Parallel Universes, an exhibition of new paintings by Sandra Lerner that display anew her dramatic use of calligraphic form and subtle color to delve into the eternal mysteries of the universe, will be shown at the June Kelly Gallery from October 7 through November 9.
Her recent paintings, Lerner says, draw upon her long exploration of the similarities between Eastern philosophy and the latest theories in physics and cosmology. “I try to incorporate calligraphy's expressive force to conjure up references to nature as well the multiple universes that exist.”
In an essay on Lerner’s new work, art writer Phyllis Braff says, “A very physical, very energetic and very direct interpretation of Japanese calligraphy became a part of Sandra Lerner’s painting approach at an early point in her career. Now, …she further explores calligraphy’s potential by combining vigorous gestural marks with evocative fields of subtle color. It is an approach that seems to heighten the bold power of the configuration. It also calls attention to the way Lerner investigates calligraphy’s expressive force rather than its traditional cognitive associations.”
Lerner’s gestures deliver a spirited spontaneity and freshness, writes Braff. “This contrasts with her textured, stone-like thick impasto surface of sand, grit and collaged materials that imply a geological continuum with an ancient, storied past…. In addition, there are paintings embellished with marble dust, which produces a mysterious luminosity.”
Lerner’s paintings also seek to represent in tactile form her interest in cosmology and string theory. Critic Donald Kuspit, in a commentary on an earlier series of Lerner paintings, wrote that her vision “focuses on the irreversible transformation of immaterial light and dark matter, that is, the communication/communion between contradictory realms of being and consciousness, implying their inner unity.” He said they “made Lerner’s concern with string theory explicit.”
“It is important to note,” Kuspit said, “that in the theory what seems abstract is profoundly concrete –like Lerner’s paintings, which are abstract in form and symbol, yet deeply concrete, as their rich texture makes clear.”
Lerner lives and works in New York City and Connecticut. She received a bachelor's degree in art from Hofstra University and also studied independently with Leo Manso, Jerry Okomoto and Harry Sternberg. Later, she studied calligraphy and Japanese painting with the master Kampo Harada in Tokyo, Japan, in 1981. She has participated in many one-person and group exhibitions throughout the United States and in Japan.
She is represented in numerous public and private collections, including The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, CT; Heckscher Museum, Huntington, NY; Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ; Kampo Museum, Kyoto, Japan; World Study Museum, Fukuoka, Japan; Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton, NY and 3M Corporation.
She has also created sets for performances by Eiko and Koma, the acclaimed Japanese avant-garde dancers and choreographers.