Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Art in Data

Check out the ACS magazine article first on Rebecca Aloisio.  If you didn't see it when it was first published last year, here is a chance to read what Rebecca had to say about her development as a fine artist, here is the link:

Rebecca Aloisio at Rochester Institute of Technology

"We are confronted daily with insurmountable amounts of visual information.  This influx of data quietly shrouds our sense of truth, burying it under veils of the sensational, the staged, the crude, and the hyperreal. One can never be quite certain if the image before them represents documented history or a simulated probability. Navigating this paradigm is at the core of my practice. I want to make images that speak beyond abstraction.  I want viewers to be accountable, questioning and challenging the authenticity of what it is they are seeing." - Rebecca Aloisio

art by Rebecca Aloisio
"Object" at The RIT University Gallery

With an opening reception in September, the art of Rebecca Aloisio is being featured in a solo exhibition of large scale works that defy the easy categories we have for two dimensional art. Are these paintings, prints, or collage, or all of the above?  If these works are not abstract than what do they represent?  There are bits of things that we can recognize - a texture here, or a form there, but this looks like a universe that has been put into a blender and a new context is developing to interpret these images.  There is a beauty to these compositions to be sure - a real artist has been working at her craft and now has something to show for it.

Rebecca Aloisio print in the studio

As a mentor, I had the opportunity to work with Rebecca last year in the printmaking studio, and had the chance to see how she worked at her art.  Above was a photo I made of one work  with strong color and a sense of dimension, and you can see bits of this in the new pieces  which are framed and hanging in the University Gallery in her show called "Objekt" until October 6th, 2018.

This summer I was pleased to be able to write a recommendation for Rebecca Aloisio, and she has since been awarded a Pollock-Krasner grant to further her art - needless to say she is on a roll.
It is a tribute to her strength as an artist that she has taken on a new and interesting path in her art that is confronting the barrage of digital materials that are in our lives today.  Let us see how she sorts it out.

Rebecca Aloisio 
at the RIT University Gallery

Friday, August 17, 2018

Mind Over Matter

Dan Scally and Peter J. Sucy exhibition of their art at
Geisel Gallery
One Bausch & Lomb Place, downtown Rochester, New York

Is this art in 3D or should it be in 4D?   I am writing about the show that arrived recently in the Geisel Gallery ( "Mind Over Matter in 3D " - open until August 30th, 2018 ) found on the second floor of Bausch & Lomb Place in downtown Rochester.  Why I ask this question about the art of Dan Scally and Peter J. Sucy is that their artworks on the walls of this exhibition need that extra dimension of time and space, because the work is colorful, sculptural, and needs to be viewed from different angles.  This is true for art presented on lenticular panels by Peter J. Sucy, and it is certainly true for the art of Dan Scally.

Peter J. Sucy presents images on lenticular printed screens

Dan Scally presents artworks that fall within more traditional aspects of sculpture and collage especially the so-called "found objects" that we have seen in 20th century art.  In contrast, the majority of the pieces by Peter J. Sucy rely on digital imagery presented on little lenticular display screens.  What is a lenticular panel?  In essence, it is a kind of specialized printed lens with basic backlighting that tends to give these artworks the look of real depth, it kind of fools the eye.  You may have seen this kind of thing before in cards and printed advertisement that makes the image appear to be moving - this is not the usual thing that you find in an art gallery ( maybe things are about to change! ).

Dan Scally reworks Jackson Pollock

In his idiom Dan Scally is having fun working at his art in images which can range from a rendition of a Jackson Pollock storm on a bright metallic surface to a collection of different textures of wood that make up a tactile portrait of a landscape.  Continually experimenting, Dan Scally has some very attractive works that are modestly priced and a few have already sold.  From the looks of this show I can't think of a material that would shake his confidence.  My eye was attracted to a number of his pieces including something that resembles a spiked hubcap toward the back of the exhibition.

