Amanda Means, "Light Bulb 00050C",  2001
currently on view at
Albright Knox , Buffalo, New York

Last week when I was in Buffalo at The Albright Knox Art Gallery, I stopped to take a close look at a photo made by my friend Amanda Means.  The centered image is simple - a light bulb as a subject - it glows fiercely in this Polaroid print made in 2001.  This image represents light and energy; maybe hope and a singular beauty.  And her photo has influenced my own work, especially on my print below - a monotype I call "Importance of Light".  My image is an expression for a form of mathematics - a kind of visual algebra that describes a plane.

Alan Singer, "Importance of Light"
Monotype, 2018

Looking deeply at a traditional artist's work, whether it is a pencil drawing or a painting, you can tell a lot about the personality behind the artwork, so the art is very revealing.  Like a handwriting analysis - artwork can reveal interesting factors, - and sometimes the idiosyncrasy of an artist - their choices that they make create a sense of style, and can be attractive to some and less so for others.

What happens when the motivation for image making is funneled through machine intelligence?  I am thinking now of what is gained and what is lost through digital art and artificial intelligence.  Today in the New York Times they employed algorithms to design Halloween costumes - does AI represent a direction that we are going to be taking in art?  I would hate to leave the task of creating art solely in the "hands" of a machine that is based on averaging out the pleasure we get that is usually found in the artist's work.

Patti Russotti  at the Geisel Gallery, Rochester, New York

I doubt that such a program would bring us an exhibition of the sort that I found this week at the Geisel Gallery.  Patti Russotti mounted her show called: " Primal Invisibilia " featuring examples of things not easily viewed and documented through the lens of her camera ( or scanner as the case may be ).

Patti Russotti  presents: Primal Invisiblia

Along with her photographic pieces were monoprints using encaustic or hot wax on paper.  This very direct method of making an image reveals an organizing principle we bring to working with color, textures, and throw in the accidental and the unintentional.

Russotti encaustic monoprint

This month, thru November 24th, 2018 there is also an inspiring group showing at the Oxford Gallery here in Rochester.  Three seasoned artists - Barbara Page, Anthony Dungan and Phyllis Bryce Ely are exhibiting paintings in a show they call: "Transformations".  Of the three artists who show here, "Tony" Dungan has the more experimental approach to his use of color and applications which have a very expressive range.  His art for this exhibition takes the figure as a primary subject and then plays with the methods of representation.

Anthony Dungan  at Oxford Gallery

The jazz that enters the paintings from "Tony" Dungan plays out in layers and transforms his imagery through his process.  Sometimes his drawing in paint can remind you of Willem DeKooning and at other times it can be be Arshile Gorky.  

In the past I have written about Barbara Page's map paintings and in the present show called: "Transformations" there are several new smaller works that are dedicated to places she has traveled to.  The map paintings may come from flights over the regional terrain, and they often have a prevailing color which may reveal the season, or what the land has been developed for.

Barbara Page at Oxford Gallery

Phyllis Bryce Ely has a studio space in the Hungerford Building, and she is also part of this new exhibition at the Oxford Gallery.  Her subjects  can be a rugged landscape or the structure of a building in downtown Rochester - she told me a story about the "Wings of Progress" - that I found to be surprising.  As a youngster growing up here, she was afraid of the building and what the wings signified for her when she would drive by.  Today, she makes it a point to paint this building in a style that seems to quote Georgia O'Keefe.  

"Wings of Progress"
Phyllis Bryce Ely
oil stick on mylar

In another part of the Oxford Gallery show, Phyllis Bryce Ely presents a grouping of "Rocks I have Known" -portraits of these keepsakes - that reveal once again things that were previously unknown to us.  Little swirls, and textures cause you to think about the forces that created these stones.  I am a rock collector too, and have a pile of similar subjects in my studio, so I will have to look again and think about what could evolve.  Maybe just enjoy the simple beauty of how things are right now...

