Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Slow Art Day April 28 at MAG in Rochester, NY


Over 94 locations all around the globe are joining together this Saturday, April 28 to participate in Slow Art Day with one goal: slow down and take more time to really look at art. I admit it, I’m guilty, I rush through  many art exhibitions, overstimulated and overwhelmed in trying to take it all in.

The founder of Slow Art Day observed the same and decided to create an event that would encourage all of us to approach art with a slower, more contemplative mindset. A simple idea with incredibly rewarding results!

In Rochester, the Arena Art Group and Memorial Art Gallery are partnering to host the first Slow Art Day event in our area. Two of our Arena Art Group member artists, Liz Durand and Sid Roepke, will be on hand to facilitate observation and appreciation of five works in the gallery’s collection.

Three of us did a slow walk-through yesterday to chat about the works we had selected for viewing and the more we looked, the more we began to see in each painting. From the formal aspects of composition to questions of narrative and emotional tenor, the more time we spent looking and discussing, the greater our appreciation and connection grew to each work.

Alone, I might have spent two minutes with each of these works, but as the three of us discussed and shared our observations, I gathered more and more information and insight into each one.

We’re starting with more representational works and then moving to abstract:


Night Before the Battle, 1865 by John Henry Beard. This representational painting has a strong narrative. A cloaked skeletal form sits quietly gazing out over the rampart, his hands resting on the cannon while the first hints of dawn appear over the far horizon and a small group of soldiers lie sleeping, waiting for the battle to begin.


Jonas Lie, Morning on the River, circa 1911-12. Moody, atmospheric, the raw chill of a winter morning is palpable in this artist’s perspective of the Brooklyn Bridge on a cold, wintry morning.


John Koch, Interlude, 1963. This painting hangs next to the Hans Hofmann piece, below, and although the subject matter and degree of abstraction are certainly at opposite ends of the spectrum, the same careful thought has gone into the compositional choices each artist has made.


Hans Hofmann, Ruby Gold, 1959. I confess to breezing by this particular painting for years. Yesterday, the more time I spent with it, the more I recognized how the colors orchestrated a variety of emotional,non-verbal responses in me. I began to fully appreciate the intentionality of the impasto palette knife marks and the interactions of the color fields and shapes. So if you are one of those people who says,“my five year old could paint that”, you would reconsider that opinion if you spent careful time observing this painting.


This feast for the senses art experience will ends with discussing a work by Louise Nevelson, Dawn’s Landscape XL, 1975. This is a complex and intriguing work that rewards the slow viewer with intricate compositions within compositions. The urban influence is apparent in this work, along with intriguing compositional details that can suggest a myriad of interpretations.

These images just don’t do the works justice. Join us this Saturday at Memorial Art Gallery, 11-AM – 1 PM. Program free with paid museum admission.

If you live elsewhere, check out the Slow Art Day site and see if there is an event happening in your area!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Fiber Art Philadelphia: “Mending = Art” at Borowsky Gallery

Guest curator and participating artist Diane Savona gathers together twelve artists in “Mending=Art” on display through May 6 at the Gershwin Y, Borowsky Gallery, 401 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA. Open Mon- Sun,  9 AM – 5PM,

Savona writes that mending has been historically viewed at the low end of craft, “merely a humble necessity.” The artists that she has selected for the show “invert that scale, using mending as an art process, as social activism and as a statement of personal identity.”


 Diane Savona, Repair Manual, silkscreen and sewing on fabric, bound in spiral notebook, 12” x 24”. Sections of text about mending are interspersed with line drawings and text about retinal surgery.


Selections from Erin Endicott’s “Healing Sutra” series. The artist stains and embroiders vintage family textiles, signifying the healing of old emotional wounds.



This traditional Japanese boro (heavily darned old garments) from the early 1900’s is an exquisite example of the care that once went into preserving personal possessions.


                                        Detail of the mended cloth on the pant leg.














Dorothy Caldwell, Lake, wax resist, discharged cotton, stitching, earth, 13” x 13”













Dorothy Caldwell, Bowl, wax resist, discharged cotton, stitching, earth, 13” x 13”

 Dorothy Caldwell shines in any exhibition with her powerful works. Ideas of darning, mending and sewing combine with observations of the rural landscape and its cycles of plowing, planting and harvesting. The small punctuations of color seem to signify homesteads on the vast surface of the landscape.


