Page 1

FALL 2009 • $4.95 US • CANADA 5.95$

18 • Fine Art Magazine • Fall 2009


FAM_RICHELIEU_0909

27/08/09

14:55

Page 1

G

Galerie d’art Richelieu The Only Feng Shui Art Gallery 8000 sq. ft. of Exhibition space. Elegance. Space. And the warmth of a friend’s home

Charles CARSON Canadian Master of Contemporary Art

“Floraison Marine” Acrylic on canvas - Carsonism mouvement, 30 x 30 inches

Charles Carson is permanently represented at the Galerie Richelieu www.galerierichelieu.com 7903 Saint-Denis Street, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H2R 2G2 Telephone: (514) 381-2247 • Fax: (514) 381-0025 • crichelieu@bellnet.ca 10 am to 6 pm Tues. to Fri. | 10 am to 5 pm Sat. and Sun. | Evening, by appointment only Located at Jarry metro station | Free parking


now accepting app l i cat i o n s

M ay 2 1 t h r o u g h

M AY 2 3 2 0 1 0 F e s t i v a l P a v i l i o n F o r t M as o n C e n t e r S a n F r a n c i sc o

631-283-5505 | www.SFFineArtFair.com | rick@hamptonsexpo.com


HOMAGE A CÉZANNE by John Pacovsky Grande Absente, Absinthe Originale is now made legally, using the exact original recipe from 1860. Grande Absente is still handcrafted in the south of France with the highest quality spirits and select botanicals, including the legendary Wormwood, aka Artemisia Absinthium. Grande Absente is 138 proof so please enjoy responsibly.

www.absente.com Grande Absente Liqueur, 69% ALC/VOL., Grande Absente and Grande Absente Logo are trademarks owned by M. P. Roux, Imported from France by Crillon Importers Ltd., Paramus, NJ 07652 Š 2008


Henrietta Milan, Page 20

Picturing Rhythm, Page 62

ARTHAMPTONS, Page 41

Daria Deshuk, Page 54

NYS First Lady and Samir Sammoun, Page 30

Jeanette Korab, Page 63

Molly Crabapple, Page 60

Orlando Agudelo Botero, Page 49

David Martine, Page 46

Vahram, Page 17

Instead of giving up to hopelessness and despair, he purified his soul in these sufferings and became genuinely productive.

Charles Carson, Page 6

Kandinsky, Page 9

Santa Fe, Page 10

Jean Houston, Page 15

Jane Wilson, September Second: Water Mill, 1993 Oil on linen, 80” x 70”, DC Moore Gallery, NYC Founded in 1975

PUBLISHER —JAMIE ELLIN FORBES jamie.forbes@mac.com

EDITOR-in-chief —VICTOR BENNETT FORBES Amy Zerner, Monte Farber, Page 52

Christopher M., Page 24

Bear Miller, Page 62

victorforbes@mac.com

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

Connie BufFalo, Jean Houston, JACK KARP, Daria Deshuk, DAVID MARTINE, KENNY MANN, MARK COTE, MOVSES ZIRANI, ELIZABETH BISSETTE PRODUCTION

MILA Y RYK COVER ARTIST

HENRIETTA MILAN www.fineartmagazine.com (631) 909-1192•(518) 576-4649•artspower@aol.com PO BOX 404, CENTER MORICHES, NY 11934 info@fineartmagazine.com Charles Wildbank, Page 57 4 • Fine Art Magazine • Fall 2009

Mena, Page 57

Gallery Roccia, Page 34

© 2009 SunStorm Arts Publishing co. All RIghts RESERVED


By VICTOR FORBES

This is “Carsonism…”

Fine Art Magazine cover — Spring 2009 — featured Carson and Heroes of Creativity

R

iding the bone-chilling north wind into New York City on his 2009 world tour, Charles Carson motored down the New York State Thruway from his home in the province of Quebec, Canada, roaring in like a March lion with a truckload of paintings to display in the glass cathedral known as the Jacob Javits Convention Center. Here, for the past 20 years New York’s largest art fair has been a late winter tradition. All told, many thousands have introduced their work to the American art buying public at Artexpo. Few alive, however, can boast of an art movement christened with their surname, as in Carsonism—a fascinating pictorial language of painterly writing imbued with magnificent colors and patterns; an active meditation of original ideas. The Spring Edition of Fine Art, featured Heroes of Creativity, Mr. Carson on the cover with a clever headline, “Carson to the ism.” Several Art historians around the world and museologist have deemed his style Carsonism, and his intricate and highly original works are as punctual and directed as the artist himself. These are strong paintings in two distinct yet related styles. The dimensional mosaic paintings with a build up of the paint and then glazed combine logically and intricately to give the appearance of a polished sea of possibility, glimmering mirror-like in a bath of pristine luminosity. Christian Sorriano, Fine Art and Antiquities expert from Paris and President

of Drouot Cotation, “Art holds no more secrets or mysteries for a matured expert like myself. …Far from common trends and cheap visual effects, Charles Carson shows each and every unique feature of his great poetic skills, offering in his work a breath of life, his own life, therefore questioning and delighting the minds and the trained eyes of the connoisseurs who hang it on the walls of their daily lives.” Over many years, said Fine Art publisher Jamie Ellin Forbes, “We’ve had the privilege of meeting so many artists. Some have risen to great acclaim and importance while others have fallen to the wayside. Each brings his or her own need to communicate their own dreamscape to the viewer and if you talk about this either in print or in person, you never know who you are going to be inspiring, what window you are going to open in their souls to communicate to the next level. The artist does this and such work is very important in all cultures. During this period of time, when people redefine values, they will find it much more so. Artists will become more important than they have been in the last ten or fifteen years outside of certain collectible concerns. Charles Carson’s paintings have a unique language. They are dreamscapes that invite you into the space, which makes you a part of the process of

whatever the moment is that the artist is describing. It’s not a snap shot. You are invited into the imagination of the process and somewhere there’s been an instigation or an inspiration involving the colors, the mystique. The line is defined through the paintings with the application of the form married through the colors defining the lines. The painting itself—the composition—therefore becomes very free, very available for people to enter into.” “Because the colors are incredibly clean, there’s a tempo. You can’t just paint and you can’t extrapolate unless you know form; you have to know form, you have to be able to paint in order to extrapolate. Carson applies the paint with a tempo and a sense of color as if the light were coming through. The pieces are very energetic, almost kinetic—and there’s a definite form lent through the application of the color. I don’t know what Mr. Carson has in his mentality as he paints, but it looks to me as if he’s painting the subconscious vision of what he sees; that he steps into the space between space, the dream space—and starts to paint the colors as they vibrate, as one form transitions from dream to reality and reality to dream and the abstract in-between. The colors are incredibly clean, which is rare—and

Nature en fusion, 26” x 36”, Carsonism Movement Fine Art Magazine • Fall 2009 • 5


