By Mark Blickley
“Coming together is a beginning,
Keeping together is progress,
Working together is success.”
Although the automobile magnate wasn’t describing Samm Cohen and Joseph A. W. Quintela’s current exhibition, The Quarters Project, he was celebrating the triumph of creating work through collaboration. Each painting, assemblage, photograph and drawing in the Cohen/Quintela show represents a victory lap of dual driven passion and compromise.
To be drawn and quartered originally referenced a brutal legal punishment where living victims had their viscera drawn out of them before they were chopped into four pieces. Their remains were often displayed in prominent public places. A case can be made that The Quarters Project highlights an emotional, aesthetic evisceration that is prominently displayed at Chashama 461 Gallery. It takes guts to exhibit singular art pieces drawn from the visions of two artists who refute dominant/submissive participation in lieu of holistic equality. This equality is achieved by each artist being assigned individual quarters of each work’s spatial surface.
To give quarter is an expression that means granting merciful consideration. I suspect the quarters Cohen and Quintela exchanged and incorporated into such dramatic and thought provoking works as the assemblage “Garbage Golden As Calves,” the text based “Obviously Hazardous, Obviously Reproducing,” the C print “Disguise, Disgust, Discharge, Discuss” and the mixed media “Escape Flooded Into Clarity,” must have been crafted within a constitution of compromise.
Samm Cohen and Joseph A. W. Quintela’s collaborative art is eclectic in both content and form and does not embody what would be considered a conventional art series. Quarters are (in)fractions that can be united or self-standing. Each piece in The Quarters Project echoes that distinction.
The gallery is Chashama, 461 @ 461 w126th st
The dates of the exhibit – July 30-Sept. 5th
link to the show – The Quarters Project
Samm’s website: Samm Cohen
Titles of work from L-R
“Garbage Golden As Calves,”
“Obviously Hazardous, Obviously Reproducing,”
“Disguise, Disgust, Discharge, Discuss”