Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Gallery Watch: Nosegay Tornado by Ambera Wellmann at Company

Text and photos by Clare Gemima 

Nosegay Tornado by Ambera Wellmann
Company Gallery, 88 Eldridge St.

One of the many tokens of pleasure during the pandemic I have come to find is stumbling across an incredible art show by accident while on my way to another. I suffer from option paralysis, a serious-sounding faux disorder that makes it difficult for me to commit to choosing only one gallery to go to at a time. 

Even as COVID-19 continues to impose itself, there is still so much new artwork to see and for that, I am bountifully grateful. I urge you to go out and explore for yourself too. There is nothing quite like seeing artwork in the flesh. 

Regardless of prior planning or research, the sensation of walking into a gallery you’ve not even heard the name of before is something exciting in and of itself. When a body of work appears so forceful in its serendipity, you can’t help but wonder if the paintings were in fact waiting for you to appear this whole time. Who cares how you got there, the point exists in your arrival. 

Company Gallery was by far the best pit stop of my whole week.

Ambera Wellmann presents her first solo show, Nosegay Tornado in this hidden gallery on Eldridge Street. Walking down a dauntingly long hallway to arrive at the show (on your right), Company is surprisingly welcoming and warm for a large white space. This feeling was most likely caused by a combination of witnessing more and more people visiting shows (some seemingly had the same gallery route as me), mixed with the maturity of Wellmann’s use of paint. 

The paintings throughout the space represent the last six months of Wellmann’s studio time. Using inspiration from the romantically distorted and anamorphic bodies of William Blake’s apocalyptic work, these paintings are vibrant and undeniably sexy. There’s narrative, lust and confusion in the room, brought to life through oil paint and soft pastels. 

Nosegay Tornado presents paintings that embody alternative and perhaps conflicting narratives. Whether it be the choice to construct internal (oil on linen canvas) and external (painted frame) structures (The Unicorn Captivity) or in creating a scene where a sinister figure voyeuristically watches two lovers reach ecstasy (Nox Tendencies), her canvases home a level of uncertainty within them.

Wellmann’s vibrant colors bleed into animals and ornaments, blurring forms with shapes and patterns. Figures softly turn into abstractions and the combustion of needs and desires portrayed in these paintings emit a kind of sexy, kind of serious but definitely catastrophic steam that demands the viewer’s attention. The work dramatically (and dreamily) deals with ideas of fluidity in sexuality and gender, the psyche, and queerness. 

Nosegay Tornado extrapolates the potentiality of who we are as animalistic creatures and romanticizes the idea of what human desire looks or feels like beyond any and all of its confinement. 

Nosegay Tornado is on show at Company Gallery until Jan. 9.

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Clare Gemima is a visual artist from New Zealand. New-ish to the East Village, she spends her time as an artist assistant and gallery go-er, hungry to explore what's happening in her local art world. You can find her work here: 

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