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Painting by Todd Kelly

"Strange Paradigm"
May 21 - June 20, 2021



Ben Dickey                  
David Woodward            
Hawazin Al Otaibi
Henry Curchod               
Jessica Matier            
Judd Schiffman
Julia Blume                 
Katie Kirk                
Kyle Kogut
Lewinale Havette            
Lucija Krizman             
Mao Chen         
Morteza Khakshoor           
Todd Kelly                 
Vernon O’Meally
Yesiyu Zhao

Opening May 21, 2021 at 12pm EST
On view through June 20, 2021

Young Space is pleased to present STRANGE PARADIGM, an exhibition by sixteen artists from around the world, marking the tenth online group exhibition presented by Young Space. As people around the world gradually, if trepidatiously and with some setbacks, begins to stir and reemerge from a unique period in history, Strange Paradigm brings together a wide range of paintings, photography, printmaking, video, sculpture, and installation, in an exploration of the experience of jamais vu. The inverse of déjà vu, jamais vu borrows from the French for “never seen,” in which a situation that is familiar in fact seems novel or eerily unfamiliar. Where does strangeness end and familiarity begin?

Each artist in some way explores notions of selfhood and cultural identity through depictions and distortions of imagery to examine relationships between emotional and physical experience. The viewer is not always able to make out distinct features of the subjects, such as in Hawazin Al Otaibi’s fuzzy portraits that examine notions of gender and masculinity, especially in Arab culture, in the age of social media. Lewinale Havette’s sumptuous autobiographical figures confront the viewer as a declaration of metamorphosis from a rigidly orthodox Liberian childhood to an independent woman, ever becoming. And Morteza Khakshoor’s somewhat humorous, twisted studies of men and their behaviors are discombobulating in the artist’s “pure curiosity in a species, like the people who are interested in studying ants.”

Todd Kelly’s canvases employ a repetitious process that replicates facets of earlier iterations, searching for ideas beyond conscious reach, and David Woodward traces what the artist describes as the interconnected and endlessly unpredictable feedback loops of the codependency of humans and the environment. Julia Blume seeks to break down a similar relationship into its parts: the false dichotomy of “humans” and “nature,” and considers the political implications of this artificial separation, while Vernon O’Meally’s electrically high-contrast paintings hover somewhere between Dutch still life and a scene from Beetlejuice, each surface activated by the use of spray paint and textured paint mediums.

Cultural clashes and deep-seated mythologies inhabit the works of Yesiyu Zhao, who spent the first half of his life in China, and now resides in America. Mao Chen’s intricate, playful ceramics also combine a dual sense of conflict and contradiction as the artist expresses the surreal experience of adjusting to culture and life in Canada after growing up in China as well. Henry Curchod’s dreamlike scenes are likewise gorgeous, loosely narrative results of a fascination by the historical cross-pollination of cultures.

Relating specifically to American culture, Kyle Kogut draws upon the visual culture of the Northern Renaissance, and the ubiquitous iconography of the auto industry to explore the contemporary politics of American myth and despair. Judd Schiffman utilizes clay as a drawing material, constructing ceramic wall sculptures as psychedelic concoctions of lived and imagined experiences that ponder the power of our personal stories amidst growing social and political tensions that illuminate how we identify with our own stories of how things should be. And grounded, in part through his experience of mental health and disability, Ben Dickey’s practice is defined by a need to express, direct, and come into dialogue with creative desire, emotional struggle, and perceptual exploration.

Jessica Matier, turning inward to the self, plots internal landscapes to illustrate the flow of subconscious energy, and to effectively create opportunities for growth through the process itself. Katie Kirk’s twirling ceramics playfully celebrate difference, and the passage of time as it imprints up on the body. And Lucija Krizman’s futuristic, otherworldly installations pursue the big questions of whyand how, inextricable from the search for a higher and hidden self. Indeed, how did we get here, and what does it mean for things to feel “normal?”

The mythologies and ambiguities of memory and personal identity are central to this collection of work, as the artists in Strange Paradigm question a range of quintessentially human responses and instincts to situations perceived to be outside of our control, such as the primal sensations of fear, desire, despair, or hope, and the transitional phases of rites of passage. Introspective and autobiographical works nestle alongside investigations of cultural symbolism and the occult, bearing witness to journeys through various stages of consciousness, and observing the enigmatic nature of the passing of time and the ambiguous boundary between the known and unknown, the common and the uncanny.

