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Jack Hanley Gallery in New York is currently hosting a four person group show, titled Spieltrieb, featuring the works of Polly Apfelbaum, Beverly Fishman, Ryan Mrozowski and Kathleen Ryan. On view through February 4th, the show is a clever display of painting, sculpture and site specific installation. 

According the gallery, It’s title, “Spieltrieb comes from the German expression that can be translated as ‘play-drive’, the ‘urge to play’ or ‘play impulse’. In ‘On the Aesthetic Education of Man’ (1794) German poet and philosopher Friedrich Schiller described Spieltrieb as the ideal union of Formtrieb (the form impulse) and Stofftrieb (the sense impulse). In his theory, the sense impulse equals life whereas the form impulse equates with shape and therefore denotes the object of Spieltrieb as the living shape which for him is synonymous with beauty. All works in the show combine these components, formal and sensuous, with a game element, a playfulness, inviting viewers to engage with their associations.”

With the notion of Spieltrieb in mind, the work interacts with the viewer’s urge to play in a multitude of ways. Polly Apfelbaum’s hanging installation of terra-cotta shapes evoke childrens’ mobile sets while Ryan Mrozowski’s sculptural paintings fit together as a jigsaw puzzle would. Through elevated color palettes and textural effects, the show comes together as a  veritable playground for the creatively inclined. Each artist utilizes minimal design to maximum effect with elegant forms and bold color choices.  Kathleen Ryan’s work is perhaps the most recognizable, using bright orange chains and bowling balls to create a massive tasseled necklace on the ground of the gallery, begging the question, do we ever outgrow the urge to play? —Jessica Ross

Spieltrieb brings together four unique artists who all have a penchant for originality and keen artist sense. Be sure to check it out in the lower east side before it closes on February 4th, 2018.