Jacques and Natasha Gelman, Modern Mexican

Fiery passion and the warm, festive atmosphere of Mexico define Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Masterpieces of Modern Mexico from the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection showcases 100 paintings, sculptures, photographs and drawings collected by the Gelmans in their adopted homeland of Mexico.

Jacques Gelman, Russian-born film production mogul, and Natasha, his Czechoslovakian-born wife, became Mexican citizens in 1942 following their marriage in 1941. Overfive decades, they supported generations of internationally renowned Mexican artists. They established friendships with and collected art by such icons of Mexican modernism as Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, Rufino Tamayo, and Gunther Gerzso, among others.

“This is a rich and deeply personal collection,” said Stephanie Knappe, Assistant Curator of American Art. “One can’t help but imagine what it must have been like to have Diego Rivera paint your portrait, or have three Gerzsos hanging above your sofa. Who hasn’t walked into a museum and played the game of ‘What would I take home to hang in my living room?’ The Gelmans didn’t have to play this game, and our visitors will experience firsthand how intimately the Gelmans lived with their art.”

The Gelman Collection is the realization of an intimate collaboration spanning more than 40 years; it was the predominant passion of Jacques and Natasha. The collection began in 1943 with Rivera’s portrait of Natasha Gelman and continued to grow even after Jacques’ death in 1986. The couple collected art without hesitation. They acquired the canvases of Kahlo and Rivera when there were only a handful of collectors in Mexico.

"Beyond sharing iconic paintings by Kahlo and Rivera, this exhibition celebrates the breadth of the Gelmans' collection and the richness and diversity of Mexican art,” said Knappe. “As the Gelmans continued to meet artists, their tastes changed and their collection grew. Abstract compositions joined the figurative paintings that hung on their walls. Their deeply felt passion for Mexican art prompted a desire that their collection continue to evolve and express the vitality of contemporary Mexican art long after they were no longer able to add it to their collection themselves."

Although their styles were radically different, Kahlo and Rivera were similarly captivated by painting’s potential to explore the human condition.

Modern Mexican Painting >>

Frida Kahlo (Mexican, 1907-1954). Autorretrato con monos (Self-Portrait with Monkeys), 1943. Oil on canvas, 32 x 24 7/8 inches. The Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection of 20th Century Mexican Art. The Vergel Foundation. Conaculta/INBA. © 2013 Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust.

Rachel Gregors, Self Portrait No 15, detail.

Young Women in Full, Two Artists in Counterpoint
Two artists exhibiting across the city from one another are making a smart duet of ideas. Without having any relationship to the other, Rachel Gregors at Sub Gallery in midtown Kansas City and Jessica Borusky at Front/Space in the Crossroads are both intriguing in that their work neither leads nor follows the other. Each artists work is independent and strong in ways that are equally stimulating.

Young Women in Full >>

Scott Dickson, Emanating Monolith… , detail (reconfigured post card, 2013).

Altered States along the Appalachian Trail
The Memory Palace is not a piece of real estate, though we all dwell in its rooms. The doors we open are fragments of our past, when we enter we see the décor as we choose. If the Memory Palace were situated among nature it might look like reconfigured landscapes created by Scott Dickson. We Are Not This Body depicts a 2,200-mile journey of several months along the Appalachian Trail

Scott Dickson >>

Patrick Darwin Williams, Penny Arcade, and Warre in Tennessee Williams' The Mutilated.

A Tennessee Williams Christmas in The Mutilated
Penny Arcade and Mink Stole are the stars orbiting Williams’ 1966 play, The Mutilated. It is obvious before the first line these women were born to perform Williams, each bringing to the stage their arsenal of survivalist fervor. They grab the audience by the ankles and drag us straight down into a vortex of mildly tragic dilapidation.

The Mutilated >>

Amjad Faur, the Yin and Yang of
a Traditional
Photo Technology

Amjad Faur's photographic works present both a masculine and feminine power shaped by a context of flowing mementos that gently reference the emotional significance of Sarah Charlesworth as well as the hyperealistic style of Chilean painter Claudio Bravo.

However, it is the symbiotic content found throughout Faur’s work that makes his images so intriguing. Even if I am reminded of others, Faur is neither paying homage nor exploiting these artists. Instead, he adds an original dynamic to an ongoing oeuvre that lends itself to a larger conversation about gender, history, perspective, time and space.

All of these prints were made as pigment prints. The images were shot on 8x10 inch negatives and scanned, then printed, with no digital manipulation.  Unadulterated and carefully nuanced, each work offers a clarity that enables Faur’s audience to respond with a sense of immediacy and satisfaction, even while you ponder their meaning.

Visiting Faur's work during early evening, as I did, a lot of strong, natural light poured into the Invisible Hand Gallery. The multi-paned windows reflected upon the glass of these prints, along with my own image, thus creating a double, and sometimes triple, layer of depth.

This light increases and prospers the already present multitude of perspective.Roman Fresco (2012) is one example and my personal favorite. It is not only the crispness of the images, but the four individual levels of dimension that begs you to touch the coins, flower, fruit, and water. The lone plant tendril flowing right towards the water further illuminates each layer of definition. They also underscore a deeply rooted introspection that asks viewers to not see an image unto itself, but ask ourselves, "What will this image do to me? What IS it already doing?” Sykes Picot (2013) reaches me in a similar fashion.

It can be said that photographs do not have the depth or intimacy of a painted image, they are a fairly cut and dried presentation, void of nuance. With a painting (or any fine art) you are meant to see beyond what is before you and look as deeply as you can into the piece, discerning the brushstroke or pinch, deciphering movements the artist themselves might not have intended, but are nonetheless present.

With Faur, however, each movement is deliberate. The placement of every object is intentional and how his audience chooses to view them only lends itself to an appreciation of the content before us.

Female images, such as After Gerone, After Gilo (2012) pose for us how one thinks about Middle Eastern beauty.

Amjad Faur >>

Amjad Faur, Souvenir, 2008.