About the Artists

Ben Dickey has had recent solo exhibitions at Gallery 44 (2019), Sidespace (2018), and Tapworks (2018), in Toronto, and recent group shows at Gallery 44 and Galerie ERGA, Montreal. He has self-published numerous collections of photography, and was recently featured in Ain’t Bad Magazine. Dickey earned a Bachelors from Mount Allison University, and lives and works in Toronto, Canada.

David Woodward is a queer, visual artist based in Tkaronto/Toronto, ON, who works predominantly in paper collage using found imagery and photographs. Since graduating from the Bachelor of Fine Art and Art History programs at Queen’s University (2013) his work has been exhibited in Canada and abroad. He is a recipient of the Emerging Visual Artists Grant from the Toronto Arts Council (2017, 2020), a Research & Creation Grant from the Canada Council for the Arts (2019) and most recently a Visual Artist Creation Project Grant from the Ontario Arts Council (2021).

Hawazin Al Otaibi (b. 1993) is a London-based Saudi-American interdisciplinary artist, curator, and music producer who earned her BA in Painting at the University of the Arts London and is currently working toward her MA in Painting at the Royal College of Art. Recent exhibitions include group shows in London with Justin Cook Gallery (2019), Fitzrovia Gallery (2020), and Sook Mayfair (2020).

Henry Curchod (b. 1992) is a Sydney-based artist working primarily in painting and drawing. Born in California and now based in Sydney, Curchod is of both Kurdish-Iranian and Australian descent. Curchod has been a finalist in: The Sulman Prize (2014), The Mosman Art Prize (2015), The Adelaide Perry Prize for Drawing (2014); awarded The Cérét Residency, Languedoc-Rousillion, France (2016) and The JOYA Project Residency, Manilla, Philippines. Curchod recently has had solo shows with Sumer Gallery, Tauranga (2019); and Tristian Koenig, Melbourne (2018). He has upcoming solo exhibitions with Sumer Gallery, Tauranga (2021); Martin Browne Contemporary, Sydney (2021), and Galeria Acapella, Napoli (2021).

Jessica Matier attended Parsons School of Design. In 2016 she departed from watercolor and collage practices to pursue a mixed media approach to abstract painting. Her work was in group exhibitions in the New York City, New Jersey, Chicago, FSU Museum of the Arts, and The Other Art Fair, Brooklyn. Matier was born in South Korea in 1985. When she was three months old, she was adopted and raised in New Jersey, where she currently resides. Recent exhibitions include shows with I Like Your Work Podcast (2020), The Visionary Projects (2020), Orchard Galerie, New York (2019), Plaxall Gallery, New York (2019), and The Other Art Fair, Brooklyn (2019).

Judd Schiffman is a Providence, Rhode Island based artist working primarily in ceramics. He has lectured at Harvard University Ceramics and Brown University, and participated in residencies at the Zentrum Fur Keramiks in Berlin, Germany and Arch Contemporary in Tiverton, Rhode Island. Schiffman received his MFA from the University of Colorado in 2015, and his BA from Prescott College in 2007. Schiffman has most recently shown at Taos The Valley Gallery in Taos, NM,  1969 Gallery in New York, and Inman Gallery in Houston, TX. Schiffman has upcoming solo exhibitions with Maake Projects in State College, PA, and Jane Hartsook Gallery, New York. In 2016, he received an emerging artists award from the National Council for the Education of Ceramic Arts. Schiffman is currently the Visiting Assistant Professor of Ceramics at Providence College.

Julia Blume is a New York based artist working in several media, including painting, drawing, sculpture, and installation. She received her MFA from SFAI in 2018, after earning her BA and MA in linguistics from Columbia University and UC San Diego, respectively. Her work has been shown at galleries in New York, San Francisco, and Tucson, including Brian Leo Projects, RSOAA, Trestle Gallery, Field Projects, Paradice Palase, and Established Gallery. She has also created site-specific installations and performances in a range of environments, including Peru, Iceland, New York City, and Arizona. She participated in residencies with Signal Fire in 2017 and in 2019 and will be a resident at ChaNorth and ArtsIceland in 2021.

Katie Kirk is an artist, curator, and writer currently living and working in Los Angeles. She earned a BA in Film and Television Production from Loyola Marymount University and her MFA in Painting and Drawing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her work has been exhibited at Irvine Fine Arts Center, the Torrance Art Museum, Brandt-Roberts Gallery, and most recently, Wonzimer Gallery.

