Valeri Larko, “END, E 132nd Street, Bronx,” oil on linen, 32 x 60 inches

Only a talented artist would find an abandoned golf center in the North Bronx, New York, a subject worthy of extended consideration. How beautiful could it be? With this solo display, very.

“End Game” is an interesting exhibition soon to be unveiled at New York’s Lyons Wier Gallery. The solo show features a series of landscape paintings by talented realist painter Valeri Larko that began in 2013. The subject? That would be an abandoned golf center in the North Bronx, accessible only by squeezing through chained fences. “[In the fall of 2013] Larko managed to finished one small painting before a detective caught her in the act of trespassing and strongly suggested that she not return,” the gallery says. “Luckily, that painting was almost finished, and she was able to return a few more times to complete it without running into him again.

Valeri Larko, “Abandoned Bronx Golf Center II (detail),” oil on linen, 15 x 58 inches

“Fast forward to February 2016, she was driving down RT 95 and caught a glimpse of a colorful structure. Later, when exploring the area, she discovered it was the same golf center that she had painted in 2013, This time around, she found a break on the other side of the site allowing her full access to a number of buildings yet explored.”

Valeri Larko, “Walkway Bronx Golf Center,” oil on linen, 22 x 34 inches

Once a vibrant 12-acre family entertainment center, the crumbling structures and overgrown natural areas proved to be an engaging subject for Larko, who has since completed a series of paintings to be on view November 9 through December 16. “One of the things I noticed while spending the past year and a half painting at the golf center is the abundance of birds, butterflies, geese, raccoons, and other animals that thrive there,” the artist said. “The overgrown setting had become a de facto nature preserve. Surrounded by wildflowers and birds, it was easy to forget that I was painting in the midst of the busy overbuilt city. While some transformations have been necessary, I miss the old architecture, signage, and natural settings that gave the city its unique visual appeal. In the meantime, my goal is to capture these places before they are lost forever and to keep the stories of these overlooked places alive.”

To learn more, visit Lyons Wier Gallery.

This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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