Gallery View: Bradbury-Sullivan celebrates women
The Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center, celebrating Black History Month in February and Women’s History Month in March, spotlights the work of Pocono area artists Courtney Natt and Sylvia Thompson, along with Allentown-based textile artist Noelle Molloy. The exhibitions continue through April 8.
“Create and Be” features the paintings by Natt and fine art photographs by her fiancée, Thompson.
“@loeil.de.la.mer” (2020; Oil on canvas; 36 in. x 40 in.) by Natt is influenced by a portrait of someone she follows on Instagram. The painting’s title is her subject’s online handle.
“She’s very comfortable in her own skin, has that gender fluidity and isn’t afraid to show that,” says Natt.
Natt described how the portrait’s subject reflects her own feelings of “getting comfortable in my own skin.” The yellow, pink and blue hues emanating from the model’s head and shoulders “shows us the freedom that person has, and knows no boundaries,” adds Natt.
“I’m super-inspired by ancient Egyptian history. This is something new for me,” says Natt, referring to her other works in the exhibition, including “The Queen” and “Pharaoh Gold and Bronze.”
Nat, born in Brooklyn, N,Y., relocated to the Poconos in her early teens. After an accident in which her father died in 2011, she found solace in videography and a re-kindled passion for fine art. The self-taught artist’s paintings illuminate themes of spirituality, grief, unity and love.
Thompson’s “Don’t Stare” (2020; Fuji Lustre print; 1 of 2; 11 in. x 14 in.) is a digital black and white portrait of a friend she has known since middle school.
“I thought he would be a great muse just because he seems so photogenic on Instagram,” says Thompson.
“I think it’s just really amazing how people can actually be organically themselves with things I would struggle with,” Thompson says.
In addition to color digital prints of her gender-fluid colleague, there are photographs of fabric art that Thompson designed, including several colorful tutus.
Thompson, born in Jersey City, N.J., moved to Pennsylvania at an early age. Her mother’s death from cancer in 2015 triggered a her pursuit of photography.
Thompson and Natt co-founded Create & Be Art Culture Studios, 8 N. Sixth St., Stroudsburg.
Molloy’s vibrant installation “Surrealist Rise Up” (2020; Feathers on a costume form; 60 in. x 52 in.) is funded by a 2020 Art of Encouragement Grant by the Allentown Arts Commission. The winged, rainbow-like free-flowing creation is inspired by vintage Hollywood glamour and the “fabulous” free spirits she met in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco, Calif.
Molloy, who studied art at the Baum School of Art and Barnstone Studios, was a lead designer for 15 years at Piedmont Boutique, a costume shop in San Francisco. Molloy started her own Burlesque showgirl costume company in Las Vegas, Nev.
The installation, on loan to the Arts Commission for one year, next will be placed in Arthaus.
A limited number of visitors is allowed in the gallery to ensure social-distancing. Face masks are required. Hand sanitizer is available.
Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center pop-up retail gallery, 21 N. Seventh St., Allentown. Gallery hours: 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. Tuesday - Friday, and by appointment, Closed Saturday - Monday. Information: www.bradburysullivancenter.org; 610-347-9988
“Gallery View” is a column about artists, exhibitions and galleries. To request coverage, email: Paul Willistein, Focus editor, email@example.com