Phantoms & Flowers
Prints and Drawings by Ondine Wolfe Crispin & Helen Quinn
February 7 – 19, 2023
Opening & Closing Receptions: Friday, February 10 and Saturday, February 18, 6-8 pm
Ondine Wolfe Crispin & Helen Quinn are pleased to announce Phantoms & Flowers, their two-person exhibition at Local Project Art Space. The first extensive exhibition of their work in New York City, it connects the artists, both New Yorkers and friends, through their exploration of the printmaking medium and ongoing focus on urban taxonomy – the metaphorical collection of fragments from daily life in the city.
Crispin, an avid observer of the plants, flowers and birds of her urban surroundings, makes small relief prints and silkscreens that zoom in and record the natural world around her. Quinn collects glimpses, sensations, and collective energy from her daily subway rides, translating them into abstract, dream-like drawings and prints.
Crispin’s prints are an ode to urban flora, which she records and examines with the keen eye of a botanist. The works included in the exhibition are from the Colorful High Line, 2022 and Paseo Park Prints, 2022 series. For these projects, the artist walked the High Line and Paseo Park, a city street turned promenade, on a regular basis closely observing nature in flux. Small groupings of leaves, daisies, twigs, flower buds and weeds are immortalized in minimalist compositions, exuding human-like personalities. One can occasionally see sections of metal wires and fences in the background- reminders of the urban settings in which these plants exist. Crispin’s preferred printmaking techniques – linoleum and woodcuts – are laborious and intentional, allowing her to deeply familiarize herself with each subject in the process. Generally preferring black and white, the artist has also experimented with carefully selected color palettes as visible in the Colorful High Line series.
Quinn’s work seeks to gather and organize fragments of fleeting worlds. On view are a selection of prints and drawings from the series Circus Rorschach, 2022 and Floating World of the 7 Train, 2020 which highlight her stylistic evolution from figurative to prevalently abstract. Using a combination of screen printing, gauche, watercolor, pastels and ink on paper, she builds intricate, vertical compositions that resemble multi-level accordions. The symmetrical overlapping and stacking of different curvilinear shapes allow the artist to articulate her memory and perceptions – colorful “phantoms” – of her daily commute. From this ensemble, ultimately emerges a holistic portrait of her experience, as multifaceted and exuberant as the crowds she encounters on her train rides. A trained textile designer, one can see Quinn’s mastery of flat, patterned surfaces and color. References to Edo era Japanese prints and Indian miniature painting are also essential to the understanding of her visual language.
Comprising almost 40 small to large works, Phantoms and Flowers offers a new shared perspective of the works of the two artists while at the same time, bringing forth their individual voices and approaches to the concept of urban taxonomy.
About the Artists
Helen Quinn and Ondine Wolfe Crispin live and work in Queens, New York. Together they also run Dovecote Collective, a political arts collective that makes printed banners and signs advocating for democracy and human rights.
Helen Quinn has exhibited in diverse venues from Norway to the Czech Republic to Queens. She is the recipient of two New Works Grants from the Queens Council of the Arts in 2020 and 2022. She has attended numerous residencies including a year-long program in Japan with the Henry Luce Foundation and more recently at Poco a Poco in Oaxaca, Mexico where she did a series of silkscreen crowd portraits.
Ondine Wolfe Crispin is a visual artist and printmaker living and working in Queens, NY. Ondine has won grants from the Queens Council on the Arts and the Creative Sanctum Catalyst Commissions (with creative partner Helen Quinn of Dovecote Collective), through which she has taught printmaking to children and adults in her community. She is a summer teaching artist at Stony Creek Farmstead Art Farm Camp, where she teaches printmaking each summer.
This exhibit has been made possible by the Queens Council for the Arts.
Image details: (left) Helen Quinn, Circus Rorschach – 74th Street Jackson Heights, gouache on paper, 16×20″ 2022; (right) Ondine Wolfe Crispin, Colorful High Line – Orange, silkscreen on paper, 13.5×16″ 2022