Saturday, June 25, 2016

Garden Variety

"Garden Varieties"
The Mill Art Center, Honeoye Falls, New York

Participating Artists at The Mill Art Center

On this summer day - the sun is out and the temperature is moderate so we go around to see the show at The Mill Art Center before it closes.  "Garden Varieties" has mostly botanical images and I have three things in this show, along with a big group of artists from western New York.  I was happy to be invited to participate and exhibit three watercolors of plants and flowers from my garden which I have painted over the past few years.

Recent portrait of a poppy in progress...

I have said many times that flowers are difficult to paint, mostly because I try to match the colors I see, and then I find that the colors on my palette are pale compared to what nature has to offer.  The paintings I make from subjects like the poppy above - they are studies and not unlike what other artists have made before, in my paintings I try to be accurate and they are the direct response to what I see before me.  I learn right away that my light source ( the sun ) is always moving and it changes the way the subject looks from the time I begin to the time that my painting is done.

Robert Heischman,  painting made from a garden at Dumbarton Oaks

At The Mill Art Center, I find a pair of works by Robert Heischman with subjects taken from the gardens at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C.  His paintings are strong in composition and also in his ability to communicate light on all the forms.  Trying to show light coming through the petals of a flower is a difficult trick to pull off with paints, and Gail Thomas tries to do that with her portrait of a peony.  Some artists like Lanna Pejovic show a "gardenscape" that begins to verge on abstraction.

top: Lanna Pejovic, and Gail Thomas, below

In order to get in touch with the real thing, my wife, Anna and I,  drive over to see gardens on view - in a garden habitat tour sponsored by The Genesee Land Trust.  This is an opportunity once a year to go and see what real gardeners are doing outside their homes, and we were fascinated by all the varieties of plants ( especially the hostas ) and we were attracted to the ways people were able to make gorgeous gardens on their properties.  It was something Monet would have enjoyed.

Hegeman garden
"The Backyard Habitat Tour"
June 24, 2016

Hosta varieties

Colorful planter

The gardens we visited take a lot of planning, and work to create.  You  have to be resourceful finding the right plant specimens and trying out different compositions just like a painter might create.  Hopefully, the seasons will be kind to the gardens we visited today, and the weather couldn't have been better!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Group Show Time

Rochester Contemporary Art Center
6 x 6 

By the way, if you have been hiding out -  it is now Jazz Festival time and that means you have to go over and see the new 6 x 6 exhibition at Rochester Contemporary Art Center.  Last year I put my money down and bought the raffle ticket for the George Condo work on paper, and by cracky - I actually won the thing with my winning ticket!  I was stunned...  So you could go and see this year's show, and purchase a raffle ticket for maybe the Albert Paley drawing or the other works that stand by the entrance.

Look at this selection and then 
buy a raffle ticket

At RoCo they have over 5900 small works pinned up on their walls so you can start a collection, or continue one that you have been building ever since they started this special series of exhibitions.  If you value what they ( at RoCo ) do for our community - and I think they make it a must see for their shows - then you should go over and support their efforts to give our city something to be proud of.

Love Art

Go to the 6 x 6 show and look for the Robert Marx drawings ( all sold ) and the Sheldon Berlyn paintings ( also sold out ) and maybe the perky little image that says I Love Art.  Where else can you go and get genuine works of art by the famous and not-so-famous for twenty bucks a pop?  You will be surprised at what you will find there!

6 x 6 until July 17, 2016 at Rochester Contemporary
137 East Avenue

In another part of town, at R.I.T., I walked into the show "Explorations: A Visual Conversation" at the Dyer Art Center.  I found a robust group show from the participating Arena Art Group.  The Dyer gallery is a beautiful space, elegant like a museum, with natural light and polished floors.

The first thing that caught my attention was "Discourse" - an installation by Jappie King Black that features mummy-like sculpture surrounded by a constellation of root like creatures that looks as if they sprang from the mind of Edward Gorey.  

"Discourse" by Jappie King Black

Since the show is called a visual conversation, and Jappie King Black's installation is called "Discourse", I begin  to wonder what all of the talk is about?  Is it about what effect all this art has on the visitor ( yes ) and is it about invention and ingenuity ( yes ) and is it about the power that a large talented group of artists can muster ( of course! ).  On the little walkway there is a configuration of diamond shared paintings by Stu Chait in his characteristic watercolor way and he shares some things in common with Nate Hodge and his large abstraction.  A trio of heads by Richard Harvey and a ceramic figure by Sharon Jeter greet all the visitors to this show.

