Art Lives Here, Inc. Presents ‘Layers of Identity’ at El Barrio Artspace




Pauline Galiana, New BLOOMS-13.Nest, 2023. Image courtesy of the artist and Art Lives Here, Inc.

Layers of Identity celebrates the idea that human beings are layered, the complexity of our personalities, and individual histories is what makes us interesting. The exhibition explores the layers of societal structures and personal experiences that form how we see ourselves. Where we are from and where we have been often influences how we express ideas, as it does with all three well-travelled artists. Pauline Galiana, Hollie Heller and Joanne Steinhardt create in layers of materials, although informed by traditional techniques the contemporary aesthetic is unexpected. The viewer is likely to be unsure of what they are looking at. Is it a tapestry or is it a collage? Is it a woven textile or a paper assemblage? Is it fashion or adaptive reuse?

El Barrio’s Artspace PS 109 is an example of how old buildings can be restored and adaptively reused in New York City. The lower-level gallery incorporates original details, skylights, brick, and stone into a contemporary exhibition space alongside a theater, and rehearsal space. Art Lives Here is thrilled to be taking up temporary residence here.  

Pauline Galiana, Shredded Series, Paper collage. Image courtesy of the artist and Art Lives Here, Inc.

About the artists and curator:

Pauline Galiana was born in Algiers and grew up in Switzerland and then France. She lives and works in New York City. Galiana received her MFA at ESAG in Paris in 1984 and holds a Christie’s Art Business Certificate. 

Galiana engages simultaneously with distinct disciplines, shifting from mixed media, sculpture, painting, and installation to performance and video. Her work combines noble and mundane materials; whatever the specific process, materials and images are usually deconstructed, then reconstructed and hybridized. She wastes nothing. Her processes are obsessive and meditative, combining meticulous planning and patient execution. When applied to materials of varied form, resilience, texture, the otherwise common motions of drawing, looping, sticking, or sewing become transformative. Expressing instinctive states of mind through formal compositions, often rigorous grids, extracting meaning from unexpected encounters and entropy.

Galiana’s work has been exhibited at the New York Public Library; Memorial Sloan Kettering Gallery Brooklyn; Kentler International Drawing Space in Brooklyn; the Columbus Museum, Columbus, GA; Drawing Rooms Art Center, NJ; Durham Arts Council, NC; Islip Art Museum, NY; New York Institute of Technology; ChaShaMa Gallery, NYC; Robert Henry Contemporary Gallery, Bushwick; Baron Boisanté Gallery, NYC; Ramis Barquet Gallery, Mexico; FSU Museum of Fine Arts, Tallahassee, FL; Stadtmuseum Deggendorf, Germany among others. In 2017 she was selected for a one-month artist residency at MassMoCa in North Adams, MA. Her work is included in the collections of UBS, New York University, the National Museum of Romanian Literature, where she won a 2018 Bibliophile Object-Book Biennale award, and private collections in New York, Washington, Houston, Paris, Riyadh, London and Sydney. 

Hollie Heller, Celebration Time, Mixed media. Image courtesy of the artist and Art Lives Here, Inc.

Hollie Heller was born in New Jersey and currently lives in New York City and Costa Rica. Her work is inspired by materials and ideas collected on her travels, particularly in Africa. Heller holds an M.F.A. in Weaving and Textile Design, minor in Painting, from the Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY and a B.S. in Art Education, minor in Textile Design, University of Delaware, Newark, DE. 

Heller’s knowledge of textiles and weaving informs her practice. Although steeped in traditional methods of making, she experiments with techniques and tests the limits of ordinary materials. Her mosaic-like installations celebrate land and sea, engaging the viewer with a vibrant landscape. Inspired by nature and the power of stories, Hollie explores the potential of personal narratives combined with everyday materials. Her methods span a range of media, from painting and photography to sculpture and installation work.

