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Human Nature

exhibition, visual art

April 9, 2018 - May 18, 2018

8:00 AM - 6:00 PM

Grace Building
1114 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10110

Nature, and our relationship to it, has been a theme in art since humans began drawing on cave walls during prehistoric times. Over the millennia, our methods of expression may have changed but our fascination with observing the natural world remains constant. Commissioned by Arts Brookfield, Human Nature presents six new works by seven contemporary artists inspired by natural landscape and the use of organic forms. Utilizing visual cues from nature, the artworks in this exhibition are distinct interpretations of our environment and the complex relationships to it.  Some works utilize organic materials such as plants and natural fibers to reveal creative interactions with the earth’s resources; others rely on man-made and industrial materials, highlighting the contrast between the modern world and the idealized vision of nature we inherently possess.  The vibrant and unique interpretations in Human Nature serve as visual landmarks in our perpetual quest to understand the ever-changing world that surrounds us.  – Tom Kotik, curator

Human Nature features new work by Mckendree Key, Katerina Lanfranco, Kristyna and Marek Milde, John Monti, Colin O’Con, and Carolyn Salas. The exhibition is the sixth commissioned pedestal project. Previous themes were Fluid (2013), Bright (2014), SYNC (2015), Urbanscapes (2016), and Rock Paper Scissors (2017).


May 21 – June 29

One Liberty Plaza, 165 Broadway


July 2 – August 10

300 Madison



Mckendree Key grew up in lower Manhattan and now lives and works in Brooklyn. She holds an MFA from Hunter College and a BFA from The Colorado College. Key has exhibited her work internationally and nationally, including solo exhibitions at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, The Sculpture Center, and The Fleming Museum at The University of Vermont, and group exhibitions at The Institute for Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, The Bronx Museum of the Arts, and The Brooklyn Museum. In 2009 she received a Pollock – Krasner award for her work in collage, in 2004 a New York Foundation for the Arts award, and has attended residencies at The Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and the CUE Artist Foundation.

Katerina Lanfranco earned her BA in Art (Painting) and in Visual Theory and Museum Studies from UC Santa Cruz, and her MFA in Studio Art (Painting) from Hunter College, City University of New York. Her work explores ideas of nature, science, and fantasy and has been represented by the Nancy Hoffman Gallery since 2006. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Kupferstichkabinett (Museum of Prints and Drawings) in Berlin, and the Corning Museum of Glass. She currently teaches studio art at Parsons The New School, Pratt Institute, Fordham University and Hunter College, CUNY. She created and taught “Experimenting with Collage”, an online studio course for the Museum of Modern Art, as well as taught studio workshops at the American Folk Art Museum, MoMA, and Brooklyn Botanic Garden. She has been awarded several artists residencies including a six-month creative artist residency in Kyoto, Japan through the Japan/US Friendship Commission to study Japanese arts and crafts. Lanfranco’s work has been exhibited throughout the United States, and internationally in Canada, Germany, Italy, and Japan. She founded of Rhombus Space in 2013 and was Chief Curator at Trestle Gallery (2015-2018), where she is now a member of their advisory board. Her recent shows include “Mystic Geometry” at the Nancy Hoffman Gallery, and “Efflorescence” at the SCPS Gallery at Pratt Manhattan. Upcoming projects include being a finalist for NYC’s Percent for Art project, and curating “Liminal Worlds” exhibition at Trestle Gallery, both opening this April. She documents her studio practice and experiences in the NYC art world through her Vlog project on YouTube.

Kristyna and Marek Milde are interdisciplinary artists and curators working as a collaborative tandem, based in Brooklyn, originally from Prague, Czech Republic. Their work explores cultural mechanisms, and conventions of contemporary lifestyles focusing on domesticity, while investigating its alienation from nature and the environment. The Mildes have exhibited nationally and internationally at MoMA Studio, Queens Museum, NURTUREart, EFA Project Space, Wave Hill, Smack Mellon Gallery, Anna Wallace Gallery, Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, Temple Contemporary, Space Gallery Pittsburg, Dumbo Street Festival, Knockdown Center, Abrons Art Center, Silent Barn, DOX Center for Contemporary Art, Futura Center for Contemporary Art, Meet Factory, Karlin Studios, Galerie Califia. Recent residencies have included the International Studio and Curatorial Program, the LMCC Process Space Residency at Governors Island, the Studio in the Park Residency at the Queens Museum, the Shift EFA, the A – Z West, and the Russell Wright Design Center. Their work has been featured in the New York Times, Brooklyn Rail, Flashart, Hyperallergic, Artribune, NYFA current, WG News, ArtClue, Artycok TV, Czech National TV, BTR Radio, and Czech Radio among others. Their work is part of private and public collections including the permanent installations at Chateau Trebesice in the Czech Republic, Mildred’s Lane in PA, and Manitoga, Russell Wright Design Center, Garrison, NY. They have also curated and organized a wide range of international program, events, exhibitions, and residencies while working at the Czech Center NY, the Czech cultural institute on the Upper East Side. They both received MFAs from the Queens College, New York.

