Chewing Tar


In November I was at LICHTUNDFIRE joining in with the many artists and collectors for their first year celebration and it was exactly as I expected an event that showed the unity and support I stick around for in the New York art world. Oh have I surprised you?  Well yes, its hard to see it in the break neck virtual pace of todays self promoting internet everything but at one point there was a great deal of support amongst us all involving hard work with heavy with compassion and a physical presence out there among fellow contemporary dealers and the artists that they represented. This is what makes LICHTUNDFIRE unusual in the sense that it is a computer platform that attracts a community presence.

A year ago LICHTUNDFIRE was opened with Priska Juschka at the helm beginning what I consider to be a courageous journey back into the art world.  Instead of working with a fixed stable of artists she has gone forward on faith much as we used to and I would personally like to see more of - with a come as they may attitude toward what will present itself. 

Linda Griggs an artist herself has curated “Chewing Tar” an exhibition in the LICHTUNDFIRE space to showcase a group of artists who have been using industrial materials and repurposing found objects in order to create a new aesthetic artwork or sometimes environment as with Jarrod Beck who has been working with repurposed factory rubber piled in the window of the gallery welcoming us into this very austere but tender environment. 

Along with Jarrod the other artists including Johnathan Peyser who I was happy to see again in the space joined in this exhibition where there that evening to chat with us about how they achieved their final result -- see Augustus Geertz speaking about his painting made of sand and paint -- the final result it reminiscent of a Larry Poons “Elephant Skin” picture from the late sixties early seventies. In addition, another stand out were Rick Klauber who refashions found wood which he paints and assembles on the wall with wire brads as well as Judy Richardson who makes jars and functional objects out of tires. One of my favorites was Gram Caldwell who is melting auto glass in a kiln and then mirroring it to stop you in your tracks -- fabulous!

Most important is the mission of LICHTUNDFIRE and Juschka herself knowing that this is not a career choice but a calling for herself and the people and artists she involves herself with making it an extraordinary edition to the Lower East Side and New York art commute and thank god for that. - Elizabeth Stevens

Ms. Stevens has been in Art and Antiques for 30 years, from representing her family's auction house in Cincinnati to Import Director at Hedley's New York in the early '90s to Salander O' Reilly Galleries, organizing art fairs and traveling exhibitions for more than 12 years. She is the former director of Yellow Bird Gallery in Newburgh, NY as well as the former Exhibitions Curator for the Thomas Cole House. She is now the owner of Elizabeth Stevens & Co. with offices in New York, New Jersey, and Florida.