Mira Lehr: Arc of Nature

November 15, 2022
Rosenbaum Contemporary Gallery in Palm Beach County Presents The World Premiere of New Works by Mira Lehr to Launch the 2022-2023 Season of Art
– On view November 15, 2022 through January 14, 2023 –

Rosenbaum Contemporary gallery in Palm Beach County kicks off the season with Mira Lehr: Arc of Nature. The show features bold and colorful new works by Mira Lehr that have never been exhibited before, spanning 2,000 square feet across the entire front gallery, which is dedicated to Lehr’s exhibition (on view November 15, 2022 through January 14, 2023). These paintings by Lehr can be seen during the peak months of the season, including the week of Art Basel Miami Beach. Lehr’s paintings continue to be acquired by leading museums, institutions, and collectors ‒ including the acquisition this year by The Metropolitan Museum of Art New York of three of Lehr’s works.


The momentum of Lehr’s trajectory continues to soar, and this year during Miami Art Week and Art Basel Miami Beach, Mira Lehr has been selected for three concurrent exhibitions—in addition to this solo show at Rosenbaum Contemporary, her work has also been selected for a major exhibition at the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU in South Beach titled Environmental Art: Fragile Beauty (on view November 27, 2022 through April 1, 2023), and for The Miami Creative Movement show at the Center for Visual Communication in Wynwood (on view November 16, 2022 through March 15, 2023).


“These new works by Mira Lehr are characterized by an overarching sense of experimentation,” said Howard Rosenbaum, the director of Rosenbaum Contemporary. “These paintings are inspired by tropical climates, and new techniques are resplendent here with patterned gunpowder and stark white paint drips. Lehr is always honing in on the main tenets of her work: optimism versus pessimism with regards to climate change, and the battle of nature versus manmade. The new works invoke a sense of wonder for our disappearing natural world,” adds Rosenbaum.


“Both creation and destruction are forces of nature,” comments Mira Lehr. “In my artmaking, I use burning, the medium of fire, by incorporating lit fuses and igniting gunpowder across my canvases. We seem to be living through a very tenuous cycle now in our history on this planet. Nobody knows what the future holds. The flames I use in my art, the fire, is the perfect medium for this time we live in,” adds Lehr.


Rosenbaum Contemporary was founded by Marvin and Howard Rosenbaum in 1979, who have since been joined by Lara Rosenbaum. The gallery features Postwar, Modern and Contemporary masters presented through a nationally recognized museum-level exhibition program. Rosenbaum Contemporary is located at 150 Yamato Road in Boca Raton (the exhibition is viewable during gallery hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. ‒ 5:00 p.m.).


In this new exhibition Mira Lehr: Arc of Nature, her newer works abound with cyclical imagery as the artist continues to sound her clarion call to protect the planet from climate change. Through her vibrant usage of colors and inventive media, she depicts the power of nature and the earth in both utopian and dystopian portrayals.


The title of this new show at Rosenbaum Contemporary gallery comes from the new 420-page book by the same name, published by Skira Editore, Mira Lehr: Arc of Nature The Complete Monograph with essays by Eleanor Heartney, Joseph Treaster, Irving Sandler, and Thom Collins. The art critic and curator Eleanor Heartney writes in the book, “Lehr has travelled far from her early days as an aspiring Abstract Expressionist. Yet in certain ways, there is a remarkable continuity throughout the course of her evolution. She finds herself again moving into the unknown, a place she finds at once inspiring, a little terrifying, and deeply satisfying.”


“Lehr’s artmaking thoughtfully melds the principles of modernist abstraction with the lyrical beauty of the natural world,” adds Heartney. “Her work offers a reminder that art is an ever-changing organism whose past is never really past and whose future exists in embryonic form in the present.” The comprehensive book chronicles Lehr’s artistic impact, from the 1950s through the first two decades of the 21st century. Some of the paintings included in the show at Rosenbaum Contemporary can also be found in the monograph published by Skira Editore.


In Eleanor Heartney’s essay in the book, she notes: “In the first two decades of the 21st century, the news has been relentlessly grim. In recent years, Mira Lehr has added a new chapter to her distinguished oeuvre. Her recent works are consistent with modernist concerns that have long defined her aesthetic. But Lehr’s new works also exhibit a new urgency about the state of our world. She leavens her message with a seductive beauty that is designed to inspire contemplation about what is at stake to save the natural environment. Her attitude reflects that of her mentor, Buckminster Fuller, when he said, ‘When I am working on a problem, I never think about beauty but when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.’”

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About the Artist

Mira Lehr’s solo and group exhibitions number more than 300. She is a graduate of Vassar College (1956). She is the subject of a new, 420-page international monograph by the leading art book publisher Skira Editore. Lehr has been collected by major institutions across the U.S., including: the Metropolitan Museum of Art New York; the Smithsonian Museum of American Art (Washington); the Getty Museum Research Center (Los Angeles); the Boca Raton Museum of Art; the Perez Art Museum Miami; the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center (New York); the Margulies Collection; the Mennello Museum of American Art; MOCA North Miami; the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU; and the Orlando Museum of Art. Lehr has been profiled in The New York Times: www.nytimes.com/2020/03/11/arts/artist-mira-lehr-ocean-pollution.html  


Watch the recent panel discussion for Women’s History Month, featuring some of Miami’s art world leaders celebrating Mira Lehr’s leadership championing the role of women in art, at www.youtube.com/watch?v=qisi162al-Q


She is included in the Leonard Lauder Corporate Collection in New York. Her work is in the private collections of Elie and Marion Wiesel, Jane and Morley Safer, and Judy Pfaff, among others. Thirty of her paintings were commissioned for the collection of Mount Sinai Hospital. Her work can be seen in American Embassies around the world and is permanently on view in the Sloan Kettering Memorial Center. Watch the PBS National Television interview featuring Mira Lehr at: www.pbs.org/video/environmental-artist-mira-lehr-art-loft-903-segment-llr6wd 


Lehr is recognized as “the Godmother of Miami’s art scene” because in 1961 she co-founded one of the country’s first co-ops for women artists. It was called Continuum, and flourished in Miami for more than 30 years.


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


Watch New York Television’s TransBorder Art interview Mira Lehr at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Adl2pUiCYU0&t=26s


Lehr studied with James Brooks, Ludwig Sander, Robert Motherwell, and within the Hans Hofmann circle. 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). Lehr’s video installation, V1 V3, was exhibited at the New Museum in New York. She was the recipient of the Vizcaya Museum Lost Spaces Commission, where she was commissioned to create a site-specific installation as part of the Vizcaya Museum’s centennial celebrations.


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