Sunday, June 23, 2019

Exhibition Hours

Alan Singer: "Electrical Storm" gouache on canvas
in the new
66th Finger Lakes Juried Exhibition
Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester, NY

Thank you for all the nice compliments I have received for my painting ( above ) in the recently opened 66th Finger Lakes show.  Yes, I missed the opening because I was in Pennsylvania at an exhibition of my father's artwork that I co-curated with my brother, Paul Singer.  Sorry to have not seen and talked with all the friends and other artists who were part of this grand exhibition that is held at regular intervals over the years.

Painting by David Hockney of the Grand Canyon

Actually, I have not been in the Memorial Art Gallery for a while, so walking around I found some really exciting developments.  The David Hockney painting of the Grand Canyon was a surprise - especially because it is in a gallery with some classic ( and much older ) American landscapes, so it really stands out ( all of that red! ).  But I like the attitude.

New Wall murals by Fun Krew

When you walk down the hall where the Sarah C. Rutherford portraits were painted, we now have extravagant graffiti which must be a first for any local museum to reserve space for artists of this genre.  Yes, I have seen many photos of this sort of mark making and a lot of the real thing on the subways of New York City ( Thank you TAKI 183 ! ), but to  see this jazzy stuff along the hall really could change some minds about the outreach the museum is undertaking.

Peter Fischli & David Weiss: their film " The Way Things Go"

Take the time to sit and watch "The Way Things Go" in the media lab.  It is a kind of Rube Goldberg process when one thing hits another and sets off a chain reaction.  Reminds me of the viral videos for the music group OK Go that I saw at the Bridges Conference in Canada a couple of summers ago.

Photo courtesy of The Memorial Art Gallery
Greeting  visitors to the show

Once inside the 66th Finger Lakes Juried Exhibition I found myself looking over artwork from a wide variety of working artists, and even some who might describe themselves first as scientists or crafts people.  The juror for this show is Marilyn Zapf  ( any relation to the type designer Herman Zapf? ) .  She chose a selection from 62 artists many of whom I have seen before,  and there are always a few surprises in store!  A visitor can cast a vote for their favorite before they leave.

Susan D'Amato " Taxonomy of Air"

A trend it seems in some contemporary art presents a kind of obsessive compulsive behavior like the presentation by Susan D'Amato from her series of Ten Thousand Things, which was similar in some respect to Cory Card's drawings of dust particles that won an award across the room.  Cory Card's artwork here is like a fresh kind of neo-dada experience.

Jeanne Beck's " Book of Longings"

A wall hanging from Jeanne Beck is just gorgeous with hanging chains and gold papers that could flutter in a breeze takes me back to paintings of Gustav Klimt and Vienna.  Directly across  from that are two artworks from Werner Sun whom I had the chance to meet in Ithaca when we had the opening of my printmaking show which will be coming soon to Rochester, at the new RIT City Art Space.

Joseph Accorso's painting of the "High Falls Spring Runoff"

There is a diverse approach by contemporary painters,and in this show there are a few pieces that approach traditional  renderings of what we can see around us, notably the painting of High Falls by Joseph Accorso.  There are several standout works that are dimensional and Lee Hoag's work would be among them.  He invents what look to be  utilitarian objects that have yet to be discovered - and as  technology impacts our lives - so does art.

Lee Hoag and "Late Shift", 2018

I was glad to see that Colleen Buzzard's piece was given an award.  Having just been in her studio within the last month, she is doing something with drawing, sculpture, and light that is very engaging.
I urge you to go see this new exhibition, because a delicate piece like Colleen's does not reproduce well - you have to see the real thing!

Colleen Buzzard"s "Hard Merge From Left"

Our Print Club of Rochester is lead in part by Katharine Baca-Bielinis and she has a fine print in this show which should not get over-looked.  It is telling that the juror's taste comes out in the present exhibition, and it is not based on the trendiest color or material.  Come and enjoy the show, and before you leave, stop in to find the Lockhart Gallery show that is on now ( 1969 Turns 50 ) and enjoy the collection there that includes the well-known like Andy Warhol, and the artists that will be better known like Warren Colescott  ( 1921-2018 ).

Lockhart Gallery presents: "1969 Turns 50 "

Warren Colescott  ( 1921 - 2018 )

The Memorial Art Gallery is undergoing a period of renewal.  There are many reasons to come out and look at what is happening in the arts, especially now when there is so much political turbulence in our country.  It is a good time to find some peace and a way to contemplate what artists have to add to our daily lives.  It is just like what the bumper sticker says: EARTH without ART is just EH....

