Tuesday, December 23, 2008

New York Daily News article

NY hometown girl in NY's hometown paper

An article appeared in the New York Daily News/ Queens section on Tuesday, December 9th on my exhibit at Art-O-Mat. It has not been posted on their website, so I cannot provide a direct link.

L.I.C. artist canvasses her nabe for architecture in peril
By Brendan Brosh, Photo by Steven Sunshine

LONG ISLAND City's changing landscape is the subject of a new exhibition by a local artist who has become an unintended archivist of the neighborhood's architectural history.

Sharon Florin, whose exhibition "L.I.Changing" is on display at Art-O-Mat L.I.C. gallery on Vernon Blvd. until February, has been painting Long Island City buildings for nearly 30 years.

Many of Florin's subjects have been torn down in the last few years - casualties of the area's rapid redevelopment.

"I like to paint what is here today and might be gone tomorrow," said Florin, 56, who grew up in Woodhaven. "I want to capture a part of the neighborhood before it changes dramatically."

Florin's current exhibition includes 36 oil paintings, with familiar landmarks such as the Queensboro Bridge and PS 1 Contemporary Art Center.

Florin photographs her subjects from many angles before she starts a painting.

"You don't need multiple degrees in art history to appreciate her art," said Tobi Kahn, 56, a teacher at the School of Visual Arts who has shared studio space with Florin for almost 30 years.

"Her juxtaposition is beautiful. She always picks the right angle to paint from" he said.

Florin's attachment to the neighborhood is evident in her work, Kahn said: "She loves her subject matter."

Florin said she views Long Island City's redevelopment as part of the natural order.

"New York City is constantly tearing itself down and being reinvented," she said. "I just look through my viewfinder on my camera and try to find an interesting painting."

Florin's friends even tease her about the "Florin Curse," where buildings she paints soon disappear.

"I see her as a visual historian," said Louise Weinberg, 54, who curated the exhibition. "Her intent is to preserve the visual landscape, which is being rapidly torn down."

Florin, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 1995, said her illness led her to quit her day job as a desktop publisher and devote her time to art.

"I realized life is short and I should be doing what I want to do," Florin said. "Thankfully, I'm still doing it."

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