Author Archives: ficusinterfaith

The Nourishment




a group show with


2.17.19 – 3.27.19

Sunday, February 17th

2 – 5pm

In a letter to the editor of the journal Nature dated February 12, 1923, one William Garnett touted the prescience of Edwin A. Abbott’s Flatland, a forgotten novella of the previous century. Written as a satire of Victorian society, it had achieved new relevance, per Garnett, in light of Einstein’s general relativity:

Some thirty or more years ago a little jeu d’esprit was written by Dr. Edwin Abbott entitled Flatland. At the time of its publication it did not attract as much attention as it deserved. Dr. Abbott pictures intelligent beings whose whole experience is confined to a plane, or other space of two dimensions, who have no faculties by which they can become conscious of anything outside that space and no means of moving off the surface on which they live. He then asks the reader, who has consciousness of the third dimension, to imagine a sphere descending upon the plane of Flatland and passing through it. How will the inhabitants regard this phenomenon? They will not see the approaching sphere and will have no conception of its solidity. They will only be conscious of the circle in which it cuts their plane. This circle, at first a point, will gradually increase in diameter, driving the inhabitants of Flatland outwards from its circumference, and this will go on until half the sphere has passed through the plane, when the circle will gradually contract to a point and then vanish, leaving the Flatlanders in undisturbed possession of their country (supposing the wound in the plane to have healed). Their experience will be that of a circular obstacle gradually expanding or growing, and then contracting, and they will attribute to growth in time what the external observer in three dimensions assigns to motion in the third dimension. If there is motion of our three-dimensional space relative to the fourth dimension, all the changes we experience and assign to the flow of time will be due simply to this movement, the whole of the future as well as the past always existing in the fourth dimension.

Anyway, Flatland is no longer forgotten, available today in dozens of editions, celebrated as a clever fable for multidimensional spacetime (in string theory there can be as many as twenty-six dimensions).

In the same issue of Nature there appeared an article on an expansive feat of engineering underway on the other side of the Atlantic, the Coney Island Public Beach and Boardwalk Improvement—the world’s first beach nourishment project. And it wasn’t just the beaches that needed nourishing; by replenishing and expanding the shoreline, New York’s urban planners wanted to encourage the tubercular immigrants crowding the city’s tenements to avail themselves of a health cure of sun and saltwater.

How do these two things relate to each other than having appeared in the same journal? Maybe that’s enough. But if we’ve learned anything from the unforeseeable afterlife of Flatland and the great changes that have occurred in our thinking about public health vis-vis beaches, it’s that you just never know. This, of course, is an important theme in movies like The Beach (2000) and Beaches (1988), in which the beach serves as a symbol of impermanence.

-Eli Diner

The Nourishment is a group show featuring new work from Anna Solal, Joanne Greenbaum and Nolan Simon/Dylan Spaysky with specific terrazzo supports framing the works by Ficus Interfaith (Raphael Cohen and Ryan Bush).

Anna Solal (b. 1988, Dreux) lives and works in Paris and Marseille. Solal received her Masters degree in Sculpture from Ecole Nationale Superieure de La Cambre (Brussels). Recent exhibitions include Et Al (NADA Miami), Horse&Pony (Berlin), Interstate Projects (New York), Levy Delval ( Brussels), Olso10 (Basel), Art-O- rama (Marseille), Room E 10 27, Museo Experimental El Eco (Mexico City), Rijksakademie (Amsterdam), The Ister (Brussels), Yaby (Madrid) and Damian and the Love Guru (Brussels). She is represented by New Galerie (Paris).

Ficus Interfaith is a collaboration between Ryan Bush (b. 1990, Denver, CO) and Raphael Martinez Cohen (b. 1989, New York, NY). As much a research initiative as studio practice, Ficus Interfaith is focused on their interactions with natural history and environment. Their work has been exhibited recently at Kai Matsumiya (New York, NY), Interstate Projects (Brooklyn, NY), and Prairie (Chicago, IL).

