Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Summer Flavors




Portrait by Alan Singer, 2019


Wash your face, then get downstairs ready for a party!  

We gather together to celebrate a new season coming, and the summer that is quickly departing...  We had a great time this July - ( our second grand-child is born! ) and then there were wonderful exhibitions I have written about on this blog including my show called: "Process & Purpose".  The shows keep coming, and we await the collective ones known as "Current Seen" opening soon on October 4th - here in Rochester. 


Todd Jokl, the new Dean of College of Art & Design on right
talks with gallery visitors at R.I.T.

Before we go any further, I want to urge all of my readers to support the arts in any way you can, and most importantly, get out the door and see the real thing!  Go to the gallery, the museum, the artist talk and don't depend solely on those little hand-held devices better known as your smart phones!



North by NUUK
Photography by Denis Defibaugh

My job as a Professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology allows me to partake of shows mounted by the University Gallery, here on the campus in Booth Building 7a.  Come and see the wonderful photography of Denis Defibaugh in his show titled: "North by NUUK" Greenland after Rockwell Kent.  Rockwell Kent you will recall is an artist in the 20th century who went to Greenland to study  and paint portraits and memorable landscapes, and now Denis follows in his footsteps, but takes his camera to record this documentary.  This is not only a show but there will be a book forthcoming from RIT Press this November.



Hearty Greenlanders are the subject of 
Denis Defibaugh's documentary
North by NUUK

Denis travelled to Greenland to make this portfolio of color photos and was supported by an award from the National Science Foundation.  We see a timeless horizon, a continent of ice that has lately been in the news,  where a hearty breed of human beings do their best to support themselves and their families.  We get an inside look at their lives, and their environment.



Photo by Denis Defibaugh of Iceberg off the coast of Greenland


Fishing for a living in the waters around Greenland
Photo by Denis Defibaugh

While you are on the campus of the Rochester Institute of Technology, check out the faculty show which has also just opened.  The show is in two parts, and there is an exhibition open in the Bevier Gallery, and the Harris Gallery on the third floor of the Gannett Building ( 7b ).  In this new faculty show there are many wonderful works on view.  I found my office mate - Luvon Sheppard and his painting "Profiling" to  be very engaging, and also a very complex work by Don Arday, which has a spooky presence.  Check it out!


Painting by Luvon Sheppard


Digital art by Don Arday
at Rochester Institute of Technology
"Faculty Show"










Sunday, August 25, 2019

Summer Summary




Process & Purpose 
at RIT City Art Space
Rochester, New York


This has been a very rewarding summer season in many ways.  The visual arts in our area undergoes a process of renewal with the success of exhibitions like the one I have curated that has just ended a run here in Rochester at the new RIT City Art Space.  It is a beautiful site for a show, and I was pleased  to be able to present the prints of eight artists and we had many visitors who were new to the  gallery, including a troop of the docents who work at The Memorial Art Gallery.  



66th Finger Lakes Exhibition at The MAG

Speaking of The Memorial Art Gallery, I returned to see the 66th Finger Lakes Exhibition more than once and again found many interesting pieces in the show, like works by my colleague Andy Buck from RIT, and a surprising range of paintings, prints and sculpture.



Dale Inglett , "Sea of Melting Ice" 2017

Artists are dealing with contemporary issues, that may not seem so unusual - and many of these issues ( like climate change ) are not going away.  This Finger Lakes Exhibition was one of the most diverse shows I have seen in many years of visiting this museum.  The range of techniques, and the high quality of the art on view is a testament to the professional level of the artists chosen, and the fact that there is no dominating style or "ism" featured.



Sarah C. Rutherford's portraits
from her series "Her Voice Carries"

I am also glad to see that there are some new works on view in the galleries including a special entry hall filled with works by the artist Sam Gilliam, that I wrote about in my last post.  There is real value  given to introducing artists that the public should be made more aware of.  That is also part of my job here, and one of the reasons why I write this blog, there just isn't the kind of reporting going on in our major media, especially in print, that can help the public comprehend what is happening in our visual culture.

