On the west side of Manhattan lies the neighbourhood of Chelsea. The quaint townhouses and winding streets make for movie-like scenes, and at night, the clubs and bars come to life. With over 200 galleries in the neighbourhood, it’s also become known as the centre of NYC’s thriving art world.
Agora Gallery was set up in 1984, and has been dedicated ever since to connecting reputable artists from around the globe with collectors and buyers. As the backgrounds of the artists are so varied, so are their influences, and this results in a truly diverse mix of fine art.
Angela Di Bello, the gallery director, explained: “We’ve always been proud of our ability to connect collectors with emerging and established artists. Our state-of-the-art gallery (and broad range of art works) allows for us to provide a phenomenal range of artists and artworks for any collector to choose from.”
The gallery doesn’t just work with well-established artists, but also artists who are just starting out. This means the pieces available are both varied and original, so art lovers regularly drop in to see what’s on offer.
Angela continued, “Agora Gallery has a deep, personal connection to our artists. Our entire staff works with our artists one-on-one, and we are able to add that extra human element to the gallery experience.”
We spoke to three artists who have exhibitions running at the gallery between the 12th of June and the 2nd of July.
Please introduce yourself and your work
“I’m a northern Californian abstract painter exhibiting in New York City, Italy and California and recognised in China, Germany and the UK. My paintings are my exploration of the archetypal feminine form in dreams and nature.”
Why do you do what you do?
“I find all of life to be vibrantly connected by a dynamic play of feminine and masculine energies. Expressing this visually is my way of exploring the constantly shifting relationships in this magical connectedness of all things.”
There is a sense of formalism in your paintings; for example, in their composition. Does this encourage the beginnings of your paintings? If not, how do you start a painting?
“Strong composition and visual structure are an integral part of my work. This is undoubtedly influenced by my architectural and design background. I use compositional structure to emphasise the visual relationship between varying objects, and hopefully open the observers’ senses to a new view.”
Your paintings of the female figure and landscapes are both similarly sensuous and curvaceous. Could you describe how the two themes are linked?
“From my earliest years, I found myself drawn to curves and their limitless variety. As a toddler, I would trace the patterns on Persian carpets. I would see human forms in clouds and landscape and my first architectural designs were curves and spirals. For me, the female form is a perfect vehicle to express my deep connection with these flowing forms and energies. When I paint these shapes, my heart opens.”
What are your intentions with your vibrant use of colour? Does the chosen palette represent the character of your subject?
“For me the bold saturated colours provide a masculine sensibility to contrast with the feminine curvilinear forms. The paintings select the palette in a way that remains a mystery to me.”
Your portraits rarely depict the entire face of your subject. What is the reason for this intriguing aspect of your work?
“This creates mystery. What is hidden? Where is the rest? With questions there is the possibility of opening and seeing freshly. I feel that part of the artist’s work is to help others see anew and to encourage their active participation in the experience.”
What is the most challenging element of your practice?
“I am blessed to have a very full life. This supports and enhances my art, and yet, the biggest challenge is making the time to express my art.”
Use three emotions to describe how you feel when painting
“Only three? It is like the rest of life for me – multiple feelings, but the ones that keep me coming back to the easel are Freedom, Calmness and Happiness.”
To draw your own conclusions on Jerry’s captivating work, visit his website.
Please introduce yourself
“I am Osvaldo Bacman. I was born in Argentina, but I have lived in Germany for 40 years. I’ve resided in Cologne for the last six years, where I work in my atelier.”
When did your interest in art begin?
“I was interested in art [from a young age], devoting many hours a week almost daily to drawing and painting. I was lucky enough to live opposite the School of Fine Art, where as a child and a teenager I attended countless courses on drawing and painting. This school became my second home and was my most important personal experience during the first part of my life.
“I also think that painting, music [and] literature […] can act as a channel for positive energy and protect […] humanity from the imbalance of wars.
“It makes me very happy to be able to contribute […] work [that can have] a positive influence on all the negative things that surround us.”
Would you say that your background has influenced the way you work?
“I think that the precision and exactness in the structure of my works are definitely influenced by my work as a pathologist. In pathology you have to be very precise in your diagnosis, then you are confronted daily with a lot of different structures, a multitude of colours and changing images.
“Through the years, I turned into an individual who tries to be as precise as possible.”
One of the most impressive and intriguing elements to your work is this precision and structure. How important is the planning of each piece and how do you begin?
“I let myself be inspired by the world around me. My works are not accidental, they are the result of elaboration. Over time the work comes alive, [with] shape and colour. […] The artwork grows with me, and I with it.”
Your use of repetition and geometry creates intrigue. What is the purpose of using them?
“Within each work I use the repetition of shapes and colour to create the rhythm and give life to them. Rhythm and colour are two very important elements in my work.”
Your process is laborious and time consuming. How do you feel when a piece is finished after such an investment of care?
“When a work is finished it acquires its own life; it becomes independent, expresses rhythm, movement. It is free.”
Check out Osvaldo’s paintings online and learn even more about his artistic style.
Who are you and what do you do?
“My name is Branko Miskovic. I’m a sculptor from Serbia.”
Without sketching or planning a piece, how do you start a sculpture?
“Focusing only on my sensation of a moment I was in, I begin work on the sculptures without any previous idea or outline. Carried by that feeling that changes just as the opportunities in life change, the materials, thinking, themes and approach change as well.
“Each sculpture has lived through my life – some literally, and some fairly imperceptibly, like a feeling that follows you constantly. By telling each in its own way, I am trying to bring closer what was interwoven in each of them and show a new experience of that emotion converted into some material, shape, [or] body position.”
The materials you use suggest the strength and power of the desire for love and money, yet the outcome of the pieces reveal a fragile and vulnerable aspect to the subject. What part does this contrast play in the audience’s interpretation of the work?
“The sculptures are made of pieces of different materials that have been present in my life without any particular reason or sense. Using metal, terracotta, paper and wood, I use the nature and dimensions of these materials – and the titles of the works themselves – to evoke certain associations in observers.”
Rather than planning each movement, you leave it up to intuition to decipher the next step when creating. How do your emotions lead you through your process?
“The opening, as well as the endpoint of my work, are emotions: not only my emotions, but […] those of the people around me. The sculptures are a medium for their transmission, so essentially sculptures [help] me define myself and my emotions and thoughts, and in that I ask for [the] help of the observers.”
Love is a universal language; however, interpretation varies widely. What feelings and thoughts do you hope to encourage in your audience with this collection?
“I would like the audience to feel the emotion I felt when I lived life and fought with all [the] bad things that have [happened to] me, and to see that there is always a ray of light in any situation, no matter how [bad] things look.”
Discover the stories behind Branko’s fascinating sculptures on his website.
Plan your trip to New York with Best at Travel to witness one of the world’s most dynamic art scenes up close. With galleries, exhibitions and events frequently taking place across the city, it’s easy to appreciate true creative talent and simultaneously add a real shot of culture to your holiday in NYC.