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Monday, October 20, 2014

Artists pull back the curtain on their work

By Marie York
Posted
Osjua A. Newton/The Riverdale Press
Dora Tomulic offers visitors to the Blue Door Gallery a peek into her thought process of choosing colors during Saturday’s ‘Show and Tell’ event.
Osjua A. Newton/The Riverdale Press
Alan Cohen, an artist who works in photo montage, explains his computer composite methods for creating pieces.
Osjua A. Newton/The Riverdale Press
Lewis Cohen, who uses found objects to create three-dimensional sculptures, explains that just one item is often the inspiration for the whole piece.
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On the wall of the Blue Door Gallery in Yonkers hangs an assemblage of odd objects picked from trashcans, purchased online or from the artist’s personal collection of “stuff.”

Tucked neatly inside cigar boxes are old clock parts, light bulbs and metal strips, a square of colorful beads arranged in a geometric pattern and a pair of doll arms that jut out into the gallery, appearing to welcome viewers to take a closer look. Flanking the cigar boxes are a level and yo-yo on one side, and children’s blocks that read “I HAD A THOUGHT ONCE,” on the other.

Lewis Cohen’s eclectic piece inspires more than just one thought and even more questions, most notably, “What does it all mean?” Luckily for those visiting the Riverdale Avenue gallery on Saturday, they were able to get answers directly from the artist himself.

For the past five years, Blue Door Gallery has held its “Show and Tell” event, giving its visitors a chance to not only view and discuss art, but to learn about process, technique and, in some instances, to work alongside the artists to make pieces of their own in a variety of media.

The goal, explained director, Luis Perelman, is to make art more “accessible” to the viewer. 

“We’re trying to expose the community to the arts, to the whole process,” said Mr. Perelman.

The Blue Door Gallery is a bright spot in what is otherwise a dreary stretch of Riverdale Avenue. The Blue Door Artists Association — a group of mostly Yonkers artists — opened the gallery in March 2009, with help from the City of Yonkers and from the building’s owner, the non-profit Westhab, which allows them to stay rent-free. In return, the association has initiated a number of programs for Yonkers schoolchildren and residents, including poetry readings, writing and art workshops at the gallery and street festivals. 

Nine more artists are scheduled to demonstrate and talk about their work over the next three Saturdays in the “Show and Tell” event, and they create in a range of media, from doll-making and fiber art, to paintings and photography. Children are highly encouraged to attend and participate.

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