Wendell Castle and Kathy Calderwood
The Memorial Art Gallery
500 University Avenue, Rochester, NY

Monday, June 17, 2019

Father's Day 2019

Arthur Singer ( 1917-1990 )
An American Master
& Art

This past weekend we celebrated Father's Day in a unique way.  Growing up in our family of four - our business involved everyone in the arts.  I teach art and practice it at Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York.  My brother Paul, is a graphic designer, book designer and artist, and our father and mother were both artists and illustrators - so it was inescapable in our family!  We love it and have made our careers so far in the arts - and art worked for our  father, and it works for us.  But I am getting off track here, I just want to say that we celebrated this Father's Day by opening a retrospective of our Arthur Singer's artwork in a setting that is unique in Millersburg, PA, near Harrisburg.  The place is called The Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art.  Our show is called: "Arthur Singer, An American Master".

The State Birds and Flowers commemorative stamp series, 1982

At the top is a photo of Arthur Singer made by Lenny Eiger in 1982 just as our series of Birds and Flower stamps were about to be issued and released in Washington, D.C.  I say our series because I worked with my dad and painted all the flowers for the fifty designs.  They would go on to be best sellers.  But this was not the first time that Arthur Singer would have a hit with his artwork.  In the 1950s he produced a series of eight paintings that were made into prints for American Home Magazine that sold millions of copies, ( see the series below ).

American Home prints on view at
Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art
Millersburg, PA

Arthur Singer also illustrated over twenty books like his "Birds of North America", a Golden Guide that is still in print after selling over six million copies ( over the past 50 plus Years ).

Arthur Singer's best selling Golden Guide
in print since the 1960s

Arthur was born in New York City on Audubon Avenue  ( !! ) and got started in art early in life, he was drawing as soon as he could hold a pencil.  He was also an avid collector of pictures and books -especially about nature.  He was a jazz lover and dancer.  One of his close friends was Duke Ellington, and my dad designed covers for some of Duke's well known albums.

Comp for Ellington Album cover

In the late 1930s Arthur Singer went to The Cooper Union to broaden his art education and he later went back to his alma mater  to teach.  Before that he had a stint in the U.S. Army during World War ll.

Arthur Singer paints an ostrich circa 1942

My father brought his paints and brushes to the battle.  During the war Arthur was part of the Ghost Army, and they were dedicated to creating deceptions on the battlefield.  My dad painted camouflage when he was on duty and when he had some free time he went out into the countryside and painted images of war in Europe.  Now, we hope to one day have an exhibition of Arthur Singer's World War ll paintings and drawings because they are an awesome historical document.  My brother Paul has designed a new book to chronicle the exploits of the Ghost Army with my father's artwork as the centerpiece, and with his letters written back home as a text.

Ghost Army by Rick Beyer, cover art by Arthur Singer

My parents were married just before the Americans became involved in World War ll, and so later when my father returned from the theatre of war, they had two sons - my brother,  Paul and myself.  We grew up in the New York area and my father went to work in advertising first, and then publishing.

His love of nature  - in particular birds and animals -  became his main career - painting portraits for books and magazines.  So now we can celebrate his life and enjoy his art in our new show now open in Pennsylvania.  Here is a link to the Ned Smith Center for further information - it is a great looking show with over sixty works of art by Arthur Singer.  I hope you will see it !  Here is the link:

Our show of Arthur Singer at
The Ned Smith Center
for Nature and Art
Millersburg, PA

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Good Time With Friends

Big Time Celebration with a really Generous Cocktail provider -
Anderson Studios!
250 North Goodman
Rochester, NY

To insure an adequate supply, the world's largest cocktail shaker was parked in the back of Anderson Alley so people could sip their way towards celebration...  A really shiny Kenworth truck filled with good cheer was making house calls, meanwhile, I went up to the fourth floor to see what the friends were up to on a beautiful June night here in Rochester.

I moved up to Rochester from Park Slope in Brooklyn almost 30 years ago to teach in the School of Art at Rochester Institute of Technology.  While I was in New York, I had studied painting at The Cooper Union where one of my teachers back then was Wolf Kahn - so I was surprised to see his portrait among those in the show called: " Between Worlds" by Zanne that was open when I walked by.

