Australian-born, New York-based hyperrealist artist Cj Hendry–whose past work, which is often sold out through Instagram and has been quite dominated by blacks, whites and grays–created an amazing color exploration in a 22,000-square-foot Brooklyn warehouse. In each of the seven single-colored rooms, the self-described “fashion fangirl” Hendry’s MONOCHROME exhibit creates a color sensory experience centered around her new images of crumpled Pantone swatches. Everything from the walls to floors to clothes hanging to plants are the same color. It looks as if she was inspired by the 2018 Pantone color of the year, ultraviolet, for the bathroom. The rooms are built with lego-like Everblocks, creating somewhat prison-like walls in the most colorful jail ever.
Hendry inside MONOCHROME
I am new to color, not too sure if I understand it yet. Before, when I drew in black ink all the focus was on the object because all the emotion of color was removed. Now I stare at my drawings and feel…just different I can’t explain it. Color is exciting and sad and frustrating and confusing. Color is all around us, it’s everywhere. Color is not a physical thing, it’s a thing that describes something else. By drawing crumpled colored cards I have given color a physicality and form.
She really makes that point in this exhibit. Each room’s monochromatic color scheme evokes strong reactions as the viewer’s eyes race around the rooms trying to make sense of the untraditionally colored objects which can disturb, while others soothe.
Hendry says she specifically aimed for kitsch and color, “ It is such a visual show. You cannot help but feel a certain way walking in. Some people will love it, some people with hate it. I am not looking for global acceptance. I am just doing what feels right.” As a viewer, we are glad she is.
In 2016, Hendry moved into a 5,000 square foot studio in Greenpoint, Brooklyn and began experimenting with space. She comments, “My new studio has completely changed the way I think because there is a lot of space to move around and do whatever needs to be done without confines of smaller spaces.”
Hendry’s desire to understand her clients informed this show. “People generally buy art as the last item, they find art to match their home. I have become close with my collectors over the years and have noticed how differently they live their lives. Art is the first thing they add to a space and they design their entire home around their collection. I have taken this concept to an extreme level. Each room has been designed to emulate the art on the wall. The art is the focus, everything matches the art.”
Thankfully, Hendry’s path has never been predictable, like when she quit college in 2013 after majoring in accounting and finance to become a full-time artist. As she told stylecaster three years ago, “Not too sure what’s in the cards. I have a book full of ideas that I write down but nothing has stuck just yet, I’m letting my ideas swim around for awhile.” It will be exciting to see where she goes next.
The exhibit is on view for four days, from April 5th through April 8th, between 10 am and 5 pm at 276 Greenpoint Avenue. Signed photographs of the rooms in MONOCHROME will be on sale for $350, starting at 9am on Saturday, April 6th.
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