Libbie Soffer’s Journal from the Studio, 35 pieces approximately 14” x 14” each. Muslin, silks, rayon, silkscreen, embroidery, heat transfer, marker, cotton, sewn with red thread. Using fragments from garments and old textiles, the artist creates a visual journal of women’s lives.

The artists in “Mending=Art” are: Dorothy Caldwell, Erin Endicott, Janet Haigh, Amy Houghton, Ilaria Margutti, Wolfie E. Rawk, Diane Savona, Barbara Shapiro, Libbie Soffer, Sally Spinks, Michael Swaine, Jan Vormann.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Fiber Philadelphia 2012: Snyderman-Works


I drove to Philly for the SAQA/SDA conference last weekend and joined other attendees on Saturday trying to fit in as many gallery visits as possible offering Fiber Philadelphia exhibitions. Since there were over 40 scheduled exhibitions for this bi-annual event, time did not permit my visiting more than a small selection of the venues in one day. I’ll plan to spend more time there in 2014.

The 8th International Fiber Biennial at Snyderman-Works runs through April 28. It is a stunning show in an attractive, generous space that presents both large and small scale works beautifully. Dorothy Caldwell’s large-scale new piece, below on the right, had ample space to be viewed and appreciated.




My first introduction to Lanny Bergner’s work , above, was at a lecture he gave at the 2011 Surface Design Association Conference in Minneapolis. I loved the display of his mesh “containers” in heat-treated copper.


Equally exciting were Warren Seelig’s new steel and rock “weavings”. Above is a detail shot. The full work is easily 5 x 7 feet.


In addition to the gallery, there is also a wonderful gift shop adjacent to the downstairs gallery that offers unusual fine contemporary crafts for sale.

This year’s invitational artists at Snyderman Work’s Fiber Biennial are: Adela Akers, Kate Anderson, Lucy Arai, Dorothy Gill Barnes, Pamela Becker, Lanny Bergner, Mary Bero, Karin Birch, Yvonne Bobrowicz, Dorothy Caldwell, Kai Chan, Sonya Clark, Lia Cook, Virginia Davis, Carol Eckert, Katie Henry, Lissa Hunter, Susan Iverson, Michael James, Christine Joy, Nancy Koenigsberg, Lewis Knauss, Gyongy Laky, Ed Bing Lee, Jacqueline Rush Lee, Mi-Kyoung Lee, Pazia Manella, Margarita Cabrera, Shizuko Kimura, John McQueen, Nancy Merritt, Dorie Millerson, Norma Minkowitz, John Paul Morabito, Marilyn Pappas, Leslie Pontz, Jill Powers, Ann Coddington Rast, Joh Ricci, Jon Eric Riis, Betsabee Romero, Amanda Salm, Joyce Scott, Piper Shepard, Hisako Sekijima, Cynthia Schira, Tilleke Schwartz, Warren Seelig, Joseph Shuldiner, Hillary Steel, Wendeanne Ke`aka Stitt, Louise Strawbridge, Jo Stealey, Missy Stevens, Deborah Warner, Katherine Webb, Jeanne Williamson, and Grethe Wittrock.



Sunday, April 1, 2012

Arena Art Group Reception at FLCC



The Arena Art Group’s  opening reception on Friday March 23 at Finger Lakes Community College’s Williams-Insalaco Gallery 34 showcased 15 of our members’ works beautifully. Above is one of a series of ceramic sculptures by Nancy Valle. My work is behind it on the left and Dan Neuberger’s photography piece behind it on the right. The gentleman talking with two visitors is Stu Chait, an architect who creates abstract compositions on canvas by pouring layers and layers of watercolors.



This intriguing oil painting by Wendy Menzie sold quickly.


Jeffery Young, left,  the group’s treasurer, is a photographer and yoga teacher.


FLCC hired professional photographer Rikki Van Camp to take images at the opening. She spent time with each exhibiting artist and took shots of them in front of their works. This is Zanne Brunner in front of one of her gouache paintings of a tree spirit.


This image shows a mask piece from a new ceramic series that Richard Harvey, a mixed media artist, has been exploring.

The Arena Art Group’s next exhibit together will be in June, a show called “Anything Goes” at the Black Radish Studio in Rochester.