Show Me, Part 2

Richard Harvey at the opening for his show
142 Atlantic Avenue, Rochester, New York

This May is amazing.  There are shows here that you should not miss.  Some of the shows are on stage at GEVA like the one that celebrates the life of Son House:  "Revival" and the puppy musical called "Likah" - a wonderful service dog and a story of life and loss..  I had the chance to meet Son House when I was a teenager, and I also have had a chance to get to know "Likah"!

In the visual arts a new show has opened called: 2D, 3D "Extending the Process" with loads of art by Richard Harvey at MuCcc ( Multi-Use Community Cultural Center ) on Atlantic Avenue here in Rochester.

Richard Harvey presents recent sculptural collage

Introduced to Richard's artwork years ago, I have now seen it evolve to include ceramics this past year, and he uses clay to create some evocative facial features.  Richard says: "Facial expression is one of the most important elements of my images."  Looking over his present exhibition one finds collage, typography, and the use of the digital tools as well as the hand made and much more.  The faces and figures he creates have a style that makes a social statement like a constructivist Ben Shahn.

Left to right: "Mother", Truth" and "Safe Keeping" by Richard Harvey at MuCcc

Richard Harvey graduated from R.I.T. in the 1970s with his BFA and went to work as a graphic designer.  Now, years later he is in the studio on a regular basis and his art has grown and matured.  There is a humor often in his creations like the use of words in his collages that address various concerns ( like the inclusion of the word: emancipate in the artwork he calls: "Mother" ). Richard is a busy man - all of these pieces in this show have been created within the last year!

"Passage" Acrylic with collage on canvas by Paul Garland

Just up the street from MuCcc is the Axom Gallery, and I walked in to see the new show of paintings and collage from Paul Garland.  Paul has been featured in several shows at Axom Gallery, and that is most likely because the gallery owner, Rick Muto studied painting with Garland years ago at Oswego and got to know his work and his philosophy.

Paul Garland painting and collage at Axom Gallery

Paul Garland is remarkably consistent - there is always an inventive quest going on, and the means to an end revolves around color, structure, and with collage a certain restraint with the use of texture.  Many of the works on view are pleasing because of the color and form and several of these works are outstanding because of the eloquent distillations of the facts he likes to explore in his careful manner, balance being the prominent factor.

Improvised study hall of art at Axom Gallery

Paul Garland has been exhibiting his art for over fifty years, and this new exhibition gives one a sense that you are in good hands with a seasoned pro.  Looking closely at his collages he frequently plays one side off the other but in his bifurcated world that is played out in his art - there is not much that separates the sides except an experience of color.  You find that viewing the art you can really see the experiments going on like found textures when you scratch into wet paint, or lay a thread down and paint over it, then remove the thread and see what happens!

So look closely, and learn!

"Come In" a series of paintings with collage by
Paul Garland at Axom Gallery, Rochester, New York

Posted in The Visual Artworker | Leave a comment

Show Me

"Tacit Knowledge"  monotype by Alan Singer
presented as part of a new exhibition
"Process & Purpose, 2019"
Corners Gallery, Ithaca, New York
now thru June 22, 2019

The knowledge needed for printmaking includes learning skills that require techniques for making editions or at least a way to reproduce an image usually on paper, but it is much more interesting than just pushing a button on your home printer!

The first part of this post is devoted to our new show of printmaking at Corners Gallery in Ithaca, new York, up in Cayuga Heights at 903 Henshaw Road.  The second part of this post will be about Richard Harvey and his new exhibition at MuCcc in Rochester, NY for the month of May.

Print by Kumi Korf

A revival or expansion of printmaking is underway, and this centuries old art form is being given new life through the expression of many working artists, eight of whom are chosen for this show called: "Process & Purpose, 2019".  The thirty prints included in our show all have a story to tell.  My idea was to introduce current work from printmakers whose images I hold in high regard - and this stems from a life-long interest in printmaking as one way of making art accessible to a wider public.

When I was in graduate school at Cornell University, I was in the same class as Kumi Korf - an artist and architect whose work you see above.  Kumi creates abstraction with colorful form and prints in several layers.  There is depth that printmaking can have that is different than painting directly on paper.  Kumi works in a series just as I do for my monotypes.

