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A cow may be black and white, but 25 artists who have their bovine-inspired work on display at a Flushing art gallery see shades of gray — and countless other colors.
In celebration of the Chinese Year of the Ox, Crossing Art opened “09 Oh Cow!” Saturday, an exhibition showcasing artists’ interpretation of the farm animal.
“It’s really great to celebrate diversity through [the artists’] expression of cows,” said Catherine Lee, director of Crossing Art, in Queens Crossing in downtown Flushing. “It’s a great experience for kids to learn about how different cultures view cows.”
More than 100 works were submitted for the exhibition, with the gallery choosing 24 works plus a cow portrait from pop artist Andy Warhol.
Mieko Anekawa, a Japanese artist, used vivid colors in her set of cow paintings to depict their happiness.
“I like cows because they’re really relaxing, like happy creatures,” she said.
Anekawa said she did not want to show the cow as food, which is how it is usually thought of in Western cultures.
“Some view cows as meals or sacrifices, but I didn’t want to show a sad feeling,” she said.
Korean artist Seong Aun’s piece, “Harmony,” depicted a tiger with yellow, red and blue stripes — colors featured in traditional Korean dress — lying on the back of a white cow.
“It’s a very modern concept,” said Chee Wang Ng, gallery manager of Crossing Art.
The exhibition had works from around the world, including submissions from non-Asian artists.
Some had more contemporary views of cows, including a series of photographs that showed an open hamburger bun with “Holy” written on one half in mustard and “Cow” written on the other in ketchup.
Diverse styles were also featured in the exhibition, ranging from watercolor paintings to a woven basket sculpture.
Philadelphia artist Colette Copeland submitted a handmade, limited-edition artist book she was inspired to create after reading John Robbins’ “Diet for a New America.”
The photographs used in the book were images shot on 35 mm slides and transferred to handmade bark paper.
Copleand said she hoped her work would act as a conversation starter.
“I think art can be an interesting way to be a catalyst for discourse,” she said.
Manhattan artist Edie Nadelhaft submitted a blue-hued, monochromatic bovine portrait.
The portrait was sourced from a photograph Nadelhaft shot while visiting a farm owned by her husband’s uncle in Bucks County, Pa., which was then distilled with just the cow’s face painted.
“The temptation to look at this cow and assign human emotions is just irresistible,” she said.
Nadelhaft said she never viewed cows as “curious creatures,” but that changed when the cow she took the photo of got up close to her face.
“I never considered the cow as a personality,” she said. “I thought of them more as landscape.”
Nadelhaft said she did not want to force an interpretation of her art on those that view it.
“What I want people to see is whatever it means to them,” she said. “Art should rocket your mind. It can wrap itself around you.”
Crossing Art is on the ground floor of Queens Crossing at 136-17 39th Ave. near Main Street. The exhibition runs until Sept. 18.
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 173.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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