Phyllis Bryce Ely " Rocks I have known"
encaustic on panels

Posted in The Visual Artworker | Leave a comment

Scope It Out

Jim Mott and his  Landscape Lottery
at Lab Space
Rochester Contemporary Art Center
Rochester, New York

We are into the fall season, and holiday spirits can grab you - especially if you are interested in visual art because there is so much happening in and around Rochester (and beyond ).  Yes, I look forward to my trips to see the New York City galleries, but we have some really fine work here, right now.

Jim Mott paints on site

Now open for your enjoyment - you could sign up for an opportunity to determine where Jim Mott will set up his paints next - with the toss of the dice.  Walk into the Lab Space and sign up for a chance to give Jim the co-ordinates on a regional map - and send him out to paint a picture of what he sees when he gets there.  I have been following Jim Mott's artwork for years, and have even written before about his "Itinerant Artist Project ( IAP ) for the American Artist Magazine.

Jim Mott's Landscape Lottery show in progress....

While you are at RoCo check out their new video space, they have renovated at the back of the gallery.

Jim Mott has a fine eye for delicate hues and a direct perspective.  He doesn't shy away from a difficult moment - like the moonrise over Cobbs Hill, or the road out to the airport, or a fence full of black bird silhouettes and much more.  For years he has immersed himself in a painting project that has taken him far and wide, and I think you will enjoy the results.

Belinda Bryce presents
"Pilgrims Process" at Axom Gallery

Over at the Axom Gallery, we have a different take on nature - this time in a more symbolic vein in the paintings of Belinda Bryce.  I met Belinda years ago as she made her prints in Liz Durand's evening studio class at R.I.T.  Belinda has kept up her art practice, and she has been showing her artwork for years now in this region.  She calls her show "Pilgrim's Process" and she writes about spending some time at the Saltonstall Art residency near Ithaca, letting her roam freely over the countryside contemplating her next moves.

Belinda Bryce paintings at Axom Gallery tell a symbolic story

Belinda's paintings at Axom Gallery share a deep interest in contrasts, textures, and subtle or minimal color and graphic impact which never gets rigid.  Her perspective on nature is more of an experience, not entirely unlike what I saw in the paintings of Brad Butler over at the Mercer Gallery in MCC.  Her vision is more internal, more poetic and you just have to follow her path.

Belinda Bryce

Belinda actually has a narrative that is worth reading and it gives you a bit more background about her walks in the woods.  She tells a story about walking through the landscape and her artwork verges on the iconic - having a visceral relationship to artists like Joan Mitchell and maybe even Adolph Gottlieb.

Down in the South Wedge at 661 South Avenue to be precise we have an end of October pop-up art show curated by Erich Lehman  who has been instrumental in the Wall/Therapy initiative, and also he was owner of the 1975 Gallery for a number of years.  This new show will only be available for viewing in the next few days - so plan on being there soon!  I saw many red dots - so works are for sale and people are getting into the holiday spirit as I said earlier..

"Dearly Departed"  
661 South Avenue

Run over to see what is happening, and in conversation Erich Lehman promises to have more to show when R.I.T. opens up their new City Artspace in the new year.  The opening attracted a young audience and there is a list of seventy-five works up for your contemplation - all in the spirit of the season.

The crowd at " Dearly Departed "
hosted by Erich Lehman of the 1975 Gallery

Posted in The Visual Artworker | Leave a comment

Destination Buffalo

Albright-Knox Art Gallery
Buffalo, New York

After several hours of recruiting students for my College of Art & Design at R.I.T., I left the Villa Maria for the Albright-Knox and Burchfield Penney Center over on Elmwood Avenue.  The day was cool and the sky blue, as I walked a path over to see a show at The Albright-Knox that features artists from the 1960s - the era in which I grew up.  I was not disappointed, but the Gallery was in transition as they were installing a show of their recent acquisitions.

Andy Warhol's portraits of Seymour Knox

In the museum, the show is called: "Giant Steps: Artists and the 1960s.  I found many paintings and only a few sculptures - which I thought was odd.  My guess is that this show represents a certain point of view of the curators and the buying habits of Seymour Knox.  Seymour looks out at us in multiple colors in a work by Andy Warhol, and in fact there is very little evidence in "Giant Steps" of the strength of Pop Art in the 1960s.