Printmaking by Shane Durgee

I have been making prints since I was ten years old, and they were all made by hand - wood cuts and linoleum cuts that were inked and printed on rice paper.  My parents who were both artists showed me how to do it.  Today, many years later I teach printmaking, and now I use a computer to help me conceptualize.  This is also true for many young artists including my student, Shane Durgee whose art is shown above.

For years I have been interested in the art created by Nick Ruth and I have included a selection of his recent work of our show.  His prints have a very definite message to send - they are all about communications.  In this regard, all of the eight printmakers in our show address concepts and imagery that tell a story of our times.

Print by Nick Ruth at Corners Gallery, Ithaca, NY

If you would like to get a better idea of the kinds of techniques used in printmaking today, come and meet the artists who will be present at a reception at Corners Gallery on Friday May 17, 2019 from 5:30 to 7:00 pm.  In this new show I asked all of the artists to contribute a statement about their working process so you will be able to read what they have to say, and then look over their work.
Such diversity!  You will enjoy our show!

"Avoid Meaningless Words"  a print by Minna Resnick
now at Corners Gallery, Ithaca, NY 

Posted in The Visual Artworker | Leave a comment


Ithaca is Gorges in May, 2019

Here is my first recommendation for this emerging Spring season.  We just stepped out of Cineamopolis in Ithaca, New York where we took our seats and watched the movie documentary "Amazing Grace".  This is about a two hour concert of gospel songs given by the late Aretha Franklin and needless to say she MOVES you!  This lady of song is in her prime and there never was a voice quite like it before.  You just have to go - see it and feel it!

Aretha Franklin ( 1942-2018 )

It is also amazing what can take place on a First Friday in May in Ithaca.  We just delivered a show of 30 prints by eight printmakers ( including myself ) which is set to open at the Corners Gallery in Ithaca early this month.  The gallery owner, Ariel Ecklund was there on time to greet us and we unwrapped the show and spread the framed artwork around for the best effect.  It has been a pleasure to get this show up and running, and just choosing the artwork was engaging and I have to say that each artist has a story to tell in every print that they have lent to our show which I call: "Process & Purpose, 2019".

Eileen Bushnell at Corners Gallery

Nick Ruth at Corners Gallery
Opening May 17 from 5:30 to 7 pm 

If you are in the Ithaca area, the Corners Gallery is located up in Cayuga Heights, come on over for the opening on May 17th to meet the artists.  Here are some examples of what you will see there, but let me say that in this modern age of printmaking the artists use many tools to achieve the right impression!

Alan Singer's "Tropicalia" at Corners Gallery

Minna Resnick at Corners Gallery

Printmakers often work on editions - trying to create identical works through using the etching press, or silk screen or maybe on one-of-a-kind images like mono prints and monotypes.  You will find these and other techniques employed by the artists at Corners Gallery, so come on over to 903 Hanshaw Road and see for yourself.

Ithaca,New York already has a gallery and studio devoted to printmakers and that is The Ink Shop at 330 East State Street, 2nd Floor.  We took a long look at the mezzotints of Cleo Wilkinson on view at the Ink Shop now thru May 24th.  The use of mezzotint for a printmaker requires "rocking the plate" which gives a metal plate a uniform tonality - a texture that can then be smoothed out to define a set of values from light to dark.  Mezzotint as a technique in the hands of Ms. Wilkinson - can give one  feeling that is similar to looking at a black and white photo print.  Below is sample of her work:

Cleo Wilkinson at The Ink Shop , Ithaca, New York
Thru May 24, 2019

A new space has been opened by Jack Goldman at The Bookery in the DeWitt Mall for works of art alongside all of the books for sale, and the featured artist now through June is Fernando Llosa.  He brings beautifully framed works and handmade books which are mostly large format with hand-tipped-in plates of exquisite detail.  The framed art has subdued color, -- and texture is where the action is.  Swirls of ink are expressively used that sometimes reveal or conceal imagery that may have a figurative origin.

Fernando Llosa 
now on view at The Bookery
DeWitt Mall, Ithaca, NY

There is a strong poetic resonance between the images that Fernando Llosa creates, and his essay that introduces the show he calls: Small Signs of the Integrity of Life"

Reading and writing is part of the next exhibition we strolled over to see in the recently renovated space that will now house the Community Arts Partnership ( CAP Artspace).  The new exhibition "Art and the Written Word" features 21 artists that integrate some form of narrative text with imagery.  Some of the pieces had the impact of Pop Art, while others were much more subtle.  I know Barbara Page has had an ongoing project taking old library cards and giving them a fresh look by adding colorful illustration.  

