Art as the Perfect Holiday Gift
by Douglas P. Clement
Be honest with yourself about holiday shopping for a moment.
The quest for that perfect gift for a loved one who appreciates the finer things in life but already “has everything” is a cold-weather odyssey to be dreaded. Each year you battle the crowds with the best intentions and high hopes that the holy grail of gifts will simply appear. It never happens.
Instead, frustration builds as you scour a succession of stores, even braving the mall, and find only look-alike products that seem not very well-made but nonetheless plenty expensive—even though they won’t make a big splash under the tree, and, removed from the groomed and scripted context of the retailer, will likely seem worth less than you paid.
Why is it so difficult to find something special, unique, handcrafted, beautiful and—if not inexpensive—possessing inherent value that declares the gift worth every penny? Artwork is the answer to your holiday shopping conundrum. It’s original, handmade, distinctive, thought provoking, timeless and—unlike most other gifts—poised to grow in value over time.
In that spirit, we offer this curated sampling of terrific original artwork by some of The Lionheart Gallery’s artists, chosen for a combination of factors including the level of talent on display, broad appeal, and affordability. If this selection doesn’t contain the perfect artwork, give us a call at the gallery (914.764.8689) for guidance, send an email, or browse the works of our artists on the gallery’s website.
Sensuality, Swagger and a Little Bit of ‘Rabbitude’
Little Wonder, Jo Hay, Oil on Canvas, 14" x 11
British painter Jo Hay is widely known for figurative paintings that explore sexuality, gender, and identity. In a newer body of work featuring large-scale portraits of rabbits, the artist, who lives in Provincetown, Mass., continues to chase that “alchemical moment” when “the image suddenly feels alive.”
Along the way, Jo Hay embraces “a mixture of harmony and disharmony, the decorous and the vulgar, the predictable and the unpredictable, all to maintain strong visual interest for the viewer.” Give Little Wonder a fitting “habitat,” and no one will be able to look away.
For the Writer, Professor or Literary Lion
Jean Genet New York Times
Ink on Clayboard Panel, 9" x 12"
If you love mining for meaning in the seams of great literature, David Hutchinson is an innovative, unique guide. Much of his work focuses on the life and texts of French writer Jean Genet, as he endeavors “to examine how the nature of formalism can absorb and subsume questionable morality by willfully re-presenting the material in a different artistic vocabulary.”
The artist pursues one vein in which he transcribes original texts in multiple layers of overwriting, emphasizing form, arrangement and technique over content. Genet’s obituary in The New York Times appears as a series of six intersecting constellation-like blossoms. It’s a most brilliant tribute to the author of Our Lady of the Flowers.
Know a Philosopher or Mathematician (With a Sense of Style)?
Red Currents, Gregg Welz, Drawing Paper, 20" x 16"
Gregg Welz calls isolation his most indispensable item in the studio. That seems ironic. The conceptual artist’s works, created from cut and folded paper arranged in patterns, are a riot of closely choreographed interaction. Red Currents is thought provoking enough to please the pensive and those who love order—and the life of the (room décor) party at the same time.
Visual ‘Music’ From a Dream: Composition With Collage
Poetry Series (Cloud), Barbara Owen, Mixed Media on Paper, 14" x 11"
Barbara Owen explores the space between abstraction and representation, using interwoven abstract forms to explore color relationships, spatial patterns and the détente, or frisson, of diverse associations. In the process, and in a work like Poetry Series (Cloud), her “automatic drawing” process ultimately yields a powerful yet indecipherable narrative—the type of amorphous, malleable story that ebbs and flows through a dream, its meaning simultaneously elusive and a gospel of what was and what will be.
Beyond Diebenkorn: A Landscape of the Mind
Metro North Parking Lot, Helen Cantrell, Oil on Gesso Board, 17" x 17"
Helen Cantrell was influenced early by Richard Diebenkorn and the Bay Area Figure Art painters in California, and you can see the West Coast cool in a work like Metro North Parking Lot, with linear forms and lush, bright colors registering as tropes of personal or shared context in the mind. Abstraction holding hands with a representative urge, or hints of representation seasoning the freedom of abstraction, however you see artistic tension, the results are provocative and impactful—especially if you sense a whisper of Edward Hopper’s solitude in the mix.
Make a Statement With an Interior ‘Landscape’ of Bold Declarations
Curve Ball, Karen Vogel, Mixed Media on Wood Panel, 8" x 8"
An abstract landscape of movement, signature moments and bold declarations make Curve Ball the perfect statement piece for a family room, office or den. Printmaker and painter Karen Vogel takes inspiration from the natural world, and her artwork references the principals and balance of landscape design. She moves viewers around her work like the best designers move visitors through a choreographed landscape—and in both cases there’s surprise and delight at every turn.
French Pedigree, Worldly Outlook, and Soulful Eyes
Maggie, Mireille Duchesne, Oil on Canvas, 5" x 7"
The charm of Maggie is obvious; she would make an irresistible addition to any family, especially since the background of her creator is so interesting. Mireille Duchesne was born in France and educated at the Lycee of le Havre and the University of Rouen. Her parents didn’t accept the idea of her being an artist, so she took evening classes at the Beaux Arts. Her travels subsequently exposed her to many cultures and different styles of art. Look closely, it’s all there in Maggie’s eyes.