MASS MOCA


Anna Sears and Alan Singer
present the artwork of Arthur Singer
at
University of Massachusetts
Sunday, March 11, 2018

We spent the day in Boston at The University of Massachusetts which occupies a portion of a peninsula just south of the city center.  We were participants at a conference for bird enthusiasts arranged by MASS Audubon, and we presented artwork by Arthur Singer as well as our new illustrated biography of the artist published by RIT Press.  Nice to speak to so many people who know my father's artwork, and have used his Golden Guide to Birds of North America.


University of Massachusetts, Boston, Mass.

Later in the day, we went off on a drive west towards North Adams and MASS MOCA which is one of the finest contemporary art museums anywhere in this country.  The old industrial buildings that house their art date back a century, but the big spaces are just perfect for viewing an exhibition of wall works by Sol Lewitt.  



Entrance to MASS MOCA, North Adams, Mass.

They have had some serious snow in the area but we were lucky that the roads were dry as we headed into the parking lot.


Three levels of Sol Lewitt ( 1928-2007 )

Inside MASS MOCA you have a lot of territory to cover.  We head first upstairs to view the wall works that are on extended exhibition ( 25 years from the opening in 2008 ) and we were knocked out by what we saw.  Sol Lewitt's art is divided up into three sections: early, middle, and late.  These wall works were created on site by a team of artists working to Lewitt's specifications and sets of rules that he developed that go back to the 1960's amidst the periods of conceptualism and minimalism that he helped formulate.



Isometric Cubes by Sol Lewitt

Upon entering the show there is a short video worth seeing with a host of sorts in Robert Storr who is a curator, critic, and ex-dean of the School of Art at Yale University.  You get to hear from artists on the crew in the video who created the actual wall works on view, and you get a better sense of what it is like to "make" one of these paintings.



Middle Period of Sol Lewitt
at MASS MOCA

Sol Lewitt is all about measurement and geometry - so there are a strict set of rules on how to create his art, and the early wall works give you a sense of detail that is truly breathtaking... I have a little Sol Lewitt print at home that I bought from Deborah Ronnen years ago, and I look at it every day and am captivated by the basic color and strict sensibility.  The early works on view now at MASS MOCA present grids and the proof of what look like charts of possible moves that art can take, almost like calculating moves on a chess board in the mind of a master.



Later wall work by Sol Lewitt can be wavy and wild

Upstairs, the colors attract like a festive birthday cake, with texture and taste.  Geometric forms become inside-out puzzles where geometry can do strange tricks with your eyesight.  The mid-career and late works can be characterized by color and  form, and sometimes the flow is wavy and wild.  Dewitt's final pieces are austere webs of scribbles that are remarkable in their directness and simplicity.



Late career images from Sol Lewitt

Once you have gone through three floors of artwork by Sol Lewitt you can stop an see the facets of a giant mirror from the likes of Anish Kapoor.  The form is a circle and the surface breaks up reflected light the way a cut diamond works on you.



Anish Kapoor

My wife, Anna, studied music at Bennington College in the 1970's with Gunnar Schonbeck, so she was surprised to see the weird and wonderful instruments he had created that were also on view at MASS  MOCA.  We plucked and drummed the instruments made of metal and wood, and had fun thinking of the music they could make.



Gunnar Schönbeck " No Experience Required "
musical instrument inventions

Before we left the museum, we duck into a darkened gallery to see a suite of expressive drawings from Laurie Anderson.  The large scale drawings ( 10 x 14 feet ) are a tribute to her pet Lolabelle,
and they take into account Anderson's faith as a practicing Buddhist in the afterlife.  The drawings  imagine her favorite dog in Bardo,  a state of being that one enters after death in preparation for reincarnation.


Laurie Anderson's drawings of Lolabelle in Bardo
at
MASS MOCA

I remember meeting Laurie Anderson after her performance at "Light in Winter" in 2006.  We were in Ithaca, New York, and there was a reception for performers at State of the Art Gallery.  I had given a talk on birds in art, and we just had a chance to chat with Laurie Anderson with her dog Lolabelle who followed her everywhere she went.



