Love in Multiple Forms (July 1 - July 21, 2022)

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Love in Multiple Forms July 1 – July 21, 2022 Reception: Thursday, July 7, 2022 6-8 PM 530 West 25th Street, New York, NY

Agora Gallery is thrilled to announce Love in Multiple Forms, a group exhibition of paintings and photographs that examine the various meanings of love, straying away from conventional depictions of the theme. Love is a complex emotion. Sure, there is the Romeo and Juliet kind of love, that passion that burns inside of us when we fall for someone; a raw sentiment that consumes the flesh and blinds the mind. Yet love is so much more than an irrational coup de foudre. When stripped of selfish motives, it blossoms into a mature feeling of compassion for the natural space that holds us and the beings that inhabit it. The artists in this exhibition capture love from different angles: love for our planet and our ancestors, love rising out of pain, self-love, love of life, romantic love, love gone wrong. No matter the context or provenance, love is behind every action we take and every breath we draw. Love is love. Love is life.

Love in Multiple Forms Stas Bartnikas Yen Lin Cheng Rezaul Hoque Noah Laatar Marty Maehr Ayan Aziz Mammadova Madoka Naito Yuta Nawa Ceelee Simpson Megan Smith Hiroshi Wada Kaitlyn Wallace

Stas Bartnikas Stas Bartnikas’ photography transcends the earthly realities captured in every image. Shot from an aerial perspective, his photographs of vast landscapes, urban settings, and nature alternate between true-to-life and abstract compositions. The Russian-born photographer’s calculated approach invariably depends on his own intuition and invoked response. Observing for hours from a small plane, helicopter, or trike, he looks upon the Earth’s surface, awaiting the impulse to take a picture. “It means that this is the place with which I have an emotional and energetic resonance, and that shot will clearly reflect my own state and the energy of the place,” he says. By use of a medium format camera, Bartnikas encapsulates these energies and our planet’s untouched beauty before modern-day environmental issues seize control. “My role as a photographer and a human on this planet is to capture the most extraordinary and powerful places on Earth and share its essence with the world.” Bartnikas is the recipient of over 200 photography awards; several from the National Geographic Travel Awards and Siena International Photo Awards. He received his BA in Journalism from Moscow State and worked in the field before beginning his self-taught photography journey eight years ago. Today he’s a contributor for the National Geographic Your Shot project, a juror for several photography contests, and is the owner and CEO of LLC “GOL-Center,” which implements charitable projects to help sick children in cooperation with major companies in Russia.

Fragmented Photograph on Fine Art Paper 23.5” x 35.5”

Yen Lin Cheng The work of Taiwanese artist Yen Lin Cheng harkens back to the Baroque and classical eras. The structured chaos of Cheng’s figures allow us to time travel to these classic art historical periods; we get lost in the emotion he conveys through their facial expressions and the contortions of their bodies. Cheng’s artistic ethos is entirely devoted to the creation and promotion of classical and Baroque art, driven by a personal impetus for continual learning and study of these techniques. In fact, Cheng has traveled extensively through the museums of Europe, guiding himself through the measured chiaroscuro and defined brushstrokes of their classical and Baroque collections. The influence of these travels shines through in his work. Cheng also draws influence from scientific achievement in both the east and the west, adopting eastern themes of creation and western themes of technological operation. Cheng infuses his work with elements of Chinese philosophy, lending his work an exaggerated and rhythmic quality. His work has been exhibited in both Taiwan and China since the 1990s, even having been featured in interviews with the Chinese Television System. His work expresses the contemporary values of truth, goodness, and beauty using the language of the past. Cheng understands and employs the idea that the classical and Baroque styles are universally understood and loved, and continue to resonate with audiences today as much as when they broke artistic ground upon their introduction.