Poster announcing a show 
by Zanne

Portrait of Wolf Kahn ( center, bottom ) by Zanne

This show "Between Worlds"  has an interesting premise, and you have to wonder how the artist can go from the near abstractions she has on one wall over to the expressive portraits on the next segment of the show.  My friend Richard Harvey said he helped make these large scale reproductions on a new color printer, and I would say that they are quite engaging - a kind of portraiture that seems made for a magazine cover. 

Nancy Valle has a big studio here on the fourth floor and she has been into ceramics - I noticed some tiles where she incorporates encaustics - to give the tiles a different color and even a reflective quality.

Ceramic Tile in the studio of Nancy Valle

It is interesting that artists in the  building sometimes offer space to other emerging artists for shows and that was the case here, and at Colleen Buzzard's space too.  Colleen has a nice light touch with her  drawing works on Duralar, and the cross-fertilization between drawing and sculpture.

Colleen Buzzard has a light touch

Down the hall I went into see the art of Kathy Farrell, Peter Monacelli, and George Wegman ( the Best Friends).  You can see them here in the funny poster that they made for the show.

Once inside the show you come fact-to-face with art that you want to get close too - trying to understand the patterns in Kathy Farrell's art - which seems so nonchalant, and quite intimate like reading someone's diary.  The paintings and collage work in this show of three artists seems to dominate the proceedings.  Peter Monacelli's art seems to honor the visions of others - with a collage that is part architectural plan and a kind of comment on the methods of art making - call it inspiration from a diverse  group ( mostly women who should be better known ) .  So here is a work in honor of Kiki Smith, and another work in honor of Gertrude Greene.  If you don't know who these women are - look them up!

Collage by Peter Monacelli

George Wegman has a group of strong little abstracts, and I was attracted to his work called: "Red Alert".  It has a graphic impact that is easy to see and the work  has a strong relationship to Peter Monacelli's approach - you can see that these best friends may have influenced each other!

"Red Alert" by George Wegman

So, Kathy Farrell has often come to my class to speak about her work arranging exhibitions for Monroe Community College where she has guided the Mercer Gallery for many years.  The small framed abstract works she has in this show have a spontaneous and intimate appeal.  They could be   a  visual equivalent of a series of dance moves, or a pattern of migration.  From my point of view they are all about movement.  But you will have to see for yourself.

Kathy Farrell's intimate  artworks

Outdoors,  once I took a look at the shows on a First Friday, going back to my car, I saw the new construction of apartments nearby and stopped to admire the big Albert Paley sculpture now so firmly rooted in the landscape around the Memorial Art Gallery.  Beautiful night here in upstate New York!

Albert Paley on a summer night

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Art Festival

6 x 6
Rochester Contemporary Art Center
an annual art feast as a fund-raiser
Rochester, New York

When you open the door to the Rochester Contemporary Art Center now, you are greeted at the desk and then you can explore a festival of visual art known as 6 x 6.  This show has become an annual fund-raiser and it has helped keep the gallery afloat through the participation of hundreds of artists who have donated their time and creativity and found community support when buyers come to select beautiful new art for a purchase.  It is a Win-Win for everyone involved... the artists get to show their work, and support the gallery and patrons  have a terrific show to look at and select art for their collections!

Jazzy card announces the show at RoCo
137 East Avenue, Rochester, NY

There is literally something for everyone here no matter what age you are - there is a work to suit your taste from serious portraits of far-away places to caricatures of your favorite stars.  As a little test, I went around to try to identify artists whose work I have seen before, and I can identify their work by the content or style.  Many of the artists whose artwork I could identify have already had their 6 x 6 inch creations snapped up, and then there were so many more to choose from!

Abundant art arranged for your enjoyment!

People like me, come back each year to build their collections.  For others, they could start and build an art collection at  a very reasonable price of $20 for each work they select.  This show builds a spirit of involvement for the arts in Rochester and attracts people from all over.  I saw on Facebook that a friend of mine had sold her art right away and posted on the social media.

6 x 6 artwork by Pamela Benham

Whether you buy the artwork online, or go to the gallery there are so many works to choose from!  I saw many little bird portraits and even a cute bird house ( or two ).    One little image of a swan had real feathers attached...

Could be yours today!  At  6 x 6

Thank you to all of the artists who participated in this years show!

I couldn't help but take a chance and add to my art collection.  I have a good feeling of supporting my community!  There are still a few thousand works up on the wall - take a look for yourself and find some inspiration!

