Leilani Claire Exhibition
In Memoriam

Woodstock Times -January 19, 2006
Smart Art by Paul Smart

Leilani Remembrances: "I guess I shouldn't have been such a good mother" artist-photographer Leilani Claire said a little over a year ago, just after she finished painting her own coffin and making arrangements to pass on her Tannery Brook Gallery, Art & Soul, to her friend Bernard Gerson, also a photographer.

Gerson has gone on to revive Claire's space as his own Galerie BMG, one of the more vibrant new exhibition spaces in the region focused on Gerson's increasingly-keen eye for strong photography, both classical and cutting edge. And yet, his first anniversary show, opened last week-end and running through February 12, is s retrospective of Claire's one-of-a-kind hand-tinted work.

And his choices, while different than the "pretty" Claire tended to revel in, still shows the former gallery owner's mothering influence. You could also call it her "art and soul" spirit, now captured as legacy.

"It's been a year since her passing. Judi and I felt we wanted to say thank you… to her family and to her", Gerson said of he and his wife's decision to launch their latest exhibit, "In Memoriam". My ideas was to do this as a one-of-a kind show, showing her one-of-a-kind works."

Drawing from her numerous portfolios, including Carnevale, A Winter of Canals, Postcards from Paradise and Gateways, the Gerson's exhibit of Claire's work, culled from years at Art & Soul (1997-2004) and before, has a deep romanticism - and unavoidable prettiness - that's a tonic for the season.

"My photographs are reflections of places I've been and events I've experienced along my outer journey in the physical realm as well as my travels along my inner journey. They are true stories about Wonder and Spirit," Claire wrote towards the end of her productive life. "I become a channel. The images just emanate from a place of intuition and Grace, guiding my hands and my heart. I feel guided from one Gateway to another and from one challenge to another, both as an artist and a woman."

Leilani Claire: In Memoriam will run through February12. Winter hours are Friday through Sunday, 11 am to 6 pm, or other times by appointment. For more information, please call 845-679-0027 or email to