Mira Lehr’s ‘Planetary Visions’ series opens at Boca Raton gallery

Mira Lehr with one of her new works, ‘Norweky,’ from the 2020 series Planetary Visions. Acrylic, ink, burned and dyed Japanese paper, ignited fuses, and handwriting on canvas. Photo by Michael E. Fryd

BOCA RATON, Fla. – During the pandemic quarantine this year, Mira Lehr has created more work than ever before in her six decades as an artist. Her new series, called “Planetary Visions from Spaceship Earth,” represents a bold departure for the artist. By invitation, her new series is currently exhibited at Rosenbaum Contemporary gallery in Boca Raton, Florida and runs through January 16, 2021. The gallery will feature online initiatives to allow art lovers from all over the world to experience Lehr’s new work across digital platforms. This year also marks the 60th anniversary of Lehr’s visionary founding of Continuum, one of America’s first women-artist co-ops.

“This is a major turning point for humanity. Because of the global pandemic, for the first time in human history, the entire population of the planet is thinking about the same problems ─ and grasping for the same solutions,” said Mira Lehr. “Together, we can meet this challenge and use this time to transcend across borders and places, with a unified vision for the world. We must now work together to address global problems without thoughts of artificial separations between human beings.”

She added: “The title Planetary Visions refers to the need for all of us to remain focused on this  shared vision that we need. We are a one-world landmass island, surrounded by water, flying across the galaxy on our Spaceship Earth. What happens in one part of our world affects all of us, and the pandemic proves this like never before.

‘Ancient Secret Map’ by Mira Lehr, 2020. Burned Japanese paper, ignited gunpowder, ink, thread and pins on canvas

Planetary Visions also refers to the mythical places featured on some of these newer paintings, my visions of environmental flashpoints happening around the globe,” Lehr continued. “While these are all imaginary places that I envisioned as an armchair traveler during the pandemic quarantine, the climate issues depicted are very real: rising seas, air pollution, global warming, and more. These issues also point back to the pandemic. Each invented place represents different climate challenges that are alarming, and time is running out for our planet Earth.” She ignites gunpowder fuses across the exhibition’s landmasses to create the visual effect of fuses from a ticking time-bomb.

The selection of 20 works by Lehr span nearly 2,000 square feet, with the entire front of the gallery dedicated to this new show.

‘A Mystic Silence that Cannot Engage,’ by Mira Lehr, 2020. Acrylic, ink, burned and dyed Japanese paper, and handwriting on canvas

Lehr says being in quarantine heightened her creativity and “opened up new worlds.” She describes her new paintings as “darker, more mysterious…time appears to stand still, waiting for the moment to search for solutions for our world.  These glossy surfaces also conversely carry us in ─ because the reflection is an invitation to be involved, to be aware. Help our Spaceship Earth! There’s still time, but the clock is ticking.”

As a working artist during the social upheaval of the 1960s and 1970s, and beyond, Lehr says new new works are original visions that feel like they’re coming from a different place, “more spiritual, perhaps…What I definitely do know is that it feels like I no longer  have art history sitting on my shoulders and watching what I am doing. I am more of an explorer now.”

‘What This Earth Does Not Remember, I and II,’ by Mira Lehr, from the 2020 series Planetary Visions. Acrylic, ink, gunpowder, ignited fuses, burned and dyed Japanese paper, and handwriting on canvas

Rosenbaum Contemporary is located at 150 Yamato Road, Boca Raton, Florida. The exhibition may be viewed onsite during regular gallery hours, Tuesday-Saturday, 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., in accordance with current COVID-19 safety guidelines. Additionally, reservations for private in-person viewings may be made in advance by calling 561-994-9180. Private Zoom walk-through viewings with the gallery owner are available. Digital viewing worldwide also features this 360-degree virtual tour of the exhibition.

About the Artist:

Mira Lehr’s solo and group exhibitions number more than 300. She graduated from Vassar College in 1956 with a degree in art history, under the mentorship of Linda Nochlin, the renowned feminist art historian. Her work is held in major institutions across the United States, including the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, the Getty Museum Research Center, the Boca Raton Museum of Art, the Perez Art Museum, the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, and the Margulies Collection, and many others.

Her work is in the private collections of Marion and the late Elie Wiesel, Jane and the late Morley Safer, and the artist Judy Pfaff. Her art is also included in the prestigious Leonard Lauder Corporate Collection in New York. Thirty of her paintings were commissioned for the permanent collection of Mount Sinai Hospital. Lehr artworks can be seen in American embassies around the world, as well as in the lobby of the Evelyn Lauder Breast Center of the Sloan Kettering Memorial Center, where they are on permanent view.

Lehr’s recent solo exhibition headlined Art Basel Miami Beach 2019 at the Jewish Museum of Florida and received national and international critical acclaim. Lehr’s 2020 solo museum show at the Mennello Museum of American Art was selected by ArtNet News and The New York Times as one of their selections among the leading museum exhibitions in 2020 in the United States. Her museum-wide exhibition at the MOCA Museum in North Miami spanned across 10,000 square feet of installations.  She has currently been chosen by Flying Horse Editions as an invited artist for a major project this year.

In the 1950s, Lehr studied and worked in New York as an artist, where she met some of America’s most prominent masters including Joan Mitchell, Lee Krasner, and Helen Frankenthaler. She studied with James Brooks, Ludwig Sander, Robert Motherwell, and within the Hans Hofmann circle.

Her nature-based work encompasses painting, sculpture and video. Lehr uses non-traditional media such as gunpowder, fire, Japanese paper, dyes and welded steel, and she is known for igniting and exploding fuses to create lines of fire across her paintings.

Critics have called Lehr, who is now 86, “the godmother of Miami’s art scene,” because in 1960 she created one of the nation’s first co-ops for women artists. When Lehr moved back to Florida in 1960, she was shocked at the lack of an art scene, especially for women. She convinced many of the masters from New York to visit and lead workshops for her league of women artists. This helped the evolution of art in Florida. She was selected in 1969 by Buckminster Fuller, as one of only two artists, to participate in his World Game Project about sustainability and his groundbreaking “Spaceship Earth” concept, which preceded the world’s very first Earth Day in 1970.

Lehr’s video installation, V1 V3, was on view at the New Museum, New York. Her work has been included in numerous art fairs, including Art Basel Miami Beach, Art Miami, Pinta Art Fair and INK. She was the recipient of the Vizcaya Museum Lost Spaces Commission, where she was tasked with creating a site-specific installation by the Vizcaya Museum & Gardens as part of Vizcaya’s centennial celebration.

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