Sunday, December 29, 2019

Wall Therapy: A Prelude and Thank You

Downtown Rochester
Wall Mural

Thank you in advance for taking the time to read my posts to this blog.  I enjoy writing about what I see on my travels both near and far.  I am presently on the move - but this time it is my own house that will change - as we are moving from Brighton to Fairport!

What brought me here in the first place was an offer of a teaching position at Rochester Institute of Technology, and I said yes! and packed up my family and moved upstate from Brooklyn, New York.
What a change!  You could actually get somewhere if you drove around town in Rochester... 

I came to teach, and it is actually the joy I get from working with the younger folks who have self-selected to become artists.  I have had some wonderful experiences, and one of them was a project my students and I got involved with and that was painting murals - way before Wall/Therapy arrived here to make it into the big-time!

R.I.T. students of Illustration painting our CASA Mural
circa 1992

We had the help of all the students in my illustration class, but most of all we  had the winning design by a fellow in the class named Robert E. Lee!  During the warm and  then cold winter months we enlarged on Robert's drawings and went to work with the blessing of CASA ( Court Appointed Special Advocates ) who gave a voice to children caught up in court battles.  They had found a wall for us in the Downtown Rochester Parking Garage, just below the court buildings.

Getting the details right.. R.I.T. Illustration students
circa 1992

Services were donated by a local billboard company with the management of Robert Whiteside, blowing up the original drawings to the wall size we needed.  This kind of work needs a lot of painting people to succeed!  Luckily we have very fine students who really care about what they are doing, and how they make their mark!

Students paint a portrait of a time when....

So I ran across these old photos now taken almost 30 years ago, and since we are embarking on a new decade, I thought I would share a moment of this experience with you.  The mural is still there, and I wonder what the students who painted it would think about their work now?  I  find it remarkable, for the group effort and also for the organization that it represents.  We try to help each other, and it is in that spirit that I say welcome to 2020, and hope that we can all get along, and learn from our experience....

Monday, December 9, 2019

Really Cool

Rochester Contemporary Art Center
137 East Avenue, Rochester, New York
now thru January 12, 2020

Our community benefits from a vibrant collection of artists and there is the facility to organize and present exhibitions of quality like the new 29th Annual that just opened this week at Rochester Contemporary Art Center.  Congratulations to Bleu Cease and to the artists whose support during these years has made this venue so necessary.  My hopes extend to the new County Executive, Adam Bello, who I think has heard from the arts community and should make every effort to engage and deliver for this constituency.

Emily Bellinger and her fabric arts at RoCo

When I first moved here 30 years ago from New York City, I found an active Arts & Cultural Council -but this entity does not seem to represent the many visual artists here today that could benefit from the support that they are due.  I hope the needs of the arts community don't get lost in the shuffle and I know that the current political climate does not help much at all.  When I stopped in to see the 29th Annual Member show at RoCo I am so thankful that there are so many visual artists on a creative streak.  This exhibition shows that there is something for everyone, every taste and talent, and it takes some time to see the real diversity not only in the use of materials but in the use of the collective imagination.

Bold colors from Judy Gohringer

Over the years I have been going around to see exhibitions I have gotten to know a portion of the folks whose artwork is presented here and I like to do my part to get the word out.  Some of my students have their new visions up for me to look at like Emily Bellinger, whose art greets you at the door.  Some of the other artists in this show are themselves teachers, and with their guidance a community can grow.  Below is a work by a colleague of mine from R.I.T. and that is Bill Keyser.

He had a long career teaching in the School For American Craft with a specialty in woodworking, and he then retired to study painting at R.I.T. where he earned his MFA.  He was recently honored also with a exhibit of his work in the University Gallery.  At RoCo he has an unusual work that is part colorful painting and thoughtful sculpture.

Artwork by Bill Keyser at RoCo

It is a pleasure to look around the gallery in this 29th Annual Member's show, and you can vote for your favorite art.  Some of the pieces have already been sold, just in time for gifting during the holidays.  I saw that there were some red dots going along with the green stickers that people put up as a vote for their favorite work.  One of my choices might be a little painting by Phil Bliss which you can see below:

Phil Bliss, and his little painting has sold already..

