We are pleased to announce the opening of To Have and Not to Hold, a two-person exhibition featuring paintings by Vivian Kahra and photography by Leah Oates. This is Kahra’s First major exhibition with SEFA, following her participation in our recent summer group show, Two X Five, and in art fairs in Miami and Toronto. Oates first exhibited with SEFA in a two-person show with Maria Passarotti (2012) and with our group show Caught on Film (2015).
Leah Oates is represented by work from her ongoing series “Transitory Space,” for which she has traveled extensively to China, Canada, Finland and the US. This exhibition includes trees and waterscapes photographed in Nova Scotia, Canada and Prospect Park, Brooklyn (2012-2015). Oates employs a double and sometimes triple exposure, which creates halos of light, dappled, misty surfaces and gauzy effects in muted greens and blues.
Oates questions the notion of stasis in the natural and even man-made worlds. Challenging the proverbial idea that a click of the camera freezes a moment, Oates offers us stunning, lyrical landscapes in constant flux, shifting and becoming. As time never stands still, neither do the scenes and subject matter through which we experience the march of the clock.
Oates finds transient beauty on the shoreline of McNabs Island, Canada and on the sun-speckled surfaces of various ponds in Prospect Park and Nova Scotia, rendering her experiences as fleeting moments on a continuum of space and time. Oates spends a great deal of time in Prospect Park, her backyard in Brooklyn, where her ongoing fascination with the balletic shapes of trees and the sway of their recalcitrant branches never cease to amaze and inspire her in every season and in various light.
In most of the nine paintings chosen for "To Have and Not to Hold," Vivian Kahra features a central figure, as in Boy Balancing, Man Standing, Fail and Connecting. Whether in motion or still, the figures underline the idea that the world is in constant movement, shifting, swaying and recalibrating, as we, as its inhabitants, do what we can to keep up and match the planet’s energy.
Figures are drawn in activities favored by the artist—rowing, skateboarding, skiing, or sometimes standing still in contemplation. Kahra, an avid athlete, moves through her small town of Nyack, NY on foot, by bike or in her kayak on the Hudson River.
Vivian renders these seductive, lyrical paintings with a unique mixture of oil paint and watercolor, applied with careful deliberation in subtle hues of green, off white and blue, not unlike the tones of Oates’ photography. While reaching, bending, stepping or sitting, the movement of the figures parallels the rhythms of the linear patterns, stripes and gentle curves in paint. With their softness and feathery quality, these paintings seem to offer dreamscapes of memory recalled, rather than landscape renderings.