Pen + Brush inaugurates its 2018 exhibition program with the first comprehensive view of photographic work by Lola Flash. A fixture in the New York City art scene, Flash uses photography to challenge stereotypes and offer new ways of seeing that often transcend and interrogate gender, sexual and racial norms. She works primarily in portraiture with a 4x5 film camera, engaging those who are often deemed invisible.
The exhibition will span more than three decades of the artist’s career, beginning in the 1990’s with a series of works titled “Gay A-Z,” which relate to the AIDS crisis in New York City, and ending in the present day with works from Flash’s ongoing and critically lauded “[sur]passing” and “SALT” series. Earlier works will give viewers a glimpse into the height of the AIDS crisis from the deeply personal perspective of Flash, who documented this moment while mourning the loss of loved ones. “[sur]passing” is a series of larger-than-life color portraits that probe the impact that skin pigmentation plays on black identity and consciousness, while “surmise” offers an insider’s account of the many ways black and queer people are perceived and marginalized. Finally, “SALT” is a series of portraits depicting women over 70 set in their environment, illuminating wisdom that is often disregarded because of ageism.
Flash received her bachelor’s degree from Maryland Institute and her Masters from London College of Printing, in the UK. In 2008, she participated in Light Work’s esteemed Artist-in-Residence program. Most recently, Flash was awarded an Art Matters grant, which allowed her to further pursue two projects in Brazil and London. Flash’s work is part of important public and private collections around the world, including the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
About Pen + Brush: For the past 124 years, Pen + Brush has been dedicated to promoting the work of women in the literary and visual arts. Pen + Brush supports the belief that art and literature created by women deserve to be recognized and valued on their merits–not judged by the gender of their makers. In 2015, Pen + Brush Gallery moved from its original location in Greenwich Village and re-launched in its current, expanded location at 29 East 22nd Street.