I was teenager in the 1960s, but I never missed a week of going into the galleries of 57th Street in Manhattan and often stopped into shows at the Howard Wise Gallery on a regular basis.  I remember speaking with Yayoi Kusama at her opening there, and I remember seeing Len Lye and his artwork also in a show at that gallery.

James Rosenquist's "Nomad", 1963

The 1960s - "Giant Steps", artists like Robert Rauschenberg and James Rosenquist are featured - but where is the art of Peter Saul, which I saw numerous times at the Allan Frumkin Gallery?  No, this exhibition features Abstraction and Op Art, and one of the standouts from this time is Victor Vasarely - for the sheer power of his geometry and work with color.  I also want to give a nod to Max Bill and Hans Hoffmann.  These are painters who had the most impact on me - then and now.

Victor Vasarely

The Albright show lacks sculpture and where are the works of artists like Robert Smithson, or David Smith?  No notice of Earthworks, or even Richard Serra who is protean.  There is a giant yellow painting by Al Held who created some powerful artwork during that period, and there are artists like Bridget Riley who dominate a certain strain of perceptual geometry that still rings true.

Hans Hofmann

Is it just me, or does this show provoke a response - like do we still think that this art will have staying power?  Certain of the artists on view in this show I had never heard of - and how do they find their way into this show of an eras' greatest hits?

If you did not live through the 1960s and this art is new to you, would you still think of this as important and relevant to the art of today?  Maybe.

A concise show - seeing is believing?

Claudio Bravo,  " Red Paper" 1969

Down the lower hallway there is a show that is called "The Swindle" - like these works are so minimal as to create a sense of wonder in the viewer - are they the artists trying to put something over on us?  When you look at this art - there main thing is that the work of the artist seems to be hiding.

Charles  Burchfield  "Trees"

Charles Burchfield ( 1893-1967 )

Across the street at The Burchfield Penney Center we are given a view of the artist's studio and his output based on his observations of trees with his own twist of style and poetry.  He tries to convey in a watercolor or drawing something of the wind and the sunlight which becomes a palpable texture in his art.

Acquisitions for their permanent collection
at the Burchfield Penney Center

Also on view at the Burchfield Center is a show called: "Ten Years In" - representing artworks that have become part of the permanent collection - and you will find it very enlightening.

Make Buffalo a destination and check out the shows.  You will see many strong works and upstairs there are special exhibitions of sculpture including some minimal wall works in ceramic by artist Anne Currier.

Ceramic art by Anne Currier

Posted in The Visual Artworker | Leave a comment

Graphic Life

Kenneth Hiebert
University Gallery, Rochester Institute of Technology
October 11, 2018

Walking into the University Gallery at RIT one day last week, I caught the presentation by graphic designer Kenneth Hiebert that included his original posters and photos projected up on a screen for some of his designs.  Having used one of the books that he authored as a guide to design processes in my classes at RIT,  I was interested in meeting this famed designer - who once worked with Armin Hoffman in the Bauhaus tradition.  Ken Hiebert had a long association with the Philadelphia College of Art  (PCA) before it became the University of the Arts and my brother had studied graphic design with him back in the early 1960s.

Kenneth Hiebert designs for the artists - Hicks, Kane, and Pippin

Ken Hiebert's talk could have been called: "The Raw, and the Cooked" with his designs and he even had one piece that was passed around through the audience so they could touch the textures of his hand lettering.  On the gallery walls there were photo images that Ken Hiebert had printed as part of a commentary  on the monument of Stonehenge.  He joked about the notion that his designs with these ruins could by ruined further if they had  suffered from poor production, and he gave us examples.

Pamela Drix at Rochester Contemporary Art Center

A celebration of graphics seems to be the underlying principle here this month as there are shows like: "Under Pressure 2018" - a joint project for RoCo and The Print Club of Rochester.  There are four featured artists:  Pamela Drix, Joseph Scheer, Kathryn Polk, and Bob Erickson.  Joseph Sheer also has some of his prints of colorful moths at the More Fire studio at 36 Field Street this month.

