West Side Rag »Mother and son run unique gallery where artists can work and the neighborhood can see

Published on March 22, 2022 at 15.40 by West Side Rag

Pearce Green and Liz Curtis.

By Lisa Kava

On Amsterdam Ave on 82nd Street, tucked away between the Richard Corman Photography Gallery and the Sofia Storage Center, is a unique art gallery, founded by an Upper West Side mother-and-son duo.

The Wild Geese Gallery hosts art exhibitions, but unlike a typical gallery, it is also a place where local artists are welcome to drop by and work together. Residents of the neighborhood can see these artists at work.

The Wild Geese Gallery is conceived by Pearce Green, 23, and his mother, Elizabeth (Liz) Curtis. Green is an artist working in a variety of media, and a college student studying creative writing. Curtis is a seven-time American professional Latin American champion in ballroom dance and world finalist.

Pearce and his paintings.

If you walk past the gallery, you can be attracted to the large paintings with vibrant cheerful colors. West Side Rag had the opportunity to visit and chat with Green inside the gallery surrounded by his work. “It feels right for me to create really light art. When I started drawing, I always reached for bright Crayola markers. “

Green found himself painting more than ever when Covid hit. “I started painting obsessed with my apartment under Covid, and the walls were about to close in,” he said. “I also walked around and saw many empty storefronts.”

Liz Curtis happened to be visiting her friend Richard Corman in his gallery after handing over some boxes at the Sofia Storage Center in the same building. “We both agreed that the empty space next door looked perfect for an art studio,” Curtis said. She called Len Sofia, the landlord, to discuss. “Len loved the idea of ​​keeping the block alive with art,” she recalled. A lease was signed and in November 2020 the vacant space became “Pearce Green Art”.

From the beginning, Green hoped to bring artists together in informal settings. “I wanted to create a place for artists who would not normally have access to a gallery to be able to display their works. I wanted to create a collaborative space, ”said Green. He also wanted to create an atmosphere where people in the neighborhood could see artists at work. The rumor spread quickly, artists were attracted to the space, and soon the gallery was bustling with life. Artists would often work late into the night, Green said.

“Young artists would walk by, see Pearce splashing with paint, throwing clay on a ceramic wheel and the next thing you know, they would paint next to him on the floor,” Curtis said. “The energy in the room reminded me of when I was a young dancer sweating with my peers.”

In February 2022, Green and Curtis changed the name of the gallery to “Wild Geese Gallery.” “The original name, ‘Pearce Green Art,’ was a placeholder,” Green said. “The gallery was never about me alone. [The new name] was inspired by Mary Oliver’s poem and my Irish family history when immigrants like my grandparents were nicknamed ‘wild geese’, ”Curtis explained.

Works by “artists in residence”, Max Geller and Sophie Goodwin, can currently be seen until March 25 in the Wild Geese Gallery along with Green’s paintings. Geller and Goodwin worked inside the gallery during the winter months, Geller with small sculptures and Goodwin with oil painting.

Kadir Lopez Nieves.

The next show, which begins March 31 and lasts until April 24, will bring Cuban artist Kadir Lopez Nieves, known for his neon signs, to New York. Nieves, based in Havana, is currently working on the works for this exhibition, called “Island to Island.” The show will represent “islands from around the world connected by heritage or friendship,” Curtis said.

“Island to island.”

There will be an opening night to celebrate Nieves on March 31 from 7:30 pm-10pm. Those interested in participating can reply to [email protected]

Additional exhibits are planned at the Wild Geese Gallery this spring, including one showing the work of Upper West Side photographer Henry Michaelis, beginning in May.

Wild Geese Gallery is open to the public seven days a week from 12:00 to 19:00. Opening hours may vary when the exhibitions are installed. For more information and updates, follow the Wild Geese Gallery on Instagram at @ wildgeese.gallery or at www.wildgeesegallery.com. Note: the website is still under construction. The Wild Geese Gallery can also be reached at 917-371-2355.

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