AT 6 x 6 --after a terrific opening the show goes on , and on!

Later next week I travel down through the Southern Tier and into Pennsylvania for the opening reception at a show I have co-curated with my brother, Paul Singer.  Our exhibition features artwork made by our father, Arthur Singer who he had a long, illustrious career  as a wildlife artist - but that is not the only thing he did.  His  life and work  are featured in this new show at the Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art in Millersburg, PA, right across the river from Harrisburg, PA.

If you are in the neighborhood, our reception is from 3 - 6 pm on Saturday, June 15th, and we would love to see you there.  We will be signing copies of our new book about Arthur Singer, The Wildlife Art of an American Master - and we will be having a talk about his art that is up on the walls of the Ned Smith Center.  Below is the postcard for our exhibition which is on thru August 26th, 2019.

Postcard for the new exhibition of wildlife art by Arthur Singer
Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art
Millersburg, PA

Friday, May 24, 2019

Fantastic Finger Lakes

Lake Cayuga, view from 5th floor 
Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art
Cornell University Campus

The city of Ithaca is nestled at the inlet to Lake Cayuga - one of the fantastic Finger Lakes - and you may take in the view from the panoramic windows along the 5th floor of the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art on the campus of Cornell University.  The building designed by the now late I. M. Pei was built in the early 1970s and while I was a graduate student at Cornell I watched it being built outside the window of my studio next door.

Flashback:  Cornell at that time did have a small art collection housed on campus which moved to the new museum once it opened.  I remember a very important show by Robert Smithson then that was written up in all the art magazines.  This exhibition set in motion a trend in "site-specific" art that also included Earth Art - a movement that was about to take hold.  So, Ithaca was trendy!  That was about fifty years ago!  Then, the Ithaca Commons was just being considered... before State Street ran right through the center of this upstate New York town.

Alison Lurie reads at Buffalo Street Books

Today, I am in town for the opening of our show at the Corners Gallery whose owner and director, Ariel Ecklund has given eight printmakers the opportunity to show our stuff.  The day before the opening I went to hear and see some presentations including a reading by Alison Lurie, a noted author at Buffalo Street Books.  I am reading her new memoir "Words and Worlds" and enjoying her narrative.  In her book she muses about Texts and their deconstruction - make no mistake - Alison Lurie does not want to be interrogated - just left alone to write what she feels!

Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art
building design by I. M. Pei

Up the Hill on the Cornell University campus we are going into the Johnson Museum and I come across a big abstract painting by Norman Bluhm downstairs.

Norman Bluhm's  ( 1921-1999 )  "Brizo", 1968

I am hoping that they have some good shows on for this visit.  First, I come across prints and paintings of the nude - this is a history lesson that goes back to the anatomical studies by Vesalius.
There is even an old pop-up book - maybe the first of its kind to reveal inner layers of a body.  This is just a small part of the exhibition called: "Undressed - The Nude in Context, 1500-1750".

Anatomical Pop-up Book

Down the hall is a modern show of photo-realist watercolors from the Louis and Susan Meisel Collection.  The Meisels - gallery owners in SoHo had the best opportunity to develop a collection based on their interest in and support of a group of artists that they promoted.  This new exhibition is quite inspiring and gives you a brief look back at a particular branch of representation that patterned itself around creating paintings by hand that could really challenge a viewer - these watercolors are so complex and complete as to mimic color photographs.  It is funny because when photography was first "invented" photographers often tried to make their pictures look like paintings, but in the 20th Century the tables have turned.

Watercolors from the Meisel Collection
include this portrait of the Bendix Diner
by John Baeder

I noticed a painting by John Baeder of a famous diner in New Jersey near the Interstate that I once sat down in to have a burger.  Painter John Baeder has it accurate down to the last detail.  The photo realists were often attracted by shiny objects - just to demonstrate their prowess with paints and brushes ( and patience! ).

Watercolor by Ralph Goings

Upstairs, there is a major showing of textiles from India with very intricate designs.  Chintz and other weavings  on view show great inventiveness and are worth close study.   My only complaint is that the museum keeps the lights down low for fear of bleaching out the dyes used in these fabrics, so they are a little hard to see.  

"Traded Treasure" Indian Textiles for Global Markets
Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art

These are fabrics that must take a lot of time to prepare for sale.  The designs tell whole stories in some cases or represent different ways of thinking about patterns.

