Monday, December 15, 2014

GCA's Eleventh Street Arts Launches in LIC

Grand Central Atelier celebrated the debut of its Eleventh Street Arts gallery last week with an inaugural group show, boldly marking their arrival on the thriving Long Island City gallery scene. More than one hundred attendees toured the gallery of over 90 paintings and sculptures by founding members, alumni, and resident artists of the Grand Central Atelier. Classically inspired realist portraits, figures, landscapes and still lifes lined freshly painted gallery walls, below newly hung track lighting. What was a vast, unpolished warehouse a few short months ago, is now a beautiful showcase for some of the best contemporary realist artists working today.

The centerpiece of the show was artist and GCA instructor Colleen Barry's “Portrait of Jamaal.” This most recent oil portrait by the figurative expert was inspired by her summer travels through the rich antiquity of central Italy. “I wanted to place a contemporary subject in a classical triangular composition” said Ms. Barry. “Jamaal's eye aligns almost perfectly in the horizontal center of the canvas.” The result is a balanced and unified image with an engaging central emphasis. “The trick with working from the live model is always trying to do more with less [time].” Ms. Barry certainly makes the most of her model time with varied paint application and calculated moments of heightened visual interest.

Other focal points of the show included seascapes by Edward Minoff and Jacob Collins, Self portraits by Will St. John and Josh LaRock and Still Lifes by Michael Klein and Sam Hung. Sculptural pieces were highlighted by Kate Lehman's Bronze “Roman,” a striking depiction of the artist's two year old son standing poised seemingly before his own awaiting future.

The Eleventh Street Arts gallery occupies the front-most quarters of a sprawling 12,000 square foot space that is the new home of the Grand Central Atelier, having moved from their Midtown Manhattan location last August. After viewing the featured work, guests were encouraged to explore the adjoining studios to see what was currently on the easels of the resident artists and apprentices of GCA. Works in progress and those recently finished were on view (and on sale), also giving the public the opportunity to meet the artists in their own work environment.

Patrick Byrnes, GCA Resident Artist and Eleventh Street Arts Manager, who both coordinated and showed in the exhibition has high aspirations for the gallery “With an exciting and diverse program of professional solo/group shows, exhibitions, lectures and social events, our goal is to promote and celebrate the best contemporary talents working in a classically inspired representational mode,” said Mr. Byrnes. "We hope that eventually the gallery can become an important hub for education, conversation, and connoisseurship in the Long Island City arts scene."

The inaugural group show will remain on display through January 23, 2015, with viewing available by appointment. To schedule a visit or make a purchase inquiry, please contact Eleventh Street Arts Gallery Manager Patrick Byrnes at

Coming up this spring; a small group show of alla prima floral paintings and large group exhibition surveying contemporary figure drawing methods.

Be sure to stay connected with Eleventh Street Arts via their Instragram feed and with their soon to be launced official website. 

Contributed by Al Costanzo - GCA Core Artist and Blogger
Photography by Mariana Hernรกndez-Rivera

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