Laurie Anderson chats with Alan Singer
at
Light in Winter, 2006, Ithaca, New York








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Snow Scene With Birds


Museum of American Bird Art
at 
MASS Audubon, Canton,  Massachusetts

We dodged the worst of the snow storms driving east through western Massachusetts on the way to Canton, and MASS Audubon.  Going to give a talk, and introduce the artwork of Arthur Singer for the gallery goers and visitors to the best public museum collection of birds in art, here in the east.  Want to know more?  This is a link to their website:  https://www.massaudubon.org/learn/museum-of-american-bird-art



Signage at the entry to Museum of American Bird Art


My brother Paul Singer, and I have been planning on this exhibition for a while and so we were delighted to be asked to show some of our father's artwork.

The town of Canton is a suburb of Boston, and the museum is located on a woodsy spot that includes a 121 acre wildlife sanctuary with trails along with the buildings that house their collection of art.



Great Grey Owl, painting by Arthur Singer
collection of Ed Woodin

Birds in art has attracted attention through a kind of citizen science - where almost anyone can get involved - as long as you are interested in being outdoors, and maybe own a pair of binoculars.  From the time my brother and I were little kids, we were taken out to parks and bird sanctuaries by our father, and we became aware of the natural world through our parent's encouragement.  Also from a young age, I watched my father painting in his studio at home, so I saw what it took to create a realistic painting of a bird in a natural setting.  If you are born into a family of artists, what better way to learn about this branch of our culture!   It didn't hurt that Arthur Singer was able to provide for his family and even set the direction that we would all take later on in life.  In the early 1950's when my father's career began to take off, it was probably very doubtful that one could make a living painting bird portraits.  He proved that it could be done and also it made a big difference, because we all became aware of environmentalism and the need to conserve our natural heritage.



Visitors to the show
Paintings by Arthur Singer

My father's many illustrated books spanning a forty year career sold well enough, and some are still in print, though in later editions. Now, we have a recently published book: Arthur Singer, The Wildlife Art of an American Master that we are presenting at MASS Audubon. Paul wrote most of the book and designed it as well.  We did a lot of research on this blend of science and art, and we  fit right in when we landed in Canton, Massachusetts.


Golden Eagle Over Sagebrush, by Arthur Singer


"WATERBIRDS"
Museum of American Bird Art

The present museum is in a building that had been an art studio for the family that owned these acres earlier on and lately this organization has mounted shows that really attract your attention.  On view today is an exhibition titled: "WATERBIRDS" - all from the museum's collection, as well as our showing of Arthur Singer's paintings.  We borrow a few works from Ed Woodin in Maine for this particular moment including a Great Grey Owl that Arthur Singer painted towards the end of his career.


Museum Director Amy Montague with painting by Keith Shackelton

If you walk around the building you can find great examples by some artists who are working today and you can also catch up on the history of birds in art by looking at examples from artists who are no longer active, or alive.  Over the mantel piece for example is a large Andy Warhol featuring a Bald Eagle.  Nearby is a terrific seascape by the painter Keith Shackelton who I became aware of when I was compiling a book in the late 1990's called "Wildlife Art" published by Rockport Press.  You will be surprised by the interesting artists at work today in the field.  Below we have an example by the painter Barry Van Dusen who has painted all over Massachusetts, often from life.



A Least Tern by painter Barry Van Dusen



Paul Singer talks
about the life and career of Arthur Singer
at
Museum of American Bird Art





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Beall Drawings




"Master Drawings"
Lester Beall at University Gallery
Booth Building
Rochester Institute of Technology

When I was a youngster, my drawings at age twelve featured bulldozers and other Caterpillar tractors.  I sent away to the company to get pictures, and I was rewarded with glossy photos and a letter from Lester Beall encouraging my artwork.  Any kind of encouragement when you are that age means a lot, and I kept his letter, and also kept drawing.  Caterpillar actually published my art in their newsletter.  Only later did I find out that Lester Beall had the concept for a new logo that Caterpillar adopted and used on all of their products.



Lester Beall in the late 1940s

Flash forward to today, and I am now teaching drawing to my students at Rochester Institute of Technology and we are going to see the show at The University Gallery in the Booth Building of drawings by that same Lester Beall who expressed an interest in my artwork so many years ago.
On view is a slew of works on paper from an early period when Beall was in the throes of making fine art as well as fine design.  He is heavily influenced by the abstract expressionism of that time period ( think Jackson Pollock ) and he is also fascinated by the figure drawings of Matisse, among others.


Lester Beall with works on paper

Reading about how these drawings came to R.I.T., I see that the present show was curated by R. Roger Remington and Darrell Chapnick.  I know that Roger Remington wrote a biography of Lester Beall a few years back that traced the history of Beall and his influence on graphic design when it was part of the modernist movement.



