Sunday, October 31, 2021

Autumn Light

"In A Different Light"
at the
Oxford Gallery, Rochester, New York

The tree leaves in my new neighborhood are fast changing colors and yet we have to deal with daylight savings time once again - Spring Ahead and Fall Behind - and the countryside gets darker earlier...   many changes to anticipate!  Also, in this season the art exhibitions are picking up pace with some new and enticing shows to visit if you are game for it! 

My "Dynamic Equilibrium" gouache on board is a work-in-progress

The important element that we are dealing with is light and it changes with the season in my studio on the fourth floor of the Hungerford Building, along the railroad yards in Rochester, New York.  I am working on a series of abstract geometric paintings - many of which have isometric angles that create illusions of three dimensional space and overlaps of volume.  Just finishing a piece I call: "Dynamic Equilibrium" and considering what comes next...

"Shoreline Light" print by Elizabeth Durand
from the show called: In A Different Light"

Take some time to visit the Oxford Gallery here in town for a new show called: "In A Different Light".  I have a new print in this exhibition that I call: "The Importance of Light" and it features one of my mathematical visualizations of what looks like a green light bulb which stems from my writing out a formula in a software program called: "Cinderella".  I took Jim Hall's prompt about light literally when I was invited to show my artwork in this new thematic exhibit.  Each of the artists now on view through November 27th bring their own interpretations to the topic at hand.

When I walked into the Oxford Gallery I was immediately attracted to a small print by Liz Durand which features a waterfront and some swirling golden clouds and this marks an interesting departure for this printmaker.  Nearby there is a painting by Tony Dungan that gives the impression of plunging into space with some intense colors and fragments flying.  Tony calls his piece "The Light Beneath Your Feet" and while the painting is abstract - if you take the literal meaning of the title into account the image is something of a shock!

Tony Dungan and his acrylic painting " The Light Beneath Your Feet"

Not all of the artwork in this show is so intense, as you can see in the pastels of Ray Hassard - these works feature intimate details of unmade ( recently slept in? ) beds in darkened rooms and the passages in his art are really convincing.  Materials in the hands of an artist do matter and the pastels he employs are subtle and sensitive to the situation.

"Motel Room 3AM". pastel by Ray Hassard

I was amused by the take on Rene Magritte by painter Jim Mott.  It was only a few weeks ago that we went to hear a talk he gave at The Memorial Art Gallery and I would not have expected to see this portrait of some houses in Corn Hill showing the contrasting times of day that leaves a surrealist impression.  Jim Mott is a poet in painting and has an eye for making connections and this work certainly does that!

"Corn Hill  A La Magritte" painting by Jim Mott

Talking about materials once again, look at the abstraction by Barbara Mink - and there you will find gold and acrylic mixed in a storm of color and light.  Or how about the materials employed by Barbara Page - these are old fashioned index cards that come from a library card catalog all decorated with images that reflect on the titles and content of the books that they are charged to represent.

"Golden Compass" by Barbara Mink

There are over 60 works in this new show at Oxford Gallery - and saying that there is something for everyone is not over-stating the case.  Enjoy the show and look for images you can connect with.

At Axom Gallery in the South Wedge
paintings by Lanna Pejovic

At Axom Gallery we have a beautiful show of paintings by Lanna Pejovic, and we were lucky enough to stop in when she was giving a talk about this new body of work.  I know Lanna from R.I.T. and she has had a recent showing at the Main Street Arts gallery in Clifton Springs that featured almost mural size paintings of trees in a landscape, and this current show at Axom Gallery continues with this theme.  She  treats her subject of trees in a light filled forest as almost akin to figuration.  There is wonderful interplay of brush strokes and patches of smoky color that create an ambient texture that conveys a feeling of being alone in the woods.

Lanna Pejovic at Axom Gallery

Lanna's paintings are not necessarily paintings - as they say - made "en plain aire".  These are mostly studio works which in a way relate to the structures of music and the development of compositions that are built piece by piece.

Have a look at her artwork and at Axom Gallery you can see how well her paintings work in the surrounding interior design with chairs and tables that make you feel you are right at home!  As I once wrote in her catalog for the show at Main Street Arts, Lanna is a painter's painter.  She is inspiring to listen to, but the art speaks for itself, a wonderful process to behold..

Monday, October 25, 2021

Wide World


The Treman Center, Enfield, NY

Just driving back from The Treman Center near Ithaca, New York on Sunday where my classmate from Cornell University - Kumi Korf gave a performance called "Hidden Books ll".

This really unusual afternoon saw a gathering of folks from near and far in celebration for the life we share on this planet.  And the fragility of it all....Kumi is a visual artist who has struggled of late with her health and during a recent hospital stay had a vision for a gathering of people - a happening - a living artist book bash, with fashionable modern dancers and a musical score.  We witness a truly magical experience!

Wildroot Gallery by George Wegman

Right now, much closer to home there is a gallery show that features the Wildroot Group at Warren Phillips Fine & Frame in the Hungerford Building.  Who or what is the Wildroot Group?  I. gather that the Group actually had their own art gallery in the South  Wedge once upon a time in an old  barber shop.  The Group now includes five artists and they are: Nancy Holowka, William Holowka, Peter Monacelli, Robert Whiteside and George Wegman.  This artist cooperative has many diverse talents and they are on display this month.

Artwork by Robert C. Whiteside

Early in my teaching career at Rochester Institute of Technology I met with "Bob" Whiteside and "Bill" Holowka when they both worked for an outdoor signage company and they helped me and my students in illustration to develop a layout for a mural that is still in place on the walls of the parking garage under the family court building in downtown Rochester.  I didn't know at the time that they were part of this Wildroot Group and I now wonder how much their artwork has changed since I first met them.