In the near future I plan to take some time to engage with a project called: "Current Seen".  the Rochester Contemporary Art Center will be promoting this with other venues hosting curated shows of local and national talent, so watch this space!

With every turn of the season, there is unfortunate loss as well, as we pay our respects to Jacque Clements ( 1925-2019 ) who passed away this month after suffering a stroke.  Jacque was a friend and a respected teacher and artist who painted and sculpted for years, yet many people would not know his work.



Sculpture by Jacque Clements

At the Hungerford Building, there was a fine - though small - memorial for Jacque that featured his art - most of which was new to me.  I hope in the future to be able to see more of what he made during his lifetime as a working artist.  We are grateful to Warren Phillips for staging this event, and giving us some insight into this man's pursuit of his dreams.



Abstract painting by Jacque Clements

The passing of a friend reminds us of our own mortality, so make the most of what you have got!

In Jacque's case he shied away from publicity, and the urge to promote his own work.  With the amount of competition for the attention of a public, artists really have their work cut out for them.  You have to make all of your efforts count, and I am thinking about this as I begin to prepare for the new season.  I am already planning ( in my mind ) exhibitions for the year 2020!  I am also looking forward to shows that are coming up including the major one I mentioned before called: "Current Seen" which already has its own website.  Another show that just opened at Main Street Arts in Clifton Springs is called: "From The Dirt To The Skies" that features five artists, including Chad Grohman     ( who was a student of mine at R.I.T. ) and Lanna Pejovic who has taught for many years  also at R.I.T.


In Clifton Springs, New York
go out to see the new show at Main Street Arts
Opened August 24th - thru October 4th, 2019








Saturday, August 17, 2019

Educate the Artist






I am entering my 31st year teaching art at Rochester Institute of Technology, and I think of the social impact of this and understand how important it is to the person who self-selects to first try to be an artist, and then to help understand the choices and pressures it places on that student.  I grew up in a family of visual artists, so there were role models right at home.  My parents also had many friends who were in the arts, and that seemed natural - for they all supported one another and from what I could see as a youngster - they all made a pretty good living doing what they loved to do.

It is important to say that I grew up in the New York City area at a time in the 1950s when the visual arts was just coming into its own in the U.S. - and being an artist ( who could make a living ) was not always in the cards!  You had to really work at it!  So, from the time I was a young teenager I hung out in the museums and galleries, I went to openings and talked to other aspiring artists.


Yayoi Kusama at The Memorial Art Gallery


Now, when I walk into The Memorial Art Gallery here in Rochester, and look at the giant polka dot sculpture of Yayoi Kusama, my mind travels back to a time when I was at her opening at the Howard Wise Gallery on 57th Street in Manhattan when there were just a handful of people there, and I talked with the artist ( back in the 1960s ).


John Ahearn's sculpture at The MAG


I was at The Memorial Art Gallery to go back and see the Finger Lakes Juried Exhibition.  Even before i walked in to see the show, I found a life-size plaster sculpture by John Ahearn which I had never previously seen before.  John and I were students at Cornell University in the early 1970s and it has really been interesting to see what he has accomplished so far.


Sam Gilliam at the entry to the galleries at MAG


At the entry to the galleries, where the salon style hanging of portraits used to be, there is now a group of artworks by Sam Gilliam, another artist whose work I have followed for years.  In fact, I brought Sam Gilliam up to Rochester to speak to my students almost 15 years ago.  He even made a presentation to visitors in the auditorium of The Memorial Art Gallery then, so I am glad to see that his art is finding an appreciative audience now.

What I am driving at here, is the fact that we live in a social world even though the artist often spends most of their time working alone in a studio situation.  Sometimes you can feel like you are all alone on the moon!  So I encourage people who are interested in the arts to step up their education and not only learn the skills to express themselves, but also engage with other artists who have this special thing - this vision of what they can and hope to create.