Lester Beall 
at University Gallery
R.I.T.

There are many fluid figure drawings, some done with ink and brush ( and maybe a finger or two ) and there are a few  pure abstracts, and even a landscape or two in the present show.  In the back of the room is a crate in which all of these drawings were found, and a descriptive sign that lets a visitor know how these drawings came to be exhibited...and it is an interesting story.



Lester Beall 
a graphic designer with a distinct style


Lester Beall, like many other artists is partially self-taught.  He certainly had his eyes opened by great artists and practiced when he could.  He will be remembered mostly for his work as a designer and we are lucky to have many of his works in the design archive in the Wallace Library right here on campus.  Thanks to Roger Remington and Darrell Chapnick for bringing this great art to our attention.


Beall poster design
and CAT logo







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Art Collecting


                                  James Havens print: "Scarlet Runner Beans"
Collection: Alan Singer


This week I learned that a new group is forming in our community to engage the topic of art collecting -  and,  you may have an interest in this subject.  There is now a website I have seen and here is the link:  www.rochesterartcollectors.org/

You can join this new group for free, and look forward to some social get-togethers to share information and maybe even get started collecting on your own.  You don't have to spend a fortune to own something that is expressive and maybe something like this even becomes essential to you.

Arthur Singer, gouache on board
Collection: Alan Singer


I have been thinking about art collectors, and I am thankful for their support since I have been involved in selling my art since I was 15 years old.  I have also been buying artworks from time to time, and I think of the pieces I now have in my collection which I am so thankful for - and I look at them everyday.  Some of my favorite things I bought at The Rochester Contemporary Art Center's 6 x 6 shows, so I didn't have to spend much to get something truly unique.  If you haven't had a chance to see the 6 x 6 shows, there are literally hundreds of works to choose from, all at the same $20 price tag( and you get to support a terrific organization ! ).


Northwest Coast Indian art


I took the day off to be in Ithaca, New York, and I went up to the Herbert F. Johnson Museum on the Cornell University campus.  A great museum like that often has artworks given to them by donors and collectors and this visit I took note of that.    My late mother-in-law had a gallery in Ithaca, New York called "New Visions", and so I would go there all the time to see the shows she would put on for the public.  She travelled regularly to bring new works to her gallery and she would feature shows that would have art by native Americans, or new works from Seatle, or New Orleans.  She let me curate two shows from New York City artists I knew well.


Picasso cubist work , 1915

At the Johnson Museum  they had a large works on paper show, .  So many artists, so little time! There I saw a wonderful Picasso cubist work, and a suave Matisse drawing of his daughter-in-law "Teeny"done in charcoal circa 1940.  Downstairs there was also a large abstract expressionist painting from Norman Bluhm  and many fine works in their study collections.


Painting by Norman Bluhm

At the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, they have a selection of 20th century art that you can really spend some quality time with.  I read about Arthur Dove,  who grew up in Geneva, New York, and later became a student at Cornell University.  Dove had an influence on painters for many years because his paintings had a mixture of realism with abstraction.  It is interesting that many of his paintings ( some on view in the present show ) are no larger than a postcard.


Arthur Dove
at
The Herbert F.Johnson Museum
Cornell University, Ithaca, New York

So, I drove down the hill and parked to go over and view the show I SEE YOU  ( IC / CU ) at The Ink Shop on the second floor of the CSMA Building on State Street.  Here was a wonderful opportunity to see prints by up-an-coming students from the local colleges and university world.


Hannah Lang, lithograph
at
The Ink Shop

I liked the direction that Hannah Lang took with her textured prints.  They are  nuanced, colorful and abstract - maybe they are details from a larger world we have yet to experience fully...
At the entrance to the show there were a handful of smaller prints, and then there was this one seen below,  of a drawer full of bird skins - orioles.  what a surprising subject for a print!



I SEE YOU  ( IC / CU )
at
The Ink Shop



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Hot Spots


At Gallery r
100 College Avenue
Rochester, New York
solo show for Dongyi Wu

During this winter I like to go out and see art shows and look for something new, and this warms me up.  I look for artwork to take me to a new place, or show me something I have never seen before.  Here are a few of the hot spots:

R.I.T. operates Gallery r on College Avenue and is now presenting a solo exhibition for Dongyi Wu.  Full disclosure: I serve on her Thesis committee, and I am so supportive of what she has accomplished while she has been here in Rochester.  



