FEBRUARY 28 – MARCH 3, 2024
For the 2024 edition of Felix, Fridman Gallery is honored to present works by Debra Cartwright, Azuki Furuya, Hana Yilma Godine, Alina Grasmann, Sahana Ramakrishnan, and David Smalling.
Procession of Courtesans, 2023
Mixed media, collage, acrylic and oil paint on wood panel, 57 x 44"
Azuki Furuya's ingenious works on paper explore the brightness of life and the fragility of existence, with the material process itself as a form of storytelling. After drawing the composition from a photograph, she builds it up with layered bits of colored paper, meticulously sands down the surface until it is exposed like a derelict billboard, and paints inside and around the contours. Furuya then turns the discarded paper shavings into pulp, shapes it into objects she calls Ashes, and transfers the original photo onto the paper object. Each work thus completes a full cycle – from a photograph of a subject to its remembered, processed representation to a memento mori capturing the fragility of memory.
Azuki Furuya graduated with an MFA from Brooklyn College in 2019. Born in Sapporo, Japan, she lives and works in Tokyo.
David Smalling creates compositions that investigate how taboos and cultural norms reveal the history of individuals and communities. Drawing from a rich tapestry of inspiration that spans old master portraiture, high fashion, and Mise-en-scène design, his compositions hint at an elusive and thought-provoking new aesthetic firmly grounded in the artifice and stylistic opulence of Renaissance brushwork. Riffing on popular culture, art history, and his own coming-of-age experiences, he creates figurative paintings that are satirical and
self-deprecating. His practice is deeply rooted in Mannerist and Dutch Golden Age painting traditions. The Jamaican-born artist moved to the U.S. in his late teens - a cultural juxtaposition that provided a unique insight into how colorism shapes one’s becoming. His figurative oil paintings address how fear and expectations drive the complexity of human emotions. Works are often autobiographical and convey stories inspired by his insecurities and personal relationships - scenes evoke themes of friendship and betrayal, sex and luck, money and class.
Oil on canvas, 60 × 38"
David Smalling holds a Bachelor's degree and a Master's degree from Yale University, and a Ph.D. from Harvard University. He currently lives and works in New York, NY.
Alina Grasmann is a realist painter whose large-scale, site-specific series blur fact and fiction. Her works are inspired by her travels, American architecture, film, and literature. Each series contains about 10–15 paintings, all based on specific locations. Grasmann researches places and then visits
them in real life, recording her experiences and the atmosphere through photographs. Drawn to the narratives of each place, she compares the reality and sensation of the place with the way she imagined it would be, then makes interventions by changing or adding objects, or erasing parts. Rather than illustrating existing myths about a place, she aims to create space for association
so new stories emerge.
The Montauk Project (you have an open face), 2019
Oil on canvas, 55.12 x 39.37"
Grasmann lives and works in Munich, Germany, having studied at the prestigious Academy of Fine Arts in Munich and at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna. Grasmann’s work has been exhibited at several museums in Germany, including Kunstverein München, Galerie der Künstler, and Hubert Burda Media.
Portrait of a Tree, 2023
Oil on stitched canvas, 80 x 65"
Sahana Ramakrishnan’s symbolism – double snakes and circles representing movement, wholeness and transition,
single-cell organisms dividing and multiplying, learning to swim and learning to fly – suggests the potential within all living beings to become one with the vastness of time, space and change represented by the Ocean, the potential to transform and navigate new surroundings like a seedling, a pioneer, a transplant.
Oil on canvas, 80 x 60"
Ramakrishnan was born in Mumbai, India and raised in Singapore. She traveled to the United States to complete her BFA in Painting at RISD, has participated in residencies and fellowships at Yaddo, Gateway Project Spaces, the Robert Blackburn Workshop, the Yale/Norfolk Summer program, and received the Florence Leif grant from RISD.
Lost Childhood, 2023
Watercolor collage on paper, 12 x 16"
Debra Cartwright is interested in depicting the relationship between the black female body and American medical history. She uses paint and mixed media to explore selfhood and her own positioning as the daughter of a gynecologist. Themes in her work include re-embodiment, myth creation, violence, theft and intimacy. Cartwright explores a critical understanding of the past while also examining the American healthcare system.
Cartwright was born in Annapolis, Maryland and lives and works in New York City. She received her MFA from Rutgers University Mason Gross School of the Arts.
Combining traditional materials with bold compositions and color schemes, the paintings appear to time-travel, offering a futuristic worldview based in spirit, community, care, and hope. In Godine’s worldview, painting itself stands for creation, uncovering hidden connections among topographies and life-forms.
Hana Yilma Godine
Single painting #17, 2023
Oil and fabric on canvas, 70 x 50"
Hana Yilma Godine
Single painting #17 (detail), 2023
Oil and fabric on canvas, 70 x 50"