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  • Writer's pictureSarah Sansom

HIGH CONTRAST 212 Arts x Jay Shells Preview

Last night I joined curator Jay Shells and gallerist Marc Leader as they set up HIGH CONTRAST at 212 Arts.

Opening tonight, Thursday October 18, the group show features over 30 works produced only in black, white and grayscale.

The pair have been planning since Marc opened his new East Village space on E12th Street, and Jay had a unique vision for the theme.

It was fascinating to see works by favorite artists like Daneille Mastrion and Rob TMO Plater, who usually work in color, being unwrapped and placed together. The overall impression is dynamic and engaging.

Okay, a tiny bit of color crept in... (above)

'HIGH CONTRAST is a collection of works completely void of color. For most of these artists, color plays a vital role in their work. By removing color from their toolkit, the artists are forced to work with less, and to contribute to a cohesive symphony that will only become apparent when all of the works are brought together.

A black and white exhibition has certainly been done before, but it’s this unique selection of artists showing together which makes this a truly disruptive and unique experience.

The mediums used in this collection of work is as varied and diverse as the group of artists and their styles. They include painting, drawing, assemblage, sculpture, photography, printmaking and more '

- Jay Shells, Artist and Curator, from

Piece by Caroline Caldwell, aka Dirt Worship

Of the theme, Jay said,

It’s interesting when you’re pushed out of your comfort zone, like telling a chef he can only use parsley. You take away the artist’s tools and get interesting results.'

I also got to watch Thomas Allen (above and below) preparing an installation with spray-painted bugs escaping their frame.

'They want to get out, you know? Who wants be on display?' - Thomas Allen, NYC Artist

Prints by Skip Class being unveiled

Posters will be available open this night (*cough* perfectly sized for phone booths)

The work is impactful, diverse in scale, medium and subject. The show opens tonight. Come on by!


HIGH CONTRAST Curated by Jay Shells at 212 ARTS

Opening night:

Thursday, October 18th 6 - 9.30 PM

On view:

October 18 - 31


212 Arts, 523 East 12th Street New York, NY, 10009

Opening hours:

Tuesday, Wednesday: By appointment

Thursday - Saturday: 3 - 7 PM

Sunday: 2 - 8 PM

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