Joanne Greenbaum (b.1953, New York, NY) is an artist based in New York City and Greenport, NY. Recent exhibitions include Ben Maltz Gallery at Otis College of Art and Design (Los Angeles) and School of the Museum Fine Arts (Boston), both in 2018. She is represented by Richard Telles in Los Angeles and has an upcoming show this April.

Nolan Simon (b. 1980, Detroit, MI) lives and works in Detroit, MI. He earned his BFA from the College for Creative Studies, Detroit in 2005. Recent exhibitions include What Pipeline (Detroit), Lars Friedrich (Berlin), Green Gallery East (Milwaukee) and Night Club (Chicago). Simon has a solo show at 47 Canal (New York) opening this February.

Dylan Spaysky (b. 1981, Pontiac, MI) is a sculptor who lives and works in Hamtramck, MI. He earned his BFA from the College for Creative Studies, Detroit in 2007. He has had solo exhibitions at Popps Packing (Detroit), Clifton Benevento (New York), Cue Arts Foundation (New York) and Cleopatra’s (Brooklyn). Recent group exhibitions include Hannah Hoffman (Los Angeles), What Pipeline (Detroit), Museum of Contemporary Art (Cleveland), NGBK (Berlin); and Susanne Hilberry Gallery (Ferndale, MI).


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56 Mulock Avenue, Unit 1, Toronto, ON

M6N 3C4, Canada



Ficus Interfaith, Isabelle Frances McGuire, Michael Freeman Badour, Connor Crawford February 16 – March 9, 2019

Opening Reception: Saturday, February 16, 2019


Ficus Interfaith is a collaboration between Ryan Bush (b. 1990, Denver, CO) and Raphael Martinez Cohen (b. 1989, New York, NY). As much a research initiative as studio practice, they are focused on their interactions with natural history and environment. Their work has been exhibited at Kai Matsumiya (New York, NY), From the Desk of Lucy Bull, (Los Angeles, CA), Interstate Projects (New York, NY), and Prairie (Chicago, IL).

Isabelle Frances McGuire lives and works in Chicago, IL. Currently, they are an artist in residence at Latitude Chicago. They are the co-founder of the music group Chicago Art Club with artist Kira Scerbin. Recent exhibitions include “At the End of the Game You Will Be Forgotten” at Alyssa Davis Gallery (New York, NY), “Flat Earth Film Festival” (Seyðisfjörður, IS), and “I am a Cliché” at Prairie (Chicago, IL). Upcoming exhibitions include “Beach House” at Kings Leap (New York, NY).

Michael Freeman Badour (b. 1987) received a BFA from OCAD University in 2014. His work has been presented in solo, two person and group exhibitions at The Loon (Toronto, ON) , Little Sister Gallery (Toronto, ON), Roberta Pelan (Toronto, ON), Topless Rockaway (New York, NY), CK2 Gallery (New York, NY) and The National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa, ON) among others. From 2014 to 2016 Badour co-ran Carrier Arts, a nomadic exhibition platform which aimed to re-contextualize art with experimental programming in private, public and online spaces. He was a finalist in the 2017 RBC Canadian Painting Competition and was the recipient of the 2014 Drawing and Painting award from OCAD University.

Connor Crawford (b. 1992, Oliphant, ON) is a multimedia artist who lives and works in Toronto, ON. Recent solo, two person and group exhibitions include “Prophecy Club” at MX Gallery (New York, NY), “Act II: Joke Courtyard” at The Loon (Toronto, ON), “Acrophobia” at Main Street (Toronto, ON) and “Usher 3: Reloaded” at February (Austin, TX). Upcoming exhibitions include “Alternate Garden” at Sibling (Toronto, ON).



Modern Landscape, 2019
concrete, terrazzo, walnut frame
13 x 27 1/2  x 1 1/4 inches




Group Exhibition at Kai Matsumiya
Opening reception: Wednesday, February 6th, 6:30 – 9
February 6th – March 10th

Artists: Joan Jonas, Craig Kalpakjian, Andrew Ross, Victoria Haynes, Micaela Carolan, Joseph Kosuth (fake), Carol Szymanski, Ben Morgan Cleveland, Steffani Jemison, Rainer Ganahl, Ala Dehghan, Jason Hirata, Ficus Interfaith, Amy O’Neil, Elliott Jamal Robbins, Cassidy Toner, Maggie Lee, Raque Ford, Peter Fend, Jason Matthew Lee, Pedro Wirz, Greg Fadell.

