FORMATION: Images of the Body by Tobi Kahn

Curated by Beth Giacummo

October 24 – December 12, 2022 in the Kenneth Chapman Gallery

December 8, 2022, gallery tour with the artist from 4:30 – 5:30 PM 

Reception immediately following from 5:30 – 7:00 PM

The gallery is located inside the JoAnn Mazella Murphy ’98H Arts Center
located at 665 North Avenue, New Rochelle, NY 10801

This exhibition traveled from the Henry Luce III Center for Arts and Religion in Washington, D.C. that opened earlier this year.

FORMATION: Images of the Body by Tobi Kahn returns the figure after over 30 years, not breaking with the abstract and biomorphic landscape images for which he is best known but reinterpreting them. Bodies are as much topographical spaces as they are formations in space.  

“Like the work I did inspired by cell formations and microbes, these images range from the more directly allusive to the more purely abstract. Based on photographs I’ve taken of dancers – of all ages, body shapes, and identities – the paintings were created to make viewers uncertain about what kind of body they’re seeing. The essential contours are evident, but gender, age, ethnicity, and sexuality are not always discernible. 

Many of these bodies are depicted as fluid, in motion. Watching people dance, we do not apprehend them as static, posed forms. Often, a gesture or part of the body whose beauty in space is evanescent is nevertheless inscribed in our memory long after the performance. These paintings are an ode to the transient moment.” 

While not explicitly theological, the work draws on the idea of tselem elokim, that humankind is made in the Image, drawn from earth and animated by divine breath, the crown of creation. I want this work to give viewers an expansive vision of the body’s possibilities.” 

Tobi Kahn is a painter and sculptor whose art has been shown in over 70 solo museum exhibitions. Works by Kahn are in major museum collections, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, NYC; the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, TX; The Phillips Collection, DC; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; Minneapolis Institute of Art, MN; Yale University Art Gallery, CT; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA; and The Jewish Museum, NYC. His traveling museum exhibitions include Tobi Kahn: Metamorphoses; Avoda: Objects of the Spirit; Microcosmos; Tobi Kahn: Sky & Water; and Tobi Kahn: Sacred Spaces for the 21st Century.  

Kahn has been commissioned to create numerous installations including SHALEV, an outdoor sculpture, New Harmony, IN; EMET, a meditative space for the HealthCare Chaplaincy, NYC; two sculptural Holocaust memorial gardens, La Jolla, CA, and Tenafly, NJ; M’AHL, a floor installation in the exhibition Rendering the Unthinkable, 9/11 Memorial Museum, NYC as well as two bronze memorial sculptures for the Grey Art Gallery of NYU and the 9/11 Memorial Museum, NYC; a meditative space for Auburn Theological Seminary, NYC; and an outdoor sculpture installation and painting for the East Falls campus of Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA.  

In 2022, The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C. installed a unit of 7 paintings that are part of the museum’s permanent collection with works from 1997-2020. The exhibition was on view from February-July 2022 and received media coverage in Forbes, The Brooklyn Rail and Hyperallergic to name a few. 

Kahn’s work is the subject of two solo traveling museum exhibitions. FORMATION: Images of the Body opened at the Dadian Gallery at the Henry Luce III Center for Arts and Religion in Washington, D.C. and then traveled to the Brother Kenneth Chapmann Gallery at Iona University.ELEMENTAL: A Decade of Paintings by Tobi Kahn will open November 2022 at the Patchogue Arts Council – MoCA L.I. – Museum of Contemporary Art Long Island. 

Kahn also communicates his vision through his passion for teaching. For over 30 years, he has taught fine arts at the School of Visual Arts, NYC and lectures extensively at universities and public forums internationally on the importance of visual language and on art as healing. 

The exhibition program presented in the Br. Kenneth Chapman Gallery, as well as performances and other cultural arts events, are made possible with generous support from the Iona College Council on the Arts. 

Gallery Hours  

Monday & Wednesday | 12:30 – 3:00 PM & 5:00 – 8:00PM  

Tuesday, Thursday, & Friday | 12:00 – 6:00 PM  

Saturday | 12:00 – 5:00 PM  

Sunday | By Appointment – Please email  

Hours subject to change 

Please note viewers are required to follow Covid Protocols.  

Protocols are subject to change.