Kathryn Polk lithographs at RoCo

The exhibition at RoCo is subtitled  Redefining the Multiple, and the four artists take different paths to achieve that end.  I think that Pamela Drix may have the most experimental approach to this as she creates colorful strips that create a graphic impact on the wall that is much more radical than the Victorian look of Kathryn Polk's colorful lithography.  The majority of the images from Mr. Scheer and Mr. Erickson are photo based - and they are experimental up to a point.  I found the abstractions from Mr. Erickson to be engaging and unusual - it was hard to tell what I was looking at.  The series of works from Joseph Scheer told a story of political impact  and reminded me of a school of photojournalism that found an audience in the mid-twentieth century.

Bob Ericsson 
"Under Pressure" 
Rochester Contemporary Art Center

Drive down to Honeoye Falls, at the Mill Art Center to find the Annual Print Club show  now underway.  As you walk upstairs you are greeted by an image from illustrator and printmaker Bob Conge called: "A Lobbyist for Big Tobacco" ( this is a mono print with watercolor embellishments ).  Further into the show you will find a companion piece that has a real wit called: "The Corporate Vision".

Bob Conge's "The Corporate Vision"
Annual Show for The Print Club
The Mill Art Center, Honeoye Falls, New York

You will enjoy this show because it has a real vitality in the kinds of prints that artists are making and it runs the gamut from sedate traditional landscape to colorful abstraction.  I like the big print from Michael Harris called: Celestial Navigator" seen below.

Michael Harris' Celestial Navigator

The Print Club exists to further understanding and appreciation for the printmakers and their medium. Prints also serve the needs of people who may want to collect art and want an affordable avenue towards  building  a collection or starting one.  At the Mill Art Center I found my print hung in a trio that included an image from Carol Acquilano, and a bright abstract from Kurt Pfeiffer.  Go over to see this show - you will certainly find something to like in this selection.

Prints by ( left to right ) Singer, Acquilano, and Pfeiffer
The Mill Art Center, Honeoye Falls, New York  

Posted in The Visual Artworker | Leave a comment

Monet Meets Technology

The Memorial Art Gallery
Paintings by Claude Monet ( 1840-1926 )
'Waterloo Bridge, Vision and Process'

Below:Waterloo Bridge, Grey Weather
by Claude Monet ( 1900 )

I was sitting with Nic Minetor during the New York State Ornithological Meeting last weekend hearing about the work he was doing as a lighting designer for The Memorial Art Gallery.  I told him that we were heading over to see the new show featuring the paintings of Claude Monet, and he was very well aware of the exhibition having planned some of the lighting schemes.  That is an interesting job- figuring out how to set the lights for these masterpiece paintings.  Also, part of the setting for the new show requires choosing wall colors that provide some contrast for the elaborate frames that can  sometimes seem to overwhelm a painting.

photo: John Liebherr

Enter the Monet show here...

"Waterloo Bridge, Vision and Process" is just a marvelous show and a wonderful way to get to know in depth the work of an Impressionist master at the height of his powers.  What I like most about the show is the size, and the concentration on this set of artworks that focus on a famous bridge seen mostly in a mid-distance series of paintings that are evocative and engaging.

photo: John Liebherr

Instructive content

Walking into the show there are descriptive wall panels to read and the context is set for what is to come.  The first painting you come across is colorful with a minimum of detail - just some sunlight peeping out from a grey-green foggy day in London over the river painted en plein aire.  Some of the paintings in this series show the bridge backlit, while others have the bridge bright and dimensional.

Read the Labels

Below the paintings are the labels which tell the visitor not only the title of the painting but also give information about the colors that Monet employed to paint the canvas you are looking at.  We are given forensic evidence of the pigments found when these paintings were scanned and details were identified.  

Claude Monet, 1904 "Vision and Process'

Waterloo Bridge as painted by Monet, tells you not only about the structure of the bridge and the traffic it bears - both on the bridge and in the water below - but also about the surroundings and above all the atmosphere that is built by the painter on each canvas.

