Friday, December 29, 2023

Some More Than Others


New Studio view in the Egypt Hills, Perinton, NY

As this year draws to a close, I have to say that this season really stands out for me in a number of ways.  This is a year of change for all of us, and I first consider the way the globe is heating up, and here in upstate New York ( see above ) we are having warm weather and it is WINTER!  What is going on?

With great luck my wife and I haven't gotten Covid, or RSV and  the flu so we've missed all that so far, and we have to be thankful that we are not living in war zone!  The daily news has some horrors to deal with all the same!  This year has seen some dislodgment for me as I had to move out from The Hungerford Building in Rochester, after more than thirty years on the fourth floor....

My old studio space, fourth floor of the Hungerford Building

When we moved the studio it took months to pack up the art supplies and paintings, and now I have to unpack!  So most of this year will be about change!  For me I have a new studio view that is all natural as you can see at the top of this post.  I did like the light however in my studio space in the Hungerford, but the rent was too high!

Looking forward there is much to be thankful for and not the least of it has to do with a new exhibition we are planning to open in January, 2024 called: "Our Nature".  This is a rare opportunity to bring together almost ninety items to be displayed in the Mascioli Gallery of the Rundel Library in downtown Rochester, New York.

Opening Tuesday, January 16th, 2024 at 4:00. pm 
Mascioli Gallery, Central Library, Rochester, NY

Artwork by my father, Arthur Singer will be presented along with pieces by my mother, Judy Singer, and brother Paul, along with my work.  Since this is a library show there will also be a focus on the books we have  produced over a period of almost 65 years!  Speaking of books, I am also happy to report that I will be having a launch of my new edition of "WheelHouse" - an art book published by ArtVoices Art Books and I can sign a copy for you if you are at the opening!  Below you will see the cover of my new book which I am proud to say has taken years to bring to the public.

New edition, hardback book called "WheelHouse" 
featuring artwork from my studio starting back in the early 1980s all the way to the present..

So, there is much more work for me to do, especially since I  still have to unpack and organize my new studio space, and as far as I know, most everything arrived in good shape.  I don't have to go far from home to my new workspace, it is only a few feet away from my door, and it has a lot of potential!

New Studio at home in the Egypt Hills

So for now, I want to say that I will be getting back to a schedule and that I hope to be able to visit people and see other shows that I can write about!  So Have  a GREAT NEW Year!  2024,  Here we come!

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Come Into The Library


12th Annual Juried International Exhibit

Once the weather gets cold, it is time to come into the Library to see this very creative show which features many hand-made artist's books and interesting kinds of paper sculptures from  around the country and abroad.  These books tell a different kind of story, many of them are not dependent on an engaging text, but more often they use the nature of the book to expand upon.  

Elaine Downing: 2022: A Diary of Temperatures

The creative impulse could take the notion of folded paper and make it sing a new song. Here is a grouping of  colorful fan like sculpted paper pieces that  cross over to another land -maybe of palm trees in a breeze.

Rosemary Rae

Rosemary Rae from El Cajon, California creates a fantasy with sculpted pieces of Medieval Art that spring out towards you in a wild grouping.  Color is not an issue here, but rather shape and form - taking a two dimensional flat surface and populating it with ancient art.  This has an historical  look backwards and forwards.

Percy So from Hong Kong gets into classical geometry in "Conversations with a Stone.   I am  wondering whether these are models for something much larger.  Scale does matter here, and most of the works by these artists could be held in the palm of your hand.  

"Unsweetened Flaxmilk" by Ben Rubin

It is rewarding to see one of our graduates from R.I.T. up on these walls, and I enjoy the look of this sprawling paper craft and the stories that unfold.  This work is like a layout for a multipage journal with a sense of humor.

"Garden Herbs" by Laurel Rogers  & Jennifer Scheuer's "Silent Conversations

These artist books remind me that years ago I worked with cyanotypes to make my own books but I did not get into the fancy cutting that Jennifer establishes here in this "Silent Conversations".  I like the depth that references the space of a room, and in fact it turns a book into a room!

There is so much to see in this show that I hope you take the time to go over to the library to see this show which runs to January 6th, 2024.

And I want to say that I am very pleased to write that we have the show that follows on the heels of Art of the Book.  

"Our Nature" is a  exhibition with a wide ranging number of pieces of art - some are illustrations from more than fifty different titles that the Singer family has produced, and we are still at it!

We will also be having a guest speaker coming to The Rundel Library in downtown Rochester,NY.
Come on over January 16th, 2024 to hear Rick Beyer talk about "The Ghost Army" of WWll
Rick is a documentary film-maker who did the PBS video on the "Artists of Illusion"
The Ghost Army of WWll
Rick Beyer will speak at 4:30 pm

Sunday, November 26, 2023

Post Thanksgiving News


Watch Out

My Hungerford Clear Out

We have much to be thankful for...