John Monti is a noted sculptor and a Professor in the Graduate Fine Arts program at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY. Monti was born in Portland, Oregon, where he received a BS from Portland State University in painting, and later an MFA in sculpture from the Pratt Institute. Monti has exhibited extensively nationally and internationally both in museums and galleries and has completed public commissions and set-designs for dance. Exhibitions include the Brooklyn Museum, Weatherspoon Art Museum, Sculpture Center, White Columns, Artists Space, Elizabeth Harris Gallery, Curt Marcus Gallery and the Wakita Museum of Art, Japan. His work is included in major private and public collections, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Brooklyn Museum, Yale University Art Gallery, The Weatherspoon Art Museum, The Eli Broad Family Foundation, The Portland Art Museum and the Wakita Museum of Art, Japan. Grants include the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation, the Joan Mitchell Foundation, the Pollock Krasner Fellowship Grant, The New York Foundation for the Arts, The Rockefeller Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Monti’s work has been featured in many publications, including Artforum, Art in America, Sculpture Magazine, Arts Magazine, Artnews, The Los Angeles Times and The New York Times. He works and lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Colin O’Con presents views with the mystery of nature in paintings, sculptures, and immersive installations. His fluorescent palette appears at times otherworldly or manufactured because we sometimes forget that nature itself creates such intense colors. Colin graduated Cum Laude with a BPA in Painting and Drawing from the University of North Texas in 2000. In 2004, he earned his MFA from Hunter College in New York and won the Tony Smith Sculpture Award. His work has been included in exhibitions at Fresh Window (Brooklyn), Rawson Gallery (New York), Lesley Heller Workspace (New York, The Alexandria Museum of Art (Louisiana), Boston Center for the Arts, Artspace (San Antonio), and CSAW (Houston). Alongside his visual art practice, he plays in the bands Dark Carpet and Big High Hills. Colin was born in Natchitoches, La and lives and works in Holmes, NY and Brooklyn.

Carolyn Salas was born in Hollywood, California. She lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. Ms. Salas earned a B.F.A in sculpture from College of Santa Fe and an M.F.A from CUNY Hunter College. She has exhibited at museums including The Torrance Art Museum, Torrance, CA; Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, Peekskill, NY; The Berkshire Museum, Pittsfield, MA; Urbis City Center, Manchester, UK; and the Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA. Notable gallery exhibitions include Kate Werble Gallery, New York, NY; Casey Kaplan, New York, NY; Koenig & Clinton Gallery, NY;  Artopia Gallery, Milan, Italy; and  Parisian Laundry, Montreal. She has participated in artist residency programs at Abrons Art Center, AIR space program, NY, NARS Foundation, NY, Fountainhead, FL, Franconia Sculpture Park, MT among others.  Most recent solo shows completed by Ms. Salas have been at Dodge Gallery, NYC, Koenig & Clinton, NYC, Evergold Gallery, San Francisco, CA, and with Paramo Gallery in Guadalajara, Mexico.  Salas is preparing for a two person show at Gallery 16 in San Francisco in fall of 2018. Salas was appointed lecturer in sculpture at Yale in 2011.  She currently teaches at Parsons School of Art and Design, and Pratt Institute.  Her work is in the collection of Arena Mexico Arte Contemporaneo in Guadalajara.


Tom Kotik is an artist, curator and musician based in Brooklyn, New York. Since the 1996 Tom has exhibited his work nationally and internationally including solo shows at Lesley Heller Workspace in 2015 and 2011, as well as solo exhibitions at the Juan Miro Foundation in Barcelona (2010) and Kostka Gallery Prague (2014).  He has exhibited his work at many diverse venues such as Socrates Sculpture Park (2000), Meet Factory Prague (2013), Field Projects (2014) and the Miami Museum of Science (2004).  Since 2013 Tom has been a curator at large for Arts Brookfield, organizing various exhibitions for their spaces in New York and Los Angeles including Construct; an installation by David Baskin (2015), American Soil; an installation by Josh Dorman (2015) and Bright!, a group show exhibited in both New York and LA (2014).  Tom has also curated exhibitions for Lesley Heller Workspace (2012), Long Island University (2011), and Five Myles (2003).  In addition to his artistic activities, Tom is an avid musician who has recorded and performed with many bands over the years including Stresovicka Kramle (Prague), Sportsman’s Paradise, Mighty High and Jonny Chan and the New Dynasty  Six (all NYC).  He recently returned from Prague where he recorded a forthcoming album with Stresovicka Kramle to be released in 2016.

Tom Kotik received his Masters of Fine Arts degree from Hunter College in 2004 and his Bachelors Degree from New York University in 1993. He has been a resident artist at Art OMI (2001), Yaddo (2006), LMCC Workspace Program (2005), and the Bronx Museum AIM Program (2005).

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