Carole Silverstein “she wears her potency as ornaments (the garden)”

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Carole Silverstein “she wears her potency as ornaments (the garden)”

Nov 3 — Dec 23, 2021

Check gallery website for hours and additional info

Carole Silverstein, she wears her potency as ornaments, 2021
Acrylic Ink on Mylar, 58 x 42.5 inches (framed)

November 3 to December 23, 2021 

1275 Minnesota Street, San Francisco

Nancy Toomey Fine Art is pleased to announce an exhibition of works by Carole Silverstein titled she wears her potency as ornaments (the garden), on view from November 3 to December 23, 2021. The gallery is located inside San Francisco’s Minnesota Street Project, 1275 Minnesota Street. Gallery hours are Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, 12pm to 4pm, and by appointment–please contact or 415-307-9038.

Carole Silverstein, spells for the everyday, 2021
Acrylic Ink on Mylar, 58 x 42.5 inches (framed)

Carole Silverstein celebrates the feminine and the mystical through a sensuous and extravagant beauty in her paintings. She traces, combines, and alters ornamental patterns from many cultures into seductive, labyrinthine spatial experiences, in her effort to understand and embody the sacred languages they symbolize. In these paintings, you will see Islamic tiles and architecture, Japanese clouds, Spanish textiles, Celtic knot-work, and Indian textiles. Her inspiration is taken mostly from non-Western patterns that celebrate a diversity of form, often acting as veils and screens to another consciousness.

Carole Silverstein, the poet and her garden, 2021
Acrylic Ink on Mylar, 58 x 42.5 inches (framed)

Yoga and Buddhist meditation are longtime supports to Silverstein’s artistic practice. She makes her art on the floor, paints by hand the trance-like elaborate patterns, and often traces through and alters the translucent mylar. Each painting begins with a pattern, not knowing how it will grow into a composition or how it will develop. The paintings become densely layered on the mylar, a surface which allows for translucency and reflectance. The process is repetitive, all-consuming, and devotional. Responding to the contemporary speed of technology, the paintings invite a meditative slowness. She also adds stains, rubs with rags, and projects architectural or calligraphic lines into the composition. The acrylic inks are alternately reflective, metallic, matte, transparent, and opaque. As one views the paintings and moves through the room, the ambient light will shift one’s spatial experience as parts become illuminated or disappear and recede.

Carole Silverstein, a shimmering field, 2021
Acrylic Ink on Mylar, 48.5 x 36.5 inches (framed)

Silverstein’s use of juxtaposed ornamental sources refers to a collapse of global boundaries. In taking these coded decorative languages into a new combination, she transverses a multicultural vision of inclusion, comparison, connection, and disruption. By visually opening up a poetic, contemplative space, her work triggers the imagination, sparks and builds bridges between inner and outer worlds. She describes the paintings and watercolor drawings from this show as heartfelt prayers for humanity, a counter force to rising chaos and destruction. Her inspiration is looking to Mother Nature, her life force, and larger perspective on time and cycles, and, in the metaphor of a garden, a proposition for healing and renewal.

Carole Silverstein, Flower Prayer (rebirth), 2020
Colored Pencil, Watercolor, and Salt on Watercolor Paper
12.75 x 9.75 inches (framed)

Each of the Flower Prayer Series Drawings is a single prayer. In the midst of so much loss and upheaval, Silverstein turned to making these small colored pencil, watercolor, and salt drawings as a response to all the darkness. She viewed them as an amuse-bouche, to clear the palette from her usual work. These are flowers seen in art from 17th century Dutch prints and tulip mania, lotuses from Chinese, Turkish, and Indian textiles, and gem inlay at the Taj Mahal. In these small works, she interacts with the uncontrollable—pools and stains of watercolor and salt that might ruin the whole thing or could alchemize into something new, wonderful, and magical. It is a purposeful engagement with the unknown and uncertain.

Carole Silverstein, she wears her potency as ornaments (the garden)
Exhibition view at Nancy Toomey Fine Art, 2021

The installation elements of the satin and sequin fabric running along the borders of the floors of the gallery, and the silver tape drawings on the floor, relate to the way Silverstein makes the paintings and drawings on the ground in her studio as acts of intricate devotion. They are an explosion of life-affirming color and sensual material catching the light in different ways as you move through the space in dialog with the paintings. The floor drawings also refer to Tibetan sand mandalas, Indian rangoli, and Haitian veve floor drawings—all functioning to invoke the higher spirits. An awareness of one’s somatic experience and feeling in the space of looking and being transported, the paintings with the installation are both grounding and ethereal, intimate and expansive.

Carole Silverstein, photo by Julio Sims

Carole Silverstein is a Los Angeles artist who received her MFA from Queens College CUNY and BFA from The School of The Art Institute of Chicago with additional summer study in Umbria, Italy. Silverstein’s art has been shown in galleries and alternative venues throughout the United States, and was featured in “We Must Risk Delight: 20 Artists from Los Angeles” at the 2015 Venice Biennale, an official collateral exhibition. Her work also was in a traveling exhibition in London, Paris, Berlin, Manila, Cape Town, and Johannesburg. Her artwork is in the Permanent Collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Art in US Embassies in Djibouti, Paradigm Talent Agency Beverly Hills, Citibank, Art for Healing, The Salser Collection, and numerous private collections. Her prints were published in December Magazine, the Los Angeles Press and VoyageLA Magazine. In 2018 she traveled on an Art Research Grant to Andalusia, Spain and Morocco. She was recently awarded a 2021 Young Arts Creative Microgrant. Her published full-color Painting Catalogue with essay by Elizabeta Betinski of BardoLA is now available at the gallery and select fine art bookstores. Silverstein has been a Sponsored Artist with two Artist Materials Grants since 2016. She has been using Grafix Drafting Film as well as Daler Rowney’s Acrylic Inks for many years, and wishes to thank them for providing materials for this show.

she wears her potency as ornaments (the garden) is Carole Silverstein’s third solo exhibition at Nancy Toomey Fine Art.

Carole Silverstein, "she wears her potency as ornaments (the garden)" exhibition view at Nancy Toomey Fine Art, 2021