This year has been disruptive, not only international events ( and wars ), but local ones as well. It wasn't that long ago that I remember sitting in at a meeting at Rochester Contemporary and listening to the talk about artists and others who were leaving the Hungerford Building because of a steep rise in the rent bill each month.  I didn't want to think about what it would be like if I decided to move too... But I no longer had a lease on my space. ( see the photo above ).  The new owners of the building didn't offer me a lease and so I had no legal rights to be in the space, just paying a much larger bill!

I Know that rental property is a business and I have been a loyal customer for over 30 years!  But imagine you are a business owner - would you treat a customer this way?  And there was no explanation offered as to why there was no lease.... So eventually I decided it was time to go..  Now, five months later I have a studio space that is close to home!  ( see below )

To move out I put everything in boxes..

Luckily we have a little building on our property that absorbed most of what I had stored in my studio at The Hungerford, so we are lucky!  But what about those folks who were forced to move and don't have this kind of extra space?

It will take a lot of effort to sort out what is in all those boxes!  But we have a lot to be thankful for... like the fact that I now have a new project and it is called organization!

Also I want to say that the show must go on, and in that context - I can invite you to see my painting in the Annual Members show at RoCo which will start  this December, coming soon!  I have a painting I call "Dynamic Equilibrium" which is found in the kind of geometric abstraction that I have been working with these past few years..  ( see below )

"Dynamic Equilibrium"
acrylic Gouache on board

So I am thankful for being part of this large exhibit at RoCo which has over 400 participating artists.  We do have a vibrant community, even with the events that happened at The Hungerford Building... If you had wondered why I have not been posting to this Blog, I also have another project which I want to talk about and that is a very large new exhibition that will be presented in the new year at The Rundel Library, which will have artwork and so much more from my family.  When I say my family, I mean my father and mother who were both artists, and my brother and I.  The title I gave this show is called: "Our Nature"

My mom, Judy Singer and dad, Arthur Singer

Yes, there is a lot to be thankful for even with major disruptions!  Like I can thank my parents for bringing us up with great care, and instilling in us the respect we have for others in our environment.  As you will see if you come out to view our exhibition, when it opens - we have been a productive family of artists.
And I will write more about this show as we get closer to the Opening which will take place on January 16th, 2024.

Finally, I want to Thank you, if you are reading this, and I hope to be back writing more posts about the visual arts in western New York!  We have so much going on here, and it is my pleasure to serve as part of this larger community!

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Around We Go


Axom Home in the South Wedge
661 South Avenue, Rochester, NY 14620

Planning to see some art by my friend Tarrant Clements at Axom in the South Wedge and I couldn't have picked a better day!  Skies were clear and temperature was moderate, and when we stepped into the gallery I found myself captivated by an artist's effort to express a colorful and generous concept of abstraction that maintains a sense of humor ( which is quite unusual in this era of Pandemic and Political Polarization ).

Tarrant Clements sculpture "JJ 47"
at Axom 

Some new features in Tarrant's artwork include her use of collage onto the surface of her paintings and this adds a texture that is as clear as it is complex.  The sense of humor that I mention comes from the fact that many of these pieces ( painting and sculpture ) have implied movement in forms that want to shake and rattle.  One often doesn't see forms in sculpture that have a nervous tick unless they are animated with a motor drive, but Tarrant's works often have a swerve or a curve that casts a shadow which then becomes part of the composition.

Tarrant Clement's sculptures of a modest Axom

Many of the sculptural pieces presented here are modest in size and could be models for a much larger manifestation.  A poster here in my office in Fairport reminds me of the giant sculptural works presented by artists like Richard Serra, but I also know that large scale art often presents large scale problems like the expense of materials and cost of moving these things around!  Of course, what I love about sculpture is that it exists in the same three dimensional space that we all do, and it seems to have  a life force because of that condition.

Tarrant identifies this painting as "MM 34"

Tarrant's paintings on the other hand are a bit more intellectual - in the sense that you have to really look at it and read into it this artist's intentions. Tarrant does not go in for literary titles for her works - rather she institutes a system of initials and numbers to identify each work. Sometimes other artists will show their intent by giving their works a title that tells you something descriptive.  When I look at a painting and find something active and attractive I wonder how the painting was made... Did it start out as a sketch, or did it start out from a color preference, or even a mistake of sorts?  Something here reminds me of the prints on paper that Tarrant would make, and I also wonder how she got started using collage elements that look like fabric clippings..  The environment at Axom also suggests that her works look great with furniture around like you would have at home, and that is very stimulating!

