It may have been raining out, but that didn’t slow Agora Gallery down on August 22nd, as we uncorked the wine bottles and lay out the cheese for our opening reception. We were celebrating two exhibitions: in Gallery 1, the select winners of our Chelsea International Fine Arts Competition, and in Gallery 2, Portals of Perception - a showcase featuring four of Agora’s very talented artists.


Artist Fred Mou posing in front of his Flying Sails

I had the honor of speaking with Fred Mou, Agora Gallery veteran. This was his fourth showing with us (and in his warm welcome speech, he indicated that it would not be his last). Fred Mou is a retired architect, and you can see how this influences his work in the stark black-and-white geometry contrasted against a fluid, colorful nature-inspired background. “Environment is not only buildings and construction,” said Mou, speaking of his piece Fish Needles. “I am inspired by how the small creatures in nature are built – how strong and complicated they are.” In Fish Needles, we learn about a seemingly beautiful species of fish, with razor sharp teeth – able to penetrate the spikes of the sea urchin.


Anne Sedel and Washing Machine 4

“Washing machines are silent witnesses of the events of our life,” said Chelsea International Fine Arts Competition winner, Anne Sedel. Why was she talking about washing machines? Because they were the subjects of her astonishing three paintings and one sculpture. “Washing machines know how to wash without revealing. Machines exist because secrets do.” Anne told me she had a very positive time working with Agora, and that this whole experience has inspired her to take on a new project: to get back to New York again soon! I, for one, hope she succeeds in this project, and brings more of her art with her next time.


Liza Brenner poses in front of her history-inspired works.

By mixing media and styles, Liza Brenner examines the similarities between history and modern times. The themes and concepts are inspired by history books: The Autocrat II inspired by books on the history of autographs. When we discussed her unique fusion of styles, Brenner shared with me, “I like childish/graffiti art – the conflict between realism and patterns.” She is also influenced by the digital arts.


Kat Elagina speaks with a guest about her work.

Kat Elagina, another Chelsea International Fine Arts Competition winner, had six vibrantly electric paintings on display. With a captivating imagination, Elagina talked to me about her painting, Ballet Dancer #1, which carried far more plot than I initially guessed, involving creatures from other dimensions observing our lives, teaching us to learn goodness in our early years. “I always draw inspiration from God, and everything I see in the world.” Kat’s work features collages, mixed media drawing from charcoal painting, acrylics, jewelry, and enamel paint: it is certainly a wonder to behold.

A wonderful time was had by all, and by the end of the night nobody wanted to go home. If you didn’t get a chance to see Portals of Perception or the Chelsea International Fine Arts Competition exhibition, you still have time: these exhibitions will be up until September 5th. Stop by any time – Agora Gallery is open Tuesday-Saturday, 11-6pm. We look forward to seeing you soon!


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