At last week's Clinton Global Initiative, Sunflower Network unveiled onstage their commitment to rebuild Ukraine's healthcare infrastructure as a part of the newly formed Ukraine Action Network. Called Project Horizon, the commitment is responding to over 1,000 targeted attacks on healthcare in Ukraine by leveraging the power of public-private partnership to build a WHO-standard hospital in Brody. Today, Sunflower Network is excited to announce their fourth exhibition of Sonya Gallery with Thousand Yard Stare, a group show of contemporary Ukrainian artists in New York City in support of this commitment. The exhibition will be shown at a new space located at 555 Greenwich Street, and follows previous presentations of Ukrainian art in New York, Los Angeles, and Aspen that enabled the delivery of $3.5m for direct humanitarian aid.
The theme explores the physical and psychological effects of war for Ukrainians at home and abroad through a wide array of media. The title references the World War II-era description, popularized by Thomas Lea, of the dissociated stare of soldiers suffering from PTSD. Today, during what is referred to as the "First Social Media War," the thousand yard stare may also refer to those watching news of war helplessly on their phones and TVs.
Many works in the show were produced over the past year in the active warzone. In his Kyiv studio, Burenko paints poignant landscapes of lifeless homes in acrylic. In the basement of an art-gallery-turned-bomb-shelter, 2022 Venice Biennale exhibitor Nikita Kadan produces a series of text drawings in charcoal — desperate pleas which repeat over again as a form of ritual. Dominic Marker documents life in the conflict zone through photography by experimenting with negative images and Polaroids, one of which has traveled from the war-torn city of Kharkiv to the exhibition. An installation piece by Sasha Kurmaz entitled Russian Literature and Genocide is the curatorial heart of the exhibition — featuring a photograph of slain civilians resting on top of stacks of Russian novels, the work explores how historical Russian imperial agendas have led to the current invasion. Julia Beliaeva's digital print of the metal shield held by Kyiv's statue of Mother Ukraine represents a decoupling from the USSR. A suite of 24 watercolors by Maria Kulikovska bears the artist's soul, reflecting on experiences of war and relocation during a nomadic period as a refugee in which she gave birth to her first child. Similarly, the abstract watercolors of Katerina Ganchak represent a subconscious struggle for the New York-based artist living away from home.
Through this presentation of contemporary Ukrainian artists, Sonya Gallery aims to not only raise essential funds for immediate and long-term impact, but also fosters a profound sense of shared humanity across borders. Thousand Yard Stare marks the first of two consecutive pop-up shows at 555 Greenwich Street which will support Project Horizon. The subsequent exhibition will feature paintings by emerging artists from around the world in support of Ukraine and will open in November. Both shows are curated by Jack Chase and Dylan Siegel.