In selecting the work that appears in “Cause and Affection,” the current show at Lift Trucks Project, Kara Lenkeit, an independent curator, visited about two dozen artists’ studios and galleries throughout the Hudson River Valley and New York City.
The resulting exhibition fills the 2,500-square-foot converted factory space here with more than 60 works by a wide range of artists — including acrylics on canvas by Scott Daniel Ellison and Mark Nilsson, who live in Dutchess County, and architectural forms made from sections of picket fence by Daddy, a Brooklyn-based design collective.
Scott Goodman, who is a member of Daddy and also has two paintings on plywood in the show, described Ms. Lenkeit as a “process-based curator, much in the way many artists work — she sees something, loves it, and throws it in the mix.”
While organizing “Cause and Affection,” which opened June 12, Ms. Lenkeit, 23, said she was repeatedly asked about its theme. “But I didn’t want to be finding work that fit into a theme,” she said. “I didn’t want to force myself or limit myself. I just wanted to show what I thought was amazing.”
Yet a theme seems to have evolved. For Ms. Lenkeit, the visceral passion she described as part of her search for artwork was matched by the anxiety she felt about assembling the show. “I started seeing these feelings — passion and anxiety — as the theme,” she said. “They’re what make us human. They’re what make artists artists.”
Several artists in “Cause and Affection” are grappling with similar dualisms, some more manifestly than others. Take Christopher Manning, creator of “Everything as Perfect as It Seems.” Ms. Lenkeit likes how his work — an eight-foot-long iceberglike stack of thick shards of Plexiglas suspended from the ceiling — “catches the colors from other pieces in the show.” Mr. Manning talks of its contrasts. “I like the mix of it being a transparent object that is both there and not there, with these very sharp, dangerous edges,” he said. “We all exist in a state of flux between opposing forces. My work contemplates that balance.”
Mr. Goodman also described contrasting elements in his paintings of houses hiding behind trees. “The natural and domestic worlds are unified on the flattened surface of the image,” he wrote in an e-mail, “however, the ambiguous, obscured figuration suggests a shattered world.”
Of the 13 artists showing in “Cause and Affection” all but two are in their 20s, yet most have an exhibition history, and some have work in concurrent shows. Mr. Manning has several pieces in a group show at Dorsky Curatorial Projects in Long Island City. Mr. Goodman is exhibiting alongside other Brooklyn artists at Kenise Barnes Fine Art in Larchmont; work by the Daddy collective can be seen in a show opening Aug. 18 at Dash Gallery in Tribeca. Mr. Manning, Mr. Nilsson and two other “Cause and Affection” artists, Gil Riley and Milton Stevenson, were part of this summer’s group show at the Beacon Artist Union’s gallery in Beacon, which was also curated by Ms. Lenkeit. And though this is the first exhibition for Frank Lupo, who at 60 is the group’s senior member, one of his drawings was selected by the artist Rackstraw Downes to be included in a second show that opened in Chelsea on Aug. 3.
Most of the work is for sale, with prices ranging from $50 to $2,500, but Lift Trucks is not a gallery in the usual sense.Tom Christopher, a painter and the director of Lift Trucks Project, described the building — the former home of the B. Hawley Smith Company, a forklift service and sales business — as “a project space. “We don’t represent artists, and we don’t have archives,” he said. “My hope is that these kids will take this show and find a real gallery.”
Mr. Christopher, who is in his 50s, appreciates their spirit. “I love talking to these guys,” he said. “They don’t talk about dealers and careers. All they talk about is art.”
“Cause and Affection” runs through Sept. 12 at Lift Trucks Project, 3 East Cross Street, Croton Falls. Open Monday and Tuesday, noon to 3 p.m.; Friday, 4 to 7 p.m., Saturday, noon to 5 p.m., and by appointment. For more information: ltproject.com