Introducing Primary Contemporary @ AFA Gallery
Primary Contemporary is a new venture for AFA Gallery focused on emerging and established artists working across diverse artistic disciplines, and presenting compelling programming both in the US and internationally.
A SoHo landmark since 1983
AFA Gallery offers a unique collection of original paintings, drawings, prints and sculpture from established and emerging artists. The collective works are characterized by their figurative technique and technical virtuosity, rooted in the history and traditions of illustration and expressionism.
The story begins with a gallery called Animazing, specializing in conceptual animation art and cartoon expressionism. After the emergence of CGI (computer-generated imagery), traditional animation art ceased to exist and the gallery evolved to exhibit “fine art that is fun”.
In keeping with its natural momentum, the gallery’s artistic evolution continued and shifted its focus to original illustration art by American contemporary masters. In 2012, its SoHo branch re-branded as AFA Gallery (Animazing Fine Art). A more sophisticated gallery emerged, one that focused on living contemporary surrealists whose work was edgy and masterful.
Now, in 2018, AFA will continue its push forward with a new vision for the future: the opening of Primary Contemporary @ AFA Gallery. Dedicated to presenting compelling programming both in the US and internationally, the new art space will focus on emerging and established artists working across diverse artistic disciplines.
About The Owner
Heidi Leigh, driven by the mantra “art is necessary”, has shared her enthusiasm and expertise as a gallery owner with clients, artists, and friends since 1984. Her inspiration is rooted in a passion for contemporary art and pop surrealism that is wildly imaginative and rooted in technical virtuosity.
After earning a BFA from Northwestern, Leigh forged a career as a gallerist, subsequently owning and operating more than a dozen galleries, with permanent locations in New York, Las Vegas, and France. One of Leigh’s fortes and great joys is connecting artists with organizations that make the world a better place and championing that synergy for the greater good. She has organized many high profile events to benefit charitable organizations and museums.
In 2005, Leigh acquired a chateau in France with the intention to create a sprawling art gallery within the magnificent medieval fortress. Today, visitors to the Chateau de Belcastel can enjoy a rich historical tour that includes exhibitions of art and sculpture. The Mayor of the village made Leigh an official “citizen of honor” in 2006. In 2016, the French Ministry of Arts and Culture nominated Heidi Leigh for an award and title few Americans have ever received, and in 2017 a medal was presented to her and she was knighted, “Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres”.
About the Director
Kathryn Miriam McSweeney possesses over twenty years of experience in the modern and contemporary art arena in New York City as well as internationally, having held executive positions at top galleries and museums including Pace Gallery and the Jewish Museum as well as the title of art concierge at the Four Seasons Hotel.
She has curated many shows and exhibitions, notably holding a long-term position with the Glenfiddich Artists in Residence Programme in Scotland, and curating projects at ROOM in Greenwhich, 532 Gallery in Chelsea, M55 Art in Long Island City, among others. She has also curated projects at art and design fairs including Aqua Art Miami, the Architectural Digest Design Show, ICFF, and more.
McSweeney is an avid writer on art-related subjects and has been published in the U.S. and abroad. She holds a B.A. from Rutgers University, a degree in fashion studies from Parsons School of design, and an M.A. in Art History from CUNY: Queens College.