Contemporary artists go Green at Flushing Art Gallery
by Ying Chan
Aug 17, 2011 | 22440 views | 0 0 comments | 1511 1511 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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Going green may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but for six contemporary artists, it is the nature of their artwork and their muse.

Held at the Crossing Art Gallery on the ground floor of Queens Crossing in Flushing, the exhibition, “Going Green” opened on Saturday, August 13, will celebrate their creative, green endeavors.

From paintings to videos, interactive installations, and reactive sculptures, the exhibition will explore the artists’ varying approaches to the integration between natural systems and human patterns.

The beneficiary of the fundraising will be the Queens Council on the Arts (QCA), an arts service organization that is committed to developing the arts in Queens through its support of local artists and arts organizations, as well as its creation of programs and events to benefit local communities.

“They wanted to participate in some way to help Queens Council,” said Jacqueline de Dios, the Development Associate of QCA. Already, Crossing Art Gallery, which has been in an active partnership with QCA since 2010, has raised $2000 for the organization.

The money will be used to expand QCA’s programs, which include free or low-cost workshops that teach artists pursuing professional careers on writing effectively for grant applications, as well as studio art classes that help graduating high school students develop their portfolios for college admissions.

“When we collaborate, we’re able to give back,” Dios said.

Selected from an international pool of competitors by a group of panelists consisting of gallerists, curators, writers, and a sustainable urban development expert, the finalists vary as much in their techniques as in their approaches.

“All of my work is about the system of growth and decay, [and] the cycle of life and death,” said Rachel L. Kohn, a Long Island City-based artist who turns these natural, inevitable processes into visual landscapes.

“I’ve always been consumed by art— even in high school, I would see something and have to draw it.”

The sprawling mass of moss that had taken an unrelenting grip on the hexagonal tiles of Mamaroneck Alley inspired Kohn to create a piece that combined painting with sculpting. The saturation of green, which was used to represent the moss, served as “bursts of energy,” according to Kohn.

Some artists at the exhibit, however, like Mark Andreas and Maria Michails, dipped their hands into other modes of art — interactive and reactive sculptures.

“The environment dictates when things change,” said Andreas, an artist who used his experience as a boat builder for the project. “I’m chasing after the tipping point of change.”

The structure of one of his pieces, Hanging in Balance (bottom photo), is affected by minute changes in temperature. Usually, although not for this exhibit, Andreas places ice in the center of the structure. The temperature of its surroundings then melts the ice, forcing the side beams to collapse downwards with 1,800 pounds of force.

Michails, a zealous traveler, is drawn to the merging of nature and human patterns of development. Her piece, Handcar (top photo), generates electricity through human motion.

“When I climbed the mountains and I saw a lot of industrialization going on,” said Michails.

“Within a span of 100 years, we’ve seen an increase in environmental degradation so the debate of climate issue is no longer a debate.”

The gallery will exhibit three other artists as well: Susan Evans Grove, Diane Meyer, and Andrzej Wasilewski.

“Going Green” is on view until Sunday, September 11.

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