Red Hook Gallery Offers Peaceful Contemplation in Works on Paper

By Alan Neuhauser on November 22, 2012 12:34pm 

RED HOOK — Two new exhibitions debuted at the Kentler International Drawing Space on Friday, both focused on peaceful contemplation.

Joan Grubin's "Paper Optics" and Tamiko Kawata's "Beyond Lines, Beyond Surface" use paper and cardboard that's been painted, ripped, and shaped to play with shadows, light and colors on the gallery's white walls and scuffed steel floors.

"They're simple — paper and cardboard — but they're highlighting subtleties," Florence Neal, director of the space, said. "Very meditative, visually pleasing, and intriguing. They're good for this time — cleansing and healing pieces."

Kentler, located at 353 Van Brunt St., escaped much of the damage from Hurricane Sandy that crippled hundreds of Red Hook homes and businesses, including art galleries and artists' studios. Its basement flooded with more than 3 feet of water, destroying tools and documents, but its artworks were stored aboveground or in containers, and left unscathed.

Grubin and Kawata, however, went into overdrive to install their works at the gallery in time for the opening Friday. With most subways, tunnels, bridges and buses disrupted until late last week, the artists had just 48 hours to place their pieces — many of which they designed and built on site.

"Every second I had to work," said Kawata, who hitchhiked between Brooklyn and her home in Manhattan.

She described her exhibition as "three dimensional," an installation that goes "behind the lines" to "expose how [cardboard] looks when it is exposed.

"What's behind, that's a new voice," Kawata said. "It's like woodcut in a way."

She and Grubin will talk about their works Sunday at 4 p.m. at the gallery. The exhibitions will be on display through Sunday, Dec. 16.

"It's like a garden for the community. A garden for the eyes, just to rest," Neal said. "Sit here and let your mind travel and heal itself."

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