Curated by Kyle Butler
Statement from the curator:
BUFFALO, N.Y. – Ghost Goods is the first of two exhibitions in 2023 from Starlight’s Side by Each exhibition series, where we pair artists from the Starlight roster with artists from the community beyond. From Starlight, Ghost Goods will include the bold images of Andy Calderon & the morose creations of Lizzy Korwan. Exhibited alongside them are the grimy paintings of Karrah Henahan-Teague (Rochester, N.Y.) and the bootleg toy designs of Henny Zack (Hamburg, N.Y.).
The opening reception for the exhibit is on Friday, Feb. 10 from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. at Starlight Studio & Art Gallery (340 Delaware Ave.)
Andy Calderon’s paintings and drawings utilize familiar images of plant life, iconic figures, and still life arrangements, but they are characterized by broad and ballooned imagery that fills the page, as if the subjects were rolled out, flattened like dough, and arranged tightly within the available image space. Calderon diverts from realistic color, opting instead for a uniformly saturated palette of high key color over a white ground.
Karrah Henahan-Teague’s paintings share Calderon’s frank compositional sensibility. The subjects are arranged with little overlap, filling up the two-dimensional space of the canvas like objects laid out in a drawer. The imagery is casually amassed from a mix of impromptu photography and “treasures” that fill Henahan-Teague’s studio. This makes for odd contrasts in the work, where you might see commonplace store-shelf items or plants placed among curiosities like a horned skull, a chalice, or a crude figurative likeness. The work has a playful cynicism to it, but also an inventiveness that bares out in the unusual color palettes and the open-minded mix of painterly finishes.
Lizzy Korwan’s work is overtly gothic, giving it a minor allegiance with the grime of Henahan-Teague’s work. Noting horror movies and Poe as influence, Korwan makes paintings, sculptures, and mock stained-glass work that depicts ghouls, haunted houses, and an ambiguously spooky still life here and there. Despite all of the blood and fright, there is an obvious joy to the work familiar to anybody who’s heard a horror movie buff wax poetic about physical effects. The dark imagery comes from enthusiastic fandom, where Korwan revels in her subjects with the making of each piece.
Henny Zack rounds out the exhibition with her custom toys, complete with thematic packaging. A part of Zack’s practice involves molding and casting parts of existing toys, recontextualizing the original characters with a bit subcultural inside joke. Other works, like the Chimeratron series, involve creating a new, composite character from various scavenged limbs, torsos and heads. Zack also designs works from the ground up, as with her paper doll assemblies and custom resin figures. What brings the work to life and allows it to overcome the limitations of its own punchline is the care with which it is packaged and contextualized. Familiar brands and aesthetics are adeptly tweaked and played off of. Custom bubble packaging hints at the thematic origins of the figures while also amusingly recasting them as something new. Henny Zack’s design sensibilities and inventiveness peak around the corners of the more referential works and shine apparent in the wholly invented works.