First Street Gallery
526 W 26th St, Suite 209, New York
Tuesday - Saturday: 11 am - 6 pm
Mari Lyons: Memorial Exhibition
Jan 30-Feb 24
What I want most for my paintings, Mari said, is vitality--and she found in the electric, ever-changing scene below her studio the perfect cognate for her vision. For forty years she worked in a third-floor space on the corner of Broadway and 80th Street, above the old H&H Bagel Shop, across from Zabars. She painted the still life, studio interior, figure, and much else, but remained captivated by and regularly drew from the vital street below--the endless swarm of vehicles and people, the changing shops and architecture, the passing seasons. She found the remarkable richness of the scene inexhaustible.
She first exhibited her cityscapes in the late 1980s, and then several times later, and in a two-person exhibition with John Dubrow at Rider University, curated by Deborah Rosenthal. The series was praised in Forbes FYI, and by Lance Esplund, David Cohen, John Seed, and Jed Perl. The Museum of the City of New York acquired a large street scene and recently the New York State Museum in Albany acquired six other cities.
These sprawling, brushy compositions are perhaps Maris most exciting and successful series--and register the full force of her exuberant love of color and motion and her intrepid commitment to a painterly figuration counter to so much recent conceptual painting.
See more of Mari Lyonss work at www.marilyonsstudio.com
Tim Kennedy/ S.R.A.
Feb 27-Mar 24
S.R.A. is the abbreviation for State Recreation Area and is also the title of a solo exhibition of paintings by Tim Kennedy that will be held at First Street Gallery from February 27 to March 24, 2018. This is Mr. Kennedys eighth solo exhibition at First Street Gallery. In this exhibition, Mr. Kennedy finds inspiration in common public settings and the people that inhabit them in and around Bloomington, Indiana, a Midwestern college town. Since Manets Luncheon on the Grass, representations of people and their pursuit of leisure activities have held up a mirror to contemporary notions of identity, class and the human relationship to nature. Seen through Mr. Kennedys eyes, a volleyball game in a city park, a couple canoeing and a fisherman beside a boat are all fodder for large scale figure compositions.
Kennedy has also continued to explore portraiture by focusing on neighbors and colleagues in romantic pairs or family groups. Painted from life, these portraits emphasize the psychology of the sitters by recording their interaction with their surroundings and, more subtly, with one another. These are time-intensive, reciprocal works that demand the artists and sitters continual collaboration. We may not know the subjects personally, but they are people we immediately recognize. Part of the pleasure afforded by the portraits is recognition of physical resemblances between family members, emotional connection between romantic partners and hints of character and psychology as revealed through posture and body language.
Tim Kennedys paintings fall solidly into the tradition of painterly American realism that prizes the particular and the empirical. The paintings allow the viewer to examine a sharply experienced, yet ordinary event. The unspoken subject at the center of the paintings is the connection between people and the connection of people to their surroundings, whether people are the primary subject or whether the subject consists of landscape views, objects or interiors. The paintings celebrate life as it is experienced through the senses. Mr. Kennedys use of oil paint favors visceral color and the undisguised presence of the artists hand. It is work on a human scale that manifests a direct encounter with perceptual experience, and conveys an atmosphere filled with light and air.
Examples of Mr. Kennedys work may be found at timkennedypaintings.com.
Mar 27-Apr 21
In her exhibition titled, Equilibrium, Kathi Packer revisits the singular relationship between habitat and wildlife in the context of Africa’s Sub-Sahara migrations. Where Packer had previously explored uncertain and apocalyptic threats to natural harmony, she now paints elegiac tableaux of what should have been cherished and protected, an Eden past.
Packer’s focus is centered on the idea of balance, walking a taut line between abstraction and representation, one that in a way mirrors, metaphorically, the appearance and disappearance of these creatures and their environment. Hidden in plain sight a herd of zebra blends so that there is no beginning or end. In the high grass, stripes are mistaken for shadow and sunlight. A mass of wildebeest mimics dark blue spheres of rain. At other times, wildlife is subtly revealed their shapes woven into a web of vegetation, barely distinguishable from their surroundings.