Dan Scally has a wide variety of materials in this exhibition
Geisel Gallery
Rochester, New York

Peter J. Sucy has a deep interest in the development of 3D prints as he explains in his artist's statement.  He is a Kodak veteran who was in line to take on a difficult assignment - perfecting the lenticular printing process and it seems to work for him here.  I know from my own experience in modeling 3D environments that this is a time consuming way to create art and there is a lot to learn along the way to make objects worthy of presentation in a gallery setting.

"Mendon Drain" by Peter J. Sucy

With these lenticular screens the quality of the image is very important as is the angle from which you stand and view them.  Each work requires a steady light source, and I wonder how permanent the images are in this printing process.  There is room for invention and wit and Mr. Sucy has a very interesting viewpoint to share.  In one image, a famous painting by Edward Hopper is reworked to include a kind of flying bird/machine looking in on the skeletal folks having their coffee in the Nighthawk Cafe.

Peter J.Sucy at Geisel Gallery

Take some time to go and look at this interesting two person show.  There are many works to see and trying to follow the development of a theme here requires a patient heart.  It is worth the effort.

Peter J. Sucy ,  3D prints of Chess pieces
compliment this show
at Geisel Gallery
Rochester, New York

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Summer Chance

Tom Otterness' The Creation Myth
Goodman and University Avenue
Rochester, New York

Winding my way to the studio in the Hungerford Building the other day I noticed workers and trucks at the installation on the corner of University Avenue.  I went over to see what they have been doing and I was surprised to see that the sculpture from Tom Otterness has been switched out.  It came as a surprise because I don't remember reading anything about it in the papers.  In case you haven't been by there - this set of sculptures has become a popular destination  - and now there is a new version in metal of one of his pieces,  recently installed.  I wonder why, and how it was changed, not that anything was lost - it is just different!  Now we have one in metal and one in stone, along with many of the little versions sprinkled around the grounds of the Memorial Art Gallery. 

Tom Otterness 
The Memorial Art Gallery

A little further on my way, on College Avenue, Gallery r is closed for the summer, and will be opening in a new spot during the fall in a mid-town location.  I am sure we will have some interesting news about that to share with you soon.  The College Avenue location has served the students and faculty of R.I.T. well,  and now we will see what will happen in their new exhibition space.

If you plan to visit galleries this summer, take in a new show that is by photographer John Retallack being held at the Joy Gallery, 498 Main Street West, in Rochester.  John mentioned to me that his show called: STORY will remain at the gallery during September.  John Retallack has been involved with photography and printing for years, and he was also teaching at Rochester Institute of Technology which was where we first met.  The interesting thing about these new photo prints on view is that often John has hand written a story to go along with the image.

John Retallack
at Joy Gallery
498 Main Street West, Rochester, New York

Some of the photos in the present show go back in time; John is revisiting places he has been and telling the stories of how the photos were made.  Not all of the prints are combined with his hand writing however.  Some of the photos  are quite unique ( especially his toy truck images ) and other photos seem to come from a time when he was mainly making portraits.  In fact he published a book with Anne C. Coon of faculty portraits  at R.I.T.  ( there is an image of Scott McCarney in the present show as an example ).

Jed Perl's compendium
"Art in America" 
The Library of America, published by Penguin Random House

Summer is a time when I can catch up on my reading, and I can recommend a compendium that has been published from Jed Perl.  He collects essays from writers on American Art - going back to 1945 and ending up around 1970.  In collecting this 800 plus page  book Jed Perl writes introductions for each selection, and tells us why he made the choice of these essays - why he feels they are necessary for a better understanding of the art we see in galleries and museums.  I think this would be a good selection for anyone who is curious about what was being said about  some of the well known artists of the time including writings by some of the artists themselves including Isamu Noguchi,  Barnett Newman, and Willem de Kooning.  It may surprise you how eloquent some of the artists are in their communications!