Foreground: R.J. Miller "Industrial Babel "
Background: Stu Chait

On the main wall that faces you as you come into the gallery there is a red orange painting by Peter Macon called "Body Language" that conveys its message across a wide expanse and next to that is a suite of images from Dan Neuberger - all part of his documentary on the island of Santorini.

Peter Macon on the left and Dan Neuberger on the right

This is a very big show,  and I hope that you have time to go around and see all the work here, because it is quite impressive, just keep an eye on the time as the gallery is open only from ten in the morning to 2 pm in the afternoon, now thru August 20, 2016 when they have their closing reception  from 6-9 pm.

"The Sound of Color" by Dan Scally
part of the Arena Art Group
The Dyer Art Center

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Happy Father's Day

Alan Singer, and Nathaniel Singer, 2016

My brother, Paul and his family, and myself and my family would love to wish all the Dads out there, a happy Father's Day!  My son, Nathaniel called from Sardinia to wish me a wonderful Father's Day and by coincidence it is also my Birthday - so I am doubly blessed.!!  What I love about this day is the quiet joy of just being alive, and being able to sit out in my backyard and paint a watercolor of some of my favorite flowers.  My wife, Anna, is sitting reading the newspaper... Birds are at the feeders and we water the lawn on this sky blue day.

My studio in the Hungerford Building, Rochester, New York

As the summer goes along we are working to be organized in the studio and ready for new things.  I made a valiant effort to clean up my act, including doing a new inventory.  This is one thing that my teachers didn't tell me about in grad school at Cornell University, and that is if you are going to be in business ( hopefully selling your art ) you have to be organized to actually get things accomplished according to the rules of business.  It is more than just supply and demand, you have to be prepared to locate certain works of art - even if they were made a few years ago... Now, WHERE ARE THEY?

Arthur B. Singer

My brother, Paul and I are also in the final stages of negotiating a contract for a book we plan to publish about my father, Arthur Singer, and his lifelong love of wildlife and the art that he made during his long and very accomplished career.  I think of my father, and how much I owe to him for his inspiration and his tenacity in the process of making his art during his lifetime.  I would like to think that we helped along the way, and in particular my father gave me a chance to work alongside of him and to learn about the kind of art he practiced every day.

In my family, everyone worked on their art.  My mother was a painter, and she also made woven fabrics, my brother Paul painted, and today is a designer, and I had fun as a kid watching all this activity and doing my drawings in Prismacolor pencils ( I still have some of my childhood drawings in our attic ).  Now that I teach art as a Professor, in the School of Art at R.I.T. I hope I can be an inspiration to others.  

So with luck, next Father's Day I will be writing about our new book, and I will let my readers know when it is available... Now I have to get back to my watercolor before the light of day fades.  Happy Father's Day everyone.!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Print Club and "Echoes"

David Row and Kristine Bouyoucos in
"Echoes of the Past"
The Print Club of Rochester
85th Anniversary Exhibition
University Gallery, Vignelli Design Center
Rochester Institute of Technology

The Print Club of Rochester is celebrating their 85th anniversary with an innovative showing of pairs of prints in the new University Gallery that is part of the Vignelli Design Center on the campus of Rochester Institute of Technology in western New York.  The University Gallery is a tall space with natural light and it is featuring 15 select artists who show their work next to the prints that inspired them.  The prints that serve as an inspiration all come from the Print Club Archive.  The Archive serves as a study collection and represents the results of years of activity in support of the fine art of making prints in limited editions for subscribing members. 

Juror, Ellen Heck, in black, is second from the right
with Print Club board members

The Print Club maintains its Archive, and you can go online to see the prints that have been commissioned over the years.  Here is the link to their web site:

Artist,  Paul Resika served as an inspiration for Print Club member Dale Klein

By being a subscribing member of the Print Club, you can receive a wonderful work of art each year as part of the member benefits.  Over the years that the Print Club has been in operation the board has selected well known artists to make a print in a limited edition.  As an example, here you can see a work on the left by Paul Resika of a harbor building in Provincetown, Massachusetts, which was a commission from  1999.  Dale Klein took her inspiration from the Resika image, and she made a print based on her experience with the pier out in Charlotte, on Lake Ontario.

Adam Werth
printmakers are celebrated in "Echoes of the Past"

Each of the selected artists in "Echoes of the Past" share a wide range of styles and here we have an image by Adam Werth who after graduating from R.I.T. went on to teach printmaking, so he brings new energy and technology to the task of interpreting the print he chose as his inspiration.  Using the materials found in the Print Club Archive, the selected artists are able to refocus content, renew motifs, and expand on new processes of their own.