Detail - “Nature en fusion”, Carsonism mouvement

Symphonie Florale - 36” x 36”, Acrylic on canvas, Mosaic movement

Fleurs en Fusion, 20” x 16”, Acrylic on canvas, Carsonism Movement

they are built, have definition and are textural. You would think that it’s simple, but it is not. This is a very complex and difficult mode of expressionto arrive at and you have to have an understanding of harmony and tempo to have a significant balance throughout the piece in order to create the composition. The result is the school of thought Carson is forming— Carsonism, Carson to the ism.” There are elements to this work that I have not seen elsewhere. I have not seen this technique done elsewhere. Have you? “Isn’t this the founding of a thought process or a school? Did anybody do Braque or Leger, or Pollock before they did themselves?” 6 • Fine Art Magazine • Fall 2009

Soleil d’automne - 48” x 60” Acrilic on canvas, Mosaic mouvement


Charles Carson

“Charles Carson shows each and every unique feature of his great poetic skills, offering in his work a breath of life, his own life. Proof that Carson has worked his way toward artistic posterity came on the day that we started saying ‘It’s a Carson’ in the same way that we proclaim ‘It’s a Picasso, a Matisse, a Warhol, a Basquiat’ or any other immortal artist.’’ – Christian Sorriano

Jacob Javits Center, scene of Artexpo NY 2009

Charles Carson with Theresa Marie Heinrich (the Blonde Artist) and Kevin

Fine Art and Antiquities expert, President of Drouot Cotation, Paris

Caroline Bruens and Carson at The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts — Gala ACADEMIA XXI — where he was honored as Artist of the Year

Stephane Marcoux (broker for Carson in Bogota, Colombia), artist Wyland and Carson

The Big Apple, Empire State Building

Carson and Yanik Gauthier overlook Times Square

Argentine artist Fabian Perez at the Carson booth

Fine Art Editor Victor Forbes, Yanik Gauthier

Fabienne Dukhan, Broker for Carson in Paris

Filming with Yanik Gauthier

Yanik Gauthier interviews Fine Art publisher Jamie Ellin Forbes Fine Art Magazine • Fall 2009 • 7


LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER

By JAMIE ELLIN FORBES “Artists for Peace and the Environment” was intially exhibited as a collection in the summer of ’99 in Rome, NY at the 30th anniversary of the Woodstock Music and Art Festival. Artists were invited to participate in this exhibit, by me as curator, with the support and agreement of Michael Lang (Woodstock Ventures) in support of Robert Kennedy Jr.’s, work with the Water Keeper Alliance. Works were displayed under a tent until the disruption of fire and rampaging occurred. I literally packed up the tent and left in the midst of chaos pre-dawn on a very hot Sunday morning. Calls for peace were not significant that year, peace accords and been signed for Bosnia. The luster of environmental causes was waning somewhat as the glamor of the rally to save the Amazon rain forest had died out. The Columbine High School massacre lent a picture of an emerging profile of youth violence in America. Youthful violence dominated Woodstock in ’99. Artists for Peace and the Environment got lost in the shuffle of the disorder that surrounded this, the third Woodstock anniversary event. Most folks having anything to do with that event distanced themselves right away from the festivals’ violence. Some people—like me—hung on to the concept of Love, Peace and Rock and Roll. Peace and the Environment never seemed like a bad idea which can go out of style. It was timeless. Still, with the help and support of many, this collection of 85 large paintings on 4’ x 8’ canvases caught the rising tide of warmth, peace, love and rock and roll of the original “Woodstock Nation” and all of the hallmark signature anthems that were never associated with the ’99 theme — “Not Your Parents Woodstock.” Some how “Peace & Love” got lost in the shuffle. Having committed myself to these works and the artists, I was able to show the images in several national and international events from ’99-2006. Dieter Schneider of Nuremberg, Germany was a staunch supporter of the Woodstock Nation and hosted the canvases into Berlin, Nuremberg and Munich through 2006. In New York City, we held a big party on the Intrepid Museum with the aid of Mary Asta. The canvases were exhibited at the Nassau Museum in Roslyn Harbor with Graham Nash flying in to sing a few tunes. Bobby Kennedy Jr., as a supporter and participating artist, displayed selected works at River Keeper 8 • Fine Art Magazine • Fall 2009

events. Harry Wahab of the Stendhal Gallery was kind enough to host an event in 2,000 and Victor Forbes and myself exhibited these works at the Blue Poodle Gallery in 2004. The collection can be seen in it’s entirety at www. fineartmagazine.com. So why take a look at this collection now? Because the theme is more relevant than ever and the art works are great. Michelle Esrick has become an acclaimed film producer; Ron English a well noted politically active and collectable painter; Wavy Gravy, a cultural icon; Tico Torres, drummer of Bon Jovi and serious painter, contributed a work, as did Lorraine Bracco of the Sopranos. These are just a fraction of the artists involved. Peace and the environment are more important than ever and the time has come for these works to stand alone as a viable and important artistic statement related to today’s urgent cries for social change. There are no more pressing issues than peace and the environment. The war we wage as the US since 2001 is bankrupting our system. The environmental changes we see are real and we are on the precipice of not being able to stop a climatic shift, which will make war seem remote as a problem. Why is peace important as a principle? It matters little if there is a war taking place in Vietnam, Bosnia, or Iraq. People are slaughtered every day in fighting. Children, civilians, soldiers. Our loved ones and theirs senselessly die every day. So peace is a good idea, yes? See summer of Love, Woodstock ’99 on the net. The Sudan had the largest migration due to drought and war of any refugee nation until it was replaced by the Afghan refugee migration into Pakistan this last year due to war. War and drought continue to plague the planet. Why the environment? It is because fires burn in the western part of the United States, no longer as a phenomena of the Santa Anna Winds, known within the region as seasonally due in November. Brush fires occur for more than half the year now. The devastation has affected the resilience of the economy of California, which until the recent fiscal debacle was the fifth largest in the world. California’s main source of irrigation water is expected to go dry this year for most of its growers due to drought, idling at least 60,000 workers and up to 1 million acres of farmland, federal officials and experts said. This bread basket feeds the US. Dust turns the sky of Sydney, Australia red, due to the largest dust bowl recorded in

PHOTO BY JAMIE ELLIN FORBES

“Artists For Peace and the Environment”

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Ron English at RiverKeeper Alliance picnic in 2000. Both had images on view along with other works from the Artists For Peace and the Environment Woodstock ’99 collection.

the region ever. The cause? Prolonged regional drought. The Zoological Society of London and the Global Footprint Network also gave the following statistics: land species have declined by 25%, marine life by 28% and freshwater species by 29%. The rhythm of our inter-relatedness as a species is the music we follow when we are not hearing sound. Every time one species is eliminated from the tree of life, our internal sound diminishes. The musical chord is changed forever. Like a guitar string snapping, a richness is lost. The pollution and lack of our natural resources, land and water are now major general health and population concerns for all communities in all cultures. People go to war for lack of land, water, food and natural resources which sustain life and cultures. Between multiple wars, diminishing natural resources and environmental concerns, we are now forever propitiating the cycles of lack. The “Artists for Peace and the Environment” used their visual voices to communicate social activism. The work of graffiti artist Anthony Ausgang, sculptor/painters Steve Zaluski, and Bob Wade, painter/musicians known and unknown dialogue the importance of the peace, love, rock and roll and Mother Earth. Their icons of image as language are seen throughout the collection as fluid representive concepts accenting peace and the enviornment. Through their images, the artists bridge and forge new forms of descriptive metaphor. The now famous peace sign, the slogans of the “Woodstock Nation” used in art for 40 years carry over the message—“Artists for Peace and the Environment” go hand in hand with activating social change. Visit fineartmagazine. com to see the entire collection.


GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM

50th Anniversary

VASILY KANDINSKY RETROSPECTIVE

PERSONAL PHOTOGRAPHS BY MÜNTER AND KANDINSKY ILLUMINATE GUGGENHEIM RETROSPECTIVE

GABRIELE MÜNTER AND VASILY KANDINSKY, 1902–14: A LIFE IN PHOTOGRAPHS Vasily Kandinsky in front of Small Pleasures (June 1913), Munich, 1913. Photo courtesy Gabriele Münter- und Johannes Eichner-Stiftung, Munich

GABRIELE MÜNTER AND VASILY KANDINSKY, 1902–14: A LIFE IN PHOTOGRAPHS Gabriele Münter wearing a dirndl dress in front of the arbor of her house, Murnau, Germany, 1910. Photo courtesy Gabriele Münter- und Johannes Eichner-Stiftung, Munich

Gabriele Münter and Vasily Kandinsky, 1902–1914: A Life in Photographs, an exhibition of personal images of Vasily Kandinsky (1866–1944) and his long-time companion Gabriele Münter (1877–1962), taken by both artists, is on view in the Sackler Center for Arts Education at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in conjunction with the full-scale retrospective Kandinsky, organized by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation in cooperation with the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus und Kunstbau, Munich, and the Centre Pompidou, Paris. This exhibition of biographical photographs is unique to the Guggenheim’s presentation and features images that have never before been exhibited in the United States. Gabriele Münter and Vasily Kandinsky, 1902–1914: A Life in Photographs is organized by Tracey Bashkoff, Curator of Collections and Exhibitions, and Karole Vail, Assistant Curator, at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and is on view through January 13, 2010. Featuring photographs by the German artist Münter and a selection by the Russian-born Kandinsky, this presentation of 31 framed exhibition prints documents the years they lived, traveled, and worked together between 1902 and 1914. Münter and Kandinsky met in 1901 through the Phalanx, the artists’ association and progressive painting school in Munich, where she studied and he taught. They developed an intimate relationship in the summer of 1902. Though he did not divorce his wife Anja until 1911, Kandinsky and Münter, from May 1904 onward, took extended trips to Holland, Italy, and Tunisia, and lived in Sèvres near Paris for over a year. In 1908, the couple settled in Munich and spent that summer in the small Alpine town of Murnau, where, along with Russian painters Alexei Jawlensky (1864–1941) and Marianne von Werefkin (1860–1938), they experimented with a more expressive style, developing an artistic language that led to abstraction. Kandinsky and Münter also collaborated with other artists, eventually forming the Neue Künstlervereinigung München (NKVM) (New Artists’ Association of Munich) and later the Blaue Reiter (Blue Rider), a group well represented in the Guggenheim Museum collection. Münter took photographs sporadically after she and Kandinsky parted ways in 1914, though their final separation did not occur until 1916. The works on view in Gabriele Münter and Vasily Kandinsky, 1902– 1914 show Münter’s role in documenting the historic interactions of the Blaue Reiter movement as well as reveal some of her private moments with Kandinsky in their studio in Munich, at her house in Murnau, and during their travels in Europe and northern Africa. The photographs in the exhibition range from informal snapshots—Kandinsky doing garden work or Münter in the arbor of her home—to more formal portraits, such as the image of Kandinsky in front of Small Pleasures, a canvas he completed in 1913 that is now in the collection of the Guggenheim Museum, or the group portrait that gathers Kandinsky along with Blaue Reiter affiliates Heinrich Campendonk (German, 1889–1957), Bernhard Koehler (German, 1849–1927), Franz Marc (German, 1880–1916), Maria Marc (German, 1876–1955), and Thomas von Hartmann (Russian, 1885–1956). All works on view in Gabriele Münter and Vasily Kandinsky, 1902–1914 are exhibition prints, 2009, courtesy Gabriele Münter-und Johannes Eichner-Stiftung, Munich. Fine Art Magazine • Fall 2009 • 9


THE POWER

OF PERCEPTION By CONNIE BUFFALO

C

hanges are shaking our lives sometimes like the thunder rolling across the mountains and meadows. They come in subtle ways that creep in unobserved and instigate a shift in consciousness that influences generations to come. In small corners of America, a movement is gathering momentum that will re-define our relationships to Native Americans and their art. Santa Fe has been recognized as the center of Native American art since the early 1900’s. Now, as the third largest art market in the United States, it is taking the lead in initiating broader discussion of identity, inclusion and a re-visioning of American history. The language of art as a communicator of these discussions has never been more vocal or eloquent. Santa Fe continues to be a living canvas of vast panoramas just as it was when artists first captured its magnificence in the early 1920’s. You can respectfully visit pueblos and feel the rich spirituality that binds humans to ancestors, earth and sky. You can walk through living museums of some of the oldest collections of Southwestern pottery or kneel before rotating collections of jewelry exhibited by artists who sit patiently under the Palace of the Governor’s portal on Santa Fe’s Central Plaza. There they explain the stories behind their shining silver jewelry, their stories and the footprints of turquoise and precious regional stones that are woven into the ancestral designs. Beneath the predictable presentation of Native American art, there is an electric undercurrent of new ideas, techniques, materials and thinking that heralds an emancipation from old conventions that proscribe what “real” native art must look like. In its place, native artists dissolve the expectation of Native Americans as either the Hollywood buckskin-draped Indian or the bitter Native American marginalized by alcohol and drugs. Human brothers and sisters emerge, proud members of over 90 different Native Nations, conscious of the importance of authentic identity, accuracy of historical events and the freedom of uncensored creative expression. One venue for expanding native expression is the world’s largest Native art market sponsored by the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA). Celebrating its 88th year, the Santa Fe Indian Market features 1150 juried traditional and contemporary artists from over 100 tribes across the United States, attracting between 60,000 to 100,000 visitors, and generating over $18 million in sales for the artists, the city, and its businesses. Although the market runs over the weekend of August 22 and 23, the ceremonies, education, cinema and other events, launched on August 18th, with the first State recognized Native Arts and Culture week. Visitors have the opportunity to visit and learn from both seasoned artists and

“Santa Fe continues to be a living canvas of vast panoramas just as it was when artists first captured its magnificence in the early 1920s…”