"Art and the Written Word" images by Steve Carver

Barbara Page and her library card project
"Art an the Written Word"

Time to drive back home and get ready for the new week.  On the way, a last stop over in Clifton Springs and a visit to Main Street Arts.  At the gallery, Brad Butler, the Director for the gallery, explains that there is a new show show upstairs that is just WILD...!  The show at Main Street just opened and features over two hundred young artists working on 5"x7" supports for their artwork.

Brad Butler is in touch with public school art teachers and supporting this creative endeavor.  Just take a look at what students are doing - this is K-thru 12.  I think we will be seeing these young artists blossom right before our eyes!

"WILD" at Main Street Arts

Go "Wild" at Main Street Arts in Clifton Springs

Posted in The Visual Artworker | Leave a comment

Imagine That

Chenyang Mu presents "Hear You" at Joy Gallery
Bevier Gallery at R.I.T.

Chenyang Mu has a mysterious side to her artwork.  You have to listen closely to the sounds her glass sculptures can evoke.  You can brush up against some blown glass forms and hear music, then you can strike a chord on what looks like some glass icicles, and in so doing they can remind you of the sounds of Harry Partch with his invented instruments.

Chenyang Mu solo performance at Joy Gallery, Rochester, New York

Chenyang Mu has also brought some of her new artwork to The Bevier Gallery where she has a segment of the space to highlight some of her pieces and her process.  Blown glass is only part of her artwork.  Her Thesis revolves around  how sounds can be shaped by the glass forms that you see, and this is artwork that you can hear as well.  In fact some  of this art engages you to become a performer in her process - for example you might blow into a tube to create a hum or a series of notes.

Once a year, Rochester Institute of Technology presents the IMAGINE Festival where the public is invited to come and see what is happening in the various areas - including visual arts, photography and science.  The parking lot was jammed full when I drove up to see what was going on.  Hundreds of people came out on a cool and windy day to check out the show.   The projects are part of the mission of my college to inform and educate especially in ground breaking technical skills and innovative image making.

"Thermal Portraits"

IMAGINE is a Festival of ideas, concepts that also have an interactive component, for example in one studio you could have a thermal portrait of yourself projected up on a monitor.  In another former of that same studio a print was being made by a computerized eye dropper filled with liquid coffee. The image was made with a myriad of fine dots - one drip-drop at a time!

Coffee Drip Prints made on the "spot"

Down the hallway, I met up with one of my graduate students who I have worked with this year on her project she calls "My Experience Manifesto".  Xuechun Wu has created a flexible mural with imagery taken from life - stages of growth  from a young girl, to a teen ager, and beyond.  She writes up the characteristics of the life she lives, and also prognosticates about what she will become - this is a bit of fortune-telling and her project is very illustrative!

Xuechun Wu has developed a mural that tells the story of a young lady growing up

Upstairs, at the Bevier Gallery, I took some time to talk with another one of my graduate students who had a whole other story to tell.  "Tony" Hexuan Cai presents his silk screen images that could represent the birth of the universe.  There is a little baby floating in some of the screen prints, and there is a really creative mind at work here.  The imagery sometimes is repeated with screen prints on glass that can look very architectural indeed.

"Tony" Hexuan Cai 
presents his universal screen prints

We only scratched the surface of what was being offered during the Festival at RIT.  In the University Gallery there was a whole room full of interesting new Industrial Design work.  Robots, and much more to see, so if you can - take in the shows at RIT and look for the IMAGINE Festival next spring!

Industrial Design at University Gallery
Rochester Institute of Technology

Posted in The Visual Artworker | Leave a comment

The White Cube / and Printmakers

Published first in the 1970s still relevant today!

I am re-reading a book from the late 20th Century that still resonates today with even more power than when it was first published!  "Inside the White Cube" was written and published in the 1970s around the time that I was studying with the author, Brian O'Doherty.  His role as an art critic, and as an artist ( under the pseudonym - Patrick Ireland ) is an influential one, maybe for me as a role model, and certainly as someone who thought deeply about the situation of the artist and how to communicate the various layers of the onion.  Brian O'Doherty first came to my attention as a lone voice about modern art on TV, and he was later an editor for Art in America,  and he was also my teacher at The Cooper Union.

