New York Academy of Art & Gallery Poulsen – ”Graduates”

This fall at Gallery Poulsen we kick of an annual returning concept, when we present three new Masters of Fine Art graduates from New York Academy of Art: Abigail Schmidt, Shangkai Kevin Yu and Stephen Vollo. In consultation and collaboration with our in house artist Jean-Pierre Roy (Professor), David Kratz (President) and Peter Drake (Dean of Academic Affairs) from NYAA we have developed this curatorial frame to be able to give you the newest and best talents.

New York Academy of Art is well known for its ability to combine intensive technical training in the fine arts with active critical discourse. It serves as a creative and intellectual center for all artists dedicated to highly skilled, conceptually aware figurative and representational art. In other words – we do share a lot of interests with this institution and that’s exactly why we began this fruitful cooperation.

However, several of our artists are connected to this highly regarded institution, so NYYA is definitely not a completely alien territory for us. John Jacobsmeyer, Mu Pan and Jean-Pierre Roy all work as teachers and instructors in respectively printing, drawing and painting. Furthermore this is the academy where Jean-Pierre Roy earned his master’s degree.

While we were in New York City in March we visited NYAA where we carefully selected and invited Abigail Schmidt, Shangkai Kevin Yu and Stephen Vollo to show their works in Gallery Poulsen. In 2014 the latter two artists Kevin Yu and Vollo received a special grant from The Chubb Group of Insurance Companies, which is only given to three graduate students annually. This gave them an additional year to expand the breadth and depth of their artistic prowess while serving as teaching assistants and mentors. We are very pleased to show you these three talents and give you the opportunity to discover new young gifted painters in the genre of figurative, representational and well-crafted art.

Abigail Schmidt operates at first sight within the frame of historical painting, but if you look closer you will find a lot of alluring twists like emaciated horses and anti-heroic soldiers that undoubtedly makes her works innovative and contemporary. In a bizarre but very convincing way Schmidt mixes unconnected elements like American landscapes with German soldiers resulting in absurd allegories of decline and turmoil.

Shangkai Kevin Yu, on the other hand, doesn’t embed objects in his composition discreetly. With flying elements like a chair, a naked female body and obviously missing elements we are drawn into a world of the inexplicable. Kevin Yu mixes both objects and technics that we usually do not connect, which leaves us with interesting expressions when it comes to the media painting, as well as the obvious visual expression and the overall narrative of the work.

With yet a different approach than the two artists above Stephen Vollo represents the expected, familiar and domestic in his quiet and worked through paintings. As a kind of living Vilhelm Hammershøi he manages to show us new aspects of contemporary everyday life. Vollo paints an empty bed and the back of a grandma figure meticulously with heavy layers of paint, which turns them into delicate, calm and not least beautiful reliefs.

Welcome to three highly interesting and emerging talents from the vibrant art scene of New York City. With skills like that, it’s only a matter of a very short period of time before these sprouts become solidly rooted in the international art scene!

The show consists of six oil paintings in various sizes.
Abigail Schmidt arrives Wednesday September 16th and will be present at the opening Friday 18th from 5-7 pm.