10 • Fine Art Magazine • Fall 2009

Nathan Youngblood and C.S. Tarpley working in the studio


Doug Hyde’s monumental sized bronze, Little Turtle, in front of Nedra Matteucci Galleries. Doug Hyde is another important Native American artist whose works blend contemporary and traditional styles and themes.

some of the most exciting emerging Native artists. Bruce Bernstein, Ph.D., Executive Director of SWAIA formerly served as the Assistant Director for Cultural Resources at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. He brings not only a depth of knowledge of Native art, but an intention to break down the historical constraints surrounding Native art, and encourage an understanding of the views, context,

and reference points of Native artists and their work. A constant advocate for Native artists, Bernstein and his team are constantly encouraging gifted artists through SWAIA Fellowships, creating education programs for the public and fostering innovation in the Native art communities. Many galleries dedicated to Native American art feature both the traditional and cutting-edge work of contemporary native artists. While Nedra Matteucci

Galleries carries a broad spectrum of artists from the 1920s to contemporary work, two of their artists shown embody the resilient spirit of the emerging Native art world. The first artist is a man I’ve come to admire for his talent, courage, sensitivity to native issues and historical accuracy. Joseph Henry Sharp was born in 1859, trained in art in America and Europe, and explored the west, living at a Crow agency from 1902-1910. He advocated for Native Americans by taking the unpopular position of protesting government ruling requiring native men to cut their traditional braids in exchange for short haircuts. Although he sometimes took artistic license, he did work to maintain the dignity of his subjects and communicate the subtleties of native living in paintings now coveted by collectors. He was a founding member of the Taos Art Colony and encouraged understanding of native issues through many of his paintings. Among the contemporary native artists at Nedra Matteucci Galleries are Doug Hyde, of Nez Perce and Assiniboine background, and Michael A. Naranjo, a Santa Clara Pueblo artist whose personal story brings deeper meaning to his work. Some artists see their sculptures as they unfold into form. Naranjo feels them come alive. The son of a distinguished ceramic artist, Rose Naranjo, Michael was hit by a grenade in a rice field in Vietnam in 1968. The strike instantly blinded him and injured his right hand. Life, in Michael’s case, simply rearranged his gifts. His determination to be an artist overcame every obstacle and through perseverance and skill he learned how to create exquisite sculptures from memory, intuition and heightened sensitivity. He scratches out details in the clay with his fingernails with uncanny accuracy. Naranjo has, by invitation, seen with his hands the Medici Venus in Paris and Michelangelo’s David. An awardwinning artist, Michael Naranjo uses his own life as a living work of art, and his sculpture is a testament to his passion to create. A dramatic example of innovation in native traditional art forms is the collaboration between Nathan Youngblood, a Santa Clara Pueblo potter and C.S.Tarpley, a mixedheritage artist with Choctaw and Chickasaw bloodlines. Nathan Youngblood grew up in a family of inventive, talented artists. He remembers when a curator from a museum came to his Santa Clara Pueblo and told his grandmother about how designs were carved into pottery in other parts of the world. She took his words to heart and began carving traditional Pueblo Fine Art Magazine • Fall 2009 • 11


designs into the face of the clay. What began as a conversation today has become an important art form. Nathan, the only Native American artist in the White House Collection of American Crafts, begins each piece with a general idea of what he intends to make. As he works, the color, carvings and shape reveal themselves. Each design has a meaning and becomes a prayer in Nathan’s hands. Youngblood’s Carved Water Jar with Rain Clouds and Walking Bear Paws, pictured in this article, was created with what looks like a Greek key design on the bottom of the pot, but is known to the Pueblos as a “walking bear paw.” The upper designs are a combination of various cloud motifs. Together they symbolize a respect for the bear who led the ancestors to water during a drought and combined with the rain in the clouds becomes a prayer of gratitude. While Nathan was earning his reputation as a highly collectable artist, C.S. Tarpley was on his own successful track of glassblowing and refining a complicated technique of “electroforming”. His relationship to the glass had its own spiritual quality. Tarpley believes that everything in the universe has its own consciousness. In glassblowing, he interacts with the molten life of the glass to evoke a shape while retaining its luminosity. The electroforming is such a complex process that only a handful of artists have mastered it. Electroforming is the bonding opaque metal, copper in our example, to the translucent glass and then carving, processing and finishing the surface. Each piece can take several weeks to months to complete and have been acquired by prominent collectors and museums across America. Tarpley draws on influences from every culture for his symbology. He carves designs that are similar across cultures creating images that have many names but one form.The alliance of Nathan Youngblood and C.S. Tarpley defined them as cutting edge artists emboldened by a combined vision. Tarpley blew life into the crystalline molten pots and Youngblood inscribed them with his traditional designs. “Each artist brings a unique gift to this work”, said Paula Rhea Mc Donald whose gallery, Kiva Fine Arts represents the work, “and when combined, a magnificent new hybrid art form is born.” Their Untitled glass bowl reflects why their series is nearly sold out and they continue to earn accolades individually and together. Another gallery synonymous with encouraging innovative Native American artists is the famous Blue Rain Gallery. The large gallery walls are lined with some of the finest contemporary Native artists, each unique and pushing the limits of native art. Tammy Garcia is an artist who can work brilliantly in so many media that she should be an old seasoned elder and not a beautiful, young woman. She started working as a traditional Pueblo potter from the Santa Clara Pueblo in New Mexico. In the same way that her clay pots tell the stories of Pueblo life past and present, she weaves storytelling into full-size bronze triptychs, glass bowls, and sculpted clay pots. In a book of her artwork, “Tammy Garcia, Form Without Boundaries”, Bruce Bernstein C.S. Tarpley Red Water Vessel with Greek Key, approx. 11” x 7” writes, “...I stand in awe of the art Kiva Fine Art, Santa Fe of Tammy Garcia. Her work is, 12 • Fine Art Magazine • Fall 2009

Preston Singletary, Killer Whale Blown and Sand, carved glass 29.5 x 18 x 6.5 Blue Rain Gallery

quite simply, superlative. Not only does it include some of the most engaging contemporary works in the nation, it is, at the same time, a powerful expression of the living, changing, creative nature of Native American culture.” One of Garcia’s bronzes is featured here, but to truly get a sense of her talent, one must visit Blue Rain Gallery either virtually or in person. Andrea is a good introduction. Her skirts pick up the colors of the earth at its edges and the impeccable design creates reflective surfaces that light every facet of the sculpture. Preston Singletary is another of the most respected contemporary artists. His proud Tlingit heritage reflects in his work. He combines his traditional art with advanced glassblowing techniques that he learned from world-renowned artists at the forefront of the Seattle glass-art movement. After learning the subtleties of glass work through the creation of traditional European shapes and art decoinspired designs; he explored a new revolutionary direction. He took traditional Tlingit designs normally carved in wood and transferred them onto glass. Singletary launched into a lengthy study of Tlingit art and formline design, consulting with elders, artists and scholars until he felt prepared to begin. His images were sand blasted onto the surface of the glass resulting in artwork of extraordinary beauty. Killer Whale is a reminder of the killer whales sometimes adopted by shamans as “yek”, or spirit helpers. The Killer Whale is respected for


