Animal Rites exhibit opens at Longyear

Margaretville — Opening this week on Friday, June 28 at The Longyear Gallery is “Animal Rites,” featuring the monoprints, paintings, and ceramic sculptures of gallery member and manager Gerda van Leeuwen, accompanied by a group show of all Longyear Gallery artists. The artists’ reception will be held on Saturday, June 29 from 3 to 6 p.m.

Gerda van Leeuwen’s exhibit “Animal Rites” is comprised of a body of work done in the last two years and is a continuation of an exploration of animal life as a metaphor of human folly. Van Leeuwen cites the German artist Joseph Beuys as an influence on her work, for Beuys, who used the animal form throughout his career, believed that, “Animals are looking for something lost in a past life” and considered animals as “the embodiment of a last state of innocence.”

As van Leeuwen notes, “Animals have a natural instinct to survive, being both the hunted and the chased, yet they are celebrated by all cultures. Focusing on the coyote as a lead figure through this series of work, she moves continually between three techniques: printmaking, ceramic sculpting, and painting. “I form the clay figures first,” van Leeuwen explains, “and by doing this, a short story is generated that ends up in a small painting the size of a Mexican votive, and the small hand-colored mono prints have a book quality.” Drawing on this new exhibit, van Leeuwen says she hopes to create an animal book in the near future.

Gerda van Leeuwen studied art at the Academie Artibus in Utrecht, The Netherlands before moving to the U.S. in 1985. Since then she has exhibited widely in the U.S., The Netherlands, France, and Japan, as well as at the Roxbury Art Group and the Longyear Gallery.

Upcoming Longyear Gallery summer shows include the July 26 to August 19 solo show of Robin Halpern and the August 23 to September 16 solo show of Corneel Verlaan. All featured artist solo shows will be accompanied by group shows featuring Longyear members.
Gerda van Leeuwen’s show “Animal Rites” and the Longyear Gallery artists’ group show will be open from Friday, June 28 through Monday, July 22.

Longyear Gallery is located Upstairs at The Commons, 785 Main Street, Margaretville. Gallery hours are Friday through Monday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturdays 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and by appointment. For information, please call 586-3270 during gallery hours and 607 326-4402 for appointments.