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The June Kelly Gallery celebrates its 30th anniversary with a group exhibition of works by gallery artists
Stan Brodsky, Rear View, 1968. Charcoal on paper, 18 x 24 inches.

NEW YORK, NY.- The June Kelly Gallery celebrates its 30th Anniversary with a group exhibition of drawings and photographs by gallery artists. It opened on Thursday, December 21, 2017 and continues through January 30, 2018.

To mark the 30 years, the gallery artists were invited to exhibit drawings and photographs embracing independent selections of a multiplicity of subject, style and process.

Drawing and Photography are expansive concepts. In this exhibition, interpretation of either medium is not limited to a traditional sense as the drawn line made with a pencil, pen, or charcoal on white paper as in Stan Brodsky’s drawing, titled Rear View, 1968. James Little speaks of his brilliantly colored vertical geometric bands, When Aaron Tied Ruth, 2008, executed in multiple layers of oil and wax on canvas as a drawing. Rebecca Welz refers to her welded and twisted steel rods reflecting interconnectedness, Lace Barnacle, 2017 as a drawing and Philemona Williamson says depicting the drawn line in her lithograph with graphite, Untitled, allows insight to her process of painting. Ming Smith’s nostalgic narrative, Roxbury Interior, Boston, MA., 1978; LeRoy Henderson’s portrait Carmen de Lavallade (Bedford Stuyvesant Festival, 1985); Charles Martin, Flight, 2008 and John Pinderhughes panoramic naturescape, Splashing Water/Montauk, 1997, reflect contemporary approaches with subject.

“Stimulating while demanding years” is gallery owner June Kelly’s comment when speaking of the three decades that have brought her much gratification.

Herself vested with a richly diverse career in the art world, June Kelly is especially pleased that pursuant to her initial mission in 1987 that her gallery artists represent a broad, diverse ethnic and international spectrum and that their work would be placed in museum permanent collections globally; she has clearly succeeded in those unremitting objectives.

In this 30th year alone, for example, her ethnic and gender diverse gallery artists continue to receive domestic and global attention -- World War I and American Art, a travelling exhibition organized by the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and which included Debra Priestly’s drawing; Kay WalkingStick: An American Artist, Smithsonian National Museum of The American Indian (a multi-venue retrospective); Philemona Williamson’s back-to-back retrospectives, Metaphorical Narratives, Montclair Art Museum and Converging Voices: Gender and Identity, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; photographer Ming Smith, We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women 1965-85, Brooklyn Museum and John Pinderhughes, Uptown, Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery, Columbia University; Julio Valdez, Inter-American Development Bank, Washington, DC; Rebecca Welz, SciArt Center, Easton, PA; Mark Alsterlind, France; Su-Li Hung, Taiwan; Su Kwak, Korea; Hanibal Srouji, Lebanon, and Nola Zirin, China.

Gallery artists whose work entered museum permanent collections in this milestone year include Frances Hynes, The Albany Institute of History and Art; Sandra Lerner, Gutman Gallery, Harvard Graduate School of Education; James Little, Chad, Central Africa; Sarah Plimpton, The Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University; Debra Priestly, The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts; Joan Giordano, Museum of Contemporary Art of Crete, Kay WalkingStick, The Newark Museum and The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts; Philemona Williamson, Montclair Art Museum, and Nola Zirin, The Taoxichuang Art Museum of China Central Academy of Fine Art.

Other highlights for the year include The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts acquiring a masterpiece by gallery artist Hughie Lee-Smith (1915-1999) titled Absence of Gaiety, ca. 1962, oil on canvas, 34 ¼ x 50 ½ inches for their permanent collection. It is a classic Lee-Smith that is haunting, staying long in the mind’s eye.

The University of Iowa, the Board of Regents and the State of Iowa approved the naming of a new residence hall in honor of gallery artist Elizabeth Catlett (1915-2012), an alumna of the school. In 1940, Elizabeth Catlett became one of the first three MFA graduates from the University of Iowa and was the first African American woman to receive the degree. She would become one of the most important American sculptors and printmakers of the 20th century.

Gallery artists Colin Chase received the Joan Mitchell Grant for Painting and Sculpture and Bruce Dorfman, the Pollack-Krasner Foundation Individual Grant. Claudia DeMonte, received a Sol LeWitt Residency, Spoleto, Italy. The Metropolitan Transit Authority commission won by James Little continues in fabrication, Paderborn, Germany. Moe Brooker begins the coveted GSA (General Services Department) Washington, DC commission he won for a wall in the Philadelphia Convention Center.

“It has been an exciting journey,” Kelly said. “Despite the ups and downs inherent in this demanding field, I’m grateful to so many people for their contributions to the gallery’s achievements over the past three decades.

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