Between May 3 - July 15, Sasha Meret's work is featured in the curated exhibition “Conference of the Birds” presented by CYNTHIA-REEVES Projects at Mana Contemporary in Jersey City, NJ. The exhibitioned opened on May 3rd with a reception open to the public.
“Conference of the Birds” features artworks by thirty artists from around the world, and explores our collective relationship to birdlife and the ramifications on their habitat and ours. The title “Conference of the Birds” is taken from a Sufi text of the same name written in 1177. It is a parable about striving toward enlightenment: each bird in the story represents a failing
of character that prevents him from persevering toward that goal, and one by one they fall away, never attaining an understanding of Selflessness and the true nature of God. Eight centuries later, the birds are a metaphor on a different order, that of the earthly realm: their message is about our species’ relationship to our habitat, and by extension, the habitat of all living creatures.
Birds are the only complex species on the planet that inhabit the three realms: air, water and earth. They are, quite literally, the canary in the coalmine. In every instance, the birds are communicating by their numbers how successful we are in preserving habitat for all species, including our own. Where their numbers diminish, so do our opportunities for a successfully integrated environment where all species can thrive.
Birds often migrate hundreds, even thousands, of miles each year to nest. Below them, as they fly, we continue the headlong rush of our day-to-day life, spreading our species’ influence in ever-widening swaths of our habitat. Ours is a relatively new order of land use that has grown exponentially in the past 150 years, one that is most often hostile to birdlife.
Sasha Meret was born in Petrosani, Romania in 1955. He started to study art at an early age, and earned his BA in 1974 and an MA in 1979. After arriving in New York in 1987, he studied printmaking with Tony Harrison at Columbia University.
Meret’s work encompasses a wide range of techniques and styles. He alternates figuration with abstraction in search for a balance between ideas and emotions. The latest development in his work embodied a more conceptual component materialized in sculptures and large-scale objects. The artist is currently working with found objects, including plastic cutlery, to create sculptures in a variety of scales. His work is part of many collections, such as: Pfizer, Sony Corporation, Joyce-Gilmore Mertz Foundation, Art Lin YuNu Foundation, Pall Corporation, Romanian Cultural Foundation, Queens Museum, Carcassonne Museum, Craiova Museum, Rafael Collection and other corporate and private collections.
Meret was awarded the Printmaking Prize by the Contemporary Art Center of Virginia in 2002 and in 2003 the First Prize for best-illustrated book awarded by the Romanian Editors Association. In 2005, Meret was honored as a guest artist by the Government of Pintung Province in Taiwan for the Peninsula Arts Festival. In 2010, he received the Award for Excellence in Arts given by the publishing house Scrisul Romanesc. His work is featured in Project Sieben, released in November 2011 by the German publishing house Klartext with the support of the Romanian Cultural Institute in Berlin, followed by an exhibition in March 2012, in Bochum, Germany.
[Image: Sasha Meret, The Plastic Menagerie #12, 2011, polystyrene, 48” x 24” x 22”]