Edgy exhibit opens at BronxArtSpace

A new exhibit at BronxArtSpace features four textile artists who use domestic materials such as yarn and fabrics to recreate pieces representing serious themes like war and gentrification.

by Vianey Alderete Contreras.
by Vianey Alderete Contreras. Dolls with human expressions by artist Cinnamon Willis are  part of a new exhibit at BronxArtSpace, scheduled to run until July 9.

Charm & Vinegar tackles tough themes with household items

Knitted tiger skins, knife shaped pillows, embroidered war scenes, and paper and clay dolls with troubled expressions are on display at a new exhibit hosted by BronxArtSpace. Charm & Vinegar features four artists who use domestic materials such as yarn and fabrics to recreate pieces representing serious themes like war and gentrification.

“Some of the things are quite charming, and some of them have an edge so they are sour,” said BronxArtSpace’s co-founder Linda Cunningham about the exhibit, which she began planning three years ago.

Cinnamon Willis is a Brooklyn native who has lived in Morrisania for 13 years. Her sculpted dolls exude angst.

“I try and convey different emotions and feelings. Not necessarily anything that you would see on a doll. I want people to get in tune with their feelings because sometimes we are not feelings as happy as we try to portray,” said Willis.

The faces on Willis’ paper clay dolls show human emotions such as distress and sadness.

Ruth Marshall is another Bronx artist featured in the exhibit. The Australian-born Marshall’s collection of knitted animals skins are inspired by different exhibitions and nature museums, from which she chose a variety of felines, coral snakes, and endangered animals to recreate with yarn.

Knitted skins by artist Ruth Marshall.
Knitted skins by artist Ruth Marshall.

“These images are just knitted,” said Cunningham about Marshall’s work. “You think they have real skin, and they’re all endangered species. It has an edge.”

Peruvian artist Liliana Avalos’ pieces resemble kitchen and household items, such as knifes and spatulas. Manhattan-based Edith Isaac Rose is a painter who embroiders images of war with pastel threats onto soft fabrics.

One Bronx resident who attended the show, Kevin Medina, said he hopes galleries like BronxArtSpace are just the beginning and more focus on the arts will follow. For now, he said, galleries and art supply stores are scarce.

“Galleries like these provide free art, they are advantageous to art students,” said Medina, who studies graphic design at CUNY. It gives you a sense that The Bronx does have art, and I feel like The Bronx needs to move artistically.”

Charm & Vinegar will be on display to the public until July 9.

BronxArtSpace supports emerging and underrepresented artist, and is sponsored by non-profit arts service organization Fractured Atlas. Since 2012, the gallery has hosted artist, filmmakers, and curators from the Bronx and around the world.

The gallery is located at 305 E. 140 St., 1A, and is open Wednesdays through Fridays from noon to 6:30 p.m., and Saturdays from noon to 5 p.m. Admission is free. For more information call 718-401-8144, or visit their website www.bronxartspace.com.

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