[dropcap size=small]B[/dropcap]e Nice. It sounds like a simple suggestion but the root of the concept runs far deeper than you would expect. Agni Zotis, a Queens native of Greek descent, has cultivated an enrapturing balance within her work; it is truly free from boundaries. The pieces featured in her latest solo exhibition evince the restless interminglings of life’s extremes, marrying those extremes into one compelling display of visceral introspection and creative methodology.
Presented by Project 301, Be Nice is the kind of exhibition that fully embraces the senses. Zotis provides a series of edifying visuals that caress the mind’s eye and spark a conscious awakening that will leave you sleepless for days. Populated with arresting color combinations and poetic movements, Be Nice is a conceptual homage to the beginning of time; a time when it was all so simple. This exhibition is a return to the essence.
“[Be Nice] is body a work that I’ve been doing for a couple of years now and it’s based on a set of very primordial, essential behaviors. It has to do with the beginning, the merging of the sperm and the egg, colliding universes—to create, to manifest…”
– Agni Zotis
The colors, mating and birthing galaxies of irregular patterns and abstract hues, offer a vibrant narrative. They are all pigments that push and pull at one another. Some of that dynamic can be accredited to Mother Nature herself. Zotis does all of her painting outdoors and has no qualms with subjecting her work to the elements. “The way the paint dries under the intense heat of the sun… some of the paintings even got rained on. It all plays with the colors and the textures,” says Zotis.
She further manipulates these colors by placing them under black lights. When the gallery dims, the black lights do their work and aid the colors in a transformation that takes you even deeper down the rabbit hole. Pieces like “Ring of Fire” live up to their names and become electric, leaping off the canvases.
Despite its surficial simplicity and emphatic naiveté, Be Nice, at its core, is a smiling rebuttal against the preconceived notions of what it means to exist. Complete with a surreal video installation, the exhibition serves as the manifesto of a creative soul that is capable of meaning plenty without saying much. Zotis’ commentary is unflinching, endearing and all encompassing.
“It is beginning and end, life and death, and everything that happens in between. Some of the subjects are telecommunications, the feminine energy, Unicorn Republic—which has to do with innocence and the self, being in the cave and emerging from that. Looking through the shadows, the illusions, and stepping into the light.”
Be Nice is on display through April 25th at Project 301, tucked quaintly inside of 547 West 27th Street in suite #301.
Akeem is our founder. A writer, poet, curator and profuse sweater, he is responsible for the curatorial direction and overall voice of Quiet Lunch. The Bronx native has read at venues such as the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, KGB Bar, Lovecraft and SHAG–with works published in Palabra Luminosas and LiVE MAG13. He has also curated solo and group exhibitions at numerous galleries in Chelsea, Harlem, Bushwick and Lower Manhattan.