Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Changing Lanes

3021 Elmwood Avenue
Rochester, NY

Hello readers  it has been a while since my last post early in the year and a LOT has happened since.

Of course there is the world-wide news of the Corona virus which has everyone in an unprecedented state of mind!  Closer to home - my home to be exact - we have been moving from the one you see above.  The neighborhood is in Brighton, and the area is called Twelve Corners, and we have lived in this house for over 26 years!  

My office in Brighton

Here is the room in which I have composed my blog posts, and much more over the past ten years.

It has been a pleasure to be in this house, which helped my family by being so effective as a dwelling with easy access to everywhere in the Rochester area.  But now is our time to move on, and we are starting a new chapter in a new place in Fairport!

Since moving, I have not been able to write about the art shows like I usually do.  I have not been able to spend time in my studio working on my art.  Packing and moving a house is an exhausting experience which doesn't get any easier as you get older!  I also had an artistic inventory to move out of my attic, taking into account a portion of over thirty years of paintings and drawings and prints, along with my own collection of art by other people.....

I do intend to get back to my writing, and my first intent is to say something about books that I have read as a form of relaxation after packing many,many boxes in order to make our move.  I had a wonderful encounter with the artist Romare Bearden years ago in New York City, so I have been very fortunate to have been reading a survey of his life and career which has been recently published.
Here is a picture of the cover of this new compendium by Mary Schmidt Campbell, below:

"An American Odyssey"
Mary Schmidt Campbell
about the life and art of Romare Bearden

Over the years when I was a student, I would go to the Cordier & Ekstrom Gallery in New York City to see the art of Romare Bearden, and finally had a chance to meet him and talk briefly with him at an opening for one of his last shows in that gallery.  In the new book above, I could read about his back story and the history of his development which is considerable.  I can even recall that Romare Bearden  an ardent maker of collage,  used some of my father's art that had been produced as an advertisement, and I mentioned that to him, and he just smiled!

In any case I want to spend more time with this book, and dig into it a bit more in my next post to this blog.  Thanks for reading, I will get back into the swing of things!  Stay healthy, stay safe!

Sunday, January 26, 2020

New Birds and Flowers

Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra
50 Years with Garth Fagan Dance

In Rochester this week we celebrate Garth Fagan and a remarkable milestone  presenting fifty years with his Dance Company.  Above you might see him in his green cap surrounded by throngs of well-wishers who have come out to see his troupe perform in the Eastman Theatre.  Here was an opportunity to see the magic of music and dance on a prestigious stage and it was so fabulous!

Jeff Tyzik was the conductor for the orchestra and they had just the right jazzy, snazzy performance to augment what the dancers were doing upfront.

I really appreciated the inclusion of Duke Ellington's composition ( Take the A Train ) and the story of how influential Ellington's music had on Garth Fagan as he developed his repertoire. I also admired the DANCECOLLAGEFORROMIE - which was the last dance of the evening, in honor of the visual art of Romare Bearden.  If you want to know more about Romare Bearden, check out the book by Mary Schmidt Campbell that was just profiled in The New York Review of Books.  Bearden is a seminal artist working in mid-20th century in New York City, and I am honored to say that I had a chance to meet him and shake his ( enormous ) hand!

Garth Fagan with his energetic choreography brought to life the collage artwork that Bearden specialized in.  Collage is also an art form that you will find in a new show that has opened at The Mercer Gallery on the campus of Monroe Community College.  This is a two person exhibition called: "All About Birds and Flowers" featuring the artwork of Kurt Feuerherm and Judy Feuerherm, and collage and drawing are the highlights that steal the show.

Judy Feuerherm flowers on Yellow...

It should be noted at the outset that Kurt Feuerherm has recently passed away ( 1925-2019 ) and this show was scheduled many months ago when he was still with us.  Kurt was a real presence in this town and he has many friends and collectors of his artwork.  Kurt had a real sense of humor which you don't often find in the visual arts.

Drawing and collage by Kurt Feuerherm

The show at the Mercer Gallery has a fine selection of works, some of which are on view in a set of small vitrines that feature sketchbooks and journals in one corner and small colorful sculptures in another.

Journals and Sketchbook by Kurt Feuerherm

"All About Birds and Flowers" will amuse you and also stimulate you to think about the subjects in new ways.  The images made by these two artists are graphic, colorful translations into a new language - something that keeps the roots but gives a whole new feeling to visual expression that verges on abstraction.  If images of birds can carry across an emotion - Kurt's drawings certainly do that.  In the collage work from Judy Feuerherm she re-invents a botanical art that has at its core a kind of abstract expressionist verve.

