Local artist Rebekah Lazaridis explores theatrical superstitions in her first NYC solo show

Lazaridis's paintings for the Sheen Center are filled with a dark, yet whimsical theater vibe.

Over 1,100 miles away from home, local artist Rebekah Lazaridis is enjoying her first New York City solo show, a milestone for this St. Petersburg painter. The Sheen Center for Thought and Culture, a theater and art gallery located in the heart of lower Manhattan, is hosting Lazaridis’s works. After seeing her book cover art for Velva Heraty’s The Dream Belongs to the Dreamer, the Sheen Center’s art director contacted the St. Pete native for an opportunity to show off her work to the big city. Taking the venue into consideration, her show, “Broken Legs: An Art Exhibit on Theater Superstition,” explores the histories and myths behind the actions thespians take to ward off the bad-luck spirits in order to have a successful show.

Inspired by sayings like “Break a leg” and the time-honored taboos against whistling or saying the name of "the Scottish play" (aka Macbeth), she uses black velvet curtains as her canvas for bringing this folklore to life through black and white imagery. These curtains (which she calls the “legs”) are painted, cut up (therefore “breaking” the “legs”), altered, and sewn in a new composition. Lazaradis says, “I wanted to skew the images of the superstitions because these pieces will be hanging in a theater gallery and I wouldn’t want to make any actor feel uncomfortable or nervous with a looming painting of a witches incantation from Macbeth.”

Repurposing discarded theatrical scenery, Lazaridis’s media of choice includes an assortment of theater paint, old wood planks, scrim, beat-up cabinets and drawers. Painting on unusual substrates is a common theme for Lazaridis: she also sells hand-painted bags and purses with her sister from their small business Eugenia Woods.

Lazaridis flew up for her debut reception on Oct. 23. She’s no stranger to the Big City, having previously worked as a scene painter for theater and film in New York City as well as the Tampa Bay area. With more local shows on the horizon, Lazaridis says, “I hope that ‘Broken Legs’ has another life after The Sheen Center. I’ve had a hard time cutting my brain off because other paintings keep presenting themselves to me and I want to create them. In the meantime, I want to build up my portfolio a bit more, and possibly start applying to art shows and galleries. Wherever these pieces take me, I’ll follow!”

Her solo show will run through Nov. 30, so if you happen to be in Manhattan, make sure to support this Florida-grown artist and check out her work at the Sheen Center, 18 Bleecker St., New York, NY. Can’t fly out? You can

find her work online at rebekahlazaridis.com and eugeniawoods.com.

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