Brian O'Doherty

"Inside the White Cube" brings forward many unspoken assumptions we make about a so-called neutral space that is the art gallery.  From the time I was an art student there was an uneasy relationship between the artist, the gallery and the money it takes to run the show.  While I was living in New York City there was an undercurrent of exploitation and sexual identity that made itself felt in the gallery orbit, and of course for the beginner there was the difficulty of getting into that orbit in the first place.  Today, the situation has changed a bit - due in part to the internet, which has shoved the gallery world off its central perch.

If you want to trace the history of the "white cube" you will see that as art movements change, the relationship to the exhibition space has also been affected.  Artists may challenge the spaces that their art inhabits but the commodification of art is still intact and maybe even more so in this digital age.  Brian O'Doherty has now turned ninety, and there is still much more to be written by him about how and where artists show their artwork, and what can be expected of a system such as we have today.

MuCcc is located at 142 Atlantic Avenue in Rochester, NY

From theory to practice, this month the energy is directed to a show whose focus is on printmaking now on view at MuCcc in Rochester, New York.  This show features artists who have a long time association with The Print Club of Rochester.  If you have been to MuCcc you will see that their gallery space is adjacent to their theatre and really makes a nice meeting space for a conversation  on the arts.  This is what took place at the opening of the show in which my print "Enigma" greets you at the door.

The participating artists were encouraged to speak about their work, and standing in the gallery the visitor had a chance to hear from a diverse group including Claudia Mejia Willet who spoke about how she creates her work - a rather abstract piece in green and black.

Mono print by Claudia Mejia Willet

Claudia walks us through her process...

It is one thing to look at an artwork hanging on the wall, and another to hear from the artist herself. There are many facets to the production of a print, so I was surprised to learn that Caudia's print involved  burning her plate before it was carefully inked.  Many printmakers carefully create editions, meant to attract the viewer and yet many people do not know how these editions are made.  It is not as easy as typing Command P for "print"..!

Richard Harvey talks about his work...

Posted in The Visual Artworker | Leave a comment

Field Guide

Brad Butler, Main Street Arts, Director
gets in focus

I was driving up from Pennsylvania over the weekend and stopped in Clifton Springs, New York to see what was happening at Main Street Arts.  There was an opening in progress at the gallery that features artworks from 42 artists who have participated in the Residency Program over the past few years.  Brad Butler gathered the artists for a group photograph after he explained to me that Main Street Arts is making a transition towards non-profit status as an institution and they are looking to expand and create more space for visiting artists.  This new exhibition runs into May and from the looks of what I saw - there have already been several sales, the prices for many of the works on hand are very modest!

One of the artist residents, Victoria Savka

At this opening I had a chance to talk with two young ladies whose work I found hanging in this big group showing.  Victoria had been a student at Rochester Institute of Technology and as we had a few moments to chat I found out that she is now becoming a teacher for children K - thru -6 at St. Agnes, a local school in Avon.  One of her three pieces that I saw was a kind of a journal entry in way - it comes from her car trip across the county to Colorado and features a Wonderbread truck among other sites like a sign that says "Falling Rocks"....beware!

Zoey Houser at Main Street Arts

Another artist I talked with was Zoey Houser from Newark, New York.  The ceramic art that she had on the wall here is brightly colored and features three bats looking like they are getting ready for bedtime!

 Another artist resident at Main Street Arts, Clifton, Springs, NY

Brad Butler has a bright idea with his Residency Program.  These artists usually come for a one month stay to do some new artwork and to explore our area.  Brad says that they come from all over the country and their artwork represents almost every kind of imagery including holography! ( Look it up! )  This show has a very youthful approach and offers something for everyone......

This past week we were deep into the center of Pennsylvania, in a town named Millersburg near Harrisburg, at a site called The Ned Smith Nature & Art Center, and we are planning an exhibition there.  We met with John Booth who is the Director of the Center, and we delivered paintings by my father, Arthur Singer ( 1917-1990 ) for a show of his work to open this coming June, 15th.  This will be a highlight for an already - very busy year!