Norma Howard, Untitled, Watercolor on Paper, 18” x 24, Blue Rain Gallery

its intelligence and a spirit guides. There is a belief that these whales are the embodiments of human spirits who have walked on. Norma Howard’s style is opposite of Singletary but just as engaging. Howard is a self-taught Choctaw and Chickasaw from Oklahoma. Stories of her grandmother couple with her vivid memories of the land she grew up on. Together, they create everyday scenes of Native life so simple and universal that they evoke peace and an easy familiarity. Her style is reminiscent of pointillism of the impressionists, but Howard creates her own unique twist by painstakingly layering tiny, cross-hatch brush strokes. In this way, she builds up depths of color increasing the vibrancy of the watercolor and creating a sense of movement, as if the scene were alive and available. Howard explains her work with simple humility. “These subjects about how people survived in hard times and in everyday life that every tribe can relate to, wherever they lived. People tell me it’s the details that draw them into my paintings and capture their feelings. My inspiration will always be to tell my ancestors’ story and honor the way they lived.” Norma’s watercolor, Untitled, is one of the scenes where the viewer has a sense of familiarity with the Choctaw’s environment, drinking in the quiet of the lakeshore and feeling the stillness of the woman’s thoughts.

This quiet scene is one of many reflections the award-winning Howard offers. “I want to open peoples’ minds and hearts to the Choctaw,” she says, “where life was dictated in a simple and pure way.” Santa Fe itself fosters an environment where the new, rising voices of native artistic expression are nurtured, encouraged and rewarded. The city of 70,000 promotes awareness of the arts to its 1.3 million annual visitors and features work of the city artists in its spectacular new “green” convention center. Santa Fe has been designated a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Creative City, the first U.S. city to be so honored. Creative tourism, which UNESCO and Santa Fe are aligned, offers visitors an engaged and authentic experience, with participative learning in the arts and heritage, and also provides a connection to those residing in Santa Fe who help to create a living culture. Santa Fe is also home to the School for Advanced Research on the Human Experience (SAR), a world-class research center that brings scholars and Native American artists together to collectively explore what the possibilities are when we activate the full spectrum of our humanity for collective well-being. Founded in 1909

Michael A. Naranjo, Glory, bronze, 12” x 11 5/8” x 6 3/4”, edition of 10, Nedra Matteucci Galleries

by anthropologist, Edgar Lee Hewett, SAR was built with a mission to collect and preserve Southwest Native American material culture. Several years later, in 1927, John D. Rockefeller founded the renowned Laboratory of Anthropology with a mission to study indigenous cultures. In 1947, the two institutions merged, bringing together the most inclusive and systematically acquired collection of New Mexican and Southwestern anthropological artifacts in the country. The SAR compound, open to the public, houses over 12,000 items of Native art of the Southwest. The collection includes pottery, jewelry, textiles, works on paper and canvas, basketry, wood carvings, and drums. It also holds a small collection of archival photographs and film. SAR has created a quiet Southwestern campus where they grant fellowships for artists and scholars-in-residence and foster discussions of social scientists, humanists, artists, archeologists and anthropologists to not only explore the learning and legacy of past native cultures, but also to initiate powerful dialogue on the global human condition. Through these interactions, crossdiscipline groups endeavor to understand and participate in the improvement of the human condition. These dialogues impact the work of artists and scholars alike and result in publications that capture and pass on the shared wisdom (sarweb.org). For Native artists, another powerful venue for unpacking their heritage through art is the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (formerly the Institute of American Indian Art Museum). The museum is home

Teardrop Platter, Nathan Youngblood and CS Tarpley. Sand carved blown glass with electroformed copper, 16.5” ht x 13” wide x 8” depth, including base, at Kiva Fine Art, Fine Art Magazine • Fall 2009 • 13


to the largest collection of contemporary Native art in the world. In the museum patios and exhibit halls, the non-native views of what constitute native life and expression is eclipsed by a collection of art that gives voice to the native experience from the native perspective. Exhibits cut to the quick of consciousness and confront visitors with art that tells stories left out of conventional history books. In the current exhibit, “Badlands”, native artists use humor, irony, truth, stories, retrospectives and stunning visuals to lift the veils of Native Americans and First Nation cultures of Canada and present the humanity of the natives and the soul of their past and present experiences. The “Retrospective Exhibition of Daphne Odjig,”, features the work of this mixedheritage Potawatomie, descended from the great chief Black Partridge. This powerful exhibit and artist video captures the mythic sweep of her life, her pictographic portrayal of spirit and matter, the underlying beliefs that guided tribal values and the uncompromising recreation of historical events. Patsy Phillips, Director of the museum and member of the Cherokee nation, comes to Santa Fe from the National Museum of the American Indian (Smithsonian). Her mission and that of the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (MCNA) is to advance the discourse, knowledge and understanding of contemporary Native arts and showcase Native American contemporary art locally,

Michael A. Naranjo, The Dancer, bronze, 27 x 13 3/4 x 10 inches, edition of 10, Nedra Matteucci Galleries

Tammy Garcia, Andrea, Bronze sculpture 30" x 15" x 15"

nationally and internationally. As part of that effort, MCNA is participating in a multimillion dollar grant by the Ford Foundation, “Advancing Dialogue” to develop a Native American interpretation of what Native Art is. These are the days that we will look back on nostalgically and in hindsight call the birth of a new Native American art movement. Traditional designs and artwork are expanding to include materials that imbue them with textures, beauty and endurance unseen in the past. Native artists are exploring new artistic expressions that revise the past and envision self-defined identities and roles for the future. The language of Native art is becoming more complex, deeper and richer, more challenging and carrying not only the voices of their ancestors, but their own evolving stories created as proud and sovereign members of the international community of art. Joseph Henry Sharp (1859-1953), Blackfoot Tribe, oil on canvas, 30” x 40”, Nedra Matteucci Galleries 14 • Fine Art Magazine • Fall 2009

Connie Buffalo is an Anishinnabe writer and artist; for more of her work, visit www.fineartmagazine.com