The artist, Dongyi Wu
at her opening

The show is called "Wandering in Deep Deep Dreams" and as she says -"it is more important to raise questions than seek answers".  Here the mainstream of this work is sculptural and some of her pieces are wearable art.  At the top of this post is a black and white sculptural work that reminds me of  the spirit of Eva Hesse and the dimensional art of Louise Bourgeois.  The size is modest but the effect is  rather large for the diverse range of Dongyi Wu's talents.



Gallery r presents artist Dongyi Wu "Wandering in Deep, Deep Dreams"

I was told that this interesting work which is a cascade of gloves made out of light color fabric tells a tale out of Chinese culture about the red fingerprints that stand out even in this photo.  The way the fingerprints are constructed speaks about the fortunes of people going about their lives.  Stories are told through their fingerprints about whether they will survive with good fortune or not. 


Dongyi Wu, necklace

Dongyi Wu is also a jeweler, someone who takes her fashions seriously.  She creates wearable art and I think that she has a fine future ahead as she has already won some recognition for her constructions.



Painting by Danny Allen, 1974

In another new show - this one actually has four parts - we see the art of a fellow who is no longer alive, but we see the results of this largely self taught artist, Danny Allen.  Here is a different imagination at work, one which speaks more directly about gender, and about the gay community here in town.  The Art and Life of Danny Allen is being presented in part at Rochester Contemporary Art Center, the surreal image above is but one example of  this artist's work.



"Drifters" by Howard Koft
at Mercer Gallery, Monroe Community College

Howard Koft has been instrumental in curating shows in and around Rochester for a while, and there is a presentation on now at The Mercer Gallery on the campus of Monroe Community College.  From now to February 22, 2018, you can see: "Regrouping for a Respite from the Doldrums" which includes seven working artists from our area.  I enjoyed the local color of Dustan Luke whose painting "The Blue Bridge" is featured on the postcard for the show.  Howard Koft's artwork in this show called "Drifters" ( above ) is an engaging digital production beautifully printed representing wave patterns in a subtle range of color.


Dustan Luke's "The Blue Bridge"
at The Mercer Gallery, Monroe Community College

While these area shows are going on you may want to see what is happening at The Memorial Art Gallery.  The videos from Bill Viola being presented are called "Martyrs".  They are not easy to look at.  The videos show representations of torture, so if you are at all bothered by such images..take care they are cautionary, and call attention to extreme measures taken against fellow human beings.  Judging from the daily news,  even Bill Viola's art form hasn't changed the minds of those who would carry out acts of violence.


Rosalyn Engelman, paintings in the Lockhart Gallery
Memorial Art Gallery
Rochester, New York

To end this post on a more positive note, just down the hall from Bill Viola we have paintings and an interview with Rosalyn Engelman who has taken to heart the poetry and calligraphy of the Japanese poet Koetsu (1558-1637), and she gives new life to the poems by using them as her subject matter.  The paintings are light and ethereal, maybe just the right thing for you after viewing the Bill Viola show.



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Contemporary Consciousness


Rochester Contemporary Art Center
NO SOIL BETTER:
THE
ART AND THE LIVING LEGACY OF FREDERICK DOUGLASS

A celebration of Frederick Douglass is now on view at Rochester Contemporary Art Center and it is part of a larger enterprise reminding us of the accomplishments of this great man.  The title of the present exhibition "No Soil Better" comes from a speech that Douglass wrote many years ago, and it holds forth the promise that here, in these United States we have the best time and place to make a difference for our fellow human beings, no matter what race or religion or ethnic background they come from.


Portrait of Frederick Douglass
by
Thievin Stephen

At the entrance to the show there is a fine painted portrait by Thievin Stephen opposite a little library of books featuring the writings and speeches of Frederick Douglass, and I am looking forward to reading these books in the future.  I want to know more about his time and his effect on this country.  The subtitle of this present exhibition is: "Art & The Living Legacy of Frederick Douglass" and that presents the opportunity for you to view artwork from 12 working artists and see how they come to terms with this famous man.



Opening night hand shake

I noticed an actor having his picture taken during the opening and I thought that this fellow was doing a very credible job - a performance artist impersonating Douglass - in front of a painting of Douglass.....


