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Works By Tanya Minhas, Kathy Buist, Ryan T. Schmidt, And James Leonard On View At Bridgehampton-Based Gallery

Sydney A. Braat

One of Ryan T. Schmidt's pieces. (Courtesy Photo)

The White Room Gallery is showcasing the works of four distinct artists: Tanya Minhas, Kathy Buist, Ryan T. Schmidt, and James Leonard. The exhibit, With Abstract Certainty, will be on view until October 22, displaying abstract paintings, sculptures, and decorative drawings. Viewers will get the chance to see a mix of light colored paintings juxtaposed with darker works.

"This exhibit is a dynamic presentation of abstract and decorative art that has soothing and bold colors with a beautiful aesthetic that is geared towards designers and art collectors alike," remarked Andrea McCafferty, co-owner and co-director of The White Room Gallery.

Minhas lives and works as an artist in Manhattan. She grew up in Karachi, Pakistan, moved to the United States to attend Princeton University, and stayed on, making New York City her home. She attended graduate school at Columbia University, and painting portraits in oils in Mary Beth McKenzie's studio class at Art Students League. After starting a family, she began making handmade children's clothing from her collection of textiles. She later returned to figurative painting, and then started making repetitive drawings about the unseen miniscule energies that subtly direct our lives, using ink, paint, and yarn.

Her artwork explores feelings of enforced separations, transformation, dislocation, entanglement, resuscitation, the contrasting and varied faces of beauty, destruction, rebirth, and love, using her medium of drawing as a visual expression of her own life force, her spirit. She has a longstanding and continuous fascination with the etheric nature of the life force in all sentient beings. Her recent art practice explores the state of harmony between the internal and the external, the visible and the invisible, and how the strength of one's intrinsic life force affects this harmony, offering an impetus to balance our internal lives with an increasingly tempestuous external world. She is interested in the composition and states of matter, and in its transformation and direction/redirection via forces that are unseen to the human eye but are fully experiential in their effect.

Buist lives in New York City where she creates landscapes with a variety of topography. The pieces convey a reverence for the earth, which manifests itself in sensual ways. Buist's works play on the elemental values of sun, water, and morning mist to capture the spirit of each environment. Each work of art has an underlying sensual quality which will emerge in some surprising manner to reveal the painting's essence. This comes from her intimate relationship with the subject matter. In Buist's paintings, she explores the transformational qualities of light, using the subtle nuances found in refracted morning, afternoon or evening light to embody a particular moment in time. Buist grew up on a farm in rural Michigan near a flower farm which could very well have an impact on her art today. Buist has been a resident artist at the Vermont Studio Center and served as visiting artist at a number of workshops where she taught landscape painting.

Schmidt strives to create atmospheric, monumental sculpture that captures the everlasting properties of the sun, water, clouds, and the seasonal landscapes invoking the viewer's imagination for inspiration of great healing and thoughtfulness. Ideas of shapes and concepts in sweeping arcs consisting of curvilinear, sleek lines and elegant form sculpted into a realized form. The sketches come to life in a three dimensional sculpture. The finish is highly polished to create brilliant and complex mirrored images of organic transformation in the surface of the form as contrast between existence and illusion. His main concept is the reflection of the outside world on the artwork. Through the curves and smooth lines, his work brings out the feel of free-flowing spirit. Schmidt's creative journey began when he was just five-years-old, in origami and constructs. Later during his school years he ventured into painting and photography; excelling in both set a definite artistic direction. Throughout his childhood years he spent the weekends and summers learning to work with wood, metal and plastic in his father's business of custom remodeling, landscaping, and handcrafted playgrounds. In college Schmidt furthered his studies in photography, painting, drawing, color and design, printmaking, ceramics, and finally transitioned into sculpture. He began working in cast aluminum, later in bronze, and ultimately found the everlasting properties of stainless steel with its brilliant reflection to be most satisfying. In 2002, he established Rykan Expedition, Inc. and started combining landscaping, water fountains and outdoor sculpture. Later, he moved to Los Angeles and spent five years focusing more on producing sculptures while establishing his gallery relationships. Schmidt returned to his hometown in Bryant, Arkansas in 2015 to expand the production of sculptures and opened another studio in San Antonio, Texas in 2018. He is currently affiliated with the International Sculpture Center and Texas Artists Coalition. Schmidt's core mission is to share the gift of inspiration through reflection with the passion for stainless steel and desires to build sculpture that will last for many generations to come.

Leonard lives and works in San Francisco, California. He is one of California's leading abstract expressionist painters. Working with an extended palette knife and acrylics on canvas, he creates bold horizontal and vertical strokes in strong colors in order to trigger the viewer's emotions. This basic movement is complicated by the inventive layering of dropped, speckled and fragmented colors that create a sense of additional depth. Leonard's paintings have ambient landscape qualities and can have thirty or forty layers in one painting. His final touch employs a technique he calls sgrafito - scraping lines through the upper layers, so the colors of the ground layers show through. The German painter Gerhard Richer has influenced his style, approach, and directness. Leonard's paintings have been exhibited internationally and also reside in private and corporate art collections across the United States and Europe.

"I'm pulling paint, layering one layer at a time, which creates a sense of history in the painting. It's like looking at a fence post that's been repainted over a period of time. You can see the different colors and layers," remarked Leonard.

The White Room Gallery is located at 2415 Main Street in Bridgehampton. For more information, visit www.thewhiteroom.gallery.

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