Bushwick Open Studios returns

Bushwick Open Studios returns
Robin E. Mork

Knock, knock, artists.

Bushwick painters, sculptors, and cutting edge creatives are opening their studio doors once again for the annual neighborhood tour of over 500 workspaces — including brand new ones — for art-lovers and artists to explore.

After several years of attending the festival, Helen Dennis is opening her studio for the first time as a participant.

“So much artwork stays hidden in flat-files, this is a great way to give people a glimpse into all the other artwork that gets stashed away,” said Dennis, who is showing off giant room-sized drawings of urban landscapes during Bushwick Open Studios from May 31 to June 2.

“From the outside it doesn’t always seem inviting, but [Open Studios] turns everything inside out for the weekend and lets people know what is happening behind those closed doors throughout the rest of the year.”

Whether newcomers or veterans to the neighborhood-wide event, artists agree that the event allows them to share their work with an electric crowd of people interested in experiencing the Bushwick art buzz.

Artist Jen Hitchings said she loves interacting with the community and selling and trading with fellow artists.

“Bushwick Open Studios really strives to give every working artist in Bushwick, regardless of their level of experience or success in the art world, an equal opportunity to show their work to a wider public,” said Hitchings, whose works include a series of pastel colored paintings in which forms and figures seem to bleed through the canvas like haunted photographs.

“People really do come out to Bushwick from Manhattan now to see what’s going on since the neighborhood’s exposure within the art world has exploded in the last few years.”

Opening up studios is as much about giving artists attention as it is about neighbors getting to know each other.

A long-time participant of the art tour, illustrator Robin E. Mork praises its social atmosphere. When she and her husband first moved to Bushwick they didn’t know anyone, but the people they met at their first year of Open Studios remain friends to this day.

“It’s become a really good bonding experience for artists,” said Mork.

The fever pitch of artistic activity in the neighborhood also means there’s a lot of cooped up artists who are excited to have a weekend of socializing, said another first-time participant Gwyneth Scally.

“Working in a studio is actually a bit isolating; this is a chance to meet and interact with artists and art appreciators in my area,” said Scally, whose paintings include stark, wild landscapes emblazoned with vivid images of man-made things and people. “I also feel that something interesting is happening in Bushwick. The settlement of artists here is still new enough that the character of the thing is still sort of in flux, still undefined. Participating in [the open studios] feels like a chance to do something unfettered.”

Indeed, Mork said the number of curators and artists visiting the studios is increasing, and now even more community members are coming to see the art on display. And Mork is happy to get more of her work, which includes highly detailed, surreal drawings that are both realistic and whimsical, out to the community and to the city.

Art connoisseurs have three days to check out the thousands of pieces of art on display. And with nearly 600 shows, there’s not enough time to see everything, but there are a few not to be missed. For a full list of studios and shows and their locations visit www.artsinbushwick.org.

Jen Hitchings, painting, other works at the Active Space (566 Johnson Avenue #28, near Stuart Avenue) June 1, June 2, noon–7pm.

Gwyneth Scally and Aaron Miller, painting, photography, sculpture at studio (513 Johnson Ave. #16, between Varick and Porter avenues). June 1, June 2, noon–7pm.

Helen Dennis, performance, photography, at studio (54 Knickerbocker Ave. #4B, between Grattan Street and Harrison Place). June 1, noon–7 pm, event at 4 pm, June 2, noon–7 pm.

Robin E. Mork. drawings, other works (317 Harman St. #2R, between Irving and Knickerbocker avenues) May 31, 9 am–11 pm, June 1, noon–9 pm, June 2, noon–7 pm.

Dennis McNett, installation, new media, sculpture, other works at studio (41 Varick Ave. #415, between Harrison Place and Ingraham Street] June 1, June 2, noon–7pm.

Andrea Burgay. Collage, sculpture, installation at Myrtle Avenue Studios (1465 Myrtle Ave. 2nd floor, between Bleecker and Menahan streets). June 1, June 2, noon–7pm.

“Rock Street 2013: Sculpture on Rock Street” installation and sculpture at Frank Brunckhorst Company, LLC (Boar’s Head Distribution Plant, Rock Street between Bogart Street and Morgan Avenue) June 1, 10 am–noon, reception 3–5 pm, and June 2 noon–6pm.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-4514.