Nature, humanity shine at gallery


Artists from across the country and around the world are displaying their take on life and nature at Elisa Contemporary Art’s new exhibit, “Rooted Down and Rising Up.”

The exhibit, which launched June 22 and runs through Sept. 28, is a reflection of how nature represents the complexity of human life. The three artists featured in the exhibit — Michelle Gagliano, Amy Cheng and Sara V. Cole — hail from Virginia, Taiwan, and California, and each have a different approach.

For Lisa Cooper, the owner of the gallery on 5622 Mosholu Ave., the contrasting perspectives and approaches to art gives people the ability to draw their own conclusions. And promoting women in the art world is an added plus.

“In this day and age and politically, there is nothing like continuing to support female artists,” she said.  

Despite resting on the walls of a small gallery, each artist’s work speaks volumes in a subtle and laidback way. Gagliano’s pieces feature nature and vines that can be seen as “being a map of the Earth,” Cooper said. 

Cheng’s work draws inspiration from Middle Eastern, European and Asian patterns to display a connection between the universe and the central nervous system. Meanwhile, Cole’s pieces investigate how to balance a sustainable relationship between nature and the humans who inhabit it.

Exhibits that utilize nature as the main subject aren’t new to Riverdale, and Cooper said it’s because of how the work can benefit a viewer.

“I think there’s just something about nature having a calming effect,” she said. “It takes you into a different space. It gives you a sense of tranquility in a meditative sort of quality, and I think with crazy life in New York and politics, it might be that we all need to get lost in that space.”  

To Cooper, this collaborative opportunity “is a great way to cross-promote,” she said. 

“The fact that you can get lost in a painting and look at it and find different and have a sense of peacefulness, or wonder, or joy, is really the beauty of art,” she said.