Reading room
as you enter
and the 
Frederick Douglass Monument



Also as you enter the show there are photos of the statue that memorializes Frederick Douglass, soon to be moved to a new location here in Rochester.  Artists, like my office mate Luvon Sheppard respond to what Douglass wrote, and what he stood for.  Luvon is well regarded for his watercolors made over the years in tribute to Douglass, and there are a group of them presented here.  Luvon's paintings include quotes from Douglass that echo the theme of this exhibition.  Carefully conceived, the portraits are made in layers and have a friendly but earnest glow.


Watercolor by Luvon Sheppard

Words also come up in many other parts of this exhibition.  Meleko Mokgosi has pencil drawings that set Douglass's statements on paper along with commentary and you can learn a lot by stopping to read all parts of these drawings.  In another section of this exhibition a large painting by Shawn Dunwoody appears to be at a demonstration with protesters holding signs that say: " I Am A  Man".  A fight has ensued with one man down, while the other hovers over him with a bright halo around the man left standing.  In big letters at the bottom of the canvas - the word is spelled out: RESIST - which seems to come up a lot now around the Trump Presidency.


Painting by Shawn Dunwoody

One might say that recognition of racial and social problems comes with the territory, and our hope is that there will be constructive efforts made to deal with these problems.  Art can point to these trends, but we still as a constituency have to organize to do what we can to deal with our problems. The visual arts can respond to social pressures - this is ripe material for artists of all stripes to wrestle with.  


Painting by Rodney Taylor

An arsonist's fire consumed property that Frederick Douglass owned and Rodney Taylor sums up the terrifying picture in the image above.  Connections to the time and environment in which Frederick Douglass lived is important, and with Caitlin Cass, the projections on the wall tell it like it was at the time.


Drawing and projections by Caitlin Cass

Around the corner there is a large and  recent drawing from Olivia Kim of a dancer, and here I am thinking more of  the exercise of the freedom of expression, but I am less sure of the connection to Douglass.  I think of Olivia and her engagement with the dancers in the Garth Fagan troupe and her drawing is full of life and vitality, and a sense of relief and hopes for the future.



Olivia Kim at the Opening of "No Soil Better"
at 
Rochester Contemporary Art Center,
Rochester, New York
now thru March 18, 2018

What an inspiration to have an exhibition dedicated to Frederick Douglass.  I first heard of this celebration listening to Evan Dawson and Blue Cease in a dialog on radio station WXXI.  When I went to see the show I found many interesting artworks built around Douglass's life and writings which still have great relevance today.



Poster take away 

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Juried Show




Rochester Art Club
A juried show
at St. John Fisher College
Joseph Skalny Welcome Center

If you are an artist, how many times have you entered a juried show?  Like me, getting rejected is always tough on the ego, but a necessary part of the give and take in the art world. Will being rejected change anything that you do in the studio?  Probably not.  When you step up to play, you can expect a bit of rough and tumble, and you can take that into account if you are asked ( as I was ) to jury a show.


302-B  "Stand With Fist", oil on canvas

The Rochester Art Club asked me to look over a large raft of art work this week and I made my choices on the spot, and then had a chance to review my picks and say something about the works that I juried into the show.  This time around I took careful notes, and wrote some reviews along the way.  Also, I felt the organization of this operation was very carefully orchestrated and they even asked if wouldn't mind writing up a critique.  I have juried many shows, and this one was no different in some respects - the quality in general was very high, and the artists in the RAC have their accomplishments to be proud of.  This is a club you would like to join!



More sculpture please....


The judge ( me in this case ) should just look at the art and not care about the signatures, to be impartial.  I look for evidence of commitment to the work at hand, and maybe  I will see something new and different.  I have been involved with visual art my entire life and I have seen my share of giants and nothing-burgers, and have even created some of them myself.



222-A  "Surfside, Winter", mixed media and intaglio

In Rochester, I am always surprised that I don't see as much sculpture as painting, but then again, there is the problem of storing and carting sculpture around that you must contend with if you are an artist.  Another concern I have has to do with the generations of people represented in the shows I have juried...and in particular - where are the younger participants?  I hope the art clubs actively look for younger folks to join the society supporting a younger generation coming up.