Artwork by Judy Feuerherm

This two person show will be on view thru February 14th, 2020, so catch it if you can!

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

20 20 Vision

Begin a New Year at Breakfast 2020

Taking some time to go down memory lane before I get into the fast paced artworld of 2020, first I take a moment for breakfast and map out my week.  It is a new decade, but last year's headlines linger in the morning paper as read on and  munch on my toast.  We are moving from Brighton in the neighborhood of  Rochester east to the town of Fairport 20 minutes away.

Snow Steps 

I visited  the park across the street from The Lamberton Conservatory in Highland Park and found this wonderful scene of steps that lead you up into a blue sky.  Nice to take a break from packing and moving.  Mostly I have been sorting thru a large inventory of artwork.  Some of the art is by my father, Arthur Singer.  In recent years we have had the chance to show his paintings to a rather large audience around the country, but there is so much that hasn't been shown yet as he produced a few thousand images in his life.

Gouache by Arthur Singer
from one of his 20 published books

Then there are the family photos and things that  we collect.  And I inherited images that my father had including a moody photograph of the jazz composer Duke Ellington made years ago by Bob Parent  ( see below ).  My father was a life-long friend of the Duke, and jazz was always a part of our life because of this connection which was established in the early years of the 20th century.

Duke Ellington by Bob Parent circa 1960

I am taking an inventory of my paintings and prints as well and finding a way to safely package them for the movers later in the spring.  I am planning on catching some of the new gallery shows soon and return to writing about the local artists in our area.  Also in the plans will be my own gallery showing which will take place in the spring at the Multi-Cultural Community Center ( MUCCC ) and also a talk I will be giving at the Memorial Art Gallery early in April.

Moving artwork is a delicate matter for me as I have prints like the one below ( The Importance of Light ) which I made recently that may be included in one of my shows to come.  I am sure that this will be a busy year - right now I am grateful for the time off from my teaching responsibilities at Rochester Institute of Technology.  I will be back at it soon enough.  but for the moment I have to find some plastic bags and banker's boxes to fill up,  so excuse me!

The Importance of Light
monotype by Alan Singer

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Wall Therapy: A Prelude and Thank You

Downtown Rochester
Wall Mural

Thank you in advance for taking the time to read my posts to this blog.  I enjoy writing about what I see on my travels both near and far.  I am presently on the move - but this time it is my own house that will change - as we are moving from Brighton to Fairport!

What brought me here in the first place was an offer of a teaching position at Rochester Institute of Technology, and I said yes! and packed up my family and moved upstate from Brooklyn, New York.
What a change!  You could actually get somewhere if you drove around town in Rochester... 

I came to teach, and it is actually the joy I get from working with the younger folks who have self-selected to become artists.  I have had some wonderful experiences, and one of them was a project my students and I got involved with and that was painting murals - way before Wall/Therapy arrived here to make it into the big-time!

R.I.T. students of Illustration painting our CASA Mural
circa 1992

We had the help of all the students in my illustration class, but most of all we  had the winning design by a fellow in the class named Robert E. Lee!  During the warm and  then cold winter months we enlarged on Robert's drawings and went to work with the blessing of CASA ( Court Appointed Special Advocates ) who gave a voice to children caught up in court battles.  They had found a wall for us in the Downtown Rochester Parking Garage, just below the court buildings.

Getting the details right.. R.I.T. Illustration students
circa 1992

Services were donated by a local billboard company with the management of Robert Whiteside, blowing up the original drawings to the wall size we needed.  This kind of work needs a lot of painting people to succeed!  Luckily we have very fine students who really care about what they are doing, and how they make their mark!

Students paint a portrait of a time when....

So I ran across these old photos now taken almost 30 years ago, and since we are embarking on a new decade, I thought I would share a moment of this experience with you.  The mural is still there, and I wonder what the students who painted it would think about their work now?  I  find it remarkable, for the group effort and also for the organization that it represents.  We try to help each other, and it is in that spirit that I say welcome to 2020, and hope that we can all get along, and learn from our experience....

Monday, December 9, 2019

Really Cool

Rochester Contemporary Art Center
137 East Avenue, Rochester, New York
now thru January 12, 2020

Our community benefits from a vibrant collection of artists and there is the facility to organize and present exhibitions of quality like the new 29th Annual that just opened this week at Rochester Contemporary Art Center.  Congratulations to Bleu Cease and to the artists whose support during these years has made this venue so necessary.  My hopes extend to the new County Executive, Adam Bello, who I think has heard from the arts community and should make every effort to engage and deliver for this constituency.