Watercolors by Karal Ann Marling


Grafitti in a painting by Karal Ann Marling



Right down the hall from the Finger Lakes show is the Lockhart Gallery which is now filled with intimate watercolors by Karal Ann Marling. Her focus is the local territory she now inhabits of downtown Rochester.  She takes us on a tour of places - not the most famous landmarks, but many of the spots that you may have just passed by.  It could be a shady street, and someone's porch, or it could be a painting of the little store on the corner.  Karel Ann Marling is actually a scholar and a writer, an art historian, so these paintings come as something of a surprise...  She delights in giving us a nostalgic look at Rochester - she finds a kind of abstract collage of images that make up the subjects for each of her framed works on display.  These are paintings made with love and care and a very personal touch.




Kathryn Rehrig at Main Street Arts, Clifton Springs


Speaking of that, I was out in Clifton Springs recently at Main Street Arts, in their upstairs gallery looking over a show called: "Undercurrents" featuring landscape paintings by Angelia Salerno and photographic prints by Kathryn Rehrig.  Kathryn's artist statement could be applied to some of Karal Ann Marling's artwork too when she writes, "Architectural salvage is ripe with potential for the discovery of "Faded Beauties".  Paint peeling, rust, algae, and vessels filled with water, present a striking palette of colors and unique abstract vignettes that tease the imagination.  The images represent an evolution of nature that challenges one's perspective to see beyond the obvious".


Paintings by Angelia Salerno
at Main Street Arts
Clifton Springs, New York

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Sticker Shock




"On The Great Lakes", acrylic  gouache on board
by
Alan Singer


I like to support our local arts institutions and in turn be supported by them.  Such is the case with organizations for which I am a member.  In this particular case, each year I join the Schweinfurth Art Center in Auburn because they have a yearly show called: "Made in NY".  To be selected for this show, you have to become a member and so that is what I do.  Their show is a bit like the  66th Finger Lakes Exhibition that is now on at The Memorial Art Gallery, it is a great show to be juried into.  If you travel to Auburn, drive around and look at the wonderful old houses, and enjoy the Finger Lakes.

My little painting ( above ) was accepted this year so I drove over to Auburn to deliver the goods.  In the gallery I found works from Kathy Farrell and a show of dimensional art that really packed a surprise!  The artist who is featured in the main gallery is Abraham Ferraro, and he creates works of art from cardboard boxes which he cuts and shapes, and then ships.  He sends  his boxes through the mail system with tons of stickers surrounding the packages.  It all started out with a very innocuous shaped box which was taped together as you can see below.



Art by Abraham Ferraro

Then things got a bit wild.  Here is a form of correspondence that I will bet they didn't teach you in art school!  The effect is like a zinger - the images zip across at you and you can wonder how it all fits together...  The room becomes one giant standing sculpture, and the labels or stickers serve as directions and coloration for the objects.  This is fun - and funnier when you stop to think that these things actually went through the mail, and they served a purpose - a greater purpose than the usual bills and flyers that pass each day through the same channels.



Art by Abraham Ferraro

Here is a dimensional Pop Art that will really give you sticker shock!  All of these pieces are very portable, the sum total of which must be considered a work-in-progress.  Who knows how large this idea could grow!


Abraham Ferraro goes POP


Abraham Ferraro at Schweinfurth Art Center

In the surrounding galleries, other artwork looked tame by comparison.  I stopped to look at silk screen prints made by Landon Perkins in this show called: Made and Remade: Re-Imagining Industrial Systems.    The prints by Mr. Perkins reminded me immediately of the prints by Nick Ruth that I included in our show "Process & Purpose, 2019" that I wrote about recently.  Landon Perkins  has a technological grasp with a fine technique to render the machines of the past - or maybe they are  made up to look old.  There is even a sense of humor in these images...



