Right About Now

Right About Now featuring artists Hannah Layden, Lacey McKinney, Rowan Renee, and AV Ryan

Pen + Brush is pleased to present Right About Now,featuring artists Hannah Layden, Lacey McKinney, Rowan Renee, and AV Ryan, an exhibition that tackles the present and explores what the recent work of four distinct artists says about right now. The show’s title is a reference to the fluidity of ‘the now’— a moment so resistant to definition and impossible to capture, especially in contemporary art, that by the time we’ve named it, it becomes the past. Right About Now, showcases new bodies of work from four artists whose most recent work deals, increasingly, with urgencies surrounding emotion and the body.

Each artist on view has created new and divergent processes—be it artistic labour as art object, reconfiguring human forms through cyanotypes, building new utopias where inclusivity reins on the neon-tinged surface of a painting, or pronouncing social tensions by building up thin paper layers and buffing them with gesso to create sculpture that looks as heavy as marble but is, in fact, lite. These are the ways in which artists are creating, right about now. It’s ongoing. It’s a part of the immediate past and it’s a part of the immediate future. But we do not know for how long.

Hannah Layden is a New York based artist who has exhibited work throughout the United States. Layden studied Printmaking and Painting at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and received a Master of Fine Arts degree in Printmaking from Pratt Institute in 2012, since then the artist has been consistently included in exhibitions throughout the New York metropolitan area. Layden painted forms and billowing portals illuminated by the contrast of black addresses the cruelty of our world, our society, and builds the world necessary for disabled bodies right about now. These worlds and painted forms are a vivid portrayal of a disheartening truth of “otherness” but also shared a hope for the existence of a world that allows for all forms to simply exist; “I built an environment for bodies like mine, not in spite of us. I created a space where I’d feel at ease. It is easier for me to pretend a ‘land’ like this exists, rather than accept the reality of our cruel world, one that watches my people die. Choice is my power. I choose to believe, above all else, that we can and will find a better place to be”
– Layden

Lacey McKinney in New York, McKinney attended SUNY New Paltz to earn her MFA in Painting and Drawing after graduating from SUNY Oswego with a BFA and MA. She presently lives and works in Syracuse, NY while teaching as a Visual and Performing Arts full-time faculty at Finger Lakes Community College in Canandaigua, NY. McKinney constructs new forms, entangles limbs, and abstracts facial features that trigger the viewer to rethink how to absorb and embody the form—our forms. Their works are a passage to imagining different ways of being in the world.

Rowan Renee received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Parsons School of Design and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Michigan. Renee’s work has been exhibited, collected and published around the United States. The artist has recently received solo exhibitions at the Anchorage Museum of Art in Anchorage, Alaska, Aperture Foundation in New York, New York, and at Pioneer Works Center for Art and Innovation in Brooklyn, New York, to name a few. Rowan Renee creates new forms to dissect emotional, generational, societal traumas. The high level of hand on creation with the combination of delicate and industrial materials exhibit the soft and harsh nature of creating a world with healed trauma.

AV Ryan is an artist and writer, works spans the disciplines of sculpture, architecture and painting. Her work has been exhibited at FiveMyles, Kustera Projects and Sideshow Gallery in Brooklyn and Gallery Aferro in Newark, NJ. Ryan looks back at renaissance and baroque painting through a (radical) feminist lens, informed by western roots and philosophical training, she boils down historically, religiously, and culturally loaded forms—such as the shroud—to their most basic principle, only to be reconstructed and re-embodied through Ryan’s process of building up layers of thin paper and polished gessoes.

In the House, is congruently on view in our downstairs gallery where you can relax in our art lounge and explore a wide range of affordable works from our artist community.

Right About Now

March 10 – May 21, 2022

Pen + Brush

29 East 22nd Street, New York , NY
Gallery Hours: Tues.-Sat. 12-6pm