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Botanical Book Reviews

Looking forward to reading this review as I need books to recommend for my class in Zoological and Botanical Art set to start in two weeks!

Monday, August 6, 2018

Celebrated Artists Sometimes

Gorges, just Gorges
August, 2018

Spending a day in the Finger Lakes, taking in the sites ( see above ) and thinking of the future.

For this writer,  I go back to my teaching schedule at Rochester Institute of Technology and I think about opportunities to show my recent artwork - with a exhibition going on in Los Angeles at LACDA ( see below ) and also one in Poughkeepsie, New York which I wrote about in my last posting.

LACDA ( Los Angeles Center for Digital Art
August 9th thru September 1, 2018

I am in Ithaca, New York for a visit to the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art on the campus of Cornell University, and I visit a couple of shows there that gave me a good feeling of time well spent looking at their art.  I am at a point where I am making plans to teach, and I am looking outside of myself for inspiration, and I find it in other people's art at the present.

Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art
Cornell University campus,
Ithaca, New York

The show "Shifting Ground" is a survey of landscapes - mostly mid-20th century that come from unexpected sources.  Where you might expect to see Fairfield Porter, or Neil Welliver, instead there is Karl Schrag and Alan Sonfist.  The ideal here is to introduce artists that are not familiar names and give the viewers a chance to evaluate their contributions to the notion of "landscape".   This is not a show for plein air painters, matter of fact this is much more conceptual in nature.

Karl Schrag, 1970
"Land,Sea,Sky " color intaglio print

Alan Sonfist
"Gene Bank of New York City", 1974
Photographs and vials of forest elements

Karl Schrag ( 1912-1995 ) was an artist who may be better known for his coastal watercolors and a style that is close to Charles Burchfield.  He taught printmaking at The Cooper Union just before I entered that art school for my BFA degree.  Alan Sonfist is an artist who has worked in a number of genres, and here is represented by a wall size series of photos of New York's Central Park and bottles of samples taken from the forest floor.  This more conceptual approach to image making has a point:  these samples may be needed to recreate the forest, should society need to undertake that project.  

The benefit of walking through this exhibition is to get the viewer to think about landscape beyond the prosaic, and look at it fresh with new eyes.  This leads me to the second show ( "The Touch of the Butterfly" ) that is arranged on the lower floor that opens a door to the artist Whistler and his inspirations and influences.  This is primarily a show of prints, and it begins with beautiful little images from Rembrandt's portraiture and brings to our attention not only Whistler, but the artists of which he is associated.

James Abbott McNeill Whistler ( 1834-1903 )
Intaglio etching of Drouet, 1859 

Wonderful direct etchings from Whistler like the portrait above, made this museum visit worthwhile, and there were so many more prints of interest including his Asian influence felt in the work of Hiroshige ( see below ).  I happened to be in the museum with a friend, Geoffrey Oliver who is a Japanese Print dealer, so we talked a lot about the art form and how Whistler was influenced by the Orient.

Hiroshige, from the show " Touch of the Butterfly"

Closer to my home in Rochester, I had the chance to go to the opening of a show of artwork by Cathal O'Toole ( 1904-1991 ) who was also a painter and printmaker - born in Ireland, spent time living in New York City, and came to teach here in Rochester.  I knew his printmaking from the time I was the President of the Print Club of Rochester, and we had commissioned a print from this artist for our subscribers.

Cathal O'Toole  ( 1904-1991 )

Now at the Axom Gallery, you can go and see a collection of works that span most of Cathal O'Toole's career, including landscape paintings, and abstractions and so much more.  One has to be thankful for the opportunity to look over these artworks which are modestly priced - it is like getting a rare look at the artist's inventory.  Cathal O'Toole had skills, and he was an artist who deserved your attention.

"The Visionary Works of Cathal O'Toole
Axom Gallery
176 Anderson Avenue, second floor
Rochester, New York