Monet meets Hi Tech and allows audience to adjust colors

I congratulated Director Jonathan Binstock on a terrific show and well attended opening.  I also commend the application of high  technology in a historic show of paintings from the past.  There is a revelation when Monet meets High Tech.  A series of interactive screens are set up to give the audience an idea of what would happen if Monet chose to change the color balance in one of his paintings.  Sliders - could give the painting more contrast or less, or show you what the painting looks like under infrared light for example.  Here we are seeing a painting the way a restorer might - through a lens that scans for textures or hidden layers that were subsequently painted over.

This is a new way to inform an audience and also reveal some of the process for making a painting the way Monet did - now over a hundred years ago.

Fabric collage by Esther Nisenthal Krinitz

If you are going to visit The Memorial Art Gallery don't miss the textile collages that are just down the hall from Monet.  Embroidery and cut fabrics are pieced together in these works by Esther Nisenthal Krinitz that tell a fearful story of family love and loss during the years of the Nazi regime of World War ll.

You are under arrest...

Posted in The Visual Artworker | Leave a comment

Painter’s Poetry

Monet has opened at The Memorial Art Gallery
Rochester, New York

You may wonder what else can be said and written about Monet that hasn't been published - so I will add my thoughts on this Impressionist in my next post - because the show that has just opened at The Memorial Art Gallery and should not be missed if you have ever been interested in the fine art of painting.

Both of my parents were artists and introduced me to painting at a very young age, and I literally have been seeing and thinking about art from childhood on.  I am also a reader and writer and poetry has attracted my attention over the years as well.  The ability of poetry to stimulate the imagination, to reach for meaning in the composition of words and phrases finds a parallel universe in the application of paint on canvas in the hands of a gifted artist.  Not every visual artist reaches for the impact and open questions often posed by the poetic practitioner.  We are fortunate at this moment to have an opportunity to assess the strength of painting in shows that stress the poetic temperament.

Bradley Butler - new paintings at
Mercer Gallery
Monroe Community College

In the Mercer Gallery, on the campus of Monroe Community College this past week, I went to see the paintings of Bradley Butler who is currently the Director of the Main Street Arts Gallery in Clifton Springs, New York.  Brad was also a student a fews years ago in the School of Art at Rochester Institute of Technology where he earned his Master's Degree.  In this new show, Brad extends his interest in painting with an invitation to his audience to join him on a path through some dreamy mountains.  Maybe it is the hour before sunrise, everything is quiet, and you are certainly alone.  The tonality of the paintings in his show pose a question: "What Isn't Real and What Is?"

"What Isn't Real and What Is?"
Bradley Butler

The poet painter approaches a path that winds around and seemingly disappears up ahead.  We contemplate the future and look for signs.  The weather is dark and moody, and the action of the artist's gaze only penetrates so far...doomed to return to the start again and again.  Color for this painter is kept at a minimum; maybe some bluish grey.  Up ahead in Brad's compositions are mountains - not necessarily the Romantic ones illustrated by Albert Bierstadt, but ones that could have come about by considering Mark Rothko.  The painter needs to explore, go on a journey, but does he dare go off the path?  If so - what would that look like?

New Paintings by Bradley Butler
October 4 - November 1, 2018
Mercer Gallery, MCC

The next evening, we drive over to The Village Gallery in Caledonia, New York for the opening of a show of artwork on view by Gillian Pederson-Krag.  I have known Gillian's work for years - since  I was a student getting my Master's Degree in painting at Cornell University - and Gillian was teaching there at the time.  Back then she painted the still life and landscape and today - 43 years later she is still at it.

Gillian Pederson-Krag
The Village Gallery, Caledonia, New York

Gillian's poetic stance is translated through her choice of colors, and the touch of her brush which often has a dreamy look to it but very different than Brad Butler's.  Brad Butler takes you along his mind's pathways, and in Gillian's art she is more of a realist and reflects on what things looked like.
Her's is a perceptual approach to a poetry of painting, and as you look around her show you see that things recur in many of her prints and paintings in this current selection.

California Coast by Gillian Pederson-Krag

In her show there are beaches in California, there are also streams from upstate New York.  The presence of a goldish color in her work - and her color selections in general seem to respond to the passage of time.  It makes me think of looking through picture albums of the past - there is a nostalgia for lack of a better term in these modestly sized paintings.  

