Nature’s Rallying Cry: Honoring Mira Lehr (1934-2023)

by | Mar 31, 2023

Mira Lehr

Just days before Mira Lehr passed away on January 24, the artist had aptly titled her new exhibition Nature’s Rallying Cry. The second part of this show’s title – Honoring Mira Lehr – was added after her passing.

When Lehr gave her final blessing in early January on which paintings would be shown at the C. Parker Gallery in Greenwich, she was still making new artworks every day in her studio. During recent years, Lehr created new work at an even greater pace than ever before during her six decades of artmaking.

Her passing was recognized worldwide, some of the many tributes published across the U.S. and internationally include: The New York Times; The Art Newspaper in London, Paris, Israel, China and Italy; on PBS Television; The Boston Globe; The San Francisco Chronicle; on MSN News across Latin America, and many more.

Most of the 26 artworks in this show have never been exhibited before, and were created during the last four years of Lehr’s life.

The nationally acclaimed, eco-feminist artist thrived on exhibiting her newest art, and she was looking forward to audiences seeing some of her most recent paintings at this show. Because of this, the exhibition includes one of Lehr’s last works, which she completed in January of 2023.

One of Mira Lehr’s last paintings, Orion’s Belt (completed by Lehr in January of this year)

“The C. Parker Gallery is thrilled to bring Mira Lehr’s important artworks to the northeast for this show. Lehr was a pioneer in the arts, a leader in environmental activism, and a champion of women. Lehr’s vision of a better world shines through in this exhibition,” says Tiffany Benincasa, owner of the C. Parker Gallery.

“This collection gives tribute to both Mira Lehr and some of her final artworks. During the week of Art Basel Miami Beach, I was honored to work with Mira at her home studio, where she invited me to collaborate on selecting works. As we continued this selection process into January, I could not have imagined this would be the last time Mira Lehr would personally plan an exhibition,” adds Tiffany Benincasa.

In 1969, the visionary Buckminster Fuller selected Lehr as one of only two artists for his groundbreaking World Game Project to spearhead sustainability and nurture the planet ‒ it was a year before the very first Earth Day, and was the catalyst for Lehr’s inspiration to devote her art to the cause of nature.

In December of 2022 during Art Basel Miami Beach, Lehr’s work was selected for three concurrent exhibitions for Miami Art Week.

Things That Change (Grids of Active Planetary Events), by Mira Lehr

Working with imagery from the natural world, Lehr created layered abstract compositions with unconventional materials. The lush flora of her Miami Beach home/studio profoundly influenced Lehr’s aesthetic vocabulary.

Her nature-based imagery encompassed painting, design, sculpture and video installations. Lehr’s processes included non-traditional media – she ignited and exploded fuses across her canvas with gunpowder and fire. The flames burned holes and left imprints on her paintings.

She layered delicate Japanese paper, applied resin, dyes and welded steel. She described her use of explosives as tying into the theme of creation versus destruction, which to Lehr is integral to the cycles and beauty of nature.

The art historian Irving Sandler described her use of imagery: “What makes Lehr’s work different is the specificity of her references to nature. I was trying to think of any other artist working in this tradition who did it quite as explicitly as Mira does, and I couldn’t come up with one.”

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