De Novo Gallery is proud to present its inaugural exhibition, Synthetic Dawn, featuring work by artists Alex Ebstein and Esther Ruiz.
Synthetic Dawn pairs two artists who use an industrial materiality to explore organic, geological and corporeal forms and notions of personal ritual. Through their own abstract visual languages, Ebstein and Ruiz aestheticize these moments and transform them into inviting, hard to locate, objects of desire.
Upon examination, the viewer sees the materials are familiar and thus the relationship which those materials changes. Ebstein makes tactile abstractions using readymade and nontraditional materials – most notably yoga mats. Her work borrows materials used in gym equipment, yoga and dance studios, and construction projects to examine the tropes of self-help, boutique fitness and the white cube. These surfaces contribute a sense of tactility, utility and even commodity, while occupying the transportive territory of painting.
Ruiz draws from space operas, pseudo-science, pop culture, and the sun to create objects that operate simultaneously as miniature landscapes from a distant future and actual size sculptures informed by the family of Minimalism. She tops cast cement columns with Plexiglas triangles, neon arches and fractured geodes in a way that leaves viewers thinking of (among other things) Dan Flavin, Pink Floyd and the stark beauty of the desert. The Wellsact as portals or entry points into these worlds.
Both artists invite us to enter and explore their work with wondrous caution.
Alex Ebstein is an artist and curator based in Baltimore, Maryland. She received her MFA from Towson University in 2015 and her BA in Studio Art from Goucher College in 2007. Recent solo exhibitions include Victori + Mo Gallery, Brooklyn, New York, Cuevas Tilleard, New York, New York, Frutta Gallery in Rome, Italy, and Kent Place Gallery in Kent, New Jersey. She has been featured in a number of group exhibitions including Trestle Gallery, Greenpoint Terminal Gallery, Crossing Collective, Guerrero Gallery and Loyal Gallery. Her work has received write-ups in The New York Times, FastCo, Self Magazine, BmoreArt, Baltimore Beat, City Paper, Beautiful Decay and Aft F City. In addition to her studio practice, Ebstein is the founder and director of three galleries in Baltimore since 2009; Nudashank, Phoebe, and Resort. Ebstein is currently the Director of Exhibitions and Curator at Goucher College. | @alex_ebstein
Esther Ruiz was born in Houston, Texas, and currently lives and works in Los Angeles, California. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in studio art from Rhodes College in 2011. She has shown nationally and internationally at various galleries including solo exhibitions at The Schneider Museum of Art in Ashland, Oregon, Reynolds Gallery in Richmond, Virginia, yours mine & ours in New York, New York, Brooklyn Academy of Music, and Platform Baltimore. She has also been featured in numerous group exhibitions including Deslave, LVL3, Jacob’s LA, New Release Gallery, and Hollis Taggart. She has been featured in The Washington Post, Art News Magazine, Art F City and VICE. She was also a visiting lecturer at School of Visual Arts, New York, New York, Moore College of Art and Design, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Santa Barbra City College among others. | @esther__ruiz
De Novo Gallery founder Ryan Dattilo moved to D.C. two years ago after living in New York City, where he was very involved with the art community. He’s continued his involvement in D.C., recently joining the Washington Projects for the Art’s board, serving on the Hamiltonian Gallery External Review Panel and now opening De Novo Gallery. Dattilo aims to encourage all ages to experience the work of local and non-local artists in a welcoming environment. During his time in New York, Dattilo saw how much the art community can benefit the city’s young professionals and hopes to inspire that same engagement in Washington through De Novo Gallery.