What kinds of art would survive in the event of an environmental apocalypse? What new kinds of art would emerge? How would our very definition of “art” change if the figurative reset button were pressed on the world as we know it? Our current group exhibition, “Reset,” explores these questions, imagining the gallery as a post-apocalyptic, dystopian laboratory in which ostensibly permanent laws of nature, technology, and culture can be reconfigured.

The spirit of machines has been indispensable in rendering, modifying, and even destroying societal norms and laws, and art is certainly not immune to its consequences. The historical avant-garde was inextricable from the technological and industrial developments that defined their world, with the early French modernists referring to their own works as ‘machines’ suggesting both mechanistic dynamism and un-utilitarian creativity. The useless machine is essentially a reset button— built solely to turn itself off upon being turned on, thereby setting the process anew.

The late Marvin Minsky, once a researcher at Bell Labs Inc., devoted his career to two principal pursuits: making strides in the development of artificial intelligence and building “the most profoundly useless things” he could think of. These two projects may seem incongruous, but for Minsky they became intimately intertwined through one of his best-known inventions, the “useless machine.” For Minsky, the most advanced artificial intelligence would be capable of the most intimate, intelligent, private, and quintessentially human act, suicide. Thus, a machine that truly possessed the capacity for human intelligence would be a useless one: one whose only function is to switch itself off. Claude Shannon, a pioneer of information theory and cybernetics, was delighted by the concept of a useless machine and placed an assortment of them on his desk to entertain those who visited his office. But not everyone found the useless machine quite so amusing— Arthur C. Clarke, upon encountering an early prototype, called the device “unspeakably sinister.”

Clarke cannot be faulted for seeing something sinister in the useless machine’s built-in death drive, but a reset button leaves room for hope even in the most sinister of times: pressing reset opens up the possibility of starting all over again. The machines-as-art displayed in “Reset” carry with them a similar sense of possibility, shedding light on the laws that have traditionally governed the gallery and the ways that, once the reset button has been pressed, both the artist’s and the gallery’s relationship to these laws are subject to change.

Kai Matsumiya gives special thanks to Keenan Jay, Eva Silverman, Drew Healy, Liz Koury, and all of the artists in the show (Joan Jonas, Craig Kalpakjian, Andrew Ross, Victoria Haynes, Micaela Carolan, Joseph Kosuth (fake), Carol Szymanski, Ben Morgan Cleveland, Steffani Jemison, Rainer Ganahl, Ala Dehghan, Jason Hirata, Ficus Interfaith, Amy O’Neil, Elliott Jamal Robbins, Cassidy Toner, Maggie Lee, Raque Ford, Peter Fend, Jason Matthew Lee, Pedro Wirz, Greg Fadell).


Water Filter, 2017



There Are Birds Here

For Detroit


There are birds here,
so many birds here
is what I was trying to say
when they said those birds were metaphors
for what is trapped
between buildings
and buildings. No.
The birds are here
to root around for bread
the girl’s hands tear
and toss like confetti. No,
I don’t mean the bread is torn like cotton,
I said confetti, and no
not the confetti
a tank can make of a building.
I mean the confetti
a boy can’t stop smiling about
and no his smile isn’t much
like a skeleton at all. And no
his neighborhood is not like a war zone.
I am trying to say
his neighborhood
is as tattered and feathered
as anything else,
as shadow pierced by sun
and light parted
by shadow-dance as anything else,
but they won’t stop saying
how lovely the ruins,
how ruined the lovely
children must be in that birdless city.
Jamaal May, “There Are Birds Here” from The Big Book of Exit Strategies. Copyright © 2016 by Jamaal May. Reprinted by permission of Alice James Books.
Source: The Big Book of Exit Strategies (Alice James Books, 2016)