Mything Links

S

By JEAN HOUSTON

omething extra o r d i nary is happening. All over the world myth is bursting through. Most of us were raised in print culture wherein principles of continuity, uniformity, and repeatability were elevated over the more organic principles of discontinuity, simultaneity, and multiple associations. Now the mythic flavor of the more ancient, organic perspective returns, and chaos theory becomes lauded as the way things work. We look for flow patterns rather than for linear cause-effect explanations. Resonance has become far more important than relevance, and nothing is truly hidden anymore. How are people experiencing the nature of this new reality—the rising of the depth currents of all times, all cultures and all experiences? Its effects are felt in the fascination with myth, the seeking of spiritual experience, the revival of the knowings of indigenous people, the rising of a world music which incorporates and sustains the knowings of many regions, styles of clothing that mix and match continents on a single body, while artists everywhere are trying to make sense of it all with art that challenges the imagination, and brings new mind and new materials to bear on radically new circumstances. Clearly, we have all become “mything” links! Even on the shadow side, we find rising for a last stand the old insular forms in their varying fundamentalist postures, before they are swept—not away, nothing is ever swept away—but into a new amalgam in which they, too, become part of the larger story. Today, and for all of us, all parts of the planet are catching all parts of the planet. In order to prepare for these world changes, the human psyche is manifesting many different expressions of itself as it helps the planetary movement toward convergence and transition. Psyche is moving at remarkable speeds past the limits most of us have lived with for thousands of years into an utterly different state of being—a dreamlike reality in which it is difficult to tell any more what is news and what is drama, what is matter and what is myth. We live in chaos which we may have created in order to hasten our own meeting with our own deeper selves. In virtually every culture I visit, I find that images that were relegated to the unconscious are becoming conscious. Happenings that belonged to extraordinary experiences of reality are becoming more common, and many of the maps of the psyche

and its unfolding are undergoing awesome change. Buddhist cybernauts share realities with secretaries who hold black belts in Kung Fu. Women Episcopalian priests draw ancient mazes on the floors of their cathedrals and lead their parishioners through the sacred geometry of the labyrinth. U.N. economic advisors practice deep meditation and find the solutions to the tribulations of countries in resources met in inner space. Myth is bursting through at such a rate that even the most ancient and honored of myths themselves are changing. Some years ago I found myself sitting on the ground in a small village in India watching a television dramatization of the Ramayana. The village’s one television set was a source of great pride, and all the villagers had come in from their fields and houses to be inspired and entertained by the weekly hour in which the many episodes of this key myth of the Hindu world were so gloriously produced. The story told of Prince Rama (an avatar of the God Vishnu) and his noble wife, Princess Sita (a human incarnation of the goddess Lakshmi), and how they had been betrayed and banished to live in a forest for fourteen years. Nevertheless, they are very happy, for Rama is noble, handsome and full of valor, while Sita is virtuous, beautiful and completely subservient to her husband. They are, in other words, the archaic ideal of the perfect married couple. Unfortunately, their forest idyll is brutally interrupted when Sita is abducted by the many headed, multi-armed demon, Ravanna, who promptly carries her off to his own kingdom of Sri Lanka. Enter the saintly monkey Hanuman, who with his army of monkeys and bears, along with Rama, is eventually able to vanquish Ravanna and his formidable troops of demons and rescue Sita. Rama takes her back, however, only after he is convinced of her virtue and the fact that she not once “sat on the demon’s lap.” There is never a minute in the Hindu world when this story is not enacted, sung, performed in a puppet show, a Balinese shadow play, or a stage or screen performance. It is the core myth of the Hindu psyche. And this television series was a lavish treatment, filled with spectacular effects, exotic costumes, thrilling music and dance, and acting appropriate to the playing of the gods. The villagers were as entranced as I, for this was religion, morality, and hopping good musical theater all in one. Furthermore, they were joined together in the knowledge that all over India at that moment hundreds of millions of people were watching this program with the same fascination. Suddenly, the old Brahmin lady who owned the television set and who was sitting next to me on the ground turned to me and said in lilting English, “Oh, I don’t like Sita!” “Pardon?” I was aghast. This was like my Sicilian grandmother saying that she doesn’t like the Madonna. “No, I really don’t like Sita. She is too

weak, too passive. We women in India are much stronger than that. She should have something to do with her own rescue, not just sit there moaning and hoping that Rama will come. We need to change the story.” “But the story is at least three thousand years old!” I protested. “Even more reason why we need to change it. Make Sita stronger. Let her make her own decisions. You know, my name is Sita and my husband’s name is Rama. Very common names in India. He is a lazy bum. If any demon got him, I would have to go and make the rescue.” She turned and translated what she had just said to the others who were sitting around. They all laughed and agreed, especially the women. Then the villagers began to discuss what an alternative story, one that had Sita taking a much larger part, might look like. It was a revisionist’s dream, listening to people whose lives had not changed much over thousands of years actively rethinking their primal story. It was like listening to the rewriting of the Bible. Astonished and exhilarated, I sensed that I was experiencing in this village a beginning stage of the re-invention of myth, the changing of the story. No matter that this primal tale was ancient beyond ancient, and venerable beyond venerable; it belonged to an outmoded and limited perception of women and their relationship to men and society, and it had to change or go. Thus are myths and metaphors recast, redesigning the human fabric and all our ways of seeing. It is our privilege and our particular challenge to witness and assist a new story coming into being. As actors in this new story, we are seeing the rise of new archetypes, or, perhaps, the evolution of old ones. As artists, we give new form to the emergence of the new story.

T

he fact of the matter is that we are required to work with myth to open up the story to changing conditions—not just in India but everywhere in the world. Patterns of millennia have prepared us for another world, another time, and, above all, another story. At the same time, exponential change, unlike any ever known in human history or pre-history, has confused our values, uprooted our traditions, and left us in a maze of misdirection. Factors unique in human experience are all around us—the journey into the unknown that comes with the economic collapse, the Herculean tasks that face us to save the ecology, the rise of women to full partnership with men, the daily mythic revolutions in technology, the Daemonia of the media becoming the matrix of culture, the seeking of the Grail of an unfolding planetary civilization, and the Protean shifts in the understanding of human and social capacities. The Zeit is getting Geisty as the old story itself is undergoing the sacred wound in order that it too grow and address the multiples of experience and complexity of life unknown to our great grandparents. Nor can it Fine Art Magazine • Fall 2009 • 15


heal the many wounds which come with this plethora of experience and its attending chaos. We have become so full of holes that perhaps we are well on the way to becoming holy. Since the new story, the new mythology is not yet in place, it is up to us to separately and together—and especially the artist—to carry out the work of re-envisionment. But can one ever really change, or even invent a myth? Go beneath the surface crust of consciousness of virtually anyone anywhere, and you will find repositories of the imaginal world—the teeming terrain of myth and archetype: holy men and wise women, flying horses, talking frogs, sacred spaces, death and resurrections, the journeys of the heroes and heroines, each bearing a thousand faces. Having taken depth probings of the psyche of many people the world over, I know this to be so. I know that in the west we have moved from the Promethean myth—of snatching fire from heaven—to the myth of Proteus, the shape-shifter. The sea-god Proteus was capable of taking on all manner of shapes, forms and purposes at will. This is us today —suddenly, like Proteus, we have to become protean—highly resilient and creative, able to adapt to the ever changing story, especially in the light of constant challenge, and ever present peril. This is why the myth is changing, for mythic structures not only support the work and health of any culture, but allow the psyche its own healthy development. In the past, personal identity and cultural identity tended to be consonant with each other. Now the psyche is adrift because the old stable stories are no longer operative.