Indian Chintz fabrics on view now
at "Traded Treasures"

In other parts of the museum I found wondrous paintings like this little masterpiece by El Greco from 1610.  It is funny that this work looks so modern!  Is that because it is so simple and direct?  The figure of Saint James that the painting portrays could be anyone you see out for a walk in the world.

El Greco portrait of Saint James, 1610-1614

I had to get ready to leave, stopping off to admire a Giacometti sculpture that also seemed to be in a rush.  I couldn't wait to get to the opening at the Corners Gallery and greet new friends and old.  I wonder how they will welcome our printmaking show?   I think what we are doing is worthy of being collected and exhibited - maybe even here at this museum.  What do you think?

Alberto Giacometti in stride

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Spring Ahead

Signs of Spring:  Trillium in Ithaca, NY

Time out to celebrate the arrival of Spring.  Take a deep breath and then plunge ahead.  This month is fulfilling in many ways.  The change in weather means more sunlight, and  flowers respond!
Time also for an opening of an exhibition that I have been planning on for months at the Corners Gallery up in Cayuga Heights,  Ithaca, New York.  

Alan Singer pictured  pulling a print edition for The Print Club of Rochester

I am a printmaker, painter and Professor of Art at R.I.T. and I have curated the show called "Process and Purpose, 2019".   Included in the new show at Corners Gallery are eight contemporary printmakers who all have a story to tell in each individual work on display.  We had a great crowd at the opening and all of the artists were in attendance.

Minna Resnick, one of our printmakers at the opening

There are established relationships between the artists of friendship and community and there is also a conversation between the artworks on view.  Maybe it is color, or maybe it is the mood expressed but each print is engaging as a composition worth your attention.  Don't mistake these prints for illustration though, the artists have built a deeper concept built from their experience.

It is rewarding to take the time and really see what the artists are dealing with.  In our show along with their art each printmaker has a verbal statement to make in support of their endeavors.  An artist like Nick Ruth comes back again and again to his statement dealing with communication using an image of a cell tower to get us to stop and think about how we have come to rely on devices for conversation.

Nick Ruth at Corners Gallery

The daily news about Climate Change and  striking images of forest fires out west bring into deeper focus the issues that printmaker Craig Mains has made with his work.  His giant woodcut features a lumber truck making the last haul.  Is that because there are no more trees to cut down; have the forest fires consumed them?

Craig Mains large woodcut deals with current issues... 

 Eileen Bushnell's small mixed media prints are like little science experiments, figures are falling and spells are broken.  There is a reliance on elemental charts that tell us about our atomic structures and how we can relate.  You could say that Eileen Bushnell's theme is a quest for knowledge.  Having a second sense of what that knowledge may bring - that is the job of this artist - to find it and hopefully harmonize!

Eleen Bushnell's print - "Akiko and the Buddha"

Minna Redneck's prints are sophisticated image making at its best, with delicate values that come close to photographic depth.  "Avoid Meaningless Words" is one title, and it is a mediation perhaps on childhood, looking back on a life well lived through the eyes of an artist.  Childhood joys are juxtaposed against more mature pursuits with a recognition of being judged through observation.

Minna Resnick at Corners Gallery

These are some of my thoughts about the ways these prints on view in "Process and Purpose, 2019" may cause a reaction from a viewer.  Several of the prints in our show are purely abstract, like those by the artist Kumi Korf.  She and I attended graduate school at Cornell University during the early 1970s and we share some history in our relations to art and that can become something of a signifier.

Kumi Korf and friend at the opening of "Process & Purpose, 2019"

Sarah Kinard and Shane Durgee are the youngest folks in this group of eight printmakers.  Sarah has a way with the fragments she collects and uses, but in her woodcut "Razzle Dazzle" she has a graphic vortex of energy that holds a viewer's attention.  Shane also has that energy and the bright colors of his transfer prints have a tactile depth.

Sarah Kinard at Corners Gallery

Shane Durgee, transfer print with over painting

My prints in this show engage with striking colors that seem to glow.  I have an engagement with geometry and with the translation of mathematics into something you can see and feel.  My new prints embody a search for new ways of expressing myself, but I never thought that you could use algebra to create images like what I am doing today.  Come out and see our show, I think we are on to something here.!

Alan Singer's print called:  " Nirvana"
"Process and Purpose, 2019"
Corners Gallery, Ithaca, New York
thru June 22, 2019