Emily Bellinger and her fabric arts at RoCo

When I first moved here 30 years ago from New York City, I found an active Arts & Cultural Council -but this entity does not seem to represent the many visual artists here today that could benefit from the support that they are due.  I hope the needs of the arts community don't get lost in the shuffle and I know that the current political climate does not help much at all.  When I stopped in to see the 29th Annual Member show at RoCo I am so thankful that there are so many visual artists on a creative streak.  This exhibition shows that there is something for everyone, every taste and talent, and it takes some time to see the real diversity not only in the use of materials but in the use of the collective imagination.

Bold colors from Judy Gohringer

Over the years I have been going around to see exhibitions I have gotten to know a portion of the folks whose artwork is presented here and I like to do my part to get the word out.  Some of my students have their new visions up for me to look at like Emily Bellinger, whose art greets you at the door.  Some of the other artists in this show are themselves teachers, and with their guidance a community can grow.  Below is a work by a colleague of mine from R.I.T. and that is Bill Keyser.

He had a long career teaching in the School For American Craft with a specialty in woodworking, and he then retired to study painting at R.I.T. where he earned his MFA.  He was recently honored also with a exhibit of his work in the University Gallery.  At RoCo he has an unusual work that is part colorful painting and thoughtful sculpture.

Artwork by Bill Keyser at RoCo

It is a pleasure to look around the gallery in this 29th Annual Member's show, and you can vote for your favorite art.  Some of the pieces have already been sold, just in time for gifting during the holidays.  I saw that there were some red dots going along with the green stickers that people put up as a vote for their favorite work.  One of my choices might be a little painting by Phil Bliss which you can see below:

Phil Bliss, and his little painting has sold already..

Try to match up the works you see with people you may know.  Having been to many shows over the past twenty or so years, you can see how people evolve- or at least how their artwork changes.  In visual art how you work is as important as what you work with - paints, ceramics, wire, paper...whatever.  I also try to find something for my collection.  Maybe it would be the sculpture by Tarrant Clements ( see below )...

Sculpture by Tarrant Clements at RoCo

As in years past I always am looking for interesting sculpture.  With this new show there are a wide variety of materials being used including photography, and mixed media like the piece called: "Chill Raid Stream" by Shane Durgee, you see below.  I had the good fortune of including some of Shane's printmaking in a show I curated this past summer called: Process & Purpose.

Mixed media print by Shane Durgee

There are over three hundred artists represented in this show, so take some time and bring an open mind to the gallery and you are bound to be engaged by the experience, now thru January 25, 2020!

29th Annual Member Show at Rochester Contemporary Art Center

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Creative State

Alan Singer: Work-in-progress
"Who In The World"
oil on circle canvas

I am in the creative state.  There are no classes for me to teach today, so I am in the studio at work on my circle project.  In a little while I will go out and see the new shows which have recently opened in this last week.  It is almost time for the holidays, and I have grades to post for my semester at Rochester Institute of Technology, and I can predict a few more hours of work on this painting which is almost like a quilt though it is all in oil paints!

R. Roger Remington

Rochester Institute of Technology and the College of Art & Design would not be what it is today without the efforts of Roger Remington.  He is a graphic design scholar and author, and has been deeply involved in the modern history of graphic design and this season he is being celebrated through January 25, 2020 in the RIT CITY Art Space.  On view in the gallery is a host of artworks  by Roger Remington, which may come as a surprise to many who did not know that he is also a printmaker, and a creative hand who enjoys the art on display -now in the heart of downtown Rochester, New York.

Roger Remington
Typographic forms in collage

In the mid 1960s The Print Club of Rochester commissioned a print by Roger Remington for their subscribers and you can find that and similar works in the new show at RIT CITY Art Space at the Liberty Pole in the old Sibley Building.  Along with many prints there are other fascinating collections of materials that Roger has put together.  A panel of seashells for example may be on view near a collection of toy airplanes...!

Airplane Identification in miniature by Roger Remington

Informative poster for the show that celebrates 60 years of works by R.Roger Remington

R. Roger Remington is my colleague, and he is the man responsible for the Archive that is housed in the Vignelli Center for Design Studies.  It is rare that we get a chance to see this body of artwork that now include sculptural installations as well as the  more traditional art forms like the prints in this exhibition.  

A print by Roger Remington at RIT CITY Art Space
thru January 25, 2020

Before I go journey farther down the road, I need to acknowledge the passing of two men from our midst, and they would be a Rochester personality you see below, who was honored by being included in a show called: "Makers & Mentors" at Rochester Contemporary Art Center - and that was Kurt Feuerherm.