Shan Hai Jing, 2017 Oil on Canvas 80.5” x 114”

Rezaul Hoque Rezaul Hoque’s unique artwork was born out of an abrupt accident: while living in his university housing, he dropped one of his drawings on a heater and it briefly burned in the heater’s fire. After overcoming his initial sadness, he began to scrutinize the drawing and found its lines had become soft, creating an illusory effect. Since then, Hoque has been manipulating heat convection theory in his unique artistic process. The themes of his work are exploitation, deprivation, rights, inequality, struggle, hope, despair, and the different deep-seated perceptions of life others have. Hoque employs these themes to advocate for a more equal society through his art. He conveys his thematic concerns through both subject matter and technique, as his process also comments on the feeling of being burnt by life’s struggles. In addition to being an artist, Hoque works as a material development consultant with NGOs like OXFAM and CARE. He designs illustrations for communications and training materials on various issues like education, gender, and women’s rights. Hoque feels passionately about social justice and believes that art plays a role in bringing the plight of deprived people to the fore. This is ultimately what he aims to do with his work: spread awareness and wield it to advocate for justice. Hoque currently lives and works in Bangladesh, where he participates in the local artist community. He has exhibited in national exhibitions, the Asian Biennale, and has even donated his works to various causes for fundraising purposes.

Away 3, 2021 Paper Burn, Acrylic 24” x 18”

Noah Laatar Every canvas of German artist Noah Laatar bursts with surreal innovation. He interconnects childhood memories, lavish lifestyles, and positivity to remind viewers of their dreams and aspirations. Therefore, cartoon characters, brand name companies, and his signature animated lips–a symbol of immense human expression for Laatar–are all frequent inclusions in the pieces he creates. Influenced by the Pop Art genre and its classic artists like Takashi Murakami and Alec Monopoly, Laatar commonly formulates his own art by use of acrylic, and acrylic and spray paint on canvas. Laatar’s artistic career has developed rapidly. Since first feeding into his creative spark amid the pandemic, he’s sold pieces to rappers, athletes, and public figures everywhere; a highly gratifying experience for such a young artist. In the past, Laatar served as a European management assistant. The artist admits the apprenticeship strengthened his economic competence and linguistic abilities, which in turn have also aided in the progress and expansion of the career field he’s in today. As a multifaceted artist, Laatar is also a fashion enthusiast and is currently exploring the world of NFTs.

Self Portrait Acrylic & Spraypaint on Canvas 47” x 31.5”

Marty Maehr Marty Maehr’s resplendent, rainbow-tinted oil paintings are illuminated from within with a relish for simplicity and the power of color. A dynamic treatment of space is Maehr’s signature; sometimes he uses it to express an abstract concept in glorious, peeling swirls, and at other times he applies it to a specific image, slimming it down and turning it into a glowing puzzle of shapes. The artist often incorporates narrative into his paintings, sparking the audience’s imagination at the same time as he delights our vision. Maehr’s compositions are cohesive and balanced, lending to an overall impression of synchronicity. What results are paintings that are grounded yet ultimately liberating, reflective of the solidity of the universal oneness of humanity and also the freedom this collective tapestry gives us to be our own unique selves. This is art at its inspiring best, brimming with life, energy and possibility.

Expanding Heart, 2020 Oil on Canvas 48” x 36”

Ayan Aziz Mammadova Painter Ayan Aziz aims to emit saturated patterns that reveal a still life or landscape in each of her paintings. Ayan holds a deep appreciation for antiquity and mythology, and employs both as crucial cultural components in her work. She was born and raised in Azerbaijan and attended the Azerbaijan State Academy of Arts. Her earliest years most potently influence her artwork today, as she spent them in the workshop of her father, artist Arif Aziz. Her methodical, colorful abstraction is inspired by Abstract Expressionism and Gustav Klimt in addition to its mythological undertones. Ayan has been honing this unique style since she was a child, learning from her father. Ayan has participated in exhibitions and competitions with many of the world’s leading art organizations, like the Florence Biennale and Azerbaijan’s “Lights of Baku” exhibition. Ayan has exhibited across Europe and Asia, which has led her to travel widely. All of her experiences traveling to these new countries contribute to the growth of her artistic process. Over time, her paintings have gained more and more philosophical depth, in addition to the refinement of her technical skill, all so that her present creations possess a carefully crafted visual language. The pulsating energy of her paintings catches our eye, and when we observe more closely, we are pulled into the trance of each of Ayan’s paintings.

