Thursday, April 24, 2008

Opening Reception: Thursday, May 15, 6:00-9:00PM

“Nobody sees a flower – really – it is so small it takes time.”—Georgia O’Keeffe

Flowers are a key motif in the works of several artists of the modern era such as Manet, Van Gogh, Georgia O'Keeffe, Warhol, and Jeff Koons. Today they continue to inspire many contemporary artists.

Endless Inspiration features works by five Long Island City artists who depict flowers in several mediums: oil painting, watercolor, photography and ceramics. The exhibition covers a range of artistic approaches in which flowers are intensified, sexualized and personalized.

In Jaime Arredondo’s Gotas de Amor, the image of the flower covers almost the entire surface of the 54 x 54” canvas. It is powerful and sensual with its wide open petals and delicate beads of water.

Laura Bell's Perennial captures the artist’s personal observations on the unending march of nature. Her work reminds the viewer to see the continual cycles of human history.

It is almost impossible not to view Wendi Gueorguiev’s ceramic pieces as intensely sexual sculptures. The implementation of feminine and masculine forms feels natural for some works like the Orchid while in others, like the Spring, it is provoking and acute.

In Barbara E. Leven's photography, the close-up images reveal qualities of a flower that are not easily traceable to the untrained eye. The rainboworchid translates the artist’s perception of nature and beauty.

In the works of Sam Seawright flowers are employed as forms of communication and self-expression of personal and universal emotions. Musk Rose & Hanbane is a monumental and romantic piece with its oversized flowers painted with sharp lines on a soft tinctured background.

Each artist has been inspired and has communicated their vision through a flower. We all see flowers differently, and I invite you to find your inspiration in them.

Tamar Gasparian-Chester

Since its opening on October 25th, 2005 Art-O-Mat, a community-run gallery in Long Island City has organized eighteen exhibitions celebrating community artists.

Art-O-Mat L.I.C.
46-46 Vernon Blvd.
Long Island City, NY 11101

Metropolis International

We thank Metropolis International for their sponsorship

Jaime Arredondo

Cielo Rosado,2001
Oil on Canvas, 54x54"

In Mesoamerican culture the flower operates not as decorative device as in the Western world but comprises aspects of a dual character, recollecting moments of the living and of the after-life. They act not as items of embellishment but as portals to gain access to the sacred and divine. Native peoples view the flower as living symbols of memory, faith and spirit, concrete artifacts by which we may tap into the lives of our ancestors.
As the central motif it plays a significant role in allowing me to embrace issues from Western and non-Western cultures. The intensity of consideration in color and light towards the flower by Monet, and my research in Native American treatment of them have informed the primary direction of my work. Combined with a similar baroque background utilized in previous works, my present work goes further to explore aspects of the sensual and the erotic. The flower has been magnified in scale, color intensified, and its voluptuous nature exposed to create a painting that is as tangible as flesh itself. I have composed a flower that does not simply depict, but is reinvented within terms of the grandiose, the sublime and the hallucinatory.

Water's Edge Restaurant & Court Square Wine&Spirits

We thank Water's Edge Restaurants and
Court Square Wine&Spirits for their support

Laura Bell

Perennial, 2006
Oil on Canvas, 74x54"

These paintings are based in a world both observed and invented, primeval and post-apocalyptic. Nature is an indifferent witness to the human history playing out in its arena; civilization left unguarded is reclaimed without malice. The flower, with its combination of delicacy and tenacious strength, operates with powerful neutrality- a fern cracks a sidewalk not because of a political agenda but simply because the concrete is in its path. Perennials casually reenact a resurrection each year. Outlining this is the drama of edges: land meets water, sky meets sea, stem meets earth. Our own toxic speed induces imbalance, mutation, and even beauty: a collusion of leaf, claw, and junk. In subsequent work, I have layered snapshots into the paint, buried visuals that entwine the domestic and feral, hybrids of flora, fauna, and detritus.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Barbara Pryor, PC

We thank Barbara Pryor for her support.