Heller’s work is in public collections across the U.S., and she has been regularly featured in solo exhibitions in New Jersey. She has also participated in group shows in New York, the U.S. and internationally. Her work is included in many corporate and private collections including Hyatt Hotels in San Antonio, TX, Sarasota, FL, Philadelphia PA, Sedona, AZ;  Hilton Hotel in Nashville, TN, Doubletree Hotel in Chicago, IL, Southpark Suites in Charlotte, NC, Westin Hotel in Pittsburgh, PA, Mohegan Sun Casino, CT, Omni Hotels in Atlanta, GA and Orlando FL; HBO World Headquarters in New York, NY, the Arthur Blank Foundation in Atlanta, GA; Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ and Johnson and Johnson Pharmaceuticals in New Brunswick, NJ.

Joanne Steinhardt for ‘Layers of Identity’. Image courtesy o the artist and Art Lives Here.

Joanne Steinhardt was born in New Jersey and lives and works in the New York Metro area. Steinhardt holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from Maine College of Art and a Bachelor of Science in Photography from Rochester Institute of Technology School of Photographic Arts and Science.

Steinhardt explores the intersection of disposability and cancel culture specifically in consideration of people who do not fit-in or serve the acceptable purpose they were culturally assigned. Steinhardt considers the idea of “second chances” for those set aside through reclaiming materials left, discarded, or saved but buried in deep corners of closets that are no longer used for their intended purpose. She brings these objects to a new purpose joining their history with a new future. 

Steinhardt’s work has been exhibited at Les Moulins Gallery, Boissy-le-Châtel, France, El Barrio ArtSpace, The Equity Gallery, Carter Burden, Artsy, The Shim Network (New York) and The Tampa Museum of Art, Polk County Museum, and Covivant Gallery (Florida). She has lectured and led workshops at numerous institutions around the US and abroad, including New York University Tisch ITP, Parsons, The Garden School, The Pingry School, Harrison School for the Arts, and La Biennale del fin del Mundo in Ushuaia, Argentina. Before relocating home to NYC, Steinhardt achieved tenure in both the Art and Communication Departments at the University of Tampa where she conceived a multidisciplinary Electronic Media Art and Technology Program designed to support those interested in a self-directed academic Major combining art, communication, English, music, computer information systems, and entrepreneurship. 

Holliw Heller, Tweed Series, Dyed and stiffened silk. Image courtesy of the artist and Art Lives Here, Inc.

Connie Lee is an independent curator, public art leader, advocate for public space and the founder of Art Lives Here, a non-profit arts organization that addresses cultural equity. Art Lives Here is a growing community of more than 100 artists and the arts administrators, collectors and curators that support them. We encourage inclusivity by integrating a diverse group of artists into the exhibitions that we organize. Equity is also about providing access to art, bringing quality and meaningful public art installations, exhibitions, performances, and arts programming to people where they live, and work. 

During Lee’s six-year term, 2015 – 2021, as President of the Marcus Garvey Park Alliance, she developed the acclaimed public art initiative, a program that facilitated dozens of public art installations in Northern Manhattan including Marcus Garvey Park, Harlem Art Park, White Park, Eugene McCabe Field, Morningside Park, A Philip Randolph Square, and public plazas in the neighborhoods of Harlem. 

Since 2020 she has curated a salon and exhibition space in a Harlem brownstone, connecting emerging and mid-career artists to each other and collectors. The Brownstone Gallery space has become the nexus for Art Lives Here, and an incubator for ideas. Lee has a personal history with El Barrio’s Artspace, nominating the building for landmark status when she served on the board of Landmark East Harlem as a founding member. 

Layers of Identity will be on view from June 19 to July 13, 2024 at El Barrio’s Artspace PS 109, 215 East 99th Street, Lower-Level Gallery. An Opening Reception will be held on Wednesday, June 19th from 6-9pm. there will be a performance event on Friday, July 12th from 6-9pm with Matthew Westerby Dance Company.

Image courtesy Matthew Westerby Dance Company and Art Lives Here

Matthew Westerby Dance Company is a non-profit dance organization based in Upper Manhattan, and works year-round providing performance, dance education and programming throughout NYC and beyond. The Company is dedicated to building community through the arts and increasing accessibility to dance regardless of age, experience, or the ability to pay.

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