Tarrant Clements "Chasing My Muse" at Axom Gallery
through July 1, 2023

Later in the week I went over to The Rundel Library to look over  the Anthony Mascioli Gallery show dedicated to 150 years at Lollypop Farm which is just down to road from us who live in the Egypt Hills in Fairport.  This gallery space is is a real gem and it allows one to present a timeline along with artifacts that comment on the history of an institution that is kind to animals.  Walk around the show and find evidence of services that are provided to our community and certainly for the animals that they protect.

A show at The Rundel Library shares the long history of Lollypop Farm

I am also interested in conservation and in issues that come up when dealing with birds and animals.
Many people know Lollypop Farm as a place to find a pet or to just take a walk around the spacious grounds.  Since a lot of my early works have to do with illustrating wildlife when I worked for publishers in New York City, I am made aware of many of the environmental issues that are revealed by this show.

Rundel Library in downtown Rochester, New York

In the coming winter I am planning to curate a show for the Anthony Mascioli Gallery space that will include the artworks and published books of my family members, my father and mother, Arthur Singer and Judy Singer, and myself and my brother.  We have all produced a variety of books during our lives and careers so I think it will be an interesting show and it will give me a meaningful project to work on between now in the early summer and next winter.  Wish me luck!

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Spring Things


By the World Trade site on West Side Highway, New York City
in April, 2023

We had a quick car trip to New York City to pick up a package of my father's artwork that we plan to donate later this year and on the way home we see this beautiful scene and my wife Anna quickly made this photo!  And on we drove...

The entrance to The Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester, New York

Once we were settled back at home, I made it my business to go over to The Memorial Art Gallery to check in and see what the new spring season has to offer, and I was SO glad I did!  There is a lot to catch up with especially the Finger Lakes juried show and a selection of works from Joan Lyons - an important figure here in the Rochester area.

Joan Lyons has been creatively using photographic techniques and combining them with a wide range of materials as can be seen in the numerous examples selected for this retrospective look at her work.  A descriptive wall label in this special exhibition introduces you to the artist and her view that different ideas of making her artwork have brought her to new ways of expressing herself and she breaks away from what you might expect from a photographer.

Selections of art by Joan Lyons at MAG

Yes, some of Joan Lyons work is about portraiture, but there is a wider context that she establishes... Joan may make a wall mural of a sequence of images that you would not expect, or she might print on a silky fabric that has a certain allure.  Lyons tells a story with her work that may document the simple pleasures of the backyard, or takes you to a political demonstration that really makes you feel the case being made.

Joan Lyons prints on silky fabric

Before going in to see the Finger Lakes exhibit I stopped to admire a new piece on loan from Shawn Dunwoody called: " Unfinished Business".  I got a wide view of an acrylic painting on canvas that looks like it could be ripped from a newspaper account of demonstrations and street activism following the death of Daniel Prude here in Rochester.  Shawn has been making the case here in town and he is having an impact...

"Unfinished Business"...details from a acrylic painting by Shawn Dunwoody

68th Rochester Finger Lakes Exhibition on now thru August 6th, 2023

Molly Donovan served as the juror for this show where she selected from over 800 submissions by 294 artists, and so we have the greatest respect for those whose works were finally chosen.  You may know some of these artists, and then there are always the nice surprises of seeing works new to the neighborhood.

Stream Crossing by Jean Gerow a fabric work

If you like what you see in this show you can vote for your favorite work ( I know I did! ).  Stepping into the show I stopped to look at an interesting fabric work by Jean Gerow simply called "Stream Crossing".  I really like the textures and the semi-abstract nature of this art.  I had a similar feeling about the twin paintings from Phyllis Bryce Ely that she calls "Lake Ontario's Icy Grip".

Lake Ontario's Icy Grip by Phyllis Bryce Ely

My eye was caught by a unique sculptural piece by Jennifer Hecker called: " Rain Maker" which you can see here in my photo but it doesn't do the work justice..!

"Rain Maker" by Jenifer Hecker

I think about interesting invention in technique or materials and I get drawn in to see the details like in the painting that is a tribute to the likes of Muhammad Ali on view here as well. This painting is called of "Bees & Butterflies" by Ya'qub Shabazz.  Step in close to read the little quips painted in the work made last year.

Bees & Butterflies by Ya'qub Shabazz

I thought it was great to see a new work from the artist Unique Fair-Smith  who was outstanding even when he was our student at RIT.  Here he is represented by a portrait of a sober looking lady at a table still life with glassware so beautifully painted ( you need a lot of patience to do this ).

