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Artists from boro present robots at Flushing forum

Five artists from across the city showed off and explained their work Saturday at the Crossing Art Gallery in Flushing as part of a monthly forum.

Hector Canonge, an Argentinian-born artist from Jackson Heights, organized the A-Lab forum, which started in April.

“Artists from Queens, we got together to organize monthly sessions,” Canonge said.

An open call is sent out for artists to submit their work, with five selected for the monthly forums who get 10 minutes to present their work at the gallery at 136-17 39th Ave. in Flushing.

“It’s a matter of learning, but also it’s sharing and letting artists speak about their work,” Canonge said. “This is an opportunity for artists to present, talk about their work and it’s an opportunity for discussion in relation to the works.”

Tim Goldman, a Jackson Heights illustrator and graphic designer, showed off his robots of the week, which he draws for his blog at timgoldman.com/blog.

“I wanted to kind of do something weekly on my blog. [Robots are] fun to draw. You can kind of create anything you want of them since they’re mechanical.”

Goldman’s robots “became a personification of a concept,” he said, and sometimes the machines he draws are silly or about his ideas or thoughts.

Among the robots Goldman shared with the group were PrideBot, which he created for Gay Pride Week and described as a “rainbow flag-turned-robot.”

One of the more lighthearted robots Goldman showed was the DeploytheSlideBot, which was inspired by Steven Slater, the JetBlue flight attendant who snapped on the job and deployed the plane’s emergency slide at John F. Kennedy International Airport.

“I’ve always loved robots ever since I saw R2-D2 in ‘Star Wars,’” Goldman said.

Brooklyn artist Caitlin Masley showed off foam-core sculptures she built, which were based on her drawings.

Masley described her work as taking imagined sculptures and using them “as a map of failure and abandonment.”

“I wanted to deal with issues from reconstruction and deconstruction,” she said.

Samwell Freeman, a self-described “electric artist” from Brooklyn, showed slides ´╗┐of a self-contained, human-powered interactive video where the participant creates electricity by pedaling an exercise bike.

The participant is also fitted with a video helmet and can see his face projected onto an environment, such as an exploding power plant.

Freeman also passed around drawings he made on circuit boards and gadgets he constructed that can be outfitted with a pen or graffiti can to make art.

Stephen Gerberich, a mechanical sculptor from Williamsburg, showed slides of machines and installations that he built, including a train he constructed for a Bloomingdale’s window one Christmas.

Of his machines, Gerberich said, “You push a button and then hopefully something magical happens.”

Anne Finkelstein, a Manhattan painter who also does digital compositions, showed compositions she made based off of photographs she took and then worked with in Photoshop.

“Technology is really an integral part of the way [my] work is made,” she said.

Finkelstein showed compositions of the High Line in Manhattan, the 30th Street subway station in Philadelphia, the Musee d’Orsay in Paris and the David Barnes Convention Center in Pittsburgh.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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