We are pleased to announce the opening of a two-person exhibition Humanity in Pixels and Stone, featuring digital paintings by Gary Kaleda and sculptures by Lilian R. Engel. Both debuting with Susan Eley Fine Art, the artists will be in attendance at the Opening Reception on Thursday, January 8, 6-8 pm. The exhibition remains on view through February 19. Collector Talk, Thursday, January 29, 6:30-8 pm Michael Spalter, Chairman of the Board of RISD, will discuss his collection, one of the world's largest, private, early digital art collections, amassed with his wife, artist, author, educator Anne Morgan Spalter.
While working with material on opposite ends of the media spectrum-Kaleda making digital paintings on the computer and Engel carving sculpture with marble and wood-both artists begin with the figure as muse. Engel is inspired by the human form and Kaleda’s muse is a digital model he creates using software. Kaleda’s work addresses humanity in the context of the digital age, while Engel expresses human movement, moods and emotions in her sculpture. While the mode and material of expression diverge, the artwork seen side-by-side creates a dialogue that intrigues and engages.
Lilian R. Engel
Lilian R. Engel is represented by seven sculptures in white, pink and black marble. Standing about two feet tall, they call to mind Henry Moore’s nude reclining figures, Constantin Brancusi’s soaring birds or Jean Arp’s totemic statues. While nodding to history’s great Modern sculptors, Engel’s creations reveal a fresh, bold, contemporary sensibility and express a personal statement about the space between figurative and abstract.
Each sculpture, polished and smooth to a high sheen, begins its life buried in a block of raw stone. Engel finds inspiration in these rough--‐hewn slabs of marble, which she transports from Manhattan on a hand truck to her studio in Long Island City. Using traditional chisels, mallets, diamond cutters, grinders and sanders, Engel gradually releases the form from the rock. Sometimes reclining, sometimes curved or posed standing straight up, Engel’s muse is the human body, with all its curves, angles and postures.
Lilian R. Engel Bio
Lilian R. Engel’s work ventures toward abstraction, yet is always derived from the figure and other natural forms. Engel has exhibited her sculpture extensively in New York City and Providence, RI. Her work has been purchased by private collectors in the US and France, and is part of the Art Students League of New York’s permanent collection. Awards include the Nessa Cohen Memorial Grant, Calvary Baptist Church Award, Leila Gardin Sawyer Award, Harriet W. Fishmuth Award, the Allied Artists of America Members and Associates Award and a Certificate of Merit from the Salmagundi Club. Engel’s sculpture “Repose” recently won the Harriet W. Frishmuth Award at the Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club 118th Annual Open Exhibition. She is an elected member of Catherine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club, Allied Artists of America and Long Island City Artists. Engel earned a BA in Scenic Art from Rhode Island College and a Certificate in Graphic Design at the Center for the Media Arts. She discovered her passion for sculpture at the Art Students League of New York, studying with Rhoda Sherbell, Barney Hodes, and Seiji Saito, and during her time at the Pietrasanta Carving School in Italy. She currently lives and works in New York City.
Lilian R. Engel Statement
I create sculpture that celebrates the moods of humanity, the seasons of life and the beauty of a figure in motion, human or animal. Inspiration comes from nature, dance and the need to address such universal concerns as protecting the environment and overcoming social injustices. My work originates on a personal level but extends to the universal realm. I use Carrara and other types of marble, French Limestone, clay and onyx, and I process these materials in two different ways. The first starts with an idea that is made into a clay model maquette. Then I select a stone that is appropriate in size, shape and texture for the particular work. I start by marking the general outline from the maquette on the stone and then begin cutting away material step by step until the image is blocked out. Then I shift completely away from the model as I refine the sculpture. An alternate way of working is to approach the stone directly without any preconceived ideas. Direct carving involves combining a subconscious conversation with the stone and solving design problems. When working conceptually to make a visual statement, I also explore other media such as metal and found objects.
At first blush, Gary Kaleda’s digital paintings appear to be traditionally painted with the softest of brushes and the palest of colors, in a manner befitting a master artist who worked for many, many years to achieve such subtlety in oil. A closer inspection reveals this can’t be true-the gradations in color and texture are too precise, bordering on the scientific, and the transitions between these changes infinitesimal.
Kaleda begins with a digital model, which he uses as a reference to paint from, much in the way a traditional painter would use a live model. But painting with a computer offers processes and techniques that are a departure from tradition.
Kaleda paints using the tools of Photoshop®, Illustrator® and Painter® to create an artwork that he then prints as a Duraflex® silver halide print, in an edition of 10. Kaleda will be represented by 17 works, all portrait and figurative. Kaleda incorporates QR codes that contain the information about the artwork and act as artist signature.
Gary Kaleda Bio
Born in 1966 in New York, Gary Kaleda has always been fascinated with figurative painting and technology. Among his jobs, he worked compositing photographic proofs for a company that manufactured retouching stations, and later as a technician for a printing firm. Surrounded by state-of-the-art computers and graphics hardware, the idea of mixing the science of computers with the art of painting first entered the artist’s mind. The exponential growth of the Internet in the mid 1990s offered Kaleda an alternate world to look at and even interact with; ever since, he has found inspiration in the digital revolution. Kaleda taught himself Photoshop®, Illustrator® and Painter®, and expanded his skills into photo retouching and color correction for fashion catalogues. Eventually, his own work shifted from mixed media back to all digital in an entirely new way, resulting in a highly refined style that is completely his own. Kaleda’s work has been featured at the Islip Art Museum (2008) and is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Computer Art. The artist is a three-time showcase award winner with the ARTslant Contemporary Art Network. Most recently, he was included in a group show at Mayson Gallery, NYC.
Kaleda graduated with honors from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, 1988. He lives and works in New York City.
Gary Kaleda Statement
Witnessing the birth and growth of the digital age had a powerful impact on my work as an artist. While my formal art training was grounded in tradition, a parallel path developed involving the creation of art with the computer. As technology changed history, my work changed with it and my paintings progressed from mixed media to all digital. I saw the world become more connected on a global level, but increasingly isolated on an individual level. And within the terrifyingly vast landscape known as the Internet, I looked on as an entire culture turned away from face-to-face communication. Intimacy became cybersex, and true identities were replaced by ideal or false personas, yet we still long to connect. These themes emerged in my figurative paintings and continue to inspire my work today.