258-B "Little Miss Furia", pastel

In this particular exhibition which will be opening at St. John Fisher College, my feeling was one of inspiration - I really got into the imagery that people here pursued in their art.  Some of these artists I have seen before, though not these particular pieces,  so it was all new to me.  When I was jurying the show, the art works are identified by number, so I was never really aware of who did what, I just looked at the evidence.  It was fun making selections, and I thought it was interesting that several artists had made animal portraits of a very high quality.  You expect a certain number of human portraits, but a portrait of a Lemur?  That was unusual... especially since I thought this was an oil painting, but up close I could see it was a pastel.



237-A  Thawing Creek

I am glad to see that people go outdoors to paint.  There are several very respectable painters out in the field today, and they remind me of the artists I studied with including Edwin Dickinson, Wolf Kahn, and Paul Resika.  There is a renewal of interest in this form of art these days, so folks, keep at it!


237-B  Old Shed


I did make a comment that I feel people are too dependent on working from photos, and while that may serve as a reference, I think it is more important to work directly - and challenge yourself to see and feel in three dimensions.  So if you have a chance, go and see the art work for yourself at the Joseph Skalny Welcome Center, opening this coming Friday.  I hope you like the choices I made.




Rochester Art Club at St. John Fisher College




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Major Master


Wendell Castle ( 1932-2018 )
master of wood work and so much more..

This new year, I am sorry to say, has started with sad news of the passing of my valued colleague at Rochester Institute of Technology, here in Rochester, New York.  Wendell Castle was 85 years old, and had just been celebrated for the past three months with an exhibition and book  ( Wendell Castle Remastered ) at The Memorial Art Gallery here in town.



Wendell Castle at work in Scottsville, NY

When I first arrived here to teach at R.I.T. in the late 1980s, I was well aware of the work of Wendell Castle, having admired his fine wood works in galleries in SoHo and in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan.  So, I was surprised to be able to sit down and converse with Wendell at my first faculty meeting at R.I.T.  Wendell has been associated with the School for American Craft for many years, and he maintained his relationship with SAC and our college for many decades.


Wendell Castle at The Memorial Art Gallery 


Wendell Castle's work has had strong effects on the world of fine wood working and beyond.  His art has been collected world-wide, and his honors and awards are the highlight to a career of amazing accomplishment.  While the recent show at The Memorial Art Gallery had a focus on the use of digital tools to help in the construction of his art, it should not overshadow the fact that Castle blended sculpture and furniture in such a way as to construct a totally new genre.



Wendell Castle and "Mr. Chips"
in studio


The artwork of this individual has had a far-reaching impact, his vision was unique, and in a way he represents a guiding light, like what Frank Lloyd Wright had meant to  architecture.  Wendell always had a friendly greeting for me and I was happy to see him working with students here at R.I.T.
For Nancy Jurs, and their son Bryon Jurs, and the rest of their family, I extend my condolences.  Wendell Castle certainly will be missed by many, and his work lives on.


Wendell Castle, remembered...



 
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Winter Wonderland


One degree in the morning
Rochester, New York, 2018

January

This Sunday there was a note in the obits of The New York Times about the passing of a terrific ceramic artist - and that was Betty Woodman.  I have been a fan for many years having had the opportunity to watch her work gather great recognition with major museum shows, and really interesting artworks.  


Betty Woodman at The MET

An invitation
to a show of Betty Woodman's ceramic art

I met Betty Woodman several times in Manhattan and even had a chance to meet her husband, George Woodman who was a painter having an exhibition of his paintings at The Guggenheim Museum in New York City.  The Woodman family ( Francesca Woodman - their daughter was a photographer who had a tragic end - but was truly gifted ) has made many artworks that will be remembered.


Perhaps you have seen Betty Woodman's interesting and colorful ceramic works - for a long while they would greet you if you walked into The Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan.  Her art has great spirit, it is colorful with a little bit of the theatrical and a sense of humor. She will be missed.

Locally, it has been a snow scene, but the show must go on!  I went out to The Geisel Gallery in the former headquarters of Bausch & Lomb in downtown Rochester, to see the artworks recently installed of my colleague, Bill Finewood.  I recruited Bill to teach at Rochester Institute of Technology years ago, and he came to work as an illustrator with a specialty in cut papers, and pop-up books.  On view at The Geisel Gallery - Bill's work has a sense of purpose and clarity as you will see if you visit the show.


Bill Finewood's Alphabet

Many of the artworks on display at The Geisel Gallery highlight Finewood's gift for using cut paper to tell a story.  Sometimes it is a portrait, but always with a lot of invention and care in the details.


