The Flomenhaft Gallery is excited to exhibit Mira Lehr's newest paintings in the series Burnt Offerings, running from Mar. 3 - Apr. 16 with an opening reception on Mar. 3. These works truly relate to the past, present and future. They have been created with all the beauty of the works that we know and love, but something has now been added; they are created with the additional element of gunpowder.
About her most recent works, Lehr says, "Fire moves through the images leaving a remnant, a memory of what was once there. Fire creates a new presence from something out of the past. It is a phantom; it is there and then not there. My paintings that once focused on the beauty of nature have been transformed from a peaceful, beautiful environment into something more dynamic, by creating both sides of existence, creation and destruction."
She adds, "Fire changes each mark very rapidly but leaves a history of what was there. It creates a visceral experience that involves my senses totally. I feel the heat. I'm enveloped in smoke. I breathe it in and become a part of the painting in a sense. Fire is a primitive force in nature and I feel an elemental, almost alchemical response when I work with fire. Because fire's unpredictability is similar to the uncertainty of life, it is like the constant struggle with existence."
Lehr has been described as a visual poet. She uses nature based images to explore the possibilities of painterly experiments. The subtle color harmonies combined with veils of Japanese paper contrast with the expressionistic splashes, drips, and fluidity of the grounds. The tensions balanced between the abstract and the illusion, the hidden and the revealed, the hard edged and the soft focus all add to the mystery and the resonance of the work.
Lehr was born in New York but has lived most of her life in Miami. She is a graduate of Vassar College and has studied painting with Robert Motherwell, James Brooks, Roberto Juarez, and James and Nieves Billmyer (long time students of Hans Hofmann). She participated with Buckminster Fuller on the first World Game Scenario Project at the New York Studio School.
In 2008 Lehr's oral history interview by Irving Sandler was included in the archives of the Getty Museum and Research Center in Los Angeles and the Smithsonian Museum of American Art in Washington D.C. She is also featured in the book, Miami Contemporary Artists, published by Schiffer Publishers in 2007 and was juried into the "New American Paintings Exhibition in Print" by Charlotta Kotik, curator of contemporary art at the Brooklyn Museum.
In addition to numerous private and public collections, one of Lehr's major works, Cosmic Energy, was recently purchased by Memorial Sloan-Kettering in New York for the lobby of their new Evelyn H. Lauder Breast Cancer Center. Lehr was selected by the Art in Embassies program to exhibit her work in the American Embassy in Sofia, Bulgaria for two years. Rugs based on Lehr's designs and produced by Stephanie Odegard in Nepal can be seen throughout the world in many private and public collections.
Visit www.flomenhaftgallery.com for more information.