Kurt Feuerherm  ( 1925-2019 )
in studio

Kurt was a well-loved teacher and artist who sometimes made me laugh because of the humor I found in these little ceramic birds that he made in recent years.  Kurt also was a painter  and a gifted artist in many ways, and he always had something to say about the art scene near and far.

Kendall Shaw  ( 1924 - 2019 )

In a recent article published in the Huffington Post, painter and teacher Kendall Shaw posed with his new large abstract paintings and talked about his career as an artist in the New York City scene which he called home.  Ken Shaw also was the owner of a great big old loft building on Union Street in Park Slope, Brooklyn, where I went one day in the late 1970s to rent a studio.  Also at that time, Ken Shaw had an affiliation with the Pattern & Decoration movement in art that had a brief fling in the spotlight. In any case, I had many good conversations with Ken Shaw, and thought he had an amazing intellect.  He may not be well-known in this part of the state, but he was well respected,  and well-represented downstate.  

The contributions of these two men will certainly be honored in years to come.  They were leaders in their field, they will be missed...

Friday, November 22, 2019

Urban Innovation

A Star is Born:  RIT's CITY Art Space
features:  "Images from Science 3"
a juried show

It is almost the first year anniversary for the RIT CITY Art Space in the center of downtown Rochester, New York and I have just emerged from the gallery after looking over "Images from Science 3 " that is on view until November 24th, 2019.  This show is built on the idea that there are striking images that can "explain" elements in science that really strengthen the notion that a picture is worth a thousand words.  This current show is the result of a jury process where entries from over a dozen countries were selected for their visual impact and their timeliness in how they add to our understanding of facts revealed through a scientific process.

"Radiolaria", a cyanotype by Nathan Ely

This show was of interest to me because as an artist many of my early works had a lot to do with science, and I currently am teaching a course in Zoological and Botanical art in the College of Art & Design at RIT.  In fact I saw at least one of my past students had their artwork juried into this present show, so I am very proud of their achievement!  The images selected for the current iteration of this exhibit, presented in the same  format run the gamut from astronomical to molecular, and several RIT faculty had their work cut out for them as they had to sift through hundreds of entries to find just the ones that spoke to our audience.

A robotic assisted operation illustrated by Hannah B. Ely

There are many questions that are raised by this exhibition, and they revolve around how much of the images in evidence are influenced by art?  Are the colors arbitrary?  I thought also that it is hard to get a grasp of the scale of many of the images in the show, is there any way to give a viewer a sense of the measurements,  in this work?  A photo of a solar flare for example could look to the average person like the fuzz on a peach.

Photo by Danny Radius
at RIT CITY Art Space

The RIT CITY Art Space was nominated for an award given by the Community Design Center which has its office in the Hungerford Building where I keep my studio on 1115 East Main Street.  As far as buildings are concerned, the Sibley Building which houses the RIT CITY Art Space is going through a renaissance, and it is part of the resurgence of interest that people are having when it comes to finding a place to live, a place to congregate.  I was very happy to be part of this first year's schedule this past summer with a presentation of a show I curated called: "Process & Purpose", a Printmakers Invitational. The visual arts  have been a vital part of the biennial show "Current Seen" that is just coming to an end in and along East Avenue,  and we can look forward to new selections in the next version of this showing.

At the William Harris Gallery, Gannett Building, RIT

Back on the RIT campus, there are other shows worth a mention including one in the William Harris Gallery called: TBD.  The exhibition features installations where up-and-coming student curators are asked to use found materials to create this group exhibition, and there are some striking results.

TBD at William Harris Gallery
Gannett Building 7b
Rochester Institute of Technology
Henrietta Campus

The precarious situation of seeing a wheel chair perched over a pile of broken glass highlights a dilemma faced by people with disabilities.  I thought of this looking out at this installation, and remembering what my student Shwanda Corbett who is wheel chair bound had said when 
she related her story of getting a flat tire, with no one around to help.

TBD exhibition at RIT for student curators

To put this exhibition together each student had to use found materials, and this practice is becoming more common when you go around to look at art gallery shows, including those in New York City.
Each student also had to spell out their premise for the materials that they chose and why they wanted to make this kind of statement.  Here are some examples:

 Student Curator's statement

Abandoned art near the South Wedge

A prompt for the selection of images from Yajing Yan

Provocative imagery from Yajing Yan
William Harris Gallery
Rochester Institute of Technology