmelo Arnoldin, Robert Davidovitz, Andrew Ooi, and collaborators John Armstrong and Paul Collins – whose distinct application of pattern offer many ways to experience and make sense of life.

When considering a curatorial guest for BoxHeart’s exhibition schedule, owners Nicole Capozzi and Joshua Hogan seek out the collaborative energy that has always existed in the art world. BoxHeart’s guest curator must make a case for how she envisions adding to the gallery’s exhibitions in the most meaningful and relevant ways possible, as well as how she imagines presenting the same material in an exhibition that will travel to her regions of focus.

Natalie Shahinian is an independent writer and curator based in Toronto, Canada. Her formal and continuing education in Semiotic and Communication Theory and Art History (University of Toronto); Creative Writing and Children’s Writing is evident in her narrative style and inquisitive point of view. Her articles, reviews, and copy have been published at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Centre des Art Actuels Skol, Montreal; publications Lola, Devil’s Artisan, and New Art Examiner among others. Her interests extend from 1960s American Minimalism to Realism and mixed-media assemblage, like artists Janet Fish and Alfonso Ossorio. In either extreme, Shahinian studies how artists convey the poetry of space to which she feels they are compelled to create. The exhibition, Allsorts, is an example of that examination, and those considerations made by the artists through pattern: reframing, restoring, and reinventing traditional art forms to intermediate the physical space between the viewer and the artwork, one world and another.

If we think of art as an artist’s attempt to construct physical or metaphysical order, then pattern must be the approach to that order. Physically, an artist needs to adhere to the principles of the natural world and the elements to which it is organized – this being the basic geometric shape of circle, square, triangle, and line. Metaphysically, an artist must arrange the natural order, wholly uniquely, so the pattern can supersede its function to organize and relate, but also, guide: like a map or set of instructions. If an artist succeeds to present pattern as a kind of exit from the customary or even chaotic, then they have devised the metaphysical way to exist in the physical world.

In addition to their handling of pattern and use of geometric shapes, Shahinian selected the artists for Allsorts based on their unconventional merging of materials with traditional art forms. Carmelo Arnoldin weaves aluminum strips cut from scavenged soda and beer cans; Robert Davidovitz pipes acrylic paints from a pastry bag. Andrew Ooi sculpts folded, painted papers, and collaborators John Armstrong and Paul Collins transform photography into painting.

Arnoldin’s woven tapestries ascribes shape and pattern to highlight the complicated histories of North American Indigenous and African cultures, which as his materials, without resolution will continue to recycle. Davidovitz conversely, utilizes pattern to reveal metaphysical geographies, consisting of overlapping shapes and perspectives where order and chaos, meet. Ooi’s paper reliefs are the patterned structures that reify the illusive reality as an expression of its type, similar to DNA, making shape active, dynamic, and ever-evolving. Armstrong and Collins animate pattern across photographs of everyday spaces isolating shapes, pattern, and its variant, texture, with uniform strokes of thick oil paint, producing an additional pattern, moiré, that amplifies, crosses-out, and recreates the underlying photograph’s illusionism.

Taken together, the patterns by these five artists are the key or legend to a map, as well as its navigation. Their artworks dare to unite realities that may or may not exist, consequently, creating another: the entry point into our understanding of life.

Reception with the Curator
Allsorts: Curated by Natalie Shahinian will be on exhibit from July 20th through August 23rd in BoxHeart’s main gallery. The exhibition coincides with our 2nd-floor gallery exhibit Arabella Proffer: Soft Sugars. The reception with the curator will be held Saturday, July 20th, from 5 - 8 pm.



July 16 - August 23, 2019
Arabella Proffer: Soft Sugars
(2nd-floor gallery)
Public Reception: Saturday, July 20th, 5-8 pm

From July 16th through August 23rd, BoxHeart is proud to present Arabella Proffer: Soft Sugars on exhibit in our 2nd-floor gallery. Organized by Nicole Capozzi and Joshua Hogan, owners of BoxHeart, Soft Sugars brings together Proffer's interests in botany, microbiology, monsters, space, disease, and the evolution of cells. Within those interests, she explores the particular roles that organisms, medicine, DNA, and hybrids play, all while creating from her own imagination and instinct. 

Proffer's artwork changed drastically one day in 2010 when she found herself creating surreal organic environments. Although she started from a place of abstraction, they became filled with strange hybrids of flowers, cells, and symbols that appeared like organisms from another planet. It was only later that Proffer found out she had cancer crawling through her body at an alarming rate. When Proffer's doctor showed her the scans of the tumor, and close-ups of the cells, it looked almost identical to what she had started painting – tentacles and all. A new fascination with the macro universe and micro universe was born. This was a major departure for Proffer after 12 years of exhibiting as a Pop Surrealist portrait artist, with a mild obsession with European aristocracy, medical history, and the Old Masters.

Shaping aesthetic outcomes of these paintings don’t come from research or re-creating what already exists; Proffer creates her own nature within these little worlds. If cells and viruses can look beautiful when magnified, she wonders what organisms on other planets look like? Is there something bigger we are a part of? What will these cells look like 10 days later – what about 10 million years later? Concerned with answering these questions for herself, Proffer doesn’t like to analyze or diagnose too much because creating something the viewer interprets with their own ideas is part of the experience. Invertebrates, flowers, human organs all come from the same natural process at the core, and visualizing their fictional evolution at any given stage is the most enjoyable part of creating.

Proffer is an artist, author, and co-founder of the indie label Elephant Stone Records. Her loose narrative themes revolve around a fascination with punk rock, aristocrats, fashion, the history of medicine, and biomorphic organisms. She delves into her practice of oil painting tying together its relationships to anatomy, biology, and emerging sciences. She attended Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA before receiving her BFA from California Institute of the Arts where she studied under artists such as John Mandel, Derek Boshier, Jim Shaw, and Susan Pitt. Proffer’s artwork is in over 60 private collections, and she participates in solo and group exhibitions throughout North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Australia.

Her book The National Portrait Gallery of Kessa: The Art of Arabella Proffer was published in 2011 by Cooperative Press. She was awarded an Ohio Arts Council grant in 2016, and an Akron Soul Train Fellowship in 2018. Her work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Plain Dealer, GOOD Magazine, Hi-Fructose, Juxtapoz, The Harvard Gazette, Scene Magazine, Snob, Hektoen International Medical Journal, Creative Minds in Medicine, and more. Born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and bred in Southern California, she and her husband live on the shores of Lake Erie in Cleveland, Ohio.

Reception with the Artist
Arabella Proffer: Soft Sugars will be on exhibit from July 16th through August 23rd in BoxHeart’s 2nd-floor gallery. The exhibition coincides with our main gallery exhibit Allsorts: Curated by Natalie ShahinianThe reception with the artist will be held Saturday, July 20th, from 5 - 8 pm.