Evil Eye, 2018 Oil on Canvas 40” x 40”

Madoka Naito Madoka Naito doesn’t separate art from life: art is part of who she is. Her artworks come out of her in the process of being herself, and art is the language she feels most comfortable speaking in. Naito was raised on the tropical island of Okinawa, Japan, and grew up surrounded by the ocean, waves, and banyan trees. Now living in Miyazaki, Japan, Naito still cultivates her innate connection with nature through active observation and appreciation of its beauty. She uses a variety of materials in her sprawling, elaborate artworks, often employing whatever she finds around her. For example, during her residency at Château d’Orquevaux in France, Naito allowed people to walk, dance, and trail mud on one of her canvases, integrating their personal movements into the story of that particular artwork. Each of Naito’s pieces distills the spatial, temporal, and perceptual dimensions of a given moment. Naito’s innovative art conveys the idea that the ephemera valued by human society ceases to exist in the natural world. As she creates her work, Naito absorbs both her visible and invisible surroundings, be they twigs, animals, leaves, or the permeating energy of the natural space. This translates into harmonious curvilinear forms that embrace the organic flow of life, while reflecting a fundamental truth she acquired during her travels: as beings of nature, all humans are fundamentally the same, yet each one of us is also entirely unique.

Born, 2021 Acrylic, Gesso & Pen on Canvas 15” x 18”

Yuta Nawa The work of Yuta Nawa is often triggered by current events. Nawa focuses on social events, and when a story captures his attention, he is inspired to create. Nawa was born and raised in Japan, and Japanese life and culture is embedded within his work. Nawa learned the calligraphy style Shodo, for example, which he utilizes in his often-monochromatic compositions. Nawa frequently employs acrylic, ink, and Hu powder on traditional Japanese paper to synthesize his Japanese roots with his artistic talent. In his spare time, Nawa takes in concerts, theater, and the classical Japanese dramatic art of kabuki. He grew up in a family of designers: his father was a graphic designer and his mother a fashion designer. His artistic process has grown organically since he was young, and has simplified over time. Nawa prefers uncomplicated forms, leaning into the possibility of line and straightforward color. He blazes his own path forward, untethered by any single artistic movement or inspiration. Nawa is a member of the Souju Shodo and Dokuritsu Shojindan artist organizations, and he had his work displayed at the Tokyo National Art Center from 2017-2021. Nawa’s art provokes the realization that everything has a different angle, that meanings can be multiple and interpretations ambiguous.

“Grace” Small Japanese Calligraphy on Paper 25.5” x 19”

Ceelee Simpson Ceelee Simpson’s vibrant designs are heart-felt declarations of passionate and tender love. While she paints, she listens to blues and jazz, and whatever emotions arise from these tunes, she pours onto the canvas. Each of her paintings explore texture and color; Simpson works in the unusual medium of cold wax and oil to create her elaborate surfaces. As a result, her art allows the viewer to feel the love that she spills onto it both emotionally and physically. Each painting makes a statement about peace found through loving others and creating relationships built on compassion and understanding. Simpson is inspired by strong women who are not afraid of expressing themselves. Her artistic journey began in 2017, when she retired from her 40-year career in advertising and marketing and decided to paint full-time. She draws influence from Lee Krasner, Frida Kahlo, Elaine de Kooning, and other artists known for wielding expressive colors and textures. Simpson is also heavily involved in community service, with which she provides experiences for designers at any level of expertise.

Daydreaming And I’m Thinking About You, 2021 Mixed Media on Canvas 26” x 19”