Kyle Kogut (b. 1990 Philadelphia, PA) is an artist working in drawing, sculpture, video, performance and installation. Kogut graduated with a MFA from the Mount Royal School of Art multidisciplinary program at MICA in 2016. He received his BFA from Tyler School of Art in 2012. His work has been included in group shows nationally and has had solo and two person exhibitions at Gateway Gallery (Baltimore), Samuel (Chicago), Kitchen Table Gallery (Philadelphia), Stamp Gallery at the University of Maryland (College Park), KO Studio Gallery (Detroit, and Cherry (Richmond). Kogut was a member of FJORD and taught at Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, PA from 2016-2018. Kogut was awarded a Space Grant in the Summer Studio Program at the Anderson at Virginia Commonwealth University and will be attending the Summer Residency Program at the Wassaic Project in 2022. He currently resides in Norfolk, VA and teaches at Virginia Commonwealth University, Old Dominion University, and Virginia Union University.

Lewinale Havette (b. 1990, Monrovia, Liberia) has participated in exhibitions in museums and galleries in the United States and in Europe, including the Museum of Contemporary Art Georgia (MOCA GA) and the MINT Gallery in Atlanta; the Masur Museum of Art in Monroe, Louisiana; and The ROOM Contemporary Art Space in Venice, Italy. In addition, she was represented by the Pérez Art Museum Miami at Art Basel Miami. She earned a BA from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and currently lives and works between New York City and Atlanta, GA.

Lucija Krizmanis an artist from Zadar, Croatia. She is currently based in London where she studies MA Sculpture at the Royal College of Art. She was awarded several prizes while studying at the Central Saint Martins for her bachelor’s degree and she is the winner of the Frankopan Fund Scholarship for outstanding students from Croatia studying in the UK. Krizman participated in exhibitions across Europe and had a solo show in the Greta gallery in Zagreb. She participated in an online residency at the Freud Museum in London alongside 17 other MA Sculpture students and the work produced is currently on display online as a part of the “I Object” exhibition.

Mao Chen is a recent Master of Fine Art graduate from the University of Calgary. She holds a BFA from The University of Alberta and has exhibited her work in the United Kingdom, China and at numerous galleries in Alberta, including solo exhibitions at Nickle Gallery (2019) and The Bridge (2018).

Morteza Khakshoor (b. 1984 Iran) currently lives and works in Southern California. He moved to the US in 2010 to continue his education in Fine Arts. He received his BFA from Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts in 2015 and completed his MFA at The Ohio State University in 2018. He has been exhibiting his work nationally and internationally since 2011. Solo exhibitions include ‘Forty-One Drawings and Prints’, University Art Gallery, California State University (2018) and; ‘What Has Become Of Your Strength’, George Mason Atrium Gallery, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA (2016). Group Exhibition include, ‘Humoral Theory’, (3-Person Exhibition), BEERS London, UK (2020); ‘Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair’, London, UK; ‘Art on Paper Fair’, The Tunnel, NY (2019) and; 2018 Edition Artists Book Fair (E/AB), New York, NY. He is the recipient of many awards, including The Inaugural Emerging Artist Award given at the Editions/Artists’ Book Fair (E/AB) in 2018. His works are in several private and public collections, most notably The Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice in New York City.

Todd Kelly was born in Niles, MI, and now lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. He has had several solo exhibitions with Asya Geisberg Gallery in New York City, along with recent group shows at the Woodstock Artists Association Museum, Woodstock, NY (2021), Geoffrey Young Gallery, Barrington, MA (2018) and NARS Foundation, New York (2018).

Vernon O’Meally (b. 1989, Atlanta, GA) currently lives and works in New York City. Selected solo exhibitions include ABXY Gallery, New York (2020) and Ghost Gallery, Brooklyn, NY (2017). Recent group exhibitions include OVR art fairs with Allouche Gallery (2020, 2021), Kunstkraftwerk Museum, Leipzig (2019), and Skeivo Gallery, Brooklyn (2019). In 2019 O’Meally participated in the Pilotenkueche Artist Residency in Leipzig, and has contributed numerous works for benefit auction in New York.

Yesiyu Zhao (b. 1991) was born in Suichang, China. He received his Bachelor’s in Fine Art from the School of Visual Arts, and his MFA in Visual Arts from SUNY Purchase College in 2020. He has lived in America for more than 15 years, and now lives and works in Brooklyn. Recent solo shows include David Castillo Gallery, Miami (2021) and Tong Art Advisory, New York (2021), as well as group shows with Essex Flowers, New York (2020), and the Richard and Dolly Maass Gallery at Purchase (2019, 2020).

About Young Space

Young Space (est. 2014) is an independent, itinerant curatorial project and online platform organized by Kate Mothes,  emphasizing new and exciting work by early-career and emerging artists. More at

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Todd Kelly, “Pink Orange Composition 1”, 2020
Oil, acrylic, and collage on linen
14h x 11w in