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Devin Powers and SEMI AUTOMATIC Exhibitions Featured at Lesley Heller Workspace, 10/24-11/25

Lesley Heller Workspace announces the exhibitions on view October 24 – November 25, 2012 (opening reception set for Wednesday, October 24, 6-8pm). Gallery 1: Devin Powers, Paintings. Gallery 2: Semi Automatic, featuring René Pierre Allain, Paul Campbell, Margaret Evangeline, Gerald Ferguson, Micah Ganske and Shih Yun Yeo.

Gallery 1: Lesley Heller Workspace presents the paintings of Devin Powers in his first solo exhibition in New York City. Powers explores forms drawn from unusual geometries. He follows the nature of these spaces as well as contradicts them, creating a vibrant dissonance within the order of the composition. Powers gives equal weight to the content embedded in the paintings and the structures that elicit them.

In the painting Path, the space feels architectural, evoking the ribs of a vaulted cathedral. In other works, such as the recent painting Storm, the lines seem to be in motion; the dense, layered network manages to summon the drama of action painting. The color and the scraped traces present in the works add to this energy.

Powers enjoys the "grit and smudge" of his handmade process. It is a metaphor for "how this Apollonian or Platonic mathematical world brushes against our messy reality." The patterns he makes have no fixed answer, yet they evoke a semblance of infinity - for Powers, painting is about discovery.

Devin Powers received a BA in Studio Art from Bennington College in 2005 and an MFA in Painting and Drawing in 2009 from Brooklyn College. Since graduation he has had three solo exhibitions; "Things Keep Their Secrets" at Win Wilder Hall in Rockland, ME, "Unification" at the Kent Place School Gallery in Summit, NJ, and "Clotho" at the Brooklyn College Library in Brooklyn, NY.

Gallery 2: The exhibition Semi Automatic highlights the work of six artists that explore unusual means of art making. Most employ automatic systems that inform the creative process by replacing the personal touch or signature stroke with a mechanical means. The results are far from ordinary. Each artist finds a unique mark through his or her particular process and their selection and editing further personalizes the work. Actions once associated with The Common place are elevated to the highest levels of visual interest and beauty.

René Pierre Allain has experimented with using steel in place of the traditional canvas for many years. He uses a blowtorch to create somewhat random marks that embrace the accidental and transform the hard steel surface into images that are both reductive and sublimely beautiful.

Paul Campbell uses remote control cars and other common toys to create paintings. His method suggests playfulness and fun but the results are a serious homage to, and a wry parody of, abstract expressionist works of the past.

Margaret Evangeline fires a gun through polished stainless steel surfaces to create her art. The bullet's trajectory is disturbingly beautiful, like a thought process and the space between words. At the moment of contact a halo forms around the contact point. The surface resembles extensive space (as opposed to deep space). The bullet hole opens onto deep space. The portal opens in jagged whorls like a rose. There isn't any paint, just the sensation of it.

Gerald Ferguson (January 29, 1937 - October 8, 2009) made his conceptual paintings by covering ordinary objects like trash cans, chain, rope, etc. with canvas and rolling over them with black house paint. He was a seminal figure in the Canadian art world for many years prior to his death in 2009.

Micah Ganske's sculptures, created with a Maker Bot laser printer, depict a futurist architectural view of the ideal while hinting at a view of the past/present gone terribly awry.

Shih Yun Yeo's recent works were created by hanging brushes from a tree and allowing the wind to create the marks. Her works explore mystical aspects of the drawing process (accidental and impermanent manifestations). Change and transience are important in her creative process. The obvious reference can be made to historic Asian ink drawings depicting nature, but her work puts an interesting spin on the traditional by allowing nature to become one with the artist rather than the artist becoming one with nature. Shih Yun is based in Singapore.

For more about the exhibitions, visit

Pictured (top) "Path" 2012 Devin Powers, oil on canvas
Pictured (side) "Valentine" 2010 Margaret Evangeline, gunshot powder coated stainless steel

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