An artistic sign of the time

For many artists, the coronavirus has been a case of exhibitions interrupted, postponed or even canceled. Valeri Larko – a New Rochelle-based artist who captures the grit and beauty of abandoned buildings and graffiti-ed infrastructure in her light-dappled, Hopperesque canvases– was scheduled to have a show of her recent signage paintings, “Signs of the Times,” at Lyons Wier Gallery in Manhattan in late March and April. As you can imagine, that never happened. Instead you can take a virtual tour of the show, created by Walter’s Cube, here

What’s interesting about Larko’s work is that because of its subject matter – like the graffiti-ed Mount Vernon warehouse and lonely picnic table sheltered by trees from a passing Metro-North train in “We’re Gonna Catch You!,” a 2018 oil on canvas pictured here – it seems prescient and timely, with everything now closed and, in some cases, forgotten. (The title, by the way, refers to the warning sign on the building, which was targeted by unknown arsonists.)

It’s as if the world has finally caught up to Larko’s vision. Her paintings – which can take up to three months to produce, from onsite drawings to color sketches to the finished product – remind us that it is context that drives perception.

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