Arthur Singer, the Wildlife Art of an American Master by RIT Press

Our book, which we published through RIT Press is selling well and it has inspired several in-depth exhibitions which have given the public a cross-section of the kinds of artwork that my father became famous for - beyond the illustrations that he made for his well-known field guides.  His bird paintings will be a feature of our new show which will be up in the Ned Smith Nature & Art Center thru late August - if you are near or in the Harrisburg/Millersburg area, come and check it out!

My brother Paul Singer,  looks over the drawings by Ned Smith ( 1919-1985 )

Along with my father's artwork, there is a circulating exhibition of the art of Ned Smith - who was in many ways a colleague of my dad.  Ned Smith had a career that overlapped my father and they both worked for publications starting in the early 1950's.  Ned Smith was a self-taught artist and naturalist who loved hunting and fishing, and his artwork demonstrated his love for the outdoor life.

Ned Smith and his love of Field and Stream
evident in his artwork

Ned Smith and his paintings of wildlife remind me of the art of Carl Rungius - a painter who was known for his portrayal of big game.  Ned Smith made meticulous drawings for every composition and his artwork features a kind of drama you may witness if you are patient.  I think Ned's artwork deserves more recognition and  here you just have to see it for yourself!

Ned Smith Nature & Art  Center, Millersburg, PA

Posted in The Visual Artworker | Leave a comment

Spring Arrives

Art House Press, 2019
Cordell Cordaro & designer Marco Fesyuk

I met the artist Cordell Cordaro once and enjoyed chatting and seeing his artwork but I didn't get a chance to thank him for the work he does to publish the yearly installments of Art House Press.  This year I found a copy in the Hungerford Building of the new Art House Press ( see above ) and right away I saw that this issue was different!  Gone were the select portfolios of images by our local artists, and in its place are essays including a long one by Amy Vena who is a graduate of our program at Rochester Institute of Technology.  Amy has been working hard now at Bausch & Lomb dealing with their archive as well as giving thought and care to their art program for their headquarters and for the Geisel Gallery downtown in Rochester.

Amy Vena has written a thought provoking essay on the health and well-being of the visual arts in 'Rochester and what we can and should be doing to maintain and improve our situation.  There is a whole discussion of the political and economic ramifications of the arts in our area, and considering that there are many forces involved, community support for this sector of the country is essential.

Other essays in Art House Press provide a stimulant for the up-and-coming art collector, enumerating the benefits by the purchase of the perfect thing for your home or business.  For the artists this show of support can mean a great deal and it helps justify all the time and effort that they put into their calling.

Alan Singer's print "Enigma" at MuCcc 
142 Atlantic Avenue, Rochester, NY 14607

If you want to belong to a group that is connected to the fine arts in Rochester, try the Print Club! Now the Print Club of Rochester is dedicated to educating the public about printmaking and each  year it commissions an artist to create an edition so that each member will receive that print as one benefit of being part of the club.  During the month of April, the Print Club is hosting an exhibition at MuCcc - located at 142 Atlantic Ave, and the show will be on thru April 28th.  If you want to know more about The Print Club - check out their website:

 Graduate artist Marcia Liu
Now at the Bevier Gallery, Rochester Institute of Technology

Each spring the graduate MFA candidates at Rochester Institute of Technology put their art on view to the public and this semester we have a series of shows that has just begun in the Bevier Gallery.  Just for starters we have dimensional design, sculpture, prints and even whirling furry objects that are hard to classify!  Come out and take a look at the imagination at work!

Graduate Thesis shows at Bevier Gallery
Rochester Institute of Technology

Talking about the places that visual art can take you, stop into the Geisel Gallery this month for a look at the paintings and drawings of artist Paul Brandwein.  His art is engaging and colorful, and you are not likely to have seen anything like this before unless you have dreams about microscopic life in technicolor.  Right at the door to his show we have a poster that proclaims the territory that Brandwein has discovered for himself.

Paul Brandwein at the Geisel Gallery
in the former headquarters of Bausch & Lomb
downtown Rochester

The welcome is an unusual one - a torus covered with a pattern that could be a virus of some sort!

Inside,  the show has a dazzle of color, and finely tuned and detailed workmanship.  At the end of a long hall there seems to be a very colorful surf-bord beckoning...

Paul Brandwein at Geisel Gallery

The paintings in this gallery are very imaginative and show is called:  "Forces at Play". 