Still life by Gillian Pederson-Krag

Gillian Pederson-Krag seems quite prolific and her art always has such consistency - whether it is a painting or an etching.  My brother, Paul, was visiting and bought one of her prints on opening night.  The prices for these paintings are rather modest too, considering the amount of time she must invest in them.  So, if you are looking for a wonderful art experience, drive over to Caledonia and look for the Village Gallery.  Gillian is real master, and you won't forget this poet of painting.

Gillian Pederson-Krag's  Umbria
oil on canvas

Posted in The Visual Artworker | Leave a comment

Capital A for Art

Albany, New York,  September 29, 2018

   Capital A is for art, but also Albany, which is where we find ourselves on this breezy morning.  It is a beautiful day outside our hotel window and we are here to survey a room at The New York State Museum for a possible showing of my father's artwork.  We went up to the imposing building to check out the exhibitions on view, and came away saying WOW!

New York State Museum, Albany, NY

Temporary Exhibition Room

We had the guards open up the temporary exhibition room for us to walk around and were impressed by the high ceilings and generous proportions for a show.  This museum is devoted to history, nature, and art and with our show we hope to fit right in!

Birds of New York State

Now on view, a large segment of floorspace is given over to dioramas that tell a visitor a lot about what you can see in New York and also about the history of the people of New York - going all the way back to the Ice Age to reconstruct a setting from the past - and then on to more recent times  with attention paid to indigenous peoples like the Iroquois.

Ice Age hunting in upstate New York

Looking at the Long House we had to stop and listen to recordings telling the stories of  life  among Indian people -  shining a light on their history and their situations.  The setting here in the Museum of New York is very engaging, and we could spend hours reading the wall placards as we walk through the halls.

The Long House

In another section of the museum we can see the many facets of building The Erie Canal.  A revealing sign calls it "Clinton's Ditch", where you can read that the canal has been built and reworked three times since its inception in the early 1800's.

A History of the Erie Canal

The New York State Museum has something for everyone.  One of the most galvanizing exhibits on view has to be some of the remains of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, September 11th.  Bent steel girders from the building and a smashed fire truck attest to the horror which was compounded for us by a first person narrative from our security guard who had witnessed the destruction first hand.  He was in Manhattan doing his police duties escorting a woman when the planes hit the twin towers and the conflagration forced everyone to evacuate.

Crushed Fire Truck from 9/11

Bent Steel collected from site of 9/11
World Trade Center, NYC

Across from the lobby of The New York State Museum, you can walk downstairs and along the grand concourse to find an art collection that Nelson Rockefeller had commissioned years ago.  I found the large murals there by artists like Al Held and Al Loving, Jr. to be aging well.  This is a dramatic space under a park where political rallies often occur.  The paintings  by artists like Morris Louis and Jack Tworkov remind me of my years in college, when demonstrations seemed to roil the 1960's.  We are not to far away from that same feeling today.

Morris Louis' Aleph Series, 1960

Al Loving, Jr.
"New Morning", 1973

Peter Voulkos, "Dunlop" 1967

Posted in The Visual Artworker | Leave a comment

New York State of Art

New York State 

In Brooklyn,  I delivered my two monotypes for the show "Hand Pulled Prints" at SITE:BROOKLYN in an industrial district just west of Park Slope.  I could feel the energy of the neighborhood I used to call home.  Around the gallery the framed prints were not yet mounted on the walls, but  I can see that this is an interesting group and I think my artwork will stand out.

Alan Singer: "Importance of Light"
Monotype on Fabriano paper, 2018

This Brooklyn gallery has been open for five years, and I talked with the director, Denise Amses who is also a working artist.  We spoke about how much the neighborhood has changed since I moved out of this district in 2005.  So many new buildings in NYC!  I almost don't recognize it, as I drive around Brooklyn and Manhattan.

Taking shape:  "Hand Pulled Prints" for SITE:BROOKLYN

I won't be able to stay around downstate as I have to go back to my classroom, and teach at R.I.T.

