The Figure

January 26 — March 10, 2012 

Since the beginning of painted image, “man” has focused on the figure as a primary subject. Nancy Hoffman Gallery’s Project Space show is a celebration of the figure, mostly in a state of undress. Including sculpture by Nicolas Africano, paintings by Colette Calascione, Timothy Cummings and watercolors by Viola Frey and Gregory Halili, this jewel-like exhibition conveys how important the subject is for artists today.

Nicolas Africano has been working in glass for the past 20 years, creating sculptures inspired by his wife, Rebecca, his muse. Each piece is unique, each created first as a sculpture in wax, then cast in glass. In his most recent sculpture the figure in black glass reclines on two different color cubes of glass, softened by a glass fabric covering. The contrast of hard and soft, all achieved in glass, is a tour de force, as is the juxtaposition of the black glass of the figure with the golden and green glass of the cubes that form a geometric chair.

Colette Calascione’s “Slumber” captures the spirit of Calascione to a “T.” All her paintings are invented, as are the figures, based on her love of figures of earlier eras, particularly the rounder Victorian profile. Caught in the act of sleeping, tossing and turning, this fetching nude is accompanied by an insouciant cat, and a bird who watches the slumberer from the wallpaper behind her. Important also to Calascione is the ambiance in which she places her delightful nudes. Her detailed stage sets of fabrics, curtains, wall coverings, cushions are as meticulously painted as every square inch of the figure.

In contrast to the female figure of Calascione, is Timothy Cummings’s “Self Portrait with Flower,” revealing the artist’s bare torso as he gazes at the viewer . Not unlike a contemporary Buddha in position and pose, as well as gaze, Cummings creates an enigmatic self-portrait as male “figure.” Emerging from a black background, the artist is subject, object and light-filled.

Gregory Halili’s watercolors of figures walking on the streets of New York, are removed from their environments. Multiple figure captured walking in full dress, carrying backpacks, ipods, cell phones, walk anonymously to and fro on the streets of Manhattan every day, never encountering each other, each in his/her own world. Halili eliminates any detail of the cityscape, enhancing the power of the figure in each composition, and titles each for its geographic location in New York City.

Viola Frey’s watercolors of the figure celebrate the human form in all its glory. Known primarily for her sculpture of larger-than-life ceramic figures, every man and every woman, her works on paper suggest heroic scale in the power of the line and color. Based on the ”live” model, the figures are often accompanied by figures and figurines from the lexicon of her ceramic imagery.

For further information and/or photographs please call 212-966-6676 or email Nancy Hoffman Gallery at

Yours sincerely,

Nancy Hoffman