Author: Natasha Gural /Exhibit From 10/15 to 11/12. View by appt only. Masks required. Small groups 5 or less by appointment.
~~A baby chicken in a clear orange visor hat, roller skating while carrying a boombox against a candy pink ombre background, transports us back to carefree times.~~
Lucia Heffernan’s circular oil painting Roller Chick is among more than two dozen paintings that will go on view as part of Taking Flight, a socially-distanced exhibition accessible by reservation only when Rehs Contemporaryin New York City reopens next month for the first time since the global art world was shuttered by the pandemic in March.
Heffernan’s enchantment with animals is depicted in playful, masterly paintings that lend a human voice and personality to other living creatures.
“By imagining what animals might do if put in human situations, I shine a spotlight on both their innocence and raw instinct,” said Heffernan. “This collision between animal and human sensibilities creates a whimsical, theatrical and often humorous world that viewers can relate to on an emotional level.”
Heffernan’s work epitomizes the relationship between art and nature that’s been widely documented since the Classical period in Ancient Greece. “Art not only imitates nature, but also completes its deficiencies.” _ Aristotle
The group show featuring works by seven artists, initially scheduled for May, is the gallery’s annual event collaborating with the Art Renewal Center, which strives to revive realism in the visual arts. Rehs Contemporary has also partnered with the American Bird Conservancy to boost awareness of the threats to bird populations and the effects their dwindling numbers have on our ecosystems. A proceed of sales will benefit the not-for-profit membership organization charged with conserving native birds and their habitats throughout the Americas.
“We were reviewing the finalists from the Art Renewal Center salon and noticed several the artists had incorporated various wildlife elements, particularly birds, into their compositions. Through various discussions with each, we found there to be a common desire to raise awareness for at-risk bird populations (as well as many other creatures),” said Lance Rehs, director of Rehs Contemporary Galleries, Inc. “I personally feel very passionately about protecting our environment in general and saw this as a great opportunity to play a small part in helping the cause.”
Refracting Infinity, by Canadian hyperrealist Josh Tiessen, celebrates the divine beauty of nature, while exploring the Golden Ratio used for centuries by artists to locate aesthetically pleasing areas to place subjects and distribute weight in the composition.
“I was inspired by van Gogh’s whimsical sunflowers. Despite his life of sorrow, he saw glimpses of the Divine through nature,” said Tiessen. “This resonated deeply with me. I chose to depict two male Indigo Buntings weaving a nest inside a window, a metaphor for the wonder of string theory; again, a glimpse of the Divine through nature.”
Delving deeper into an otherworldly appreciation for nature, Rob Rey’s paintings offer cosmic perspective to set aside feelings of personal self-importance so that the viewer may imagine herself within the grand scale of the universe. His current Bioluminescence series, including the ethereal oil on panel, Bioluminescence – Question, Hypothesis, Experiment, strives to evoke empathy and compassion.
“Each organism being the exquisite and detailed production of billions of years of evolution, life is precious.” Rey said. “But the process of science has revealed a luminous, living planet, more intricate and amazing than we could have ever imagined.”
Natalie Featherston’s Night Owls is a contemporary take on trompe l’oeil, French for “deceive the eye,” manipulating color and textures, and marrying rustic and fantastical images.
Taking Flight, showcasing a wide array of works by Jasmine Becket-Griffith, Jon Burns, Adam Matano, Heffernan, Rey, Tiessen, and Featherston, will be on view between October 15 and November 12, with viewing by appointment only. A masked, socially-distanced preview from October 15 through October 18 is limited to groups of five or fewer, including children, with a maximum capacity of ten people at any time.