The NYOC Gallery is pleased to present There Is No Room For Us Here, a group exhibition featuring selected works by Monique Luchetti, Elena Lyakir, and Leah Oates. This exhibit will run from June 26 – August 07, 2015, with an opening reception on Friday, June 26, 2015 from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
The exhibition’s title, There Is No Room For Us Here, appropriated from the title of one of Elena Lyakir’s migratory bird photographs, is an homage and recognition of the symbiotic relationship between humans, animals, and our natural world, both ecologically and spiritually. Earth and its inhabitants make up this shared system, and any alterations to one part affects the rest. Through the centuries, human activities have adversely impacted our natural world and many of our animal species, such as the once thriving passenger pigeons who were hunted out of existence. Land conservation and wildlife restoration programs are working hard to mitigate further damage and prevent more harm from being done but is it too late? The works brought together for this exhibition is a poignant reminder on how the language of art can be employed as a tool to inspire action in addressing the challenges of our fragile ecosystem and most importantly, an acknowledgement of the sacred interconnection between all living things. As stated by the great 19th century Native American chief, Crowfoot “What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the winter time. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the Sunset.”
The exhibition opens with Monique Luchetti’s bird drawings. Based upon her research of the ornithology collection at Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, Monique’s artwork speaks to the impending mass extinctions in the plant and animal world due to climate change, and of our ambivalence toward stewardship. Using the work of these naturalists as a psychological platform or starting point, the drawings are a meditation on the contradiction inherent in our rush to collect, classify and catalogue the world around us in an attempt to fathom its mysteries, even as we go about destroying it. Colorful painted abstractions overlay each bird’s body at the most vulnerable yet powerful location in the body – the heart center and solar plexus – creating the notion of a unique soul for each animal. The life force she found so absent while surrounded by the bodies of the bird study skins, have been graphically recreated to portray the eternal, transcendent essence that lives on past the physical body.
Using migratory birds as her subject, Elena Lyakir emotionally engages the viewer in self-reflection by evoking memory, facilitating feeling, and confronting the awareness of one’s own state of being. She believes nature to be a sensual, intuitive extension of our inner worlds and tries to describe the visible world with an existential rather than literal interpretation. Interested in the relationship between photography and other disciplines, Lyakir pushes the limits of the medium to suggest charcoal drawings and painterly abstractions. While the natural depictions remain vivid, the images blur and fade along the edges. She uses a tilt-shift lens because it allows room for spontaneity. The resulting accidents and deviations often lead to new discoveries. Raised in communist Ukraine, in 1990 Lyakir immigrated with her family to the U.S. seeking political asylum. Familiar with the feeling of displacement and diaspora, Lyakir feels a profound kinship to these ubiquitous avian creatures, as she too lives a nomadic life, perpetually traveling place to place in search of a place to call home.
Documenting the unexpected beauty and fragility of remote New York City parks, such as Pelham Bay Park and Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, Leah Oates “Transitory Space” photography series examines urban habitats and their transformations due to the passage of time, altered natural conditions through neglect, and human imprint. Leah uses double exposure in her photography, fusing image upon image, to illustrate “…the essence of place and of time passing quickly.” They are “temporary monuments to the ephemeral nature of existence.” Oates introspective photography draws attention to the results of human encroachment on the landscape and the necessity for us to take initiative to protect our urban green spaces so that nature, wildlife animals, and humans can peacefully integrate and coexist. www.OpenCenter.org/Gallery
Curated by Lola Shepard
NYOC Gallery (New York Open Center)
22 East 30th St. New York, NY 10016
Gallery hours: Mon – Fri. | 11am – 6pm