“Things that feel nurturing” : LUSH at Hashimoto Contemporary in NYC

The winter city streets are frozen and foreboding right now.

It’s late January and, like many people in the Northern Hemisphere, you are venturing outside only out of necessity, or boredom with your Covid lock-down walls. With leafless trees, closed businesses, barren social calendars, and endless grey cold concrete to greet you – one wonders how nature can be so cruel.

In the face of these realities, Jennifer Rizzo at New York’s Hashimoto gallery decided to festoon the interior space with flowers and plants, curating nearly three dozen artists to create something LUSH.

Andy Decola “Temptation”. Lush/Hashimoto Contemporary. (photo courtesy of the gallery)

It may seem odd to become fixated on this most traditional of subjects in the modern skew of our worldview. Somehow we cannot imagine art collectors beguiled by the natural world. But these times are crying out for new solutions, or at the very least, a salve for our psychic wounds. Hashimoto may be onto something indeed.

Aldrin Valdes “Sunny days indoor with Ingres. A neon bougie fantasy”. Lush/Hashimoto Contemporary. (photo courtesy of the gallery)

We asked Jennifer Rizzo about the new show, how she conjured it, and how her garden grows.

BSA: How many flowers do you have blooming in the gallery right now?

JR: So many! Thirty-three artists came together for this show, many of them incorporating multiple flowering plants and species into their works. Then there’s the actual flowering plants in the space. I think I’d need a field guide and a few hours to take an official count of all the lovely varieties blooming in the space. 

Hola Lou “Jungla de noche”. Lush/Hashimoto Contemporary. (photo courtesy of the gallery)

BSA: Certainly there is a history of people collecting nature-inspired art, including landscapes and botanicals – but it hasn’t exactly been in “fashion” for some time. Is this show a reaction in some way to the current climate politically, socially, economic?

JR: In some ways it is a personal response to what we have collectively been living through this past year. We are all spending more time at home than ever, many gravitated to cooking, baking, picking up new hobbies such as musical instruments or gardening. For most urban dwellers, gardening happens on a windowsill. In times of uncertainly, I know I look for things that are comforting and in a way, familiar. Things that feel nurturing. What can be more beautiful, accessible, timeless than nature in art?

Jeff Canham “Plants Clusted”. Lush/Hashimoto Contemporary. (photo courtesy of the gallery)

BSA: How do some of these works represent “modern” reworkings of this traditional theme? Can you give a couple of examples?

JR: I wanted the exhibition to present a survey of the scene, and see how contemporary artists are interpreting the subject matter, going beyond the traditional still life of a vase full of flowers, although works of that nature can be quite beautiful as well. 

A few examples of artists who pushed well beyond the expected are;

  • Aldrin Valez’s small scale mixed media works, with figures dressed in fashion’s inspired by the prickly spikes of a cactus or the rounded petals of a flower. I love the concept of wearable art, and Aldrin’s high fashion interpretation of “make a piece inspired by the flowering species.”
  • Hola Lou’s abstract painting, titled Jungla de Noche. The artist’s boldly simple lines and minimal approach really pushed the concept, yet captured the rumbling energy of a jungle alive at night.
  • Jeff Canham’s whimsical cacti, housed in actual terra cotta planters. They are super playful, and have a flattened two dimensional quality even though they are three dimensional sculptures.
  • MC Marquis hand painted typography on vintage floral plates. The artist has been working on her plate series for a few years now, merging the traditional vintage plates with phrases that are topical and relatable.

MC Marquis “Where is my mind”. Lush/Hashimoto Contemporary. (photo courtesy of the gallery)

Bianca Nemelx “Couldn’t find the forest, so I grew onw of my own”. Lush/Hashimoto Contemporary. (photo courtesy of the gallery)
Jeremiah Jenkins “Blooms”. Lush/Hashimoto Contemporary. (photo courtesy of the gallery)
Karen Lederer “Watermelon Tulips”. Lush/Hashimoto Contemporary. (photo courtesy of the gallery)

Hashimoto Contemporary, New York
curated by Jennifer Rizzo
January 16th – February 6th, 2021

Participating Artists:
Destiny Belgrave | Thomas Campbell | Marleigh Culver | Andy DeCola | Genevieve Dionne | Gregory Euclide | Lizzie Gill | Rachel Gregor | Hell’O Collective | Hola Lou | Seonna Hong | Jeremiah Jenkins |Louise Jones | Natalia Juncadella | Gabe Langholtz | Karen Lederer | Madi | MC Marquis | Jet Martinez |Lara Meintjes | Josie Morway | Bianca Nemelc | Hallie Packard | Melanie Parke | Daisy Patton | LucienShapiro | Katherine Sherwood | Denise Stewart-Sanabria | Tiffanie Turner | Aldrin Valdez | Anna Valdez |Marcello Velho | Hillary Waters Fayle

For the exhibition, the gallery has teamed up with garden design company Primrose Designs NYC, led by Kris & Elena Nuzzi, who created the botanical installation within the gallery space.

The exhibition will be on view from Saturday, January 16th to Saturday, February 6th. The gallery will be open by appointment only.

Hashimoto Contemporary210 Rivington StreetNew York, NY 10002