Two floors of gallery space, two stunning shows of contemporary art. This Thursday, December 3rd, Agora Gallery held our final opening reception of the year, welcoming in the exhibitions Manifestation of Milieu and Persistence of Form. It’s been an amazing year with so many unforgettable exhibitions¬ in which we’ve been introduced to some extraordinary¬ new artists, and saw the welcome return of old friends.

Artist L.A. Cline at the December 3rd reception at Agora Gallery

Artist L.A. Cline at the December 3rd reception at Agora Gallery

But, opening receptions aren’t about looking back at what has already happened, but rather about looking forward at what’s to come. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the exciting artists who will be looking forward to a provocative and engaging December exhibition!

Guest viewing works by Helgi Gíslason (left) and Lida Boonstra (right)

Guest viewing works by Helgi Gíslason (left) and Lida Boonstra (right)

These exhibitions are particularly physical, featuring four talented sculptors. Lex Heilijgers, Lida Boonstra, Helgi G√≠slason, and Richard Page, with¬ unique styles and subjects, have created¬ sculptures that are¬ unavoidably¬ present¬ in the room. Ranging from the more abstract, nature-inspired pieces of Richard Page to the monumental cubist forms of Lex Heilijgers, each piece tells a strong story and commands your attention.¬ “Sculpture is actually easier for me to make. It is three dimensional, while in a painting you have to make believe it is three dimensional,” said Lida Boonstra, who originally started her art career studying painting. “It’s honest. I can make the materials, so I can make a sculpture from the very beginning to the end product.”

Rocco Cardinale and his work, "Good Karma Sold Out" at the December 3rd reception

Rocco Cardinale and his work, “Good Karma Sold Out” at the December 3rd reception

Rocco Cardinale’s artwork combines simplistic elements to explore complex concepts. He incorporates written text, symbols, and the often-reduced human form to create industrial-feeling works that take a long, harsh look at society and its flaws. Cardinale explained one of these elements, the depiction of the human body as a simple square. “It is like a¬ box,” he said, “a cage of all the feelings in any person. They try to get out, but society keeps them in.” Originally from Italy, currently working and living in Spain, and often producing works with English text, Cardinale is something of a nomadic artist, however, audiences from any country can connect to his work.

Recreating the concept of her work with the help of our photographer, Esther Insa poses in front of her works

Recreating the concept of her work with the help of our photographer, Aron Rocha,¬ Esther Insa poses in front of her¬ pieces

What do quantum physics have to do with artwork? Esther Insa explores this topic in her mixed media artwork. The scientist explores the human form with a delightfully new approach, examining theoretical aspects of light, matter, and energy. For Insa, artwork is an important tool to connect the average person to this important field of study. “The principle of Quantum Superposition¬ states that the same electron can exist in two places at the same time. Not that it rotates around the nucleus, but that it exists in multiple places at once.” She explained this, through a translator, while demonstrating the concept on her artwork.

Oliwia Biela and her pieces at the December 3rd opening at Agora Gallery

Oliwia Biela and her paintings¬ at the December 3rd opening at Agora Gallery

In vivid patches of color and form, the artworks by Oliwia Biela¬ are enticing and elaborate. True abstractions, these works may allude to subjects with sections of outstanding colors, but what one focuses most on is the deep sense of emotion in the spontaneous compositions.¬ “It depends on the person, on their state of mind. I like that people are so different, and that one person can see this and another person sees that in my work. I only hope that if somebody enjoys the work that they spend the time to really see it and feel what I felt.”

Artist JCK poses among her paintings at Agora Gallery at the opening reception

Artist JCK poses among her paintings at Agora Gallery at the opening reception

Sharing the ground floor exhibition space with Oliwia is the artwork by writer and painter¬ JCK. JCK’s works are all deeply sensual, with flowing curved lines that interlock and intertwine. In both her abstract and her representational pieces, JCK uses this sensuality to tell a gripping story of passion and beauty, even in her more dark works. “I ¬ believe that whatever you put in your works reflects what you’ll put in your life,” she says. “If you put a lot of darkness¬ in your work, that will reflect in your life.” Both Oliwia Biela and JCK extoll the virtue of painting their feelings, allowing this first and foremost to dictate the direction of the artwork.

December 3rd reception at agora

The December weather gave us a break this Thursday to welcome in these and more great artists’ work in NYC. It was a pleasure speaking to all of the artists about their¬ lives and art. If you ever have the chance to come to an opening reception at Agora Gallery, we strongly recommend you do so: you can read our recaps, see the photos, and watch the video, but there’s never anything that can do justice to these intoxicating, dazzling NYC events.

So, here’s to two great years of contemporary art exhibitions: one having just passed and one to come!

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Bonne année, art lovers! See you next year!

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