Installment 3: Kymia Nawabi

kimya-sculptureKymia Nawabi stood out at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Swing Space show. Her whimsical, yet somewhat disturbed drawings, paintings, and sculpture have the illustrative quality reminiscent of Tim Burton, giving characters multiple limbs or mix-matched bodies, and overlapping pattern over pattern –a complex world that begs to be dissected. A first generation Iranian-American, which she explains has contributed to her social anxiety disorder, her work addresses the personal struggles of her identity. Her mythology is given the name “The Nincompoop and The Superior Super Senses Stalkers,” as each of her senses is exaggerated and distorted in an episode of anxiety –whether it be in infancy, childhood, adolescence, or adulthood.

kimya-moleskinMoleskin sketchbooks, which read like storybooks, hang from the ceiling in one corner, while large scale drawings hang in the hallways and the walls of her studio space. Disfigured small-scale sculptures sit patiently on the table, some housed in their own small cupboards, while larger scale sculptures sit free form outside. Each work seems to represent a different episode, or a different manifestation of her feelings as a new character (or doppelganger, as she says). Incredibly detailed and fantastical, she is right in assuming that “the works are initially understood as playful, cute and humorous, but this is merely a polite disguise, just as one uses a smile to hide a despicable body and mind that has gone berserk. Thus, through the lens of my own experience, I direct the viewers’ visions to the complex, deep-level, make-up of who we are, and make us dwell on the abject nature of being human.”

Swing Space is a space grant program that connects artists and arts organizations with vacant commercial space downtown. Studio, rehearsal, office, installation, and exhibition space awards are typically for one to six months and may be accompanied by a project stipend of $300-$3,000, when funds are available. Housed in an expansive upper-level office floor in a skyscraper in the Financial District, the 10th floor of 77 Water Street is the summer home of the Swing Space visual artist studios. Twenty former bankers’ offices lining the nearly 20,000 square foot floor offers selected artists space to complete proposed projects in the visual arts. With sweeping views of the East River, New York Harbor, the Statue of Liberty and the office buildings of the Insurance District, 77 Water Street serves the Swing Space program’s goal to place artists in uncommon and unique environments in Lower Manhattan.

belatedly, morbidly yours

sleeping venusWe’ve been meaning to write about one of our favorite blogs, Morbid Anatomy, for some time now. Last night, our roommate came home and couldn’t stop talking about this amazing event at a new space just down the street in Gowanus, hosted by Morbid Anatomy, and we were like what WHAT WHATWHAT!?!

It was called Sleeping Beauties, it was presented by Katherine Hoffman of U Hawaii, and it involved wax female anantomical dolls made from real human parts (in the style of Sleeping Venus). Damn! This post by a fellow organizer on bioephemera has some incredible images which give us a hint of what we missed.

Sadly, we missed the event, but we’re going to make it to the next one, on Friday April 5:
“Italian Wax Anatomical Models in European Collections”
Marie Dauenheimer, Trustee of the Vesalius Trust and Medical Illustrator
Friday, April 3rd
Doors open at 7:00; Presentation at 7:30 PM
Admission: Free
Location: Observatory
543 Union Street (at Nevins) Brooklyn, New York 11215
Entry via Proteus Gowanus Interdisciplinary Gallery and Reading Room; go through back door of gallery, then take a left to find event. Directions here or call 718.243.1572.

an up-and-coming occupation

Lookee what just appeared in my daily New York Sun news alert e-digest for news items tagged “hipster librarians”:

Williamsburg is known for cool bistros and trendy hangouts, but few realize that the neighborhood and its environs are a magnet for hip, young librarians. Although “hip” is not an adjective generally associated with librarians, a stack of archivists, publishers, illustrators, librarians, and other bibliophiles called the Desk Set is out to challenge their image as staid.

seven-naked-librarians.jpgThe article goes on to describe one night of fire in which the Desk Set descended on Enid’s in Greenpoint for a raucous evening of rousing cupcakes, waiting in line for beer, and mutually assured self-satisfaction.

Look at me, acting like I wasn’t even paraphrased and all.