Sunday, September 2, 2018

Art Workers

Rick Muto and Roz Goldman
Axom Gallery, Rochester, New York
celebrates Cathal O'Toole

This past Saturday at the Axom Gallery, a group of folks gathered to hear from Roz Goldman and Rick Muto, Michael Thomas and Katherine Baca-Bielinis about the life and art of Cathal O'Toole ( 1904-1991 ).

On a beautiful afternoon I began to learn a lot more about the artist whose work I had admired in a fine show of paintings and prints.  The opportunity to hear from these people who had looked so  closely at the works on view in the gallery was really refreshing.  There were some surprises as Rick Muto brought out some of Cathal O'Toole's artworks that had not made it onto the walls of this particular show, including a portrait of the actress Helen Hayes ( see below ).

Cathay O'Toole's portrait of Helen Hayes

During the discussion at the gallery we learned that the artist had exhibited his paintings at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and that sales of the art from the Axom Gallery would go to help support Cathal O'Toole's wife who is presently under care in a nursing home.  I couldn't help but think of all of the artwork this artist must have made during a lifetime, and we are only seeing what was left of his estate in this show of a very high quality.

Later in the week I spent some time watching a wonderful video  on TV about the life and work of Eva Hesse, an artist whose work I followed in New York City when I would go around to galleries as a teenager.  ART 21 is the series being  shown on PBS and this week they will broadcast a special about the art and life of Elizabeth Murray, which I am looking forward to seeing.

Elizabeth Murray visits R.I.T.

Almost fifteen years ago, I invited Elizabeth Murray to come and speak to my students in the painting studio at Rochester Institute of Technology.  She later gave a public talk about her art at The Memorial Art Gallery that was well attended.  It was only a few years after that, when Elizabeth passed away ( too soon ).  Luckily she lived long enough to see her retrospective exhibition held at The Museum Of Modern Art.  But when she was here to visit my students at R.I.T. she gave their work her full attention.

Elizabeth Murray will be featured in a video presentation
from ART 21
check your local listings

While Elizabeth Murray   ( 1940-2007 ) was alive and exhibiting often at Paula Cooper Gallery, I would go and see what she was doing, and it almost always gave me something to think about, and enjoy.  My own painting was influenced by what she accomplished, especially from the point of view of working with different shapes.  I place a very high value on the people behind the artwork, and on the way out at the airport, bringing Elizabeth Murray back to her plane to New York City, I couldn't help but be amazed by her stamina in the face of all the work she had yet to accomplish.