Landon Perkins at Schweinfurth Art Center


Silk Screen images by Landon Perkins

Another artist in the show is  Sherri Lynn Wood and her big piece hanging in the Main Gallery had a touch of the crafts from Gee's Bend that have been so popular.  There is also an echo of the paintings by Peter Halley in this art.



Sherri Lynn Wood


Peter Halley  ( not in the Schweinfurth Art Center show )

When you first walk in to the galleries at Schweinfurth Art Center, it might be easy to pass by the show of drawings by our own Kathleen Farrell.  It was just a few weeks ago that she presented black and white drawings with her friends Peter Monacelli and George Wegman that I wrote about on this blog.  This new set of drawings has more color but keeps the idiosyncratic sketch style and invention that she is known for.  Her show is called "Presence of Silence", and I can imagine that she whips out her drawing materials every time there is a lull in the action happening all around her.  



Kathy Farrell at Schweinfurth Art Center ( for the next seven days! )

Kathy Farrell has a great wit, and she is a sharp observer of humanity - and she gets it all down in this art that comes close to caricature and cartoon.  I just wonder if she would care to work in a medium that might last a bit longer..I worry about the permanence of marker rendering.



Kathleen Farrell and her characters

Later in the day I drive down to Ithaca, to our garden, and take a moment to go out in the back to smell the roses.  This has just been the busiest and most rewarding summer so far, and I am amazed that the weather is so  dramatic!  Enjoy!











Sunday, August 4, 2019

Printmaker and Painter




"Process & Purpose, 2019"
Curated by Alan Singer
for 
RIT City Art Space
Liberty Pole Plaza, Rochester, New York

I am a printmaker and painter and it has been a very busy time for me, - now it is August and I must begin to prepare my classes at Rochester Institute of Technology.  Before I get down to that task I can report that we had a very fine artist reception on August 2nd for a show I have curated called: "Process & Purpose, 2019".  This new exhibition is dedicated to printmakers and features eight regional artists with over thirty prints on display in this rather spacious gallery right near Liberty Pole Plaza in the heart of Rochester, New York!



"Razzle Dazzle"  by Sarah Kinard

Of the eight artists, including Eileen Bushnell, Sarah Kinard, Shane Durgee, Kumi Korf, Craig Mains, Nick Ruth, Minna Resnick, and myself, a few artists are just starting their career like Sarah Kinard seen above.  Others like myself have been at it for over fifty years.  We get to see a variety of techniques put to work in the service of artistic expression.  In our present show I prepared wall labels that allow each artist to say something about how they develop their images; what their process is and this helps inform a visitor who stops to see the artwork and may not know what goes into making a print.



Red Back Yard by Alan Singer

I found out from Minna Resnick that her process might include lithography and use some images that are in the public domain.  In one of my own prints ( above ) included in our show, I blend a photograph I made through a red filter with some mathematical forms I built on my computer, and then under the pressure of my etching press a transfer print was made which I hope leaves a good impression!


"Process & Purpose, 2019" at RIT City Art Space
thru August 24th, 2019


Our show runs through August 24th, so you have time to see our exhibition if you have not ventured into the city recently.  Also on view - another show featuring prints from a wider selection of artists - "The Art of the Print" now at Phillips Fine Art and Frame, 1115 East Main Street in the Hungerford Building.  Warren Phillips selected these prints and there you will find gorgeous art from Japan, with woodblock prints by Toyokuni across from classics by American, John James Audubon.



"The Art of the Print" at Phillips Fine Art and Frame
1115 East Main Street, Hungerford Building
Rochester, NY


There is a fine group of prints here including one from Wassily Kandinsky that was originally published in an issue of VERVE Magazine that came out of France in the mid- 20th century. Next to that is a rather rugged Picasso from late in his career.  I was standing in the gallery when another print - a beautiful Nicolas De Stael was sold to a collector..



Colorful print by De Stael

"The Art of the Print" will continue at Phillips Fine Art & Frame through August 27th, so this is a good time to consider prints and printmaking as a valuable art form.


