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First Friday for new gallery


I’m happy to report that there’s a new gallery in town. Roberta and I ended our FF by heading up to 2nd and Spring Garden for a show at Hyder Gallery, as in artist Frank Hyder. He built the place himself, bricks and all, and lives and paints there too. Hyder came home from his Fulbright in Venezuela and was so impressed with how the neighborhood had improved that he decided the time was ripe for opening a gallery.

His opening night featured himself and four other artists–Paul Santoleri, Ira Upin, James Dupree and (a new name to me) Henry Bermudez–plus a live band. Very nice space, very nice music, very nice art.

Hyder’s work has a kind of art-work-as-magical-talisman quality that makes me think of Jose Bedia, and I find this magic forces behind the world as we know it in Dupree’s and Upin’s work. This quality might explain why Hyder was such a hit in Venezuela, where he had a six-month show in the largest museum there.


In his “Stolen Dreams and Forbidden Fruit Series” (shown, number 1 in the series) James Dupree suggests that the whirling fruits are possessed with power.

The paintings are antithesis of a still life, with normally inert objects traveling through time and space.


And Ira Upin’s pieces also seemed to be about force fields of power. His materials by the way are oil, tar and paper on canvas, a contrast to Hyder’s gold leaf, but the materials are part of the magic power for both artists (shown, Upin’s “Opposing Forces”).


Henry Bermudez’s small 10″ x 8″ “Horse and the Gold Jungle” (shown) and his large 96″ x 48″ “Inner Landscape” seem to travel into magical kingdoms where pattern is powerful, and I’m reminded of the Unicorn tapestries not just by subject matter but by the crisp significance of the repeating tangles. The magic in Bermudez’s work is more like the magic of mythology and fairytales, but not of shamans and rituals.


Paul Santoleri also doesn’t exactly have religious power but he, like Bermudez does create a feel of magical forces trembling beneath the world as we know it. His work has some of the twisting and tangling energy that Bermudez’s has. Santolero’s sets a semi-mythological world into dizzying motion. His paintings and drawings (shown, “Bramble”) (and of course his murals) are transformative and charming but are not magic charms.

Hyder also mentioned that he and Santoleri and Bermudez were collaborating on a mural for the lucky street where the gallery is. That’s a bundle of neighborhood initiative being set into motion.