The West Strand Gallery is Kingston’s newest gallery, opening this past spring during May: this month they feature the exhibition, “Intersecting Art, Earth, Fire, Water & Air.” Gallery co-founders, Isabel and Julio Nazario commented; “We’ve had four exhibitions featuring 24 artists of diverse backgrounds. The aim of the gallery is to foster opportunity for diverse, underrepresented artists whose work is not well-known to be exhibited along with mid-career and established artists.”
The Nazario’s are also practicing artists who decided to relocate to Kingston over five years ago after visiting for years. They commented: “Since the mid-80s we have been visiting Kingston and surrounding communities. Over the years we grew closer to the growing diverse community of artists and felt anchored in Kingston, a place where we could create our own artwork.”
The current exhibition, “Intersecting Art, Earth, Fire, Water & Air,” features artworks that respond to the environmental crisis on our planet and related changes of the four elements of nature. This exhibit features digital photo prints, drawings, paintings, mixed media collages, and lithographs by Judith Brodsky, Diane Burko, Amy Fenton-Shine, Carmen Lizardo, and Pablo Shine.
Several of the pieces portray the current environmental crisis as the apocalyptic landscape. Judith Brodsky’s “Animals Run Away,” feature towers belching black smoke, a landscape that appears to be on fire, and a sleuth of bears exiting the picture plane in the foreground. Diane Burko’s prints also reference concerns about climate change and environmental degradation. In the print “Elegy for Columbia Glacier, Alaska,” we see brilliant blue areas broken up by shattered white patterns. Burko writes in her statement: “I see myself as a subversive artist, creating compelling images, which in turn, inform the public of the dire threats facing our planet.”
Pablo Shine exhibits his series of trees that feel like portraits of spiritual guides existing on our planet. While they exude a mystical presence, the leafless trees also seem threatened by human-made environmental conditions. All of Shine’s trees from the Warrior Series stand by themselves, a silent witness to their surroundings. Amy Fenton-Shine’s photo collages bring together selections of her photography referencing images and forms found in nature. In “The Crossing,” we can see a chaotic over-laying of imagery that could represent shattered systems found in nature. The bridge might symbolize the movement towards further destruction.
Carmen Lizardo exhibits prints from her series, “To Swallow a River,” that begins with imagery from archives of unknown immigrants and slaves. She then superimposes her own image onto the images. She writes in her statement about references from Toni Morrison’s imperative, “how the past haunts the present making itself known and felt among the living.” In “Self-Portrait with Pearls,” the image of the face seems to gaze directly at the viewer, however, a string of sumptuous pearls is draped across the face covering the eyes. Could this mean the woman can see but never wear such a necklace? The portrait is floated on top of a brightly flowered blue background, similar to plastic tablecloths seen across Latin American Countries.
This article was originally published by the Poughkeepsie Journal October 29, 2021. The artists retain all copyrights to these images.
“Intersecting Art, Earth, Fire, Water & Air” exhibit at West Strand Gallery through November 16, 2021: 29 West Strand Street, Kingston, NY.
Gallery contacts: email@example.com | 845-853-8689