On my reading list:  by Jack Whitten ( 1939-2018 )

This summer I have been reading "Notes from the Woodshed" by Jack Whitten, - a painter  who I met years ago when I was a student at The Cooper Union School of Art.  Jack was teaching painting then and there, and I would see him from time to time at Cooper.  Had I known more about him, I might have taken his class!  Now we have his published journals to read, and it is worth your time and effort to find this gem.


Painter, Jack Whitten in his studio

Jack Whitten was an African American and his writing is all about his philosophy and his progress in the New York City art world when there were few opportunities for people of color to move forward with their artwork - in a commercial sense.  The competition has always been fierce - to have your work recognized - and at least Jack Whitten attained some stature in the field, and this is a good cause to re-evaluate his art if you are not familiar with it.  Take a look for this book, and check out his art online!










Saturday, July 13, 2019

Mid-Summer Days




Barbara Mink
now open at  the Geisel Gallery
Rochester, New York


"Reds" by Barbara Mink


Last night at her opening for the Geisel Gallery in Rochester, New York, Barbara Mink was on hand to greet her guests who had come to view her recent paintings.  Her exhibition "High Finish" is on view thru August 24th, 2019, so you will have ample opportunity to see her recent paintings selected for her show. 

I have known Barbara for a while, having first met with her when she was presenting the interesting speakers for Ithaca's "Light in Winter" events which were like TED talks about art and science.  Barbara is also teaching at Cornell University and she maintains the Mink Gallery at her home on north Cayuga Street in lovely downtown Ithaca, New York.


Geisel Gallery now showing "High Finish"
select paintings by Barbara Mink

The Geisel Gallery is a wonderful space in the former headquarters of Bausch & Lomb, and it gives an artist the opportunity to create a focus, a visitor can really get close to look at the colors and textures of these abstract expressionist compositions.  Some paintings have explosive energy while others are much more like a collector's cabinet of discrete marks set off against light backgrounds.



Barbara Mink at her opening for "High Finish"

" High Finish" alludes to the fact that many of these new paintings are embedded in a thick layer of resin that seals the work and often unites the artwork in a unique way.  The resin is essentially colorless but gives a shimmering depth to each painting as you can see when you step in closer to look.  Sometimes her paintings look like a very colorful storm while at other times dots and shapes are much more disciplined and not nearly so charged with energy.

These mid-summer days have been busy for me, I am presenting a selection of my paintings and prints in the offices of the Edward Jones investment group and this is an opportunity to meet a whole new bunch of people who come to 706 University Avenue.  Just down the street at 500 University Avenue, in The Memorial Art Gallery my painting is on view as part of the 66th Finger Lakes Juried exhibition,  and I am happy to part of this very select group of artists!  And then there is the show I have curated called: "Process & Purpose, 2019" that will open to the public next week at the brand new RIT City Art Space in the center - the heart -  of Rochester at The Liberty Pole in the Sibley Building, 280 East Main Street.



Alan Singer's print "Re-Entry" at 
706 University Avenue, Edward Jones office ( call for information 585 271-3808 )


"Process & Purpose, 2019" is an exhibition whose focus is on contemporary printmakers and their art. There are about 30 works in this new show  which I have arranged, and each artist gets to make his or her statement.  This practice of making prints is a great way for collectors to begin to build a collection, because the artworks are often much more affordable.  In our show I look towards the future - by including younger artists who are just emerging, as well as a few time-tested professionals all of who make western New York their home.


"Dazzle Dazzle" by Sarah Kinard


Below are a sampling of some images that should be thought provoking, and attractive.  Printmakers often make editions of their artwork on paper, but the technique to do this takes time to perfect.  I like the way the prints  create a kind of a dialogue.  So our show is meant to inform and engage the eye and the mind.  Come on over and see for yourself!



"Avoid Meaningless Words" by Minna Resnick


Print by Nick Ruth, part of the show "Process & Purpose, 2019"
set to open next week at the new 
RIT City Art Space
280 East Main Street
Rochester, New York 14604