Wendi Gueorguiev

Squash Blossom,2007
White earthen ware, englobes, glaze, 6" x 7" x 8"


This series of sculptures carry themes and visual motifs I have explored previously in paint.
The work has been refined to an ongoing investigation of feminine and masculine forms. Inclusion of flower-like elements seems both incidental and necessary to the work.
Drawn to protuberances and voids, evocative edges and repetitive layers, the work
explores what appeals and provokes. As these attractions feel nothing less than basic, primal and essential, I seek to give them an iconic form.


We thank Cafe Communitea for their support

Barbara E. Leven

rainboworchid, 2007
photograph, 13x19"

March 30, 2005: It is cold, windy and grey. While I am aware that the event is imminent, I do not yet know that my Father will pass in exactly eight days. In need of solace I pick up my camera and take a long subway ride to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, a place I have never been.
The trees are still bare but when I look closely I see the promise of spring in the beginning buds. The wind ripples across the sleeping lily pools, the pale sun glinting on small tangerine bodies darting here and there beneath the shadows.
I begin to be transformed as I inhale the green air and am drawn into this garden world of nature “in captivity”. Through the camera I penetrate deeper into the secrets of this world and see what I could not without it.
I will have to come back, again and yet again. I will come almost every week for nearly two years. The seasons change and I am there, in the cold and in the heat. Armed with both a macro and telephoto lens I am compelled to record each new discovery — the lacy delicacy of the skeletal winter hydrangeas, the alien quality of the tree peony in early April, the whimsy of the goldfish in the lily pools, and the treacherous thorns on the bark of the African Aloe.
Each visit to the Steinhardt Conservatory affords me the experience of different climates and plant environments. In particular I study the Daubeny’s water lily, which is grown in a tub in the aquatic room. It is an intimate affair. I connect to this plant. I watch and record the mutable beauty of its birth, maturity, decline and death — and then its rebirth. I watch the tiny snails travel its leaves and the water insects swim inside the magic circle of the tub.
Through these visits, I will experience a spiritual metamorphosis. The weight of my own mortality will ease as I come to deeply understand the cycles of life of which I too am a part.

The photographs are my testament.

Active Fire Control

We thank Active Fire Control for their support

Sam Seawright

Musk Rose & Hanbane, 2003
Watercolor on Paper, 47 X 31"

My paintings exist on the ever shifting and ambiguous border between abstraction and representation.
I paint intuitively; the finished painting is never easily resolved, but reveals itself in layers over time. Through series of intimate interactions and reflections, I am always attempting to make the idea of the painting and the paint inseparable. I believe in painting’s imaginal powers, its ability to be both paint and image and yet more than the combination of the two. Paint is liquid, sensual and unpredictable; my art comes about through my continual desire to come near to the sensory side of the flowers and landscapes that speak so deeply to me.
Once I feel connected to a subject, I paint quickly and spontaneously using calligraphic marks, allowing my unconscious to guide my gesture, reacting in the moment and evaluating later.
Out of this process arises a pictorial ambiguity where perception and metaphor are in tension. Flowers provide the ideal vessels for this exploration; they are loaded with centuries of historical, mythological and poetic references, scientific, medicinal and social uses, they tease us with their beauty and humble us in their complexity.
The sources I reference grow out of the rural Georgia landscape of my youth, memories of my parent’s deep religious faith as well as their love of nature. I collect images to use as departure points for my work; these images also serve as anchors to the representational world and fuel for my internal dialog. These images include 19th century botanical etchings, seed catalogs from the 30s, museum post cards as well as my own photographs.
I believe in the possibilities of achieving spiritual content through the compelling metaphors of flowers and landscape. Spirituality addresses the deepest part of what we cannot know. I see no contradiction in leaving questions unanswered in my art, faithfully recording what I see and feel without knowing what the image means.
I strive to make my paintings speak of something singular, unexampled, easy to understand yet enigmatic.