Try to match up the works you see with people you may know.  Having been to many shows over the past twenty or so years, you can see how people evolve- or at least how their artwork changes.  In visual art how you work is as important as what you work with - paints, ceramics, wire, paper...whatever.  I also try to find something for my collection.  Maybe it would be the sculpture by Tarrant Clements ( see below )...

Sculpture by Tarrant Clements at RoCo

As in years past I always am looking for interesting sculpture.  With this new show there are a wide variety of materials being used including photography, and mixed media like the piece called: "Chill Raid Stream" by Shane Durgee, you see below.  I had the good fortune of including some of Shane's printmaking in a show I curated this past summer called: Process & Purpose.

Mixed media print by Shane Durgee

There are over three hundred artists represented in this show, so take some time and bring an open mind to the gallery and you are bound to be engaged by the experience, now thru January 25, 2020!

29th Annual Member Show at Rochester Contemporary Art Center

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Creative State

Alan Singer: Work-in-progress
"Who In The World"
oil on circle canvas

I am in the creative state.  There are no classes for me to teach today, so I am in the studio at work on my circle project.  In a little while I will go out and see the new shows which have recently opened in this last week.  It is almost time for the holidays, and I have grades to post for my semester at Rochester Institute of Technology, and I can predict a few more hours of work on this painting which is almost like a quilt though it is all in oil paints!

R. Roger Remington

Rochester Institute of Technology and the College of Art & Design would not be what it is today without the efforts of Roger Remington.  He is a graphic design scholar and author, and has been deeply involved in the modern history of graphic design and this season he is being celebrated through January 25, 2020 in the RIT CITY Art Space.  On view in the gallery is a host of artworks  by Roger Remington, which may come as a surprise to many who did not know that he is also a printmaker, and a creative hand who enjoys the art on display -now in the heart of downtown Rochester, New York.

Roger Remington
Typographic forms in collage

In the mid 1960s The Print Club of Rochester commissioned a print by Roger Remington for their subscribers and you can find that and similar works in the new show at RIT CITY Art Space at the Liberty Pole in the old Sibley Building.  Along with many prints there are other fascinating collections of materials that Roger has put together.  A panel of seashells for example may be on view near a collection of toy airplanes...!

Airplane Identification in miniature by Roger Remington

Informative poster for the show that celebrates 60 years of works by R.Roger Remington

R. Roger Remington is my colleague, and he is the man responsible for the Archive that is housed in the Vignelli Center for Design Studies.  It is rare that we get a chance to see this body of artwork that now include sculptural installations as well as the  more traditional art forms like the prints in this exhibition.  

A print by Roger Remington at RIT CITY Art Space
thru January 25, 2020

Before I go journey farther down the road, I need to acknowledge the passing of two men from our midst, and they would be a Rochester personality you see below, who was honored by being included in a show called: "Makers & Mentors" at Rochester Contemporary Art Center - and that was Kurt Feuerherm.

Kurt Feuerherm  ( 1925-2019 )
in studio

Kurt was a well-loved teacher and artist who sometimes made me laugh because of the humor I found in these little ceramic birds that he made in recent years.  Kurt also was a painter  and a gifted artist in many ways, and he always had something to say about the art scene near and far.

Kendall Shaw  ( 1924 - 2019 )

In a recent article published in the Huffington Post, painter and teacher Kendall Shaw posed with his new large abstract paintings and talked about his career as an artist in the New York City scene which he called home.  Ken Shaw also was the owner of a great big old loft building on Union Street in Park Slope, Brooklyn, where I went one day in the late 1970s to rent a studio.  Also at that time, Ken Shaw had an affiliation with the Pattern & Decoration movement in art that had a brief fling in the spotlight. In any case, I had many good conversations with Ken Shaw, and thought he had an amazing intellect.  He may not be well-known in this part of the state, but he was well respected,  and well-represented downstate.  

The contributions of these two men will certainly be honored in years to come.  They were leaders in their field, they will be missed...