Print by Rockwell Kent on left with new interpretation by Alan Singer on right

The Print Club of Rochester exists to promote the art and study of printmaking, and it is useful to become a member if you have an interest in this art form, especially if you want to build an art collection of your own for a minimal sum.  For several years I was an active member of the board and then the Print Club president.  I had fun working on this image above from a Rockwell Kent of the Adirondacks and a cabin in the hills.

Print by Maria Victoria Savka

Another interesting aspect of the Print Club is that students can join for a lower rate and still get the benefits of being a member, which also includes an invitation to exhibit your artwork in their annual show, and build your resume.  Above is an image from a graduating student for the show, "Echoes of the Past".  So, come out to the University Gallery before August 12, 2016 and review the art for yourself.

Retiring Professor, Tom Lightfoot
reviews the art..

The Print Club of Rochester
The University Gallery
Vignelli Design Center
Rochester Institute of Technology

Monday, June 6, 2016

Art Seen

Rockwell Kent 
A Commission from 
The Print Club of Rochester

"Echoes of the Past" is a juried exhibition that will open this week at the University Gallery at R.I.T.

In case you have not been there before, the gallery is part of the new Vignelli Design Center, and this space  has beautiful light and it is a wonderful space to show your work. The idea behind this new show of prints comes from the Print Club, and members selected for the show were asked to interpret a work from the Print Club Archive, and I chose the etching above by Rockwell Kent as my inspiration.  First of all I love the Adirondacks pictured in Kent's fine work, and I thought that I could do something with this composition.  You can read a review of the show, and see my work if you go to this link:  DemocratandChronicle.com

Kumi Korf at
in Ithaca, New York

On the newly refurbished Commons in downtown Ithaca, New York, we stopped to look at buildings going up, and also to view the repairs to the building that housed Simeon's ( where I once had a studio upstairs in the mid 1970's). There was a concert going on outside and we ducked into ArtSpace to view "Sublime is the color" - a new show of prints and artist books by Kumi Korf.   Kumi is a friend and classmate of mine from Cornell University.  She is an architect by training as well as an artist and printmaker, and today she is having a solo show of intaglio prints, some of which were made into artist books featured in a glass vitrine on the premises.

Kumi Korf 
artist books

Kumi Korf has had a long career in the arts, and for years she has made abstraction and color work for her, and she does so again in this new show.  Her large prints that she calls "Petroglyphs" can remind one of the kind of gestural mark making one might associate with Henri Matisse, and Kumi's prints are vibrant - not only for their gestures but for her color choices.

Kumi Korf shows "Petroglyphs"
ArtSpace, Ithaca, New York

Kimi's artist books like "Alphabet of My Phobias" feature verses by Maia Vidal and the images are like poetic flags - prints that evoke personal credos and testimony.  In her show we can view intimate pages from her development, especially in a work like "Green Metamorphic" - which combines gestural marks ( like a private calligraphy ) with puffs of violet fog that perform an interesting duet on paper.  So, if you are in Ithaca this summer, look for Kumi Korf's art at 171 The Commons, downtown.

Sheldon Berlyn
Warren Phillips Fine Art & Frame
Hungerford Building
Rochester, New York

Back in Rochester, I just had a moment to take in a two person show at Warren Phillips Fine Art & Frame which runs thru July 8th and it features the sculpture of John Nihart and the paintings of Sheldon Berlyn.  Mr. Berlyn has just been exhibited at Rochester Contemporary Art Center only a few months ago, so it was something of a surprise to see this new exhibition coming on the heels of the other.  Here we mostly have smaller works - all abstractions - some with distinct divisions as with the painting above.  In these works we find a play between the structural and the gestural - all with strong color choices and with the artist's signature curves often executed with a knife or a squeegee full of paint.

Sculpture by John Nihart

Some of the dimensional work by John Nihart has distinct Art Deco flavors with quotes from a kind of amusing mixture - Brancusi and Nadelman.  The summer is just getting started but there is a lot to see and enjoy, so go out and take in some art!

Finally, I want to take a moment to thank the readers of this blog, especially because we passed a milestone this week, surpassing 40,000 page views.  I know that doesn't sound so amazing in the current world of BIG DATA... but I am thankful there are people out there who appreciate my  thoughts and observations.  Thank You!