Arts & Affairs Features

Mira Lehr: Arc of Nature

Photo by Nick Garcia

The new season of art kicks off in Palm Beach County with Mira Lehr: Arc of Nature. The show features bold and colorful works by Mira Lehr that have never been exhibited before, spanning 2,000 square feet, the entire front gallery space of Rosenbaum Contemporary (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 three works acquired this year by The Metropolitan Museum of Art New York.


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 Nov. 27, 2022 – April 1, 2023), and for The Miami Creative Movement show at the Center for Visual Communication in Wynwood (on view Nov. 19, 2022 – 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 vs. pessimism with regards to climate change, and the battle of nature vs. man-made. Lehr’s new works invoke a sense of wonder for our disappearing natural world,” added Rosenbaum.


“Both creation and destruction are forces of nature,” commented 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,” added 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-Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.)


In this exhibition Mira Lehr: Arc of Nature, her new 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 Elanor Heartney writes in the book, “Lehr has traveled 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,” added 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 noted:


“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.’”