M

yths, after all, contain the greater story that never was but is always happening. Myth is the coded DNA of the human psyche. It is the stuff of the evolving self that awakens consciousness and culture according to the needs of time and place. It is the promise of our becoming. When we undertake to consciously work with the great old myths, a rich and varied world of experience opens to us. We can travel with Odysseus, experience the passion play of Isis and Osiris, wander with Percival in search of the Grail, and die and be reborn with Jesus. Within the spoken or ritually enacted myth we can allow our lives to be writ larger, the personal particulars of our local existence finding their amplification and elucidation in the personal universals of the greater story and the larger characters which myth contains. Those who have entered the realm of the ancient stories and their persona, seem to inherit a cache of experience that illumines and fortifies their own. They soon discover that they, too, are valuable characters in the drama of the world soul, pushing the boundaries of their own local story and gaining the courage to be and do so much more. How then can we change patterns so deeply woven into the structure of our psyches? 16 • Fine Art Magazine • Fall 2009

Up until recent decades, I doubt that one could have done much more than alter certain details. Now, however, in a time of whole system transition when everything is deconstructing and reconstructing, myth too, requires its redemption. It is as critical a task as one could attempt at the beginning of the millennium— how to actually go about changing the dominant myths by guiding people into the realms of the psyche wherein they have the power to change their own essential story. This is what the artist knows and can use as a basis for her inspiration: that all over the world psyche is now emerging, larger than it was. We are experiencing the harvest of all the world’s cultures, belief systems, ways of knowing, seeing, doing, being. What had been contained in the “unconscious” over hundreds and thousands of years is up and about and preparing to go to work. What had been part of the collective as the shared myth or archetype is now finding new rivers of unique stories flowing from out of the passion play of individual lives. This does not mean the dismissal of traditional myths, but rather that now—as the maps of the ancient traditions no longer fit the personal territory to the degree they once did owing to the radical change of our time—we must live our lives with the mythic vibrancy of those who inhabited the ancient stories. We are mentored and informed by the ancient myths, and we are also in an open moment, a jump time where myth is recreating itself from the stuff of personal experience. For the development of the psyche, this is as monumental as when people stopped depending on the meanderings of the hunt and settled down to agriculture and civilization. Just as we are becoming capable of discovering our own personal mythologies, we are becoming required to discover them. In so doing, the artist adds their own deepening story to that of the emerging New Story, and with it, the new planetary civilization. With so much more history, with so much more experience behind us and within us, we have achieved what is surely an extraordinary evolutionary achievement—the ability to continuously receive, re-create, re-frame and extend our experience. This new protean capacity of the self is virtually a new structure in mind, brain and psyche, for it grants us the capacity to view ideas and systems—be they aesthetic, social, intellectual, political or philosophical and spiritual with a freedom that was not ours in the past. Now we can view them, turn them inside out, re-invent them with little or no anxiety. What is emerging the world over, owing in part to the rise of myth again, is a technology of the sacred, a high art form as well as a once and future science. It finds its theory and practice in the teachings of the mystery schools of old, in shamanic training and initiations, as well as in the modern laboratories of consciousness research and the cutting edges of psychotherapy. While Facebook and twittering, mobile phones, global computer networks, and other

information superhighways give us access to the world mind, there are arising groups of artist-scientists who are providing us with the highways to the world soul. From this emerging new story, many more capacities—physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual—become available as well as the ability play out its story. Change or re-grow the story and you release all manner of latent capacities.

S

ince culture is everywhere being newly reimagined, nothing is more necessary than a rebirth of the self. These are times that are meant to breach our souls, unlock the treasures of our minds, and, through the divine act of remythologizing, release the purpose, the plan and the possibilities of our lives. We are re-grown to greatness and take our place with Percival and Penelope, with White Buffalo Woman and the Lady of the Lake, with Quetzacoatl and Bridget and Mr. Spock. And the name of this new character out of myth is You. And the name of the myth is Your Story—reframed in the light of the understanding that has come from this process, and re-conceived for the renewal of self and history. The artist’s role is to be the midwife of this renewal, the one in whom the world mind takes a walk with itself. “Thank God, our time is now,” poet Christopher Fry says, “when wrong comes up to meet us everywhere. Never to leave us, till we take the longest stride of soul men ever took.” This stride of soul must carry us through every shadow towards an open possibility, in a time when everything is quite literally up for grabs. We can do no less. The psyche requires its greatness, as do the times. This adventure in myth—both ancient and personal—is one very important, very original and exciting way to greatness, or should I say, responsible living of the life we are given. I should tell you that back in that village in India, when the beautiful episode from the Ramayana ended, and following the commercial interlude, the next program that all of India was watching was the prime-time soap opera of some seasons ago, Dynasty! As I watched the dubious comings and goings of the characters, I didn’t know where to hide my head. My hostess saw my embarrassment at the comparative low level of American television and patting my arm said, “Oh, sister, do not be embarrassed. Don’t you see? It is the same story.” “How can you say that?” “Oh, yes, indeed,” she continued, her head wagging from side to side. “It is the same story. You’ve got the good man. You’ve got the bad man. You’ve got the good woman. You’ve got the bad woman. You’ve got the beautiful house, the beautiful clothes, the people flying through the air. You’ve got the good fighting against the evil. Oh, yes, indeed, it is the same story!” Thus are myths and metaphors recast, so redesigning the human fabric and all our ways of seeing.


V

Vahram — The Eternal in The Present

ahram’s art could not be appropriately analyzed, interpreted or evaluated without reference to the genesis of the contemporary Russian school of painting. Like each painter of the era, Vahram’s style and qualifications were formed during the collapse of Soviet Communism. Also, not unlike his contemporaries, his creativity, too, was liberated from the shackles of the wretched inclinations of Communism, which under the guise of tradition, continued to linger and harm the social structure. Today, after the passing of two decades, things have changed in the former Soviet Union and in the world at large. Parallel to these ever-changing circumstances, Vahram’s art evolved dramatically. During the devastating 1988 earthquake in Armenia, Vahram was in his birthplace of Vanadzor, a town very close to the epicenter of the tremors. In minutes, he lost many friends and relatives—among them his first love. The anguish of the earthquake radically changed the meaning and direction of his life. The former romantic and carefree young man became prudent, and found himself facing tremendous responsibilities. Death’s

By Dr. MOVSES ZIRANI proximity and life’s transitory nature on the one hand, and the instantaneous pressures of the calamitous miseries on the other, did not wreck Vahram; rather they empowered him to embark on a struggle for a new and better life; thus the adage “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” The following year, Vahram took a decisive step. He traveled to St. Petersburg where in the Hermitage he studied the masterpieces of the Renaissance artists and mastered his painting skills. While the earthquake changed his perspective on life, the St. Petersburg journey, and the Hermitage in particular, transformed his perception of art by opening up his aestheticism to new dimensions. Revitalized and captured by Renaissance art—especially by Rembrandt and Vermeer— in 1990 he returned to Yerevan to continue his studies and embark on his creative life. The calamities of the earthquake, the political instability, the Armenian-Azeri bloody conflict and the economical hardship were reminiscent of Russia—and even Europe—at the beginning of the 20th century.

