June 19, 2024
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Riverdale Y Presents Wood Assemblages by Dennis Shelton

Gallery 18 at the Riverdale Y will present Dennis Shelton’s latest artwork, “Fragmented Cohesion,” through December 13, in an in-person, not virtual, format. Masks are required and visitors will be allowed into the gallery in small groups.

Known for his paper collages, Shelton used the medium of wood in the form of assemblages for his current exhibit. Conceived during the challenging times of isolation and despair during COVID-19, Shelton turned to wood’s strength and character, namely its hardiness and sense of permanence, which paper, with its fragility, cannot import. Shelton explained that two things triggered the wood assemblages in this exhibit: the artist’s childhood memory of taking unrelated wood pieces and creating an artistic whole from them, and his response to the pandemic. “I remember the joy and satisfaction, but more importantly the feeling of peace and safety wood provided. In the midst of COVID-19, with feelings surrounding me of isolation and separation, disorder and confusion, fear and danger, loneliness and despair, I wanted and needed a safe place to land.”

Shelton used small and unrelated wood pieces to make both abstract and face compositions allowing him to make a statement about unity in dark times and the strength of togetherness despite the realities of the coronavirus.

Shelton explained his work: “The colors black, white and gray represent people and the mood of these times. The red, blue, yellow and green represent the four elements needed for the sustainability of life.” Shelton continued, “The faces were left in their raw and true state, beautiful in spite of any imperfections.” The show exudes resilience and hope. It has movement, balance and unity, mirroring the parts of our lives that help us maintain sanity in a dark world.

A Bronx resident, Shelton completed undergraduate and graduate degrees in art, art education and printmaking at Lehman College, where he became adjunct professor of education, teaching early childhood and elementary school teachers. He was also an art teacher at John F. Kennedy High School for more than 35 years.

Retired from teaching in 2016, Shelton continues to produce artwork on a full-time basis. He has had solo art shows at Gallery 18, KRVC’s Gallery 505, Riverdale-Yonkers Ethical Culture Center and Riverdale Senior Services Center, where he won first- and second-place ribbons in mixed media and drawing at the Vintage Art Show. He has exhibited in group shows at Blue Door Art Center and Riverfront Gallery in Yonkers, Beth-El Synagogue Center in New Rochelle and the Poe Art Center in the Bronx.

Gallery 18 at the Riverdale Y is located at 5625 Arlington Avenue, Bronx, NY, 10471. The gallery showcases the work of local artists representing a variety of media, with all art for sale and 20% of all proceeds helping to enhance cultural arts programming at the Y. For further information, please contact Maria Neuda, curator, Gallery 18, at [email protected] or call 718-687-8025.

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