Emmett Kelly by
Bill Finewood

Bill Finewood spends a fair amount of time in Montana, so we have some wonderful wildlife drawings that he has made there including the mountain goat below seen in Glacier Mountain parks. His drawings are carefully rendered portraits of birds and animals that are thoughtfully composed and crafted.


Bill Finewood at The Geisel Gallery

My sabbatical is over so I go back to work at Rochester Institute of Technology where I can catch up on the exhibitions held at The University Gallery in Booth Building.  Roger Remington, who is largely responsible for the Vignelli Design Center is being given his first exhibition there, and it is of his early serigraphs which have never been viewed together and shed some light on his artwork in the 1960's.  Roger found inspiration during his graduate studies at the University of Wisconsin and worked with his teacher Dean Meeker to produce a series of silk screen prints.  We can learn that Roger had many exhibitions of his prints , winning awards and recognition for his artwork and he was appointed to the faculty at RIT in 1963.  Roger is still working at RIT, and he has an international reputation for his work in graphic design, and as a historian of design.



Roger Remington's print "Modular"

It is truly an honor to work alongside these teachers, men like Bill Finewood and Roger Remington. They both bring distinction to the cultural studies and creativity of visual art from their different perspectives.  I know I will be bringing my class down to see Roger's artwork, and maybe get him to say something about his  deep interest in the subject of printmaking.


Roger Remington serigraph from the early 1960s

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Some Of Its Parts


An Award Winner by
Kristine Bouyoucos
at
Rochester Contemporary Art Center
Rochester, New York

Has your year been busy as usual?  Maybe, political theatre has taken your energy and attention.  Sometimes,  I just have to turn off all the devices and have some peace and quiet.  But then, I want to be part of the discussion and I pick up where I left off, ruminating about the state of the arts.



A popular image "Cuba" by Jim Hartson
at
Rochester Contemporary Art Center

With so many people involved in the visual arts, questions come back around to - why do it at all?  What is to be gained from all this activity - to say nothing about the money spent on all those art supplies!  Today, there is much more being done in the way of art then there is a paying audience. So, it all comes back to the individual - what do they value? What do they have time for, and how motivated are they in pursuit of their goal?



Lydia Boddie-Rice
" Seeing Clear"

I got involved writing this blog seven years ago because I saw a paucity of coverage for the local visual arts scene to say nothing of trying to make some sense out of all this creative energy.  People were investing time and money in this work but who was there to appreciate that except maybe a group of other artists working on their own.  How do you get the word out?


Quilted fiber art from Pat Pauly

One place that draws me back for an update every year is the members show at Rochester Contemporary Art Center, and this year seems to have many strong examples of the vitality of our visual arts community.  At RoCo you also have a chance to leave your vote ( a yellow dot sticker ) for your own favorite artwork, and if you visit you will see that there is an aggregate of popular votes given to certain standouts.



"Fooling Around With Red"
by
Bill Keyser

I was surprised that some of my choices didn't have a single yellow dot, but certainly deserve some recognition.  There are always a few works that leave you wondering - how did that artist create that work?  You have to wonder - what is it I am looking at?  The work below is one of those - at least for me.



Sorina Susnea  at RoCo

Writing for this blog in the past I have mentioned that sculpture does not seem to do well in this circumstance and that seems to be the case again.  I am sure that there must be terrific things we are not seeing, and I wonder why there is not more follow through on the part of the membership.
I hope that you still take the time to go through the show and find things that have a strong appeal, maybe you will leave your vote, and respond to the work that you see.


Members Exhibition at RoCo



If your tastes run to something of a natural outdoor scene, you are bound to enjoy the series of small paintings that has recently opened at Axom Gallery in Rochester.  Rick Muto is the artist, and he has been painting outdoors en plein aire for many years.  You can get drawn into looking at the development of the paintings by making some comparisons.  How does Rick Muto indicate trunks of trees, how does he deal with reflections on water, how is the paint applied for rocks on a shoreline...



Axom Gallery and Rick Muto

Rick Muto is into colors and textures, he is a keen observer of light in nature, and these paintings are mostly intimate works done on the spot, so he is responding to what he sees and feels at that certain time and place.  These are postcards from the real world, and you just want to take one home and put it up on the wall.



Rick Muto "Embracing the Landscape"
thru January 13, 2018
176 Anderson Avenue, 2nd floor
Rochester, New York 
14607



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