So, I get up at sunrise to get to Rochester Institute of Technology and up in the sky is a work of art: someone was skiing in the clouds - or so it seems...

Sunrise, September 17, 2018

At the Bevier Gallery the teachers in the College of Art and Design       ( CAD ) are being presented in a faculty art show, and I can take a look around at my leisure.  From above the piece that Len Urso has on view seems very minimal in a sublime geometry of metal-work.  If this piece is formed by hammering away on the form - then that is a lot of work - also quite different than the heads that we have seen from him as of late.  The form - but not the color - reminds me of the world's largest flower  - the Rafflesia, which I think is found in Borneo.

Sculpture by Len Urso

Close by there is a tall sculptural work by Andy Buck that reminds me of art by Martin Puryear, and another sculpture being presented from Albert Paley.

Earlier Paley had sent out a letter  that detailed his interest in scaling back his operations - running huge sculpture studios and developing large public sculpture in far-flung places - it has got to be very exhausting.  

Work by Albert Paley

Dan DeLuna has some very colorful and attractive abstraction on view.  His teaching assignment here at R.I.T. is in the popular Visual Communication Design area.  I am sure that the paintings on view in this exhibition show increasing depth, and I would love to see more by this teacher.

Painting by Dan DeLuna

There is a striking portrait duo by Amy McLaren which reveals an interest in character development and also has a strong resemblance to the portraits of Robert Marx, one of Rochester's best known artists.  Amy has a lot of great energy and a real zest for her figurative pieces, that combine acute observation and a wonderful wit.

Portrait by Amy McLaren

So, I urge you to take a visit to the Bevier Gallery to check out all the artworks - too many to comment on here.  I have to go back to work - and take my students out to the Lamberton Conservatory to draw the plants for their next assignment.  On a warm grey day, we spend the afternoon studying nature - not too bad an idea!

Student at work on her drawing
at the 
Lamberton Conservatory


Posted in The Visual Artworker | Leave a comment

Fall Semester

Lamberton Conservatory, Highland Park
Rochester, NY
September 8, 2018

The real thing takes your breath away... and this is just one visit to a local park to do some research for my class this fall semester.   I take my students to the conservatory to work on their art, and maybe paint a portrait of this hibiscus.  In my studio I am preparing new art myself - for exhibitions.. and just to see what happens.  I can invent forms, but nothing so spectacular as this flower above.

My monotype: "Tropical Radiance"

One thing I have found out, working with imagery derived from mathematical functions - there really is some strong similarity to the forms found in nature and those that are derived or rendered from a numerical matrix ( just look at the color burst in the center of the flower).

Before I go down to Brooklyn this weekend to drop off my prints for a show at SITE:BROOKLYN in Park Slope, I check out some shows in our area, including one collection of paintings by John Ruggles at The Geisel Gallery in downtown Rochester.  

I know John from R.I.T. and welcomed this opportunity to see what he has been doing lately.  It is also interesting for me because I have been reading a book by the author Leonard Shlain titled:  The Alphabet Versus The Goddess - this non fiction book published in 1998 recounts a history of the written word and how it is often in conflict with imagery.  John E. Ruggles takes letters from the Hebrew alphabet and illuminates them in his paintings, often taking the viewer on a mysterious journey. 

Pey: Mouth of Fire
by John E. Ruggles

An interesting thing about the book by Leonard Shlain is that he goes back through the history of the written language and spends some time to explain the origins of the letters that are the subjects of John Ruggles paintings.  Of course you don't have to read the book before you go and see this show, but it is a remarkable experience to see what can be done to create a painting based on calligraphic strokes and the ornamentation that is the result of a painterly manifestation of literacy.

John E. Ruggles 
Letters on the Wind

One letter per canvas is the starting point in this show, and John provides a little cheat sheet if you don't know the names of the letters in the Hebrew alphabet.  John writes an artist statement that begins with his orientation:  "I work in the space that exists between ideas, or objects, and the paths we forge through them".  That is the job of the visual artist as he sees it - walking through the doorway to a new set of possibilities using his paints and brushes to shed some light on this new path.

