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Hanah Mishin and Lee Wells @ Smile Gallery Brooklyn


We live in this special and strange time, we are fluent with technology and demand efficiency and lightning speed communication, yet we are appreciating more and more the attention to hand-crafted detail and the time of labor intensive work not seen on such a scale for decades.. This can be seen at every turn in this neighborhood from handcrafted jewelry to chocolate bars. Through this resurgence, we are simultaneously breaking out the shackles of corporations and industries keeping us physically and mentally unhealthy. The market collapse has enabled us to see clearly the failing systems and demand change. How can we take our efficiency in the proliferation of information and communication and apply this to the next level of development through societal improvements? Art and Science are on the forefront of the change to our society we so drastically need. Creativity and scientific development are the driving force of many new technologies that will drastically improve our way of life and reduce the burden we impose on the Earth. It is through this crucial marriage of art and science that we can begin to usher in a new way of life.

Image - Lee Wells, Untitled #10, Study for an Epic Battle, 2009

Given the current tumultuous state of the world: war, mistrust of the government, financial insecurity, and ecological disaster, the feeling of desperation is one of the few unifying factors in such a divided world. We helplessly hope for change that seems to drift farther and farther out of our reach. Through the work of Mishin and Wells, we are able to re-examine our behavioral patterns both individually and societally. We have the power teach ourselves to stay vigilant of our own thoughts and reactions; this is the first place true change can occur. The only aspect of our lives in which we have any real control is over our own energetic output into the world around us. Only through this can we begin to allow ourselves to feel a sense of hope.

“We are born with brains that are genetically hard-wired with certain instinctual behavior patterns; we are predisposed mentally, emotionally, and physically to respond to our environment in ways that enable us to survive. These basic sets of instructions are encoded in countless innate nerve cell activation patterns, specific combinations of brain cells that fire in response to any given event, experience, or thought.

But the wiring of our brains is not static, or irrevocably fixed. Our brains are also adaptable. Neuroscientists have documented the fact that the brain can design new patterns of nerve cells and neurotransmitters (chemicals that transmit messages between nerve cells) in response to new input. In fact, our brains are malleable, ever changing, reconfiguring their wiring according to new thoughts and experiences. As a result of learning, the function of individual neurons themselves change, allowing electrical signals to travel along more readily. Scientists call the brain’s inherent capacity to change 'plasticity'. " -Howard Cutler, M.D. and the Dalai Lama

"I am keenly interested in the plasticity of the relationship between emotion and logic. Humans exist as a fusion of the two, a dichotomy I find interesting." - Hannah Mishin

Mishin depicts this dichotomy through an interesting technique of paper cut-out mechanical forms, and painted biomorphic shapes, on panel.

"Studies for epic battles is a series of small drawings analyzing the compositions and purpose of historic war art created prior to the invention of conventional weaponry and 20th century warfare. The close physical interaction and immediate confrontation of two sides converging on each other create an intriguing juxtaposition of humanity. So different from war today where the lines in the sand are drawn across hundreds of miles and the historic heros of antiquity are replaced by remote controlled airplanes, IED's and sniper fire. These studies are created as part of a larger body of work that asks the question; What is the modern day equivalent to these battles and the purpose of commemorating various struggles in art."

- Lee Wells


Hannah Mishin is profoundly interested in art in general, and its impact on itself and the culture at large. Her work is a humanistic attempt to understand the most fundamental components of humanity. Hannah is a native of North Carolina. She moved to Brooklyn to attend Pratt Institute where she graduated with honors with a BFA in 2005. She has since exhibited work in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and several locations in New Jersey. She lectured about contemporary art in two universities in the Caucasus of Russia, and has published several critical writings and reviews in several online journals.

Lee Wells is an artist, independent curator and consultant currently living and working in New York. His artwork and projects primarily question systems of power and control and have been exhibited internationally for over 15 years, including the 51st La Biennale Di Venezia, National Center for Contemporary Art Moscow, Kimpo International Airport, WRO07 XII Media Biennial, PS1/MoMA, Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center, and Hermitage Museum in addition to numerous art fairs, festivals and galleries. He is a co-founder and director of IFAC-arts, an alternative curatorial program and nomadic gallery and since 2006, a co-founder of [PAM] the Perpetual Art Machine. Wells is represented by Janet Oh Gallery in Seoul Korea.


The mission of SMILE is to illuminate the relevance and importance of art in such a tumultuous period, by showing how art plays a significant role in bringing change and innovation. We hope not only to showcase the talents of creative people in all media, but also to create an environment where both experienced and emerging collector can feel at ease to engage and interact with the work. The Gallery is in collaboration with Williamsburg Dental Arts as an art/commerce local business space.

Established in 2010 in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York.

Founding Director, Natalia Rafalo
SMILE Williamsburg
86 N6 St.
P 347-689-3066