"At The Table", oil on panel by Unique Fair-Smith

Before you leave the show step over to see the photo by Walter Colley - it is so PEACEFUL!


Walter Colley

Before I left The Memorial Art Gallery I stopped in to see the show called "In Praise of Trees" just down the hall.  It is full of woodcuts  -and these prints are made by Naoko Matsubara who is about the same age as Joan Lyons who I wrote about earlier on... and these woodblock prints were a real inspiration!

Poplars , a woodcut by Naoko Matsubara

So this is the new spring season, and I wonder if The Memorial Art Gallery has made any progress in finding a new Director,  now that Mr. J. Binstock has taken his new position in Washington, D.C.....?
I guess we will find out later!

On now through August 6, 2023, Check Gallery hours...


Friday, April 7, 2023

Studio Building


Art Community Conversation
At Rochester Contemporary
Friday, March 31, 2023

As a tenant and working artist, I was invited to attend a meeting at Rochester Contemporary Art Center
last week that ended up being very informative.  This meeting billed as an "Art Community Conversation" was a result of concerns about the Hungerford Building, in Rochester where I have my studio.  The questions have  surfaced about the intent of the new owners and I thought that this was a very familiar scenario because early in 2004 I had to move my art studio away from Brooklyn, New York when the new landlord there tried to triple my rent!?  It took me a whole summer to pack everything and now here in 2023 I may face the same situation what to do about this?

The meeting at RoCo started off with an introduction from the Director, Bleu Cease, and we all got to watch a short video of artists ( including myself ) speaking about the current state of affairs at The Hungerford, and we all wonder what to make of the new owners and the much larger bills we are receiving for just renting the spaces we regularly use.  

I found the studio space that I rent by meeting with other artists and looking at buildings around town.  There weren't that many people on the  fourth floor of the Hungerford Building when I moved in after signing a lease with Dennis Maguire, ( now the previous owner).  My space has great light and looks out onto railroad tracks stretching off into the distance. 

Last year ( 2022 )  I  didn't know that Dennis Maguire was looking at offers to sell his building.
I thought that there was a waiting list for space and that the building was being operated fairly well.
Then I found out that the building had been sold to a new Hungerford owner!

Bleu Cease introduces guest speakers at an Artist Community meeting at RoCo

Sitting with other audience members at RoCo last week I learned a lot about how tenants in the Hungerford Building can gather together and work for the changes we want - including getting a new lease for our space.  We heard from Jay Rowe, Kelly Cheatle, and Calvin Eaton, and they helped clarify how to move forward.

Tenants in a space like the Hungerford have to exercise their collective strength and move forward carefully.  I have noticed some people have already moved  out, and I wonder how we can get together and work collectively..?

Time to get down to work, and start a strategy...and I am sure  that we are not alone here.  

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Art Is A Gift


Arthur Singer ( 1917-1990) and his guide book:"Birds of North America"
published by Golden Press in 1966

I photographed my father above on a sunny day in our backyard in Jericho, Long Island years ago, and going through old papers of his I came across a story he wrote as an introduction to his work as an artist. I had never seen these pages of hand-written notes and so I eagerly transcribed them and I could literally hear him say the words that he carefully wrote down - all of which was meant as an introduction to an exhibition he was having in the 1980s - years before he passed away from esophageal cancer.  

Both of my parents were active artists, my mom taught and established a Long Island  Art League ( MIPA ) in the 1960s, she also illustrated books.  My father was known for his illustrations of birds and animals, and he got started early as a young artist who loved going to the Bronx Zoo.  He grew up on Audubon Avenue in Manhattan!

I title this blog post - Art  Is A Gift - and I feel that it truly is something unique, an ability to use your imagination and get down to details using your hands and all of your faculties.  Artists can gain a community by going to school, and both of my parents graduated from The Cooper Union ( as I did 33 years after them ).  Going to college to become an artist - isn't a guarantee to finding a way to make a living, but it is a calling! My parents both became employed as illustrators for publishing companies, and my father's love of birds and animals translated into a lifetime affair, publishing almost 20 books and  that was a real commitment.

Arthur. Singer paints a portrait as a soldier in the Army during WWll

When I was just a kid, my father and Ben Sackheim established an advertising agency in New York City and  this company had its office in the Penthouse of the Plaza Hotel.  My own education as an artist began watching my dad do his illustrations for ads that were then placed in magazines.  He  also designed a series of prints that featured  some colorful birds that people framed and put up in their homes - more than a million copies of these paintings were sold!

