Long Island City art galleries and studios open their doors this Saturday for a week-long festival called the LIC Arts Open.
Each day of the second annual event holds a diverse selection of art events including comedy festivals; kids arts contests; and improvisation, pottery, painting, sculpture and photography shows.
One such gallery that will swing its doors open from May 12 through 20 is the Jeffrey Leder Gallery tucked away on tree-lined 45th Road.
“Reductive,” opening May 15, features photography or paintings from 14 artists (three from Long Island City: Joyce Siegel, Stephen Celuch and Lisa DiClerico) who examine minimalism from a different viewpoint. The pieces are no larger than 4-by-5 feet and in general range from $500 to $2,000.
Minimalism is a classification of art and design that uses a concise artistic language. Minimalist paintings usually showcase one shape or color and are close siblings to modernism — which often features bright-colored geometric shapes — and abstract expressionism — which describes the famous Mark Rothko and his bleeding rectangles of colors.
“Minimalism is tighter with less freedom, but you can still dance well,” said Leder, the gallery’s owner and co-director of development for the LIC Arts Open.
Oh yes, the show will feature classic minimalist paintings of simple shapes or subtle fading colors, but will also present abstract landscapes, such as those created by Celuch, and the photo-realistic backs of women by Claire McConaughy. Technically, all the pieces in “Reductive” may not fit cleanly into a minimalism box; nevertheless, the works are all pared down in a way.
Siegel describes her minimal paintings of a colorful shape placed on a grid, which are featured in the show, as “obsessive and spontaneous with an element of control.”
Celuch describes his colorful, abstract landscapes as concise.
“I don’t want to tickle the paintings,” he said.
“I don’t want to be too gentle,” he said. “I want to be sure.” His landscapes are characterized by precise large brushstrokes.
DiClerico, whose three pieces are ironically the most minimalist of the three artists, doesn’t describe herself as a minimalist. A restorer by trade, DiClerico is interested in how varnishes, waxes, and other substances will change a color or texture. Therefore, her pieces in”Reductive” show her examination of how one color reacts to different processes.
The show’s curator, Dina Muenzfeld, an NYU art history student from Berlin, and Leder both speak of how the pared-down art pieces allow the viewer to connect.
“Less going on in the artwork allows more of a connection,” said Muenzfeld.
For example, one piece by DiClerico featured in the show is a white canvas that fades to a muted grey. In the middle, raised slightly up, in a soft, feminine cursive, are the words “down by the rollercoaster.”
The words refer to the patty cake song lyrics “Down by the rollercoaster, I’ll never let you go.” For DiClerico the song connects to her new puppy and memories of childhood, but she hopes each viewer will recall something personal to them.
“It felt very sweet and nostalgic,”DiClerico said. “I hope people will relate to it in some way.”
The festival culminates with “open studios,” a once-a-year peak into the private artist work spaces that dot this neighborhood.
“It’s a way to meet other artists,” said Siegel, who only met Celuch last week, but rents an art studio on the same floor as he does.
“You get to see everyone’s second home,” Celuch said.
LIC Arts Open
When: May 12-20, varies
Where: LIC Galleries and studios:
Tickets: Prices vary