Thank you to everyone who came to the opening reception last Thursday night at Agora Gallery. Of the twenty-four artists whose work was on display, eighteen were in attendance for the opening of three new exhibitions: Witness, a State of Being: Kaneko Johkoh / a Solo Exhibition, Pulse of Abstraction, and The Manifestation of Milieu. In their introductions, the artists shared their fascinating and wide-ranging sources of inspiration, their enthusiasm to be present at the opening reception (whether they came from another country or around the corner), and were very heartfelt in expressing their excitement not only to exhibit in New York City, but to have been able to work with the Agora team.
Japanese artist Kaneko Johkoh uses brushes, Sumi (carbon ink), and Washi (Japanese rice paper) to create paintings that depict whatever she is feeling in the moment. The artist often works quickly so as not to lose or over-think the sensation she wishes to convey. “My aim is to express things as they are. I always express the emotions inside me—happiness, sympathy, excitement, and so on—in the form of painting. My paintings represent what was inside of me at the moment they were created, which people can then interpret freely and emotionally” says Johkoh. The sparse compositions and stripped forms of her work call forth Joan Miró, and simultaneously evoke classical Japanese Bokusho painting techniques. Johkoh’s Sumi ink paintings fluctuate between abstraction and figuration, with specific elements of a painting visually alluding to landscapes or human figures. This fluctuation is supplemented as well by her descriptive titles, which also suggest a possible figurative interpretation. At 90 years old, Johkoh looked stunning in a red kimono at the opening reception for her solo exhibition.
Sharon Brill‘s love for the sea finds expression in the liquid, swirling shapes of her porcelain sculptures. “The sea inspires me—the waves, the textures of the sand, the patterns on a conch. Ever since I can remember,” says Brill, “the sea has been an integral part of my life.” Her mesmerizing forms combine a clean, meticulous form with a dynamic spontaneity, demonstrating the artist’s keen eye for line and balance. The porcelain in the artist’s work is unadorned with paints or glazes, allowing the finished works to glow subtly and pronouncing the power of her shapes and textures. She has eight sculptures on view in Pulse of Abstraction. It is Brill’s second exhibition at Agora Gallery.
Gary E. Koeppel has four oil paintings on exhibit in The Manifestation of Milieu, the artist’s second exhibition at Agora Gallery. He renders landscapes and the human form with a picturesque simplicity. Drawn to water and skies, and to the natural shades of blues and greens, Koeppel creates works that transmit a sort of peace and serenity and evoke a sense of blissful solitude. “The elements that attract me to a scene have to do with composition, color, contrasts of light and dark. When I paint a tree in a field the tree becomes secondary to describing the space around it” says the artist. There is a subtle interplay between foreground and background in his paintings, which creates a compelling illusion of space. Koeppel was raised in New Jersey. The juxtaposition between urban and suburban life, and the impact of industry on landscape, has strongly influenced his art.
The objective behind Eduardo D. Rubin‘s photography is to reveal the sorrows and strengths of humanity as they are revealed through the cities in which we live. His photographs are deeply perceptive, and strong in mental appeal, capturing a wide variety of moods and emotions across a varied range of subject matter. He has four photographs on display in The Manifestation of Milieu. The content of his work on view ranges from a haunting scene of the Vatican Library staircase, to an arresting scene of the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin. The artist discussed one of his inspirational quotes with me during the opening reception: “If you are in the shadows and they are in the light, you are invisible.” Rubin believes this captures the essence of what it means to be a photographer—to be invisible and to present reality, not modify it.
The gallery was buzzing with art buyers and collectors alike, resulting in several sales on the night itself. Many of the guests who attended promised to return to have another look when the gallery was not so crowded. Remember, these three provocative exhibitions will be on view until June 25, 2013. On behalf of the Agora Gallery team, we hope to see you soon!