Saturday, May 16, 2015

Given Over To Abstraction

"Given To Abstraction"
The Mill Art Center
61 North Main Street, Honeoye Falls, NY 14472

If you have not gone over to The Mill Art Center in Honeoye Falls, the building has a smart new outdoor patio and upstairs a new show has opened including fourteen artists whose work is anchored in abstraction.  Among the artists at the opening, I had a chance to talk with Paul Garland ( see image above ), who has had many shows and taught art - and we exchanged views about the use of digital tools in the creation of abstract art.  Abstract art has been with us way before the digital age, but the computer has opened up new avenues for the generation of all forms of abstraction.

Zerbe Sodervick
at the Mill Art Center

Abstraction can be a gesture or mood as expressed very engagingly by Zerbe Sodervick, and she will have a chance to dig deeply into this vein of art now that she has decided to retire from teaching at R.I.T.  Her work has landscape color and atmosphere but there are other traits that link her work to colorfield abstraction ( I think of a dark mood in Morris Louis ).  Hard to define, but abstraction can be more formal and hard edged.  We can see that in the paintings by Bill Keyser at the Mill Art Center - and here another factor in abstraction can be seen and felt - and that is reduction.  Pare down painting to its common denominator of color and form, then simplify it further to one or two colors and one or two shapes and then see what happens when they interact.

Karen Sardisco 
"Given To Abstraction"

When you come up the stairs at The Mill Art Center, you are taken right away by the big examples from Paula Crawford and Karen Sardisco.  Karen and Paula have been working with a large format from time to time and they provide a real challenge to hang big works on the stone walls at The Mill.

Karen's work plumbs the depths of a molecular jungle - full of primeval stuff in a mix that reminds me of early paintings by Terry Winters.  The whole area of biomorphic abstraction is present in this show in the paintings of Paula Crawford,  Belinda Bryce, and James Thomas - whose shapes look like fields of boulders.

Alan Singer and Bill Keyser
"Given To Abstraction"

In my works in this show I strike out into new territory by creating the basis of my recent art on the use of mathematical visualization tools.  My prints in this show are a hybrid, part watercolor and part pigment based ink layered on films and transferred onto paper under the pressure of my etching press.

My imagery is achieved through the use of computer programs designed to teach students geometry. Had I only known about this in my high school classes I might have done better in math.  I am making up for that now.

St. Monci  at Axom Gallery
"Universal Magnetic"

In Rochester, at the Axom Gallery, Margot Muto has welcomed the artwork of St. Monci for a stay.

Here, they have mounted a show of layered geometrical compositions along with vectors on the walls that extend the energy of the painted images.

When you look at some of the smaller paintings you see a love of design and a respect for the forms of letters.  St. Monci has studied graphic design and employs this sensibility in his compositions which can also look like architectural plans seen from a bird's-eye view.  He was recently interviewed on TV and St. Monci explained that you don't need to know what these works are supposed to mean, you can just be engaged by the colors and the implied movement.  St. Monci is a brand new dad, and he had his baby boy with him at the opening.  A charming youngster, and what a nice way to spend some time at the opening of a show, relaxed, and family friendly.

St. Monci at Axom Gallery, Rochester, New York

Monday, May 11, 2015

You Complete Me

Coming to Rochester Institute of Technology
a lecture by art critic Carol Diehl
Tuesday, May 12th at 5 pm
in Webb auditorium, Booth Building ( 7a )

You are all welcome to come over and hear Carol Diehl speak about Banksy, his life and his work.
Carol is coming to spend the day at Rochester Institute of Technology, to speak with students about their artwork, and to give critiques on student artwork.  Later in the day she will focus our attention on the elusive figure of Banksy, and I can't wait till that 5 p.m. when she fills me in.

Banksy Completed
After Banksy’s self-styled month-long New York “residency” in October, 2013, where he produced a work of art in one of the five boroughs each day, Carol Diehl spent several months making a serious investigation into his work. Her inquiry resulted in an as-yet-unpublished essay that she has given as a lecture at California State University/Fullerton, where a residency supported her research, as well as the Berkshire Museum (MA) and the University for the Creative Arts (U.K.). She is also featured in the HBO documentary, “Banksy Does New York” (2013).

“Arguably the world’s most famous living artist and a hero to many young people, the anonymous British street artist known as Banksy is regarded with suspicion, if not outright derision, by the established American art world,” says Diehl. Following the clues embedded in his work and writings as well as his 2011 Academy-Award nominated film, “Exit Through the Gift Shop”, Diehl continues, “I discovered that Banksy’s seemingly flippant interventions are driven by profound philosophical principles—and concluded that Banksy is one of the most important artists of our time who, among other things, challenges the culture to reconsider what art is, as well as its value and purpose.”