 Each one of these works looks like Mr. Brandwein put a lot of attention to every square inch.  He writes that the paintings might suggest planetary orbits, embryonic life or even sub-atomic particles.  Even if you are not interested per se in science, these paintings might inspire you to think differently!  Check out his show this will be glad you did!

Paul Brandwein
March - thru April 27, 2019
Geisel Gallery
Rochester, New York

Posted in The Visual Artworker | Leave a comment


Alan Singer, "Self-Portrait", oil on linen, 1974

During my college years at The Cooper Union, School of Art - my ideal painting subjects were portraits and poses from live models I had been drawing since I was a youth.  I got started early ( my parents were both artists ) and my practice carried me through graduate school at Cornell University.  At this same time Pop art was happening and conceptual and minimal art would soon follow.

I remember an important show of Robert Smithson's came to Cornell while I was attending and it piqued my interest in how the landscape could be incorporated into art with its own sense of history.  I was further urged on as a student to blend my figurative art with the landscape and I pursued that while getting my MFA.  The trends in Fine Art did not always look favorably on painting the figure or for representational art in general ( been there, done that ).  There were practitioners whose paintings I admired from Henri Matisse all the way up to the present which for me included Alex Katz and my own teachers - Leland Bell and Paul Resika.  I had not yet been introduced to Lucien Freud but that would soon change.  

Thomas Insalaco drawings of L. Freud

Why do I ramble on about the past?  I thought of my own evolution as I was inspecting the paintings and drawings now on exhibit at The Oxford Gallery here in Rochester.  This show called: "Legacy" is in honor of Thomas Insalaco who has influenced a figurative movement in this area and is a major figure who founded a painting program at Finger Lakes Community College.

Thomas Insalaco at Oxford Gallery

A triptych greets visitors to this show and when you read a description of the artworks you find that the paintings were done over a period of 44 years!  The style is along the lines of photo-realism, taking into account  light and shadow, and reflections that introduce the viewer to a world of detail.

As part of my own teaching at Rochester Institute of Technology, I regularly insist that my students draw from the live model and it still is one of the most rewarding subjects for drawing and painting.  If you work from observation - it is different than working from a photo, and very different than working from your imagination, or from a set of rules like the minimalist artists of the past ( see Donald Judd ).  

Thomas Insalaco

"A Cupcake for Wayne Thiebaud" takes a tasty subject that became a focal point for the west coast painter - especially because his paint quality mimicked the application of frosting on this treat.
Some other artworks in the Oxford Gallery show diverge from the figurative norms into the realm of  pure landscape in the paintings of Jean Stephens as seen below:

Jean K. Stephens

I think we have emerged from a time where the art world looked down on forms of representation.

We are in the present at a time when there is no dominant style, and almost anything goes, so it is nice to see a show with art of a high quality that can appeal to a broad demographic.  It is also fitting to have an exhibition that takes the contribution of local artists seriously, as we have here at the Oxford Gallery.

Bill Santelli at Oxford Gallery
thru April 20th, 2019

Posted in The Visual Artworker | Leave a comment

In Context

Keith Haring and his art ( 1980s )

Keith Haring's images have been recognized worldwide.  But back in the mid 1970s you might have only seen his memorable artwork on the walls of the subway stations in New York City where he lived.  Graffiti!  

I used to say hello to Haring in his studio in the Cable Building on Broadway and Houston Street because I worked for publisher Jason Schulman who had an office next door.  Over the many years since Haring's death from AIDS, our society has changed considerably and an audience for Haring's brand of creativity has grown exponentially.  This is all featured in one of the essays in a new book by Ingrid Sischy.

"Nothing Is Lost" by Ingrid Sischy

Ingrid's father, Dr. Ben Sischy developed a noted radiology department here  at Highland Hospital, but both he and his daughter have now since passed away - so  there is a local connection.  I am reading the essays in "Nothing Is Lost" and many of them have been previously published in magazines she edited such as Artforum, and Interview, and she also was a contributor to the New Yorker Magazine among others.  She was an important figure as a writer as well as editor, and these select essays take you back to a time when.... things were different.  I bring this up because so much of the art world depends on context.

If you are an artist just starting out the decisions you make in your work and life can help you stand out, or on the other hand you may just want to fit in.  From my point of view I would choose the former position, to take the risk, and try something new..  In the classes I teach at R.I.T. my recommendation is to take the drawings that you do by hand and translate them into a different medium.  For many students today - that means something digital - so we are at a turning point where the education of the artist needs to take into account the effects of technology, to use the new tools as best we can.

