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Artists flock to see Dutch Kills Gallery’s new exhibits

Dutch Kills Gallery, an art space that opened last year in a Long Island City industrial building in the shadow of the iconic red- and white-striped Ravenswood Power Plant smokestacks, drew about 200 artists and art lovers to a Saturday evening opening, a testament to the burgeoning art community in the utilitarian district.

The event showcased the newest works of two artists from the gallery’s collective, Mira Aldridge and Kit Brown, who were chosen at random to have their works featured this month, but ended up complimenting each other well, according to Whitey Flagg, co-owner of the Dutch Kills Gallery and its sister space, Climate/Gallery, down the hall.

Both take found paper — Aldridge uses U.S. currency and Brown draws from a variety of sources, particularly fashion magazine pages — and put it in a context different than what the viewer might expect, questioning the images they cull from daily life.

Aldridge, whose works at the gallery’s February show featured large canvases wallpapered with old and rare American bills, are then overlaid with intricately painted scenes, including a still-life fruit spread and a hovering planet.

Aldridge, a tall, lithe woman with long brown hair who towered over admirers as she discussed her work, said the idea to use money just came to her several years ago when she was working for artists and saw how much money goes into creating a piece. A photographer she knew spent $500,000 on one photo shoot.

“Instead of spending money on supplies, I started to use money to make art as I saw how much people spend,” she said. “I started to think about it more, the idea of value in art, but I don’t take it too seriously. I just do what’s interesting.”

Brown, who lives in Paris with his fiancée but has lived in Brooklyn before, displayed a selection of small recent works he brought in his carry-on when he flew in from France.

His mixed-media pieces, which vary greatly in style and execution, combine images he said he is “bombarded and inundated” with during his interaction with the outside world, with his own memories and emotions.

“A lot of it comes from what the papers are culturally, how we look at ourselves on paper, magazines, postcards and creating a story. Not necessarily in what it was originally, but also creating a new story, taking something that’s known and making it kind of unrecognizable or magical,” he said. “I take, for example, a woman in a fashion magazine and kind of show her in a way that’s different from the original intention of the work.”

The Dutch Kills show was accompanied by a more comprehensive show of more than 100 international works that Climate chose to host, non-juried,on a first-come, first-served basis.

For more information about the Dutch Kills Gallery visit dutchkillsgallery.com. For Climate/Gallery, visit climategallery.com. Both galleries are on the fourth floor of 37-24 24th St. and can be reached at 718-784-2737.

Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at csheets@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.

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