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Friendly Gestures [Namaste]: Group Show Offers New Perspectives on Global Respect at Queens College Art Center, April 8 - June 27, 2013

-- Contemporary Artists Address Theme Through Work in Diverse Media -- 

FLUSHING, NY, March 25, 2013 – Throughout South Asia, people greet each other with namaste—a word often translated as “I bow to you.” Now, in conjunction with Queens College’s Year of India, the Queens College Art Center is presenting Friendly Gestures [NAMASTE], a group show that explores the theme of respect through art, language, music, and performance.
Chosen through an international open call, the 21 contributors represent a wide range of backgrounds. Jayanthi Moorthy, a Brooklyn-based artist born and raised in India, responds to the varying cultures of the east and west by depicting “the material and the metaphysical aspects of life.” She draws inspiration for the former from nature, taking the latter from the inner spirituality manifested in the daily routines of Asian women. Polish immigrant Paweł Wojtasik submitted At the Still Point, a visually powerful video accompanied by an immersive soundscape by Stephen Vitiello. A meditation on the human condition, the film juxtaposes the cycles of life, death, and rebirth with consumption, destruction, and renewal in contemporary India, which is simultaneously pre-industrial and increasingly modern. Paris-based Czech-born Filomena Borecká and her French colleague Caroline Gillot collaborated on DUEL, a photo series of a playful gestural battle derived from the rock-paper-scissors hand game and rooted in their friendship.
Continuing the global journey, Genoese artist-scientist Luisella Carretta compares the spirituality of ancient Sibyls, who were believed to have offered interpretation of natural phenomena and dreams, to the Indian namaste in her performance, photographed by Carolina Cuneo, also of Genoa. Suzanne Benton (QC BA Fine Art ’55), a native New York transculturalist with extensive experience in India, contributes metal masks and a mask storytelling performance steeped in myth, ritual, and archetype. Rikki Asher (QC Secondary Education and Youth Services) relates how she created collages using leaves from the very tree under which the Buddha is said to have achieved enlightenment, sharing some of them with others on site. Meena Alexander (Distinguished Professor of English, Hunter College, CUNY), who was born in India and educated in Sudan and the United Kingdom, submitted poetry.
The exhibition also features a video by Michael Eckblad; paintings by Karen Fitzgerald, who explores the transformative energetic interconnections, wholeness, and metaphysical purpose of our everyday world; Theresa DeSalvio, whose portrait Wonder is startling in its simple expression of intimacy; and Marlene Wiedenbaum (QC BA’74), a self-avowed “passionate realist” who contributed Beggars. Carol Radsprecher’s digital prints trace human intimacy and friendliness, while Anna Campbell provides a connector with a wood {wooden?}construction Cruising the Walt Whitman Bridge, and Czech artist Martin Patřičný hints at rescue with a plastic “wooden picture,” Life Buoy. Andy Slemenda’s mixed media work, LikeWisePainting, Mold and Lichen, “seeks a materiality that is both spiritual and communal,” he explains. Mary DeVincentis chose a devotional painting from her Twenty-One Taras, a series about the female Buddha of wisdom and compassion. The image on display depicts the deity’s hand in a mudra, the ultimate form of gestures that honor the spirit within. Leslie Shaw Zadoian, who finds beauty in unlikely combinations of elements, alludes to the viewer completing the artist’s work in the process of reception, one spirit speaking to the other, in her Solace Revisited. Jeanne Wilkinson constructs a parallel reality in series of digital collages chronicling the virtual interactions of her “Painted People,” characters who were formerly Barbies, Kens, and GI Joes. Working within the space, literally, Xico Greenwald is creating an on-site wall drawing, Plant.
Friendly Gestures [NAMASTE] is curated by Tara Mathison. A member of the Brooklyn artist collective 3rd Ward, Mathison received an MA and MFA in printmaking while teaching drawing at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. She has exhibited extensively in the United States and internationally. During her 10-plus years of curating, Mathison has focused on contemporary artists and visual culture. At the Queens College Art Center, she has worked with more than 100 artists and 25 exhibitions since 2007.
The exhibition is sponsored by Queens College’s Kupferberg Center for the Arts, QC Alumni Relations Office, Asian/American Center, the Godwin-Ternbach Museum, the Libraries, and Provost James R. Stellar. It is held in conjunction with the college’s Year of India program.
Friendly Gestures [NAMASTE] is free and open to the public. Images, as well as biographical and sales information, are available upon request. For additional information, please visit
Queens College Art Center (part of the Selma and Max Kupferberg
Center for the Arts)
Benjamin S. Rosenthal Library, Level Six
Queens College, 65-30 Kissena Blvd., Flushing
Opening Reception and Artists’ Talks:
Thursday, April 18, 5-8 pm
Gallery Hours:          
Monday through Thursday, 9am–8 pm; Friday and May 28–June 27,
9 am–5 pm; closed weekends and holidays. Free and open to the public.
Gallery Contacts:     
For directions to Queens College, please visit For a campus map, go to  (Rosenthal Library/Art Center).
The Queens College Art Center, founded in 1987, succeeds the Queens College Art Library Gallery established in 1960. In more than 200 exhibitions to date, the Art Center has shown masters like Alice Neel, Joseph Cornell, and Elizabeth Catlett, and introduced scores of artists from around the globe. Focusing on modern and contemporary programming expressive of the best art of our time, this display space presents the works of emerging and established artists in diverse media. Art Center exhibitions support the educational and cultural objectives of Queens College. The shared goal of the Queens College Art Center and of the Godwin-Ternbach Museum at Queens College is to provide the means for participating in and upholding a democratic society through learning, adaptation, and critical thinking.    


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