Pen drawings by William Holowka

At Warren Phillips' gallery there are paintings by Robert C. Whiteside which seem to move and swirl with a nod to Cezanne and Abstract Expressionism.  His colleague, William Holowka has made drawings that include texts for each image and seem to have been made with a technical pen being very careful with all the lettering!  Above are two drawings - "Useless Lumber" and  "Looking for Stanley" with a certain urge to find a pattern that suits each character.

Collage and painting by George Wegman

When you walk into this gallery you come face to face with a selection of recent collage/paintings by George Wegman and it seems that much of his collage work incorporates dress patterns made of overlaps of printed paper glued onto the surface of the canvas and then painted.  Judging from the number of red dots that indicate the work has sold, George has touched people with his compositions and maybe this represents a shift for him and we can look forward to more of his painted collages!

Nancy Holowka was working at  The Memorial Art  Gallery and for many years assisted the Director, Grant Holcomb.  Now it seems she is creating a series of photos that have their roots in colorful abstractions like her print she calls: "Waterloo Blue".  Her images  bring to mind another local photographer - Pat Wilder - who passed away last year.

Peter Monacelli has hand made book images and archival prints

Peter Monacelli has a whole series of prints on view that are enlargements from the pages of smaller colorful artwork he keeps in a series of notebooks.  The originals - all 172 of them - are mostly abstract and are reflections on Asian poetry - The Mountain Poetry of StoneHouse which was translated from the writings made in the 13th century.  Peter  says that his originals are visual translations from the "Mountain Poems" and next to each print is a bit of the literature so you can see the painting Peter made and read the poem.  These are works that have an immediate and intimate setting and you can see the response that Peter has had with each poem giving each one an engaging invention, colorful and thoughtful at the same time.

Wall / Therapy with Maxx 242

On the way home I pull over to take a photo of a new wall mural that has been painted in the industrial zone just outside of the railroad yard.  Wall/Therapy is celebrating their 10th anniversary as an advocacy group for public art in our city.  I wish them well!  I did see that this wall had been freshly painted and I wondered about who Maxx 242 actually is?  The image is a bit of a muchness - the lady has horns and she has a pair of blue roses, and a butterfly heart....


Thursday, October 14, 2021

Back To You


My strawberry in the morning...haha!

The strawberry in my morning cereal was smiling and then it was sticking its tongue out at me!

This reminds me that when I last spoke with my grandchildren they were using the new Animoji that recognizes facial structure and super-imposes a moving emoji cartoon where their real face was a moment ago.  Then as if that weren’t enough, the CBS show “60 Minutes” has a segment on “Deep Fakes” where  the interviewer Bill Whitaker looks like he is thirty years younger – all using facial recognition software.  We are definitely moving into a new phase of the digital revolution!

Alan Singer's "Bird Bills"  - my transfer mono print from early this year

I am concerned about this in regard to this blog on visual art  (that I write on occasion) because it begins to look like we are handing off something important to the authors of artificial intelligence.  I have to deal with this all the time because at least half of my artwork is  constructed on my computer first, and that human touch is buried in the work product.

So, when I reason with myself, I come down to the fact that even though I use a machine ( my MacBook Pro ) to help me compose a painting or a print, I still am putting in my thoughts and feelings in and about the art as it progresses, and it HAS to meet my standard, and it has to show me something about where we are today and what is required of art and in part this may shake things up for some people.  Art always has that potential....!

Yes, I realize that we are all in a creative field and our goals are not all the same.  I can go into the studio and take up where I left off, and now that I no longer teach my classes at R.I.T. my central question revolves around how well my artwork represents who I am now.  Where do I want to be with my art and how will the artwork I make now be seen by any audience ( and in a pandemic what will that audience consist of? ).

Headlines in the Pittsford Post, October 2021

Something quite out of the ordinary has happened here in our new neighborhood.  The local newspaper, the Pittsford Post published this week’s issue with a headline about  a local art gallery and a show of artwork by an artist whose name  was not a familiar one for me, so I guess I will have to go and see what this is all about....!

Stewart Davis painted birds in flight

When I am not in my studio I may want to see what other people are  creating, and go where they are  showing.  One of my favorite places to visit is RoCo and a few weeks ago I went over to see a memorial exhibit  for Stewart Davis.  Stewart was one of those guys I really enjoyed chatting with and I was shocked to learn that he had passed away!  I know that he was a great supporter of the arts, and this memorial had artwork that he had made in recent years, and that was a surprise too because I didn’t know he practiced art making as well!

Joshua Enck and his sculptural expressions

Since I was out and about I stopped in on the last day of a show at the RIT CITY Artspace to view sculpture by Joshua Enck and Prints by Sarah Kinard.  I didn’t know Joshua or his sculpture before and it has a kind of constructivist reliance on geometric simplicity and in some of his pieces there is a flow that resonates with the prints of Sarah Kinard, who I do know. Sarah sometimes works with woodcuts – relief printmaking and she has so much energy!

Sarah Kinard, printmaker

Sarah’s graphic imagery dances before you, it does somersaults and mixes movements that have an emotional power and punch. An interesting facet of showing your work in some gallery spaces is that they frequently now have a code on each label which allows you to use your smartphone to  see more details about the artist which means  that you can watch a short video and pick up some valuable information about the artist on view.  This show had that feature!


I go back to the studio thinking about this and maybe wish that the imagery I am working with had some of that dance energy.  Well, I got to get back to my work. Now, and  ... Back to You..