Steff Geissbuhler at R.I.T. University Gallery thru April 20, 2019

If you are a graphic designer your very business interests have depended on technology all along, and for many of my design students my class is one place where they can actually see and feel the benefits of drawing by hand.  I bring this up because there is now a wonderful show of designs by Steff Geissbuhler at the University Gallery, and it is certainly worth your time to see his work.  You already know what he does in part if you watch NBC television  -he designed their new logo!

NBC Logo by Steff Geissbuhler

Posters for New York by Steff Geissbuhler
on view now at University Gallery, R.I.T.

My brother, Paul Singer studied with Steff Geissbuhler at Philadelphia College of Art, and I can see how a teacher can influence a student.  The design work by Geissbuhler is strong, good in color, and not only is attractive, but it is effective!  Take a look at his poster below:

Poster by Steff Geissbuhler.

Even with the ubiquity of modern design, we often don't know how it is done, so it may be worth your time to go and hear from the artist himself - he will be doing a presentation at R.I.T. in the University Gallery on April 5th from 4:30 in the afternoon to 6:30 pm.

Posted in The Visual Artworker | Leave a comment



March 11, 2019  Oakland, California

Down by Jack London Square there is a bold monument of a young woman holding a torch perhaps riding alongside an eagle, and this sculpture is called "Cheemah, Mother of the Spirit Fire..  She points the way and  is installed right by the entrance to a weekend farmer's market and I was surprised to observe that no one stopped to look - she is taken for granted - maybe even ignored!
This is the problem for visual art - in order to be regarded - the art has to grab your attention which gets harder when everyone has their eyes on  their cell phones.

Cheemah is a kind of a symbol, and because the work of art represents a powerful woman figure it becomes an illustration of leadership by example, something we really need in our lives right now given the national political situation.

Henry Raschen ( 1854-1937
"California Miner With a Pack Horse", oil on canvas, 1887

We are on break now and on my way to California I am reading a book called 1491 by Charles C. Mann that outlines what was going on here in the Americas before ( and during ) the period of European exploration ( and exploitation ).  Charles C. Mann attempts to sketch out who did what to whom - how the West was won - and it is not a pretty picture.  The "New World" held out so much promise!  But perhaps several million people lived in North and South America, and over a few decades they would be ravaged by disease that came off the boats  of the explorers.

California Gold by Nathaniel Currier

The explorers came looking for treasure and they found it in America.  In the Oakland Museum of Art just a few blocks away from Jack London Square, I saw a unique work on paper ( above ) where a man sits under an open umbrella that is planted on a hill of gold which in turn is being  towed out to sea by a spouting Sperm Whale.  California in the past did have its Gold Rush, but todays bounty may be found in the acres of oranges grown along the highways, or the high tech firms of Silicon Valley.

Orange groves in Central Valley with snow-covered High Sierra in the distance

At the Oakland Museum of Art I was introduced to several large scale works like the bulky ceramic sculpture by Peter Voulkos ( 1924 - 2002 ) called "Solano" made in 1959.  The  label explains that Voulkos had a wish - he regarded the mythical aspect of breaking through the old traditions of art.  I have high respect for those artists who take those chances, and for Peter Voulkos he developed an entirely different way for a potter or ceramic artist to cultivate a career.

Peter Voulkos'  Solano

The museum experience should include some surprises and I found one by Carlos Villa  ( 1936-2013 ) near the entrance - a painting by an artist I had not known of and his acrylic painting had some movement implied, and interesting color application  ( air brush ) and dimension.

Acrylic painting by Carlos Villa

We headed out into the daylight and drove south and then east towards the parks along the high Sierra Mountains.  We could see them from many miles away - snowy peaks shimmered in the sun, and we looked forward to going out of the city and into the fresh air.  Staying at Three Rivers, CA,  we went into parks and enjoyed the changing views of big sky country.

Kaweah River  creates a lake in California

We packed a lot of activity into a short period of time.  We drove thru the Central Vallery, towards Los Angeles and then on to fly out of Palm Springs.  Our short vacation comes to an end but we can rest a while and absorb some sun rays as we wait for our departure.

Palm Springs, March 2019

Posted in The Visual Artworker | Leave a comment