Megan Smith Tales of personal struggles, noble triumphs, and idle confusion are what Zimbabwean artist Megan Smith’s paintings are composed of. The image, either synonymous in tone or all-consuming in color, references individual experiences that have directed, or somehow influenced Smith’s current role as a creative. Her past as an athlete nurtured her capacity for movement and aided in the discovery of her endless reservoir of ideas. “The wear and tear of this pursuit found its resolution in visual creation,” she says. “This accompanied with a strong appreciation for music, culminated in me learning how to play the violin, and finding the emotional peace in music from the inside out. All played an integral part in what is now my multi-disciplinary process.” Her mediums for creation are vast: some being acrylic, acrylic and gouache on paper, and acrylic and ink on canvas. Additionally, her creative process and mindset have considerably changed. Prior, Smith strictly painted on stretched, upright canvases for the purpose of control. Today, she harnesses the energy, freedom, and disruption of fluidity that stems from painting on the floor, straddling the art. Smith’s athleticism presented itself first in life and in college she played tennis and golf. This facet of her identity remains today and even co-exists with her current artistic career. She attended SCAD, Florence University of the Arts and ASU. The message in her art is selfless: she hopes it will mightily invite people of all walks of life to open up their minds, hearts and even vulnerabilities.

Ego, 2019 Oil on Canvas 48” x 30”

Hiroshi Wada Hiroshi Wada’s black and white Japanese ink drawings on rice paper are a vibrant union between the familiar and enigmatic, and an intriguing divergence between the past and present. Reminiscent of “shodo,” traditional Japanese calligraphy, Wada’s artwork respectfully breaks the time barrier of this ancient art with modern zeal. Artwork by 20th-century action painter and calligrapher Yuichi Inoue, fifteen years of study with contemporary calligrapher Ryosetsu Imai, and the artist’s early track and field training informed his practice and process. Wada is scripting his own creative and communicative path with powerful speed, leaping with confidence into the current post-modern era. Wada’s imagery leaves the written language of his ancestry and catapults into fluid brushstrokes and assertive mark making of abstracted form. In his Kyoto, Japan studio, the artist’s hand sweeps across the substrate, branding expressionist shapes that seem to dance in the shadows of nature, architecture and humanity. Wada, ignited by a clear vision, aims to illuminate the oneness in the physical world and engender a conversation about the spirit of global peace.

SHINING_01, 2022 Japanese Calligraphy on Paper 27” x 53”

Kaitlyn Wallace If Mother Mary grew up in Vegas in the early 2000s what would she look like? According to Nevada-based painter Kaitlyn Wallace, she would wear a corset, fake eyelashes, and a whole lot of makeup. Wallace was raised amongst the dashing lights of Sin City, exposed to a culture of excess and vices. Educated in Catholic schools, she struggled to reconcile the model of piety and unblemished innocence she was taught to emulate with the brazen allure of the city’s ubiquitous entertainment and adult industries. “On the way to school, you see a lot of billboard ads for gentlemen’s clubs,” she says. “You get so many messages on what it means to be a woman. You grow up seeing that and you think this is the way to get attention.” Wallace’s dolled-up Virgins incarnate the impossible ideal of the prostitute saint. Women feel compelled to play a polarizing role, which precludes them from being who they really are. Wallace addresses this predicament through the use of over-dramatized iconography. Her Madonnas, beautiful in their cotton-candy hair and laced outfits, pose like martyrized pinups. Chastised for overindulgence, they shed fat tears of guilt on cheeks red with shame. By combining non-natural color palettes with traditional Baroque techniques, Wallace examines how the objectification of women has pervaded art history and continues today. All she wants is to be free of the cages erected by society, to show her true identity, and simply exist. Wallace has a Bachelor in Fine Art from the University of Oregon. She held solo exhibitions in Eugene, Oregon, at Foyer Gallery and Washburn Gallery in 2020, and participated in group shows in Los Angeles and Eugene, Oregon. She received a special recognition for excellence in art in the 9th Annual “All Women” Online Art Competition from the Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery. Wallace remains in Las Vegas where she runs a small art decor and crafts business.

Orville Peck, 2022 Oil on Canvas 40” x 30”

Gallery hopping in New York Agora Gallery is located within the heart of the Chelsea Arts District with available hours from Tuesday – Saturday 11 am - 6 pm. Opening receptions are held once a month, giving you the opportunity to meet the artists and view a variety of original artwork. Visit our website and subscribe to our mailing list to stay up to date on all events and happenings –

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© 2022 - Agora Gallery - All Rights Reserved The copyrights of artwork contained in this booklet are retained by the artists. Reproduction of any published material (images or text) is prohibited without the written permission of Agora Gallery.

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