Fragmented CohesionNovember 15, 2020 @ 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
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November 15, 2020 @ 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Gallery 18 at the Riverdale Y is pleased to present the fourth exhibit in as many years of artworks by Dennis Shelton—and a whole new side of this talented artist using the medium of wood in the form of assemblages. The art will be on view from November 13 to December 13, 2020, with an actual, not virtual Opening on Sunday, November 15 from 12-2pm. All are welcome, but masks are required and visitors will be allowed into the gallery about 5-7 at a time. However, there will be an attraction on view in the lobby and enough room for social distancing.
Two things triggered the wood assemblages in this exhibit: the artist’s childhood memory of taking unrelated wood pieces and creating an artistic whole from them, and his response to the pandemic. “I remember the joy and satisfaction, but more importantly the feeling of peace and safety wood provided. In the midst of Covid-19, with feelings surrounding me of isolation and separation, disorder and confusion, fear and danger, loneliness and despair, I wanted and needed a safe place to land.”
Although Shelton is well-known for his paper collages, he turned specifically to wood’s strength and character, namely, its hardihood and sense of permanence, which paper with its fragility cannot impart. Using small and unrelated wood pieces to make both abstract and face compositions allowed the artist to make a statement about unity in dark times and the strength of togetherness despite the realities of the coronavirus.
As the artist explains: “The colors black, white, and gray represent people and the mood of these times. The red, blue, yellow, and green represent the four elements needed for the sustainability of life.” On the other hand: “The faces were left in their raw and true state, beautiful in spite of any imperfections.”
The result is a show that has movement, balance, and unity, mirroring the parts of our lives that help us maintain sanity in a dark world. It is a show that exudes resilience and hope.
A long-time Bronx resident, Shelton completed both undergraduate and graduate studies in art, art education, and printmaking at Lehman College, where he became Adjunct Professor of Education, teaching early childhood and elementary school teachers. For 35+ years, he was an art teacher at John F. Kennedy High School, inspiring through his own artwork and love of art a multitude of future artists.
Officially retired from teaching in 2016, he has continued to produce artwork on a full-time basis.
He has had solo art shows at Gallery 18, KRVC’s Gallery 505, Riverdale-Yonkers Ethical Culture Center, and Riverdale Senior Services Center, where he won first and second place ribbons in Mixed Media and Drawing at the Vintage Art Show. He has also exhibited in group shows at Blue Door Art Center and Riverfront Gallery in Yonkers, Beth El Temple in New Rochelle, and the Poe Art Center in the Bronx. His inspirations for this show are Stuart Davis, Pablo Picasso, Romare Bearden, and African Tribal Masks/Art.