Fine Art conversations/Five artists, the inaugural 2023 exhibition at James Yarosh Associates Gallery, presents a stimulating celebration of color and debating artistic voices.

The show, which runs April 15 through September 30, 2023, features Miriam Beerman, Robert Melee, Iliya Mirochnik, Sheba Sharrow and Vjachaslav Zabelin. Previews are April 1 and 8 prior to the opening weekend April 15 and 16.

“This exhibition explores the conversations of five artists from various backgrounds to discover visual synergy and common ground,” says gallerist James Yarosh. The show is grouped by artist, which allows viewers to experience the integrity of each artistic voice while still allowing for a dialogue among the artists in the room.

“This new show continues the emboldened conversations started with Miriam Beerman 1923–2022: Nothing Has Changed, last year’s featured exhibition,” says Yarosh, who served as guest curator for an exhibition of the same name at Monmouth University last fall. “Now that we are post-pandemic, I invite guests to return to the gallery to explore and engage in dialogue about the art and what the artists are communicating to us across time through the language of visuals, not words.”

Fine Art conversations/Five artists furthers the momentum of Yarosh’s curatorial activism of recent years.

Artists featured:

Miriam Beerman (1923–2022) When Miriam Beerman passed away in February 2022 at 98, she left a six-decade legacy of humanist expressionism works that are included in the permanent collections of over 60 museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney, LACMA, Phillips Collection, National Gallery of Art and Victoria & Albert Museum.

Beerman focused on humanistic subjects as someone whose role was to bear witness to her times. In her hands, subjects of mankind — man vs. the world — are transformed through a storytelling of the shared experiences of men, women and children. Her created worlds also include a special sensitivity to animals and a call for humans to acknowledge their responsibility to all living things and the effects our actions have upon them. As a gifted colorist, her work connects on an almost primal level. Beerman also was a pioneer: She was one of the first women to be given a one-person show at the Brooklyn Museum, in 1971. A 50 minute artist documentry, Miriam Beerman - Expessing the Chaos, streams on both Amazon Prime and YouTube.

Robert Melee (b. 1966) is interested in the universal psychology of the everyday, which he makes his own. His multimedia practice (painting, sculpture, photography, video, installation) finds its psychological analogues in the blurring of beauty and grotesquerie, nostalgia and critique.

Melee studied at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, has been an artist-in-residence at Tucson MOCA and had residencies at the Center For Contemporary Art (Futura), Prague, and the National Foundation for the Advancement in the Arts, Miami. He is the recipient of the 2015 Pollock-Krasner Award, New York.

Iliya Mirochnik (b.1988)— who emigrated from Odessa, Ukraine, in the early 1990s — studied at LaGuardia High School of Music and Art and Performing Art and in the Bridgeview School of Fine Arts in New York under the tutelage of professors trained in the art academies of the former Soviet Union. He earned his MFA in painting from the I.E. Repin State Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in St. Petersburg, Russia.

He has been recipient of a number of prestigious scholarships and awards, both in the United States and Russia, including first place in both the American Portrait Society’s International Portrait Competition and the IconBay sculpture competition, where he was selected to execute his design for a large outdoor sculptural installation in Miami. In 2014, he taught at Dacia Gallery’s Artist Residency Program in Sibiu, Romania. Mirochnik, featured on the New Masters Academy website for online art instruction, has been a full-time professor at the Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Fla. since 2018, where he teaches painting and drawing in the Illustration and Game Design Departments.

Sheba Sharrow (1926–2006) Sheba Sharrow’s expressionist paintings are masterful and refined, engaging us with mortality and desire, vulnerability and power, warfare and spirituality. Her figurative paintings bear witness to human suffering, struggle and liberation.

Born in Brooklyn in 1926 to Russian-Jewish immigrant parents and raised in Chicago, Sharrow was a child of the Great Depression and World War II, a participant in the social justice movements of the 1960s and ’70s and saw the bloody roads walked for civil rights and the damages wrought by wars. She earned her BFA at the Art Institute of Chicago, studying with Boris Anisfeld and Joseph Hirsch. She continued her studies at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and earned an MFA at the Tyler School of the Arts at Temple University.

She has been considered part of the “Chicago School” of imagist painters. Through a vigorous and poetic hand, her work reflects on brutality and simultaneously pays homage to the animating power of solidarity, warning us: Remember, history’s tragedies repeat.

Vjachaslav Zabelin (1935–2001) Considered a living master during his lifetime in Moscow, Vjachaslav Zabelin has 300 paintings in museum collections throughout the world. A Surikov professor and artist who was held such high regard by the state, Zabelin was awarded studio space with views of the Kremlin.

Born in 1935 in Khamovniki, an old region of Moscow, Zabelin was strongly influenced by the Russian world around him yet was particularly gifted with a rare ability to see light and color in the non-abstracted beauty of objects. His creative work is of great importance to the culture of Russia because of its place in the history of the Moscow School of painting.

“In this grouping, one sees Robert Melee’s abstracted works that include unconventional mediums offering inspired commentary regarding the era of his youth, sitting cozily next to colorist Miriam Beerman’s figurative expressionist paintings, which show how life’s darkness can be defeated with prismatic light,” Yarosh says. “Meanwhile, Sheba Sharrow’s humanist paintings become more beautiful the more difficult the subject matter. These content-charged and masterfully painted pieces by Beerman and Sharrow illustrate why we need to re-examine female artists of the 20th century.

“In a separate dialogue, works by Iliya Mirochnik — a romantic painter who is grounded in academic traditions but remains contemporary in his storytelling — are seen in a new light when juxtaposed with those by Vjachaslav Zabelin, who is considered the father of Russian Impressionism and whose work captures the light and quiet spaces between subject and artist,” Yarosh continues. “The diversity of the artwork curated together creates an exciting cacophony of color and the result within the gallery walls becomes that of pure joy.”

An artist, gallerist and designer of curated homes, Yarosh hones his eye by studying how the great museums of the world display thought-provoking exhibitions. “Whether I am hanging an exhibition or a client’s collection, there is a visual ‘word’ association that come into play, and the collective results are wonderfully complicated and fulfilling,” he says.

Curated design objects that complement the art — a nod to Yarosh’s mission to showcase what it means to live with fine art — are part of this exhibition. Included are a collection of vintage artisan rugs from Josh Nazmiyal, Rug & Kilim; framing by Marcelo Barvaro, who has served as the gallery’s framemaker for two decades; and textiles, including traditional horsehair and examples from fabric houses such as Bevilacqua, Clarence House, Dedar, Fortuny, Hill Brown, Nobilis and Scalamandré.