The storefront gate of a new art gallery has the Star of David on it, and its previous owners’ sum signage was simply “African Hair Braiding.”
Beford Stuvesant’s fast-changing demographics throughout its history have made for a number of seemingly off-beat sightings, like an African-American church displaying such Jewish symbols as the mezuzah — and Elgin Gallery on Tompkins Avenue is a sign of things still to come for the neighborhood, says owner and artist Dana James.
“We are bringing some very established artists to this unassuming area, as well as exceptional emerging artists who are in need of representation,” wrote James in an email. “The number of artists in Bed-Stuy is vastly increasing and wanted to establish a sort of community here as well.”
Unassuming is an understatement for a space that still has above it a “Beepers Etc” sign, which is the best way to spot the gallery from down the block, but inside, the eclectic collection of sculptures and paintings shows breadth and ambition.
At the inaugural show “Honorable Beasts,” opening on Sept. 20, art goers can see Australian painter Glenn Brady’s painting “Woman in the Field,” which is oil on pasteboard. As its title indicates, the work goes back to a simpler, if not primitive form of painting, displaying an abstract, Picassoesque female figure reclined on a pitch-black slope. The shadowy foreground engulfs the woman and her visage seems to be carved out from the darkness. In the background there’s a spot of color, an orange field in the distance, trees lining the horizon. This juxtaposition evokes the passing of time, as if the clouds above bring a nighttime in one place, and a daylight reprieve in another.
Other artists included in the show are James, Lizbeth Mitty, R.M. Fischer, Glenn Brady, Dena Paige Fischer, Rachel Slekmen, and Derek Bernstein. They range from people who have had their work in gallery’s since the ’70s to new and upcoming artists. James herself has shown her work regularly since 2008.
“Honorable Beasts” at Elgin Gallery [52 Tompkins Ave. on Park Avenue, (917) 439–1460, www.elging