Friday, June 19, 2015

You're Invited To Opening Reception Of Peter Gerakaris Tropicalia Immersive Mixed Media Exhibit Celebrating Roosevelt Island Cornell Tech Campus Groundbreaking Saturday June 20 At Gallery RIVAA

Roosevelt Island's Gallery RIVAA will be hosting an opening reception Saturday evening June 20 for an exhibition Titled Tropicalia by Peter Gerakaris. According to Gallery RIVAA:

Tuesday, June 16, 2015 - Friday, July 31, 2015
Opening Reception: Saturday, June 20, 2015 from 6-9 PM.

Tropicalia, art exhibition, a site-specific mural installation by Peter D. Gerakaris, sponsored by Cornell Tech, Tuesday, June 16th until Friday, July 31st

Image of Gallery RIVAA Tropicalia Exhibit From Peter Gerakaris

More photos of the Gallery RIVAA Tropicalia exhibit by Peter Gerakaris.

Cornell Tech issued this press release on the Tropicalia exhibit.
Cornell Tech is excited to announce the debut of Tropicália – an immersive, mixed media, site-specific installation created by artist Peter D. Gerakaris – on Tuesday, June 16 at Gallery RIVAA, run by the Roosevelt Island Visual Art Association (527 Main Street). Cornell Tech commissioned the artwork to commemorate the historic groundbreaking of its new tech campus on Roosevelt Island.

“Peter’s project is a magnificent example of the kind of creativity and innovation we plan to bring to our campus on a regular basis and we’re proud to feature a fellow Cornellian while doing so,” said Jane Swanson, assistant director of government and community relations for Cornell Tech. “This is one more step towards our commitment to bring public art to the Roosevelt Island community.”

Tropicália represents a bellwether for the university’s presence by fusing art, technology, place and community. This sprawling 1,000 square foot installation of kaleidoscopic imagery engages the public in visual play as new layers, patterns, and connections are revealed with each viewing. Covering nearly every wall of the gallery, including parts of the floor, the artwork is cleverly peppered with hidden surprises: some elements are only visible from certain vantage points, while others are heightened through the use of 3D glasses, therefore enticing the public to embark on an exotic voyage. The exhibition will be on view until July 31st with an opening reception for the public on June 20th, from 6-9pm.


By transplanting tropical motifs in NYC, Tropicália seeks to stimulate our notions of the exotic. Gerakaris’ “pop-botanic” style tickles the retina and mind, presenting a “postnatural” vision of nature as if diffracted through a pop-cultural lens. His energetic, global iconography is further inspired by myriad travels throughout islands in West Africa, Asia, Central America, and the Caribbean. Sited on Roosevelt Island – a place remaining largely unknown to most New Yorkers – this exhibit strives to provide a sense of transport and discovery for visitors and residents alike.

Showcasing lush vignettes through the gallery’s ground-floor windows, Tropicália invites the public to explore. The labyrinthine interior is loosely subdivided into four “intertropical zones” in which visitors may navigate at leisure. Each zone contains a distinctive color palette, or “visual surround sound” abuzz with morphing pollinators, atomic sunsets, and neon tsunamis. Flowing like the equator along the visual horizon, certain elements suddenly veer onto the floor, around a corner, or into an unexpected alcove to generate visual disruptions. Other trenchant juxtapositions – such as an evaporating honeycomb situated next to a Mayan ruin, or a bee swirling into a cosmic spiral – call into question our fractured relationship with the environment.

Curator Kendal Henry suggests, “The installation gets hotter as you move toward the core environment. As you explore, you apprehend the work’s layers, literally and metaphorically – some being more obvious, while others are hidden. As the super-graphic effect pulls you in toward smaller details, you see the imperfection of the hand – perhaps a metaphor for how life in paradise is not all it seems when inspected under the microscope.”

Additionally, Henry has selected a group of medium to small-scale works from the artist’s Mask Series, which are displayed on gallery columns like islands amidst a sea of imagery. Nearly all of the visual content of the installation derives from these smaller works, whose presence helps illuminate the process and cosmology behind the work.

Gerakaris adds, “The Mask paintings invert the notion of a mask by projecting our inner psyche on an exterior meant to conceal. By conflating an abundance of disparate cultural icons into one aesthetic, I aim to construct ‘Global Masks’ for our era. Perhaps this installation also parallels the hypercoherence of our contemporary world – a global civilization that is growing almost as wildly and chaotically as nature itself.”

Wrapping over gallery walls and floors, the imagery is derived entirely from the artist’s analog paintings, which he has digitally scanned and playfully remixed like a visual DJ. Enlarged into enormous murals through an industrial printing process, these collage-like tableaus are then installed throughout the gallery like a second-skin. On site, the artist subsequently applies all finishing touches by hand through a meticulous, yet improvised process of cutting, painting, and collaging – in essence, restoring the analog spirit of the source images. The artist further seeks to generate a full sensory experience by embedding a softly looping, ambient soundtrack of exotic tonalities co-produced with composer/producer Trevor Gureckis. Visitors are also invited to view the individual artworks with the 3D stereoscopic glasses provided.

Note: The artist shall donate a percentage of any sales garnered from this exhibition to the Cornell Annual Fund. This fund assists students with financial need, in addition to subsidizing academic travel stipends and other resources essential for a creative student to flourish.

Gallery Hours

Wednesday & Friday: 10am-12pm, 1pm-4pm, 6pm-9pm

Saturday & Sunday: 11am-5pm

Gallery RIVAA, 527 Main Street, Roosevelt Island

* To arrange a private viewing, please contact:

Peter D. Gerakaris is an American interdisciplinary artist whose work is showcased in prominent institutional collections including: the U.S. Department of State Art in Embassies Program Permanent Collection in Libreville, Gabon; Citibank; the Shirley L. & Herbert J. Semler Foundation; the Waskowmium; and the Schomburg Center; in addition to numerous private collections such as Beth Rudin DeWoody.

In addition to solo shows at Wave Hill and iSolAIR (Cape Verde Islands, Africa), Gerakaris has exhibited at the Bronx Museum of the Arts; Chinese Contemporary Gallery; Loretta Howard Gallery; Daniel Weinberg Gallery; the National Academy of Fine Arts; and the Mykonos Biennale. The artist has also created public commissions, including a large site-specific window installation at BERGDORF GOODMAN, curated by Grey Area.

Gerakaris earned a BFA from Cornell University and MFA from Hunter College, where he also received the Tony Smith Prize. Additional distinctions include: the Edwin Austin Abbey Fellowship at the National Academy of Fine Arts; the Clowes Foundation Full-Fellowship Award at the Vermont Studio Center; Red Gate Gallery Residency in Beijing; and the iSolAIR U.S. Embassy Praia Artist in Residence Fellowship.

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Kendal Henry is an artist and curator who lives in New York City and specializes in the field of public art. Through the projects and programs he has initiated around the world, Henry illustrates that public art can be used as a tool for social engagement, civic pride, and economic development. He believes that the most successful public artworks take into account the audience and surrounding environment in the creation of the artwork, and start with the question, “What do you want the artwork to do?

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The Roosevelt Island Visual Art Association (RIVAA) is a non-profit organization comprised of an internationally diverse group of artists. Supported by public, private donations and artist contributions, RIVAA opened the first gallery on Roosevelt Island in March 2002. RIVAA is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life in the community through art, community events and workshops.

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