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

A Spring Trio, Then A Solo

Kristine Bouyoucos
at the Geisel Gallery, Rochester, NY

The warmer weather will bring out the greenery this spring and the flowers that were planted last fall.  It will also bring out new artwork from the studios of some seasoned artists and we are all graced with their presence.  The Geisel Gallery in the old Bausch & Lomb headquarters building in downtown Rochester, N.Y. - never looked better.  The trio I speak of are the artists Kristine Bouyoucos, Barbara Fox, and Sue Huggins Leopard and each one of them has a specialty highlighted in this show.  For Sue Leopard that would be book arts, for Kristine Bouyoucos that would be printmaking, and Barbara Fox is the painter.

Barbara Fox, the Peresephone Series
at the Geisel Gallery

Barbara Fox, not to be confused with the Barbara Fox now showing at the Oxford Gallery ( see my previous post ) seems to enjoy a more improvised painting style here, in these paintings called "The Peresephone Series".  It is appropriate that the paintings reflect some of the characteristics attributed to the mythical Peresephone including some Vegetation, and elements of which shoot forth in the spring.  Barbara also repeats her name in one of the paintings, tempting the viewer to sound out the syllables. 

Sue Huggins Leopard 
at the Geisel Gallery

Book arts as practiced by Sue Huggins Leopard is as full of literary amplitude as it is of visual and tactile signs.  There are some interesting light effects ( like the white single story house with its bluish tones lit from inside ).    The folded pages of her books offer tantalizing clues as to the content of these artfully produced editions - the direction of this intimate artform is within.

Book Arts at The Geisel Gallery, Rochester, NY

Kristine Bouyoucos has been making prints based on a music theme for almost ten years, and she sometimes reproduces passages of a score and sometimes pairs it with images of the instruments for which the music was intended.  Often the composer is celebrated and the prints are a kind of visual collage or texture that weaves color and meaning in a delightful yet formal manner.

Tarrant Clements at Warren Phillips Fine Art & Frame
in the Hungerford Building, Rochester, NY

A few blocks away, I attended a solo performance for visual art by a friend whose work I have collected for a number of years.  I first came across Tarrant Clements when I attended a Monday night workshop in printmaking lead by Elizabeth K. Durand.  Tarrant was a regular at the workshop and I was attracted to her solidly colorful forms, and the witty, often unusual compositions she made which were always abstract yet seemingly full of meaning.

Paintings by Tarrant Clements
at Warren Phillips

The  compositions are often like a physical slapstick, that is- there seems to be a cause and affect happening in a painting or a sculpture by Tarrant Clements.  She has an unusual voice in her work that I relate to Alexander Calder.  She takes formal elements and gives them a specific character - you could say these are abstracts with personality.  Another artist comes to mind when I think of Tarrant's work, and that is the Expressionist painter William Baziotes.  I think Tarrant and Baziotes share an interest in a surreal manifestation of color, form and individualism as evidence by this show called "You Can't Pin Me Down"

Tarrant Clements' sculpture
"You Can't Pin Me Down"

If you want to have a fine art experience take yourself out for the trio and stay for the solo,
you won't regret it!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Theme and Variations

Oxford Gallery  is at 267 Oxford Street
in Rochester, NY.
Here is a gallery view with my print " Reverb"

Each year in the spring Jim Hall of the Oxford Gallery, organizes a theme show and this year we have "The Condition of Music" featuring a large group of artists all trying to come to grips with a visually engaging response to this opportunity.  I submitted a monoprint which I felt had been a radical departure from a more illustrative approach to the given topic, and I was eager to see what the other artists had arrived at.

Amy McLaren "The Condition of Music"
Oxford Gallery

Down the stairs at 267 Oxford Street, barely in the entry on the right I encountered Amy McLaren's painting which tells a whole story about motherhood and the gifts of music as well as the work it takes to get there.  A while ago Amy was my MFA student at R.I.T. and now she teaches there.  She has a growing family and it looks like Amy and her daughter are in it for the long haul ( whistle while you work ).

Sue Huggins Leopard collage
at Oxford Gallery

Some works are big and bold in this show and some are intimate and quietly delicate.  One of the objects on view is a collage made of paper, wax, and embroidery called "Another Spring" by Sue Huggins Leopard.  Part of the collage contains music to be played "Tenderly", and this is a real visual love song and a work of art.  Another sweet little piece hangs on a wall not far away and it is a subtle color pencil drawing by Jean K. Stephens that details bars of music reflected in a shiny wind instrument - perhaps a flute.  Also in this category is a black and white work by Barbara Fox titled "A Capella" featuring a glass globe on top of sheet of music all starry and glowing.

Color pencil drawing by Jean K. Stephens

Other fine works in this show go for the big statement including Bill Keyser's "Opus One" and Tony Dungan's "The Metronome" which seems like a composition that plays the blues ( against a dash or two of orange ).  

"Metronome" by Tony Dungan

This show is fun, and the wacky pastel from Patricia Tribastone "These Birds Don't Sing" calls to mind all the silly themes to cartoons that seem to stick to the mind like glue ( and that's all folks! ).

Patricia Tribastone  at Oxford Gallery