NY Art Commentary

Galleries Downsize, Serpentine Soars

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Serpentine Gallery ...

Ignoring the current atmosphere of economizing, scaling down and minimizing risks, the Serpentine Gallery has decided to soar in a gallery exhibition that opens November 1, 2011 in West Chester, Pennsylvania. Featured in the gallery are two abstract artists from Chester County who have decidedly challenged a complacent attitude toward art and aesthetics sadly current in today’s climate. Margo Allman and Antonio Puri juxtapose their lives and work in their new exhibition. Both artists hope to seduce the audience by their obsessive markings, their pain, joy and sense of romance and share their sense of oneness and shared experience by the time they navigate the rooms of the gallery.

Too often, viewers gaze upon an abstract canvas and wonder what they are supposed to see or what the artist felt at the time of creation. Allman and Puri both paint with observable differences in style and approach. The idea of contrast can be a literal definition but it can also delve into other meanings, many times undisclosed with casual observation. In the exhibit, one has a chance to observe art as a dance between time and timelessness, oneness with opposites. There are observable tensions in his paintings which make his individual works appear as living organisms. Margo’s ovoidal forms are repetitive shapes echoing a feminine mantra that praises the mystery of life. This, along with Puri’s play of dual with non-dual forms is the heart and essential spirit of Contrast.

Both scientists and romantics will find Contrast a welcoming place for the spirit to sojourn for a time within the gallery’s spacious interior. Physicists, engineers and biologists can marvel at the mitotic exchanges and supernovas bursting forth in Puri’s two dimensional compositions while romantics will delight in the dance inherent in Allman’s cosmic egg engendering layer upon layer of progeny. Her palette is pure light and color; his is dark, brooding and mysterious.

Margo Allman and Antonio Puri are audacious exhibitionists with an agenda. They want to incite a reaction in their viewers and cause them to consider their dreams and soar as the Serpentine has in showing the abstract art of the two contrasting artists. Don’t miss the opportunity to see the surprise and sensational performance installation of Puri’s alongside Allman’s stone installation in addition to their two dimensional works at the gallery.

Virginia M. da Costa, PhD
Associate Professor of Art History
Department of Art, West Chester University
West Chester, Pennsylvania 19383


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