Freaks of Nature
Group Show featuring Justine Reyes
curators Teneia Wooten & José Ruiz

Run Dates:July 20th- August 25th 2007
Opening Reception: Friday, July 20th, 2007, 6-9 pm

Bronx River Art Center
1087 East Tremont Ave., Bronx, NY

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Bronx, NY…. 10 international, national and local artists make their debut at the Bronx River Art Center in the summer exhibition, Freaks of Nature. The exhibition, as organized and curated by José Ruiz and Teneia Wooten, poses the question: Can nature be a successful subject in contemporary art without falling into the formal conventions of landscapes, au-plein-air aesthetics and the organic? In response, Freaks of Nature brushes off these traditional notions of nature in art while presenting the current climate of our environment through artist projects that mutate, synthesize and satirize artifice, decay and the resilience of humanity. Coming from a diverse set of places such as Bogotà, Lima, London, Jackson Hole, Miami, New York, San Francisco, Vancouver and Washington DC, the artists present a 10-point perspective on the customary and extraordinary occurrences of nature as a mediator between destruction and creation. Collectively, it is an analytical stance that examines the apocalyptic underbelly of technology, science, global warming and pollution.

Cesar Cornejo’s installation is based on a city’s recent decision to build three public schools on a former rubbish dump while Domenick Di Pietrantonio’s site-specific installation, The Meek, presents the view of an eroded beach with toxic glowing horseshoe crabs. Derived from the temptations of scientific probing, Ryan Hackett’s paintings manipulate extinct and endangered animals and their skeletons to create a series of suggested “growths.” Meanwhile, Jenny Ham’s interdisciplinary project, TRACT, explores body, race and class through the parameters of occupied land and Joey Piziali’s site-specific installation with off-site actions chronicles the recreation of two silver maple trees (native to the Bronx River) and their subsequent re-integration throughout the streets of the Bronx.


about the artist: Justine Reyes lives and works in New York. In 2004 she received her MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and her BFA from Syracuse University in 2000. Reyes' work revolves around issues of identity, history and time; and our relationship to these themes in a post 9/11world. Using photography and installation, she examines family, the idea of leaving and returning home, and the longing to hold on to things that are ephemeral and transitory in nature.

Reyes has shown her work both nationally and internationally. She participated in Proyecto Circo at the 8th Havana Bienal in Havana, Cuba and recently took part in Contemporary Istanbul in Istanbul, Turkey. In 2007 Reyes participated in The Feminine Mystique, an exhibition at the Jersey City Museum, which included new work from her series Away From Home. In 2008 Reyes was an artist in residence at St. Mary’s College of Maryland and was recently awarded a residency at the Center for Photography at Woodstock.            

about the curators: José Ruiz is an artist and curator working in New York City and the Gallery Coordinator at the Bronx River Art Center.  Ruiz’ recent curatorial projects


Installation view: Bronx River Art Center, Bronx, NY. 2007
Images courtesy of Bronx River Art Center, New York

have included Appropriately Yours at Transformer Gallery (Washington, DC) and Mind over Manner at the Bronx River Art Center. His work is currently the subject of two solo exhibitions: Descendents of Ascension, curated by Heng-Gil Han, at the Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning (Queens, NY) and Contemporary Fine Art Projects at Steven Wolf Fine Arts (San Francisco, CA).

Teneia Wooten resides in the Bronx, NY. She is currently pursuing an M. A. degree at the Gallatin School of Individualized Study, New York University. Freaks of Nature is her first curatorial project. Her next project is the proposed thesis entitled, Popular Technology Through the Lens of Afrofuturism: My Space®, Second Life® and Voxonic.

about the gallery: Bronx River Art Center is located in a 16,000-sq. ft. four-story warehouse building bordering the picturesque Bronx River. It is a few blocks from the Bronx Zoo, in the West Farms Community of the South Central Bronx. The Center was founded in 1980 as part of the Bronx River Restoration project, and it was incorporated in 1987 as an independent non-profit, multi-arts organization dedicated to providing art and environmental programming for residents of the Bronx.

BRAC is a place where both emerging and established artists can create and exhibit their works. Our programs of exhibitions, classes, studio spaces and special events (music and dance performances, poetry readings, lectures and film screenings) offer students, artists and residents an opportunity to participate in and experience the arts within an urban setting. All programming is developed with an emphasis on the appreciation and integration of our unique resource - The Bronx River.

Installation view: Bronx River Art Center, Bronx, NY. 2007
Images courtesy of Bronx River Art Center, New York

Justine Reyes, Untitled (Blue Lagoon) from the Land's End Series, 2006, duratrane print in lightbox, 40x50in (100x125cm)
Images courtesy of {CTS} creative thriftshop, New York
Justine Reyes, Fly Geyser, 2006, C-print, edition of 5, 19x92in (49x230cm)
Images courtesy of Bronx River Art Center, New York