Thursday, May 10, 2018

Ode To Joy

Oxford Street and Park Avenue
Rochester, N.Y.
May, 2018

Spring has sprung, and the magnolias along the  median are in full bloom.  On a sunny afternoon I buzz the door for the Oxford Gallery and walk downstairs for a look see.  Around this time each spring the gallery calls on their artist community to take part in a group show, and this year the theme is "Ode to Joy".


"Ode to Joy"
thru June 16, 2018

I was invited to participate, so I sent in a monotype print.  I wanted to see what others had done with the theme, and was happy that they took a very diverse approach to a subject that has music and light woven into the heart of the mix.

"The First Veil of Spring", mixed media

There are over 60 works of art to take in and they range from abstract and intimate ( "Fog" by Jean K. Stephens ) to rather large and boisterous ( "Gun Control" by David Dorsey ).  I had the good fortune to be able to talk with one of the featured artists - g.a. Sheller - about her mixed media work on paper she calls: "The First Veil of Spring".  This is a two part work that includes photography, printmaking and hand painting - portraits of the first flowers - snowdrops to be exact - with marvelous details that appear almost three-dimensional with very subtle hints of green stems or leaves on a snowy morning. She must have gotten level with the ground to get such close-ups of these tiny flowers.

"Lake Effect" by Ken Townsend

"Ode to Joy" is a wonderful concept, and if you take these artists at their word - their artworks should make a real connection.  For some painters in this show, they express their joy by going straight outdoors to find their bliss.  Maybe, for Ken Townsend, it was the light catching on the bits of snow in a large tree that lifted his spirits.

"Farmer's View" by Sean Witucki

Stately trees at the edge of a field in "Farmer's View" bring joy to the artist who paints the picture, and hopefully this is transmitted to a viewer.  The quality of this realist's work certainly gives you a time of day and a very peaceful feeling as you scan this paintings surface and take in the details that this artist provides.

"Elysium's Daughter"
by William Keyser

On the other hand, it might be just the ability to bring something new into the world that brings an artist sheer happiness.  I get that from Bill Keyser's work: "Elysium's Daughter" made of laminated wood with a bright yellow paint.  Keyser's sculpture frames space in a way that both condenses and relaxes the environment creating the first beat of a proposed rhythm.  Other little abstractions can be attractive, including the meandering currents that circulate in the pen and ink drawing called " Great Circle" by Bill Stephens.

" Great Circle" by Bill Stephens

My monotype print which I call: " Comprehension" fits right in this mode.  I have been working with bright primary colors for several years now and my print has a kind of celestial starlight at the central "point of origin" with a radiance that becomes palpable.  I am using a method of  developing  qualities in my art that translates mathematics and measurement into something you can sense and see.

"Comprehension" by Alan Singer

Another artist is very circumspect about the joy they get in the process of painting.  Barbara Page is up in an airplane, surveying the scenes down below and finds a certain confluence of roads and streams and gives you the demarcation zones in her work she calls: "Three Springs".  She has been working on map paintings for a while and I would say her selection for this show takes you away from the ordinary point of view, and by taking a bird's eye view beckons you to step away from today's problems and see things from this new perspective.

"Three Springs" by Barbara Page

"Ode to Joy" could also be a party, and painter Kate Timm, is ready to celebrate.  In her still life which reminds me of the paintings by Janet Fish, there is a little bottle with a portrait of Beethoven on the label.  Kate has a table laden with candy, corn, a vase of flowers and everything is painted in a particular light, as if it could stay that way forever.

"Ode to Joy" by Kate Timm

So, time and place certainly has an effect.  The best thing is that joy can be shared.  There are so many works of art in this show that I am tempted to write about each one, but then there wouldn't be as much of a surprise for the readers of my blog, and I don't want to stop you from getting up and going to see for yourself.  Check it out and smile...

"Gun Control" by David Dorsey
at Oxford Gallery
267 Oxford Street, Rochester, New York