downtownexpress.com
Volume 19 Issue 51 | May 4 -10, 2007

Visual Arts

A Toast to TOAST
The Synagogue for the Arts Gallery
49 White St.
Through May 13
Reception May 9, 6-8 p.m.
(212-966-7141; synagogueforthearts.org/arts)

Tequila Minsky

C.J. Collins, one of the original artists involved in the Tribeca Open Artists Studio Tour, and part of the current “Toast to TOAST” exhibit.

Open studios tour, now open longer

By Tequila Minsky

The Synagogue for the Arts Gallery Space is exhibiting over 50 artists who participated in last weekend’s Tribeca Open Artists Studio Tour (TOAST) in the show entitled “A Toast to TOAST.” Extending in time the concept of this two-day event, the exhibition bonds these artists for the first time in a group show that runs until May 13.

TOAST’s all-volunteer force happily jumped at the invitation from the Synagogue for the Arts Gallery Space. Though organized by Tribeca artist Judy Somerville, the show was actually curated by the artists themselves. “Its strength really comes from the fact that the artists picked their own work and the variety is very surprising,” said Somerville. “It gives people a look a who we are as artists.”

The styles in the show range from abstract, representational, more traditional, experimental, digital collage and techno-formalism. The media is so varied it’s impossible to mention all but it includes oil, acrylic and watercolor painting, photography, collage and many diverse forms of mixed media.

C.J. Collins, a 30-year Tribeca resident, is a multi-media artist currently exploring flashe paint qualities and loving it. In “A Toast to TOAST,” she is showing two pieces much smaller than the 6-foot x 20-foot flashe painting viewers saw in her Leonard St. studio during the art walk.

An original TOAST artist, she exhibited eleven years ago with 14 others. TOAST has now grown to over 100 artists.

Collins, who loves the group show, says, “I’ve crossed paths with many artists by email and virtually on the website but it’s at this first group show where I can see their work and get personally acquainted. Just when we see the neighborhood becoming something very different, this group show of neighborhood artists emerges as a true grassroots effort and the work is so diverse. The quality is really high. It’s fabulous and amazing. I’m happy to be shown with all these artists.“

The group show, however, is not that different from the other exhibitions at Synagogue for the Arts. Says gallery director Marilyn Sontag, “we exhibit emerging and underrepresented mature artists, local talent. In the case of TOAST, we’re showing locally working artists, many of whom are international. Varying artistic points of view are part of this great show.”

Organizer Somerville claims not to be a volunteer type, but she wanted to ‘give back’ to TOAST and the opportunities it’s afforded her. “The people who come on the art walk are really into art. I’ve had better exposure from TOAST than commercial galleries. I even sold a painting to someone from Dubai.

“This was a challenge to hang the show, to get the pieces to work together,” Somerville continued. “And it helped me when I was organizing my work for the open studio tour. I got to know a lot of people.

“There is a long rich history of creative people in this neighborhood. Chelsea is community of galleries whereas Tribeca is a very human community of artists and galleries. Longtime Tribeca artists who once traded their art for drinks at Magoo's Bar now welcome the many new artists and galleries to the neighborhood, which has and always will be a neighborhood for the arts.”





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