The next day I attended an opening for the artist Nate Hodge at Axom Gallery at 176 Anderson Avenue in Rochester.  His show is called: The Blues, and has examples of his latest paintings and drawings on view through October 13th, 2018.  When I think of the blues - I think of music, but when I see the artwork of Nate Hodge - I may reconsider that.  His show does have blue as a major color factor, but  I would say that this artist is in love with a kind of hand made architecture.

The installation brings his drawings to life and gives the visitor a lift.  Take a look first at the wall of intimate drawings and paintings - there is an obsession with a fine line that is  multiplied many times over as it builds upon itself.  

Nate Hodge working drawings

Nate Hodge: installation

We were prepared for this show after seeing paintings by Nate Hodge in the Hall of The Memorial Art Gallery, and also on view outdoors  in a mural he painted in 2015 for Wall/Therapy.  Stopping to chat with Nate Hodge we asked how long it took to paint the mural down the street - and we were amazed to learn that it took him ( alone ) a week to do the job.  His is a form of improvisation, paint a portion, going back to fix something, make it better and continue on, so here my thinking about music returns, because his description is very much what I feel when I listen to modern jazz - so maybe it is the return of the blues....

Nate Hodge is industrious....

Giving form to feeling is the motivation here.  The need to express oneself is important, and maybe it is carried through your life if you are an artist of some sort, and have the skills and the staying power to keep at it.  New directions are being forged, new paths are being built upon in visual arts that may not be so easy to grasp at first,  but keep trying, because it is worth the effort .

Posted in The Visual Artworker | Leave a comment

Art Workers

Rick Muto and Roz Goldman
Axom Gallery, Rochester, New York
celebrates Cathal O'Toole

This past Saturday at the Axom Gallery, a group of folks gathered to hear from Roz Goldman and Rick Muto, Michael Thomas and Katherine Baca-Bielinis about the life and art of Cathal O'Toole ( 1904-1991 ).

On a beautiful afternoon I began to learn a lot more about the artist whose work I had admired in a fine show of paintings and prints.  The opportunity to hear from these people who had looked so  closely at the works on view in the gallery was really refreshing.  There were some surprises as Rick Muto brought out some of Cathal O'Toole's artworks that had not made it onto the walls of this particular show, including a portrait of the actress Helen Hayes ( see below ).

Cathay O'Toole's portrait of Helen Hayes

During the discussion at the gallery we learned that the artist had exhibited his paintings at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and that sales of the art from the Axom Gallery would go to help support Cathal O'Toole's wife who is presently under care in a nursing home.  I couldn't help but think of all of the artwork this artist must have made during a lifetime, and we are only seeing what was left of his estate in this show of a very high quality.

Later in the week I spent some time watching a wonderful video  on TV about the life and work of Eva Hesse, an artist whose work I followed in New York City when I would go around to galleries as a teenager.  ART 21 is the series being  shown on PBS and this week they will broadcast a special about the art and life of Elizabeth Murray, which I am looking forward to seeing.

Elizabeth Murray visits R.I.T.

Almost fifteen years ago, I invited Elizabeth Murray to come and speak to my students in the painting studio at Rochester Institute of Technology.  She later gave a public talk about her art at The Memorial Art Gallery that was well attended.  It was only a few years after that, when Elizabeth passed away ( too soon ).  Luckily she lived long enough to see her retrospective exhibition held at The Museum Of Modern Art.  But when she was here to visit my students at R.I.T. she gave their work her full attention.

Elizabeth Murray will be featured in a video presentation
from ART 21
check your local listings

While Elizabeth Murray   ( 1940-2007 ) was alive and exhibiting often at Paula Cooper Gallery, I would go and see what she was doing, and it almost always gave me something to think about, and enjoy.  My own painting was influenced by what she accomplished, especially from the point of view of working with different shapes.  I place a very high value on the people behind the artwork, and on the way out at the airport, bringing Elizabeth Murray back to her plane to New York City, I couldn't help but be amazed by her stamina in the face of all the work she had yet to accomplish. 

Posted in The Visual Artworker | Leave a comment