My dad spent years on his Birds of North America, which is still in print now.  I even worked on a revision of his bird guide, and I grew up watching him develop each page in painstaking detail.  My father used gouache on board with little, tiny brushes.  Years in the making, my father's guide books still amaze me!

Birds of Britain and Europe was the next book that he published, and once again he was involved in a project that took years to complete.  He has the good fortune to give one of his paintings to Prince Phillip in London one year after his book was published.  You can see here  a photo from the  reception as my father glances down to speak about the painting of a raptor he is giving to the Prince.

Arthur Singer visits London and has a reception with Prince Phillip

While my  father illustrated his books on birds and animals he would work on these projects at home, and that means being considerate and not interrupt his work.  At the. same time one could see him through every aspect of  the design of a page or spread, the intricate drawing and every stage of the finished art, and we are talking about years of this exposure.

When my father was at work at his desk he always had music to listen to.  He was a jazz fan from his teenage years right up to the time when he passed away.  His favorite music came from the likes of Duke Ellington and Cab Calloway.  Both of these jazz greats were Arthur's friends.  My dad even designed album covers for Duke Ellington.  I used to accompany my dad when Duke was in town and we even were allowed in to hear recording sessions with his big band.  When I say art is a gift, I mean all forms, jazz included.

In the last part of my blog post, I can leave you with an image of my father giving another gift of a painting to another form of royalty, and he was known as Duke Ellington, and my dad was so proud and happy to be associated with these greats!

Arthur Singer presents his work to Duke Ellington in the early 1970s

If you want to read more about Arthur Singer and his wildlife artwork, see the R.I.T. Press book, Arthur Singer ,"The Wildlife Art of An American Master"
by Paul Singer and Alan Singer


Sunday, January 22, 2023

In Our New Year


Alan  Singer,  creative artist and writer
January, 2023

Here we are in 2023!  To start it off I am working on a new small painting I intend to give to my wife Anna, for her birthday.  This little abstract is like a crystal growing in my studio.  The facets are cut like a jewel, very geometric..and the image has implied movement.  It is like a dance, but we will get to that later.  Anna is in the next room playing her piano and working her way through a new score.  Music is a big part of our lives but because of the pandemic we don't go out to hear the symphony like we used to!

                                                 Anna, Michael, and Alan on Elmwood Avenue
In the past we have entertained guests like Michael Kimmelman ( seen here in our old house on Elmwood Avenue).  Michael came to Rochester to speak with my students and also do a guest lecture at The Memorial Art Gallery.  Michael sat down at our piano to play "Pictures At an Exhibition".  Not only is he a fine musician but he is also the newspaper critic of Architectue and art for the New York Times, a position he has held for many years.

Speaking of The New York Times, I just ran across an article about Art Spiegelman, the artist and author of the book MAUS which has been in the news a lot lately.  Banning his book in certain states is a BAD idea, and sets a bad precedent.  A photo of him in the article in the Times shows him looking over at a painting by my friend Gary Panter ( see below ).  Gary has also visited my students at R.I.T. years ago - and not only is he a gifted painter and cartoonist, but he is also part of the team that brought us Pee Wee's Playhouse on TV back in the late 1980s!

Art Spiegelman looks at the Gary Panter painting mentioned above..

I met Gary years ago when we were both students in a summer program run through Yale University in Norfolk Connecticut.  Gary was already a prolific artist and cartoonist and he has had a long lasting effect with his art and his humor.

Thinking back to those student days reminds me that I should recommend a book I am reading now about the painter Paul Resika.  He has a new book on his work published by Rizzoli in New York City.  The book:"The Art of Paul Resika" features eight decades on his paintings and has so many interesting stories to tell, and he was one of my professors when I was at The Cooper Union.

New book out features the paintings of Paul Resika

Paul Resika got us all involved in painting outdoors because of his love of the landscape.  He has also been on Cape Cod for years working around Truro and Provincetown.  His book also has new works right up to the present that feature boats in an almost abstract sense.  Here he is with one of his recent paintings ( see below ).

Painter:  Paul Resika

Paul was a student of Hans Hofmann, so the strong sense of color and composition was reinforced by his own education and he passed that on to us as we studied his examples.  Paul also visited us in Rochester, and I made a presentation with Paul at The Memorial Art Gallery which later bought one of his paintings for their collection.

Since we mentioned books, I can't help but give a round of applause for the book I am now going to start called: Mr. B.  and it is all about dance - ballet and the choreography of George Balanchine ( Mr. B ).

This is a great book especially if you like dance, and the writer Jennifer Homans has done her homework! Well researched and very engrossing , she tells a story of modern dance culture better than anyone else!

Read this book, here is the cover ( see below)..!  and Happy New Year!