Howard Lerner: Myth and Metaphor (through July 7, 2012)

1 Jul

With having been away and previously getting ready to be away, I’m unfortunately rather late with this post. But there’s still a week left to see the incredible paintings and sculptures of New York artist  Howard Lerner at Synchronicity Fine Arts, 106 West 13th Street (between Fifth and Sixth avenues).

I previously wrote a post about “The Mystical Meaning of Jacob’s Ladder,” so at the opening for Howard’s current show, I was especially interested in a painting I hadn’t seen before, Jacob Dreaming, already so evocative in its own right.

"Jacob Dreaming," by Howard Lerner

“Jacob Dreaming,” by Howard Lerner

Also on his website (I’ve just now discovered, hurray!) are four drawings from the same Biblical story: Jacob’s Ladder I and II and Jacob’s Ladder and the Sacred Bees I and II. I don’t know anything about the sacred bees, and must resolve to ask Howard about them.

I’ve been to a number of shows of Howard’s art and have visited his studio. Although he doesn’t talk much about dreaming as a source of inspiration, encountering his work has all the depth of working with a dream…and both myth and metaphor are intimately connected with dreamwork. Howard’s sculptures are composed of found objects that individually often have a nostalgic effect because many of them date to the first half of the 20th century. Yet the effect of the parts, in the whole that Howard creates, is profound—exploring and expressing Biblical stories as well as themes from other religions. An example in this show is Ezekial’s Vision:

"Ezekial's Vision," by Howard Lerner

“Ezekial’s Vision,” by Howard Lerner

More accurately, it’s the parts in relation to each other that I find endlessly fascinating…and the whole often difficult to comprehend (and not done justice to in photographs) until I’ve looked at the parts and their relationships. I could spend hours at this rich exhibition.

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