November 8th – Reception Review

Last night at Agora Gallery we celebrated the opening of three new shows, Sacred Places: George Oommen, a solo exhibition, Mélange of Milieu and Altered States of Reality: An Exhibition of Analog and Digital Photography.

Director Angela Di Bello warmly welcomed a full group of artists and families to start the evening. For a few moments, Angela voiced her happiness that so many of them were able to make the trip despite all the unfortunate weather that has been passing through the city. With wide eyes and eloquent articulation she concluded with the statement, “After all, artists, are the reason we are all here.”

The artist introductions were a highlight of last night as Angela then passed the microphone around giving each artist a chance to introduce themselves and speak freely about New York and their experiences with Agora Gallery.

The honest and delightful George Oommen, who was celebrating the opening of his solo show Sacred Places, was among the first to speak. He told us about generously inviting 15 of his friends to New York City for his opening, only to find that none could attend due to the difficulties caused by Hurricane Sandy and the more recent nor’easter storm, which touched New York midweek. He laughed lightly and, with a smile, added how grateful he was to be spending the evening with everyone who was present.

Director Angela Di Bello with artist George Oommen

Calvin Cheung, whose work is on view in Altered States of Reality, spoke with enthusiasm and charm about this being his first visit to New York, and his first show in the city.  Artist Veronique Forest, also exhibiting in Altered States of Reality, spoke, in her native French, about how fond of New Yorkers she became because of this visit.

Guests with artist Veronique Forest on the right

As introductions continued, I was overwhelmed by the number of sincere “thank you’s” to the gallery staff which echoed throughout the room, and the feeling was mutual, as we also felt lucky to have the all of the attending artists with us.

I had the wonderful opportunity to speak briefly with Lizzy Forrester, who has four oil paintings on view in Mélange of Milieu. Lizzy, who was born in the UK, and currently lives in Spain, has been with gallery since 2009.  The very gently spoken artist told me about her rather trying experience flying into New York this trip, but also mentioned how she’s come to think of the gallery as her family. She explained that she felt incredibly comfortable and relaxed about showing her work, thanks to Angela, and the staff at Agora Gallery. She also said that she is looking forward to continuing her exhibition with the gallery.

On left artist Lizzy Forrester, chats with Gallery Assistant Christine Vittorino

Also in the show Mélange of Milieu is the work of artist Sam Talbot-Kelly. Sam was actually one of the first artists I met last night. Incredibly friendly and down-to-earth, Sam and I discussed her use of fashion icons in her paintings. “Fashion,” Sam said “gives us identity; our expressions, and our energy.” Her hope is to provoke the visitor to consider not what is on the outside, but on the inside.  Sam currently has five oil paintings on display, but also works in sculpture and installation art.

Artist Sam Talbot-Kelly poses with her work

Debbie Klein, who has seven colorful and lively photo collages on display in Altered States of Reality, spoke to me for a few moments at the beginning of the evening. Her photographic collages have icons and recognizable exteriors from cities that she’s traveled. Occasionally, Debbie manipulates the images before overlaying text, giving the final product a dynamic and bold finish. Although a bit shy when meeting with me, her playful urban compositions gave me a little glimpse into her busy and exciting visits to these cities.

Guests admiring Debbie Klein’s work

Although it’s getting colder outside, we keep the gallery cozy with hot tea, coffee, white wine and upward of 50 works of fine art in the current shows, all of which are on view until November 21st. We hope you’ll make it by for a visit!


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