Open Air Golf

In this ambiance, the drive of creativity and the urgent need for survival provided new possibilities for Vahram. Instead of giving up to hopelessness and despair, he purified his soul in these sufferings and he became genuinely productive. Vahram’s creative explorations stretched to all domains of art schools that flourished in Russia and Europe at the turn of the 20th century, such as Rayonism and Suprematism to Abstraction and Conceptual Art. During these explorations Vahram produced two significant paintings: Self-portrait (1992) and The Nude (1993). His Self-portrait conveys many messages. In it, he gazes in a reproachable pose. Despite his mutilated and painful past, he has to carry out his responsibilities with dignity. He is well aware of the unfair circumstances surrounding him, but he clings to the present to foster his future. The Nude is the vibrant and beautiful life itself portrayed in a woman full of strength and dynamism. She is bursting with sexuality but her gender is not underlined. She is lively and full of energy and continues her struggle for life. Fine Art Magazine • Fall 2009 • 17


and started to burn the outlines of Dumping Place and Genocide. His wife, sensing his intensions, followed him and stopped him from destroying his two masterworks. After some days of deep reflection, he decided to leave for Moscow. There, in a short time he met Russian painters Khoudiakov, Andre Costin, Yuri Tsevetayev, Alexander Maltsev and others, participating in their get-togethers and exhibitions. He became a member of the Post-Soviet Painting group whose art is labeled by some as ‘fantastic surrealism’ and by others as ‘absurd surrealism.’ Today, when we penetrate into its ethos, we can surely identify it as ‘absurd realism.’ edieval Chinese philosophers believed that animals do not have memory; also that they could not depict the future. Therefore, they only live in the present, which naturally gives them the sensation of eternity. Despite the fact that Zen philosophy also teaches that there are neither past nor future but only present, humans possess the hereditary or traditional consciousness and memorization of the past. They could have a certain idea of the future and plan it. If, to a certain degree, the present is conditioned by the past, then to a certain degree the future relies on the present. Although under all circumstances, the present evolves with time on the borderline of the present and the future. In the rapid course of time, the present immediately becomes the past, near the future becomes the present and the far future remains somber and wavering. Departing from these philosophical convictions, Vahram molds a world in which time comes out of the limitations of the present, and the past rebuilds and continues in the future as present. Vahram continues to relive the memories of the earthquake, when life was instantaneously interrupted in a destroyed city where tens of thousands inhabitants’ lives were lost. Survivors—among them Vahram—lose future delineation and feel present sentience as an eternal lingering. After the earthquake, Vahram uncovers the reasoning of a life of Renaissance through art. His models come from the Renaissance period, pass through his life and disclose in the future as if in the present. His “heroes” leave their medieval castles and palaces and live and toil on balconies and in gardens and fields. They wear medieval clothes and suitable accessories and go around on foot or in uncommon carts and boats. They sing and play golf, tennis, bowling, billiards, dominoes, poker and other ancient and unknown games. Different types of animals (dogs, fishes, birds…) befriend them. But in

M

Captain Parrot

For a number of years, Vahram experimented with various artistic techniques and in 1995 produced two great pieces which marked a turning point in his creative journey: Dumping Place and Genocide. Dumping Place portrays an abandoned field where pipes, pitchers, boxes, cartridges, tires, books, shoes and other items are dumped. In the middle of the painting, there is a phonograph symbolizing the centrality of the message-bearer. At a far distance lies the immense horizon. The main question arises: Who are the owners of these discarded objects and why are they disregarded? It genuinely corresponds to the post-earthquake situation in Armenia where people felt abandoned, discarded, disowned and forgotten. The term “genocide” has its roots in the 1915 Armenian genocide which not only brings the gloomy memories of perpetual genocides, but also corresponds to our life today. A chopped human skeleton dominates the whole canvas; the skull at its center—as if interrelated to the phonograph of the Dumping Place—again echoes the imperative of the message-bearer. The bones of the hand, foot, chest and the pelvis appear as newly autopsied—breathing and dissenting. Thus, they extend beyond the Armenian genocide and embrace all the genocides. This artwork represents the harsh reality that rational humans consciously can butcher other rational humans, but at the same time it invites them to bear the responsibility of their crimes against humanity. The most powerful message reaches us through the gnashing teeth of the skull, transmitting rage and anger towards all humanity. It is not incidental that 18 • Fine Art Magazine • Fall 2009

this painting was originally called Lesson on Life’s Anatomy. Also, it is not incidental that Vahram could not detach himself from Dumping Place and Genocide; they are hung in his atelier as a living message and source of inspiration, despite the fact that once, in a tormented mood, he almost burned them. Based on this creative experience, Vahram concluded that whatever we see and touch are mere appearances. The ultimate reality is interred in our mysterious inner-self, where there are devourers and innocent preys, and where positive and negative go parallel in need of excavation and articulation. All in all, Vahram’s still life was in metamorphosis. Fishes resting on the plate breathe and live, and forks, placed next to the fishes, are inspiring and meaningful. In 1995, Vahram’s conditions improved to become bearable. He was able to buy a small house and rent an atelier, even though his income was limited. But because of his creative energy, he began to be re-enlivened, clinging to life and voraciously delving into the far eastern spiritualities of Confucianism, Taoism, Shintoism and especially Zen philosophy, which commands his new perspectives and creative explorations. Vahram tirelessly studied and painted. wholly absorbed in his work, even on Sundays, oblivious to his family responsibilities. After two years passed, he became fatigued from overwork. The advice of his friends and doctors could not halt him. “Life is too short,” he says. “In my genes there are centurieslong accumulations of beauty in need of bursting out.” So after a sleepless night, early in the morning, he went to his atelier


The Silk Scarf, 162x130cm, oil on canvas, 2006

Song of the Tree

this accommodative and peaceful milieu, Vahram’s many models wear masks and spy on each other. At this significant point, life deviates and distrust and suspicion reach the point of paranoia. Anxieties generate concealed concern on frozen and unflattering human faces. Sometimes their gender is blurry. Animals are full of life and unaware of the barbarity they are surrounded with. And only teenagers—still inertly clean of life’s ugliness—calmly pursue their life innocently. In mythology some gods were born as teenagers, like the Greek god of courier and wisdom Hermes, Indian saviour god Mourgan and Armenian god of war Vahakn. They did not have infancy and the opportunity of growing up. As adolescents, they live in time and space eternally. In Leonardo da Vinci’s Madonna, Jesus bodily is a newborn baby but his big and peculiar eyes indicates the presence of a wise man. As if he was born like that! Baby Jesus will grow physically but his brilliant eyes will signify his eternal divinity. Vahram’s teenagers were born all of a sudden; they have not encountered childish adventures and life’s ups and downs. For them life is an amusement park and their amusement is life itself. We feel that they were born as they are and will continue to live in the same course. Despite the fact that sometimes they soar and freely move in the distