West Side Rag » Mother and son run a unique gallery where artists can work and the neighborhood can watch


Posted on March 22, 2022 at 3:40 p.m. by West Side Rag

Pearce Green and Liz Curtis.

By Lisa Kava

On Amsterdam Ave at 82nd Street, nestled between the Richard Corman Photography Gallery and the Sofia Storage Center, is a unique art gallery, founded by a mother-son duo from the Upper West Side.

Wild Geese Gallery hosts art exhibitions, but unlike a typical gallery, it is also a space where local artists are invited to come and work side by side. Neighborhood residents can watch these artists at work.

Wild Geese Gallery is the brainchild of 23-year-old Pearce Green and his mother, Elizabeth (Liz) Curtis. Green is an artist who works in a variety of mediums and a student studying creative writing. Curtis is a seven-time American Latin American Professional Ballroom Dance Champion and World Finalist.

Pearce and his paintings.

Passing by the gallery, one might be attracted by the large-scale paintings with bright and cheerful colors. West Side Rag had the opportunity to visit and chat with Green inside the gallery surrounded by his work. “It just feels right to create really brilliant art. When I started drawing, I always used bright Crayola markers.

Green found himself painting more than ever when Covid hit. “I started painting obsessively in my flat during Covid, and the walls were closing in,” he said. “I was also walking around seeing many empty storefronts.”

Liz Curtis was visiting her friend Richard Corman in his gallery after dropping off boxes at the Sofia storage center located in the same building. “We both agreed that the empty space next door seemed perfect for an art studio,” Curtis said. She phoned Len Sofia, the owner, to discuss it. “Len loved the idea of ​​keeping the block alive with art,” she recalls. A lease was signed and in November 2020 the empty space became “Pearce Green Art”.

From the start, Green hoped to bring artists together in an informal setting. “I wanted to create a place for artists who wouldn’t normally have access to a gallery to be able to exhibit their work. I wanted to create a collaborative space,” Green said. He also wanted to create an atmosphere where people in the neighborhood could see the artists at work. Word spread quickly, artists were drawn to the space and soon the gallery was bustling. Artists often worked late into the night, Green said.

“Young artists would walk by, see Pearce splattered with paint, throwing clay on a ceramic wheel and the next thing you know, they’d be painting next to him on the floor,” Curtis said. “The energy in the space reminded me of when I was a young dancer sweating it out with my peers.”

In February 2022, Green and Curtis changed the name of the gallery to “Wild Geese Gallery”. “The original name, ‘Pearce Green Art,’ was a placeholder,” Green said. “The gallery has never been for me alone. [The new name] was inspired by Mary Oliver’s poem and my Irish family history, when immigrants like my grandparents were nicknamed “wild geese,” Curtis explained.

Works by ‘artists in residence’ Max Geller and Sophie Goodwin are currently on display until March 25 at the Wild Geese Gallery along with Green’s paintings. Geller and Goodwin worked inside the gallery during the winter months, Geller in small-scale sculpture and Goodwin in oil painting.

Kadir Lopez Nieves.

The next show, from March 31 to April 24, will bring Cuban artist Kadir Lopez Nieves, known for his neon signs, to New York. Nieves, who is based in Havana, is currently working on the pieces for this exhibit, titled “Island to Island.” The show will depict “islands around the world that are linked by heritage or friendship,” Curtis said.

“From island to island”.

There will be an opening party to celebrate Nieves on March 31 from 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Those interested in attending can RSVP to [email protected]

Additional exhibitions are planned at the Wild Geese Gallery this spring, including one showing the work of Upper West Side photographer Henry Michaelis, starting in May.

The Wild Geese Gallery is open to the public seven days a week from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. Hours may vary when installing exhibits. For more information and updates, follow Wild Geese Gallery on Instagram at @wildgeese.gallery or www.wildgeesegallery.com. Note: The website is still in development. The Wild Geese Gallery can also be reached at 917-371-2355.

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