Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Picking Up Where We Left Off


                                        Photo by Sue Weisler

                                        My Class at R.I.T. drawing from life! 

                                        Birds by Wild Wings

I haven't been out-of-touch!  It is just that it took so long to adjust to the new circumstances!  This is my last semester teaching my art classes at Rochester Institute of Technology, and since I am ancient, I qualify for teaching from home, remotely.  There is so much to learn, doing ZOOM meetings all day, and then having to keep everything in order!  I am very thankful for not having to venture onto campus considering the spike in COVID cases here in Monroe County!

This new semester has been stressful for my students who are worrying about going home for Thanksgiving, after getting all their work done for the fall.  I had never given a critique before over  the computer.  I am not a big fan of having the art at arms length, much less in another  part of the country, but if that is what it takes to get the job done....

Work in progress at my studio in the Hungerford Building

I can celebrate the season with a new canvas in my studio that I have been planning for a number of months.  Earlier in November I stretched this and got started - it is like a painted quilt, all little squares of bright colors.  Hopefully the effect will be  striking!  We will see....  I am working with the notion of accumulation and a kind of colorful graph of where we stand at the present.

During my hiatus from this blog I must  acknowledge the passing of a most notable artist in our area Robert Ernst Marx who captivated this writer with his style of portrait painting that verged on editorial caricature.  

Robert Ernst Marx 

Another artist who made very attractive photographs that I have reviewed in the past, was Pat Wilder who sadly is also no longer with us.  I first came across Pat and her work  on a summer day at an art festival held at the Sonnenberg Gardens in Canandaigua, NY.  Pat had a colorful kind of minimal approach to her image making that was very refreshing.  Below is an undated photo of her in her booth at an art show; she was always on the trail of the outdoor venues, and I was always interested to hear where she planned to have her next show.

Pat Wilder and Friend

So,  looking forward, I plan to resume writing my blog, and saying a few things about our community and the kinds of art that one could go and see.  Mostly I have been doing some necessary reading and enjoying a free moment ( often at bedtime ) when I can quietly assess the scene...  In a health crisis the likes of which I have never before endured, it is something of a test!  For anyone interested in sculpture in the mid-20th century, a new book on Alexander Calder is well worth the time to read.  Jed Perl is the author who has done exhaustive research and plunged deeply into the life of his subject here.

Jed Perl's new book on Sandy Calder

Writer, Jed Perl

Like many who know Calder's work, I was attracted by Calder's Circus which could be found in the entry level of the Whitney Museum when it was located up on Madison Avenue in Manhattan.  In fact I remember seeing Calder outside of the Whitney talking to people in front of the museum one day in the 1970s.  You don't forget that sort of thing!

Jed Perl I know, having brought him upstate to do a talk at The Memorial Art Gallery - now over ten years ago!  Jed publishes his writing often in The New York Review of Books, and I have followed his writing with great interest especially now that he has chronicled Calder's development and great success  as a sculptor and artist who had a unique place in the art world of the 20th century.

This is just to say Thank You if you are reading this, and in this season of lock-downs, I will pick up where we left off and try to be informative and engaged once again!