Fruit Peel Workshop

“Orange Peel to Sweet Animals” time at @food__officehours 34 East Broadway, part of the final day of Food Radio Season 1: “Office Hours” Oct 26-Nov 16  @food__newyork 


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Artist: Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin (British, London 1812–1852 Ramsgate)

Factory: Minton(s) (British, Stoke-on-Trent, 1793–present)

Date: ca. 1850

Culture: British, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire

Medium: Stoneware

Dimensions: Overall (wt. includes wall mount): 13 1/8 in., 4.7 lb. (33.3 cm, 2.1092 kg)

Classification: Ceramics-Pottery

Credit Line: Purchase, Cynthia Hazen Polsky Gift, 1994

Accession Number: 1994.371

This shallow dish raised on a short foot is made in the encaustic process, an “inlay” technique of filling a stamped or recessed design with a contrasting colored clay or slip. The inscription on the rim in pseudo-Gothic lettering reads: “Waste Not Want Not.” Pugin made two versions of this tazza, the first with four colors and the second with six. The first version was exhibited at the 1849 Exhibition of British Manufacturers in Birmingham. Pugin believed that objects made with moral intentions would transfer these to the user, thereby promoting a more wholesome existence. The motto also reflected the agricultural and economic problems of England’s “hungry forties.”

Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin (1812–1852) was the first architect/designer to link a specific style to morals, godliness, and social values. He believed that manufacturers should be truthful in their use of materials; that wood should look like wood instead of being painted to look like marble. This tenet of truth to materials was the crux of the Arts and Crafts movement. Pugin also believed that deceptive construction was inherent to the classical style, whereas honest construction was in accord with the Gothic. Pugin, with the architect Charles Barry, received the commission to rebuild the Houses of Parliament in the Gothic style following a fire in 1834. He designed the interior decoration in the same style, sparking the Gothic Revival in England. Pugin also designed domestic and ecclesiastical objects in ceramic, precious metals, and wood, all in the Gothic style.

January Gallery

Did you say today?
Did you say tomorrow
Or the next day, or the day afterwards?
Did you say a picture at a January Gallery?
Did you say a glass eye for your mirror
For a club foot for a clump of wintry woods?
For a little lavender that stares back at you
Today and tomorrow, and days afterwards.

-Alfred Starr Hamilton

Tilings by Jaap Scherphuis


The 15 types of pentagonal tilings discovered so far, the 15th (convex monohedral) pentagonal tiling, discovered in 2015

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Tiling or tessellation
A dissection of the infinite flat plane into shapes of a finite area.
One of the shapes that forms a tiling.
A distance-preserving mapping of the plane. There are four types: translations, rotations, reflections, and glide reflections.
Symmetry of a tiling
An isometry that maps the tile boundaries onto tile boundaries. In other words this is some transformation that leaves the tiling looking the same as before.
Periodic tiling
A tiling that has two independent translation symmetries, i.e. a tiling that repeats itself along two different axes like a wallpaper pattern.
Primitive unit or Unit Parallelogram
A section of the tiling (usually a parallelogram or a set of neighbouring tiles) that generates the whole tiling using only translations, and which is as small as possible.
Fundamental unit
A section of the tiling (usually a set of neighbouring tiles) that generates the whole tiling using the tiling symmetries (not just the translations), and which is as small as possible.
Monohedral tiling
A tiling where all the tiles are congruent to each other, i.e. all have the same size and shape (though they are allowed to be mirror images).
Isohedral tiling
A monohedral tiling where for any two tiles there is a symmetry of the tiling that maps one tile to the other.
k-Isohedral tiling (k is a positive integer)
A monohedral tiling where the tiles form k classes such that for any two in the same class there is a symmetry of the tiling that maps one tile to the other, and for any pair of tiles in different classes no such symmetry exists. Note that 1-isohedral is the same as isohedral. In the applet, each class of tile has its own colour.
Edge-to-edge tiling
A tiling of polygons such that no corner of one tile touches the side of another.