Saturday, November 9, 2019

You Have To See This

Nocturne by Pat Wilder

Once or twice a year I have the opportunity to let my students at R.I.T.    ( in the School off Art ) draw from live birds brought to my classroom by the volunteer group in Mendon called: Wild Wings.  After reading Helen Macdonald's book H is for Hawk  I had a whole new appreciation for birds of prey that have been trained to hunt and sit on a glove by their keepers.

Read this book!

Rosalie, visits my classroom at R.I.T.

Drawing from life also gives an artist    ( whether you are a student or not )  - a first hand experience of nature, comprehending all the details, and taking into account the "personality" of the bird itself.
So the artist observes a bird and is observed in turn.  I also have to give credit to the volunteers like Deb  -seen here with Luna, a Screech Owl, because these folks really bond with the feathered creatures in their care.

Wild Wings volunteers

In Rochester this week there are openings  for exhibitions that you have to see.   At the top of this post you can find a deep blue evening sky in Pat Wilder's "Nocturne".  This is just one of a set of photographs she presents at the 1570 Gallery on East Avenue - called "elements" , now through December 8, 2019.  This show of her early work is also dedicated to a kind of color  printing process called "Ilfochrome" that Pat Wilder used in the studio to make lustrous colors come alive.  Also called: "Cibachrome" ,  and due to the influx of digital prints - this process is no longer available!

"Wet Ferns" by Pat Wilder at 1570 Gallery, East Avenue, Rochester, NY

I think that Pat Wilder's color work is a must see.. she has a reductionist aesthetic that really lets her subjects speak for themselves.  Her photo called: "Wet Ferns" also reminds me of the color photos by Eliot Porter, an attractive approach to the details found out in the landscape.  Sometimes the subject is very suggestive as in the photo called "Curvature"  ( is it a body or a hillside? ).  Pat Wilder travels to see what she can see, and sometime her gaze is fixed upon the ephemeral - perhaps parts of posters plastered up on a wall ( see below )...

Pat Wilder presents: " elements" at 1570 Gallery, Rochester,  New York

Pat Wilder remarks in her handy catalog that a primary influence on her work is the abstract expressionist movement because of these artist's generous use of bold color, space lines, and compositional relationships and you can really see that in the photos below:

"elements" by Pat Wilder at 1570 Gallery

I am always excited to see students of ours from R.I.T. having their first shows and really taking off.  That is the case with Victoria Savka in her show called: "Not Your Average Menagerie" that just opened at the Geisel Gallery.  Her artwork is a blend of drawing, printmaking and collage.  Her artwork has a focus on animals, mainly farm creatures like cows and sheep and she adds to this cut and torn papers and bold gestures of pure color.  Each image tells a story.

"Not Your Average Menagerie" by Victoria Savka
Geisel Gallery, Rochester, NY

Victoria Savka in her prints and drawings makes it all look easy.  Her work: "Apricot Valley Indian Runner Ducks" - a drypoint monoprint has splotches of orange paper on top of the drawings of a menagerie of running birds - you can just hear them on the move...

"Apricot Valley Indian Runner Ducks"
Victoria Savka

I spoke with Victoria on the night of the opening and said that her artwork would make a terrific book project.  Children and adults would enjoy these pieces, and she could just write a few words to support each image.  Also at the opening I was able to thank Jean Geisel for whom this gallery is named for her work in establishing a space for up-and-coming artists like Victoria to get her work out in front of an audience.   This kind of positive recognition for artistic achievement is necessary in this environment where often  creative people can be overlooked....  Thank you for all you have done - Jean Geisel!

Jean Geisel at left and Victoria Savka on right
at Geisel Gallery in downtown Rochester, New York
November 7,  2019