Rather than focus on some overarching political or philosophical theme as most group shows tend to do, Visible Range on view at Deli Gallery in Queens chooses a more lighthearted conceptual focus; rainbows. Almost all of the ten artists included in the exhibition employ rainbows in their works. In some instances, literal rainbows are inserted in the work, while in other cases the artists choose to employ the color-scape provided by one of nature's most incredible yet commonplace phenomena.
The beauty of a rainbow theme, beyond the aesthetic qualities it provides, are the inherent synchronicities in the works. In group exhibitions with more conceptually complex themes, it can often be a struggle to find common threads between the works on view, becoming more of an exercise of "is this what they meant or did they mean anything at all?" In Visible Range, Lukaza Branfman-Verissimo's colorful protest painting Growing Resistance hangs harmoniously next to Silver Lands Beach by Eva O'Leary, a photograph of a glimmering beach with the artist's shadow looming over the scene like a specter.
As simple as the theme seems, it feels surprisingly unusual to organize a group exhibition around such a lighthearted, apolitical topic. Yet Max Marshall, the curator of Visible Range and founder of Deli Gallery, has wanted to conduct this exhibition for quite some time: "The idea to curate an exhibition surrounding the themes of a rainbow was a simple one that I had over three years ago, even before Deli Gallery began," he tells Creators. "I have always been interested in an artist's desire to render something temporary, invisible, and beautiful."
Despite the directness of the theme, each artist bends the notion of a rainbow towards their own conceptual motivations: "The exhibition is more about the artists and their relationship to the spectrum of colors, and less about the works each having a rainbow in it," Marshall explains.
"The conceptual groundwork of the show takes one common starting point and allows each artist to splinter off into their own natural direction, whether it's Richard Tinkler using color as a base for his complex drawing system, or Brook Hsu and Haley Josephs using memories from childhood, or even Lukaza Branfman-Verissimo using the colors as a stand in for people in her work Growing Resistance which employs the vernacular of a protest sign."
While Visible Range is certainly a visually stunning success, the show is notably the first-time Deli Gallery has hosted a group exhibition in its two-year run. This delay has been partly due to Marshall's original intentions for the space: "A main goal of Deli Gallery is to give artists space and time to communicate important and complex ideas directly to the audience. This can sometimes be difficult when group shows at young, contemporary art galleries contain 15, 20, or more artists in a venue," tells the gallery's founder.
"Ultimately, I held off on having a group show because it felt right to have solo shows until this point. However, in an art world where circles often do not overlap, a group exhibition can be a great opportunity to start mixing things up," Marshall adds.
After this occasion, it seems like the gallerist and curator will continue mixing things up in exhibitions to come: "This experience has been absolutely incredible! This will not be Deli's last group exhibition. In the future, I'd love to work with independent curators or artists who are interested in putting together an exhibition. There's a reason I named the space Deli Gallery and not Max Marshall Gallery; my interest in complex and progressive exhibitions over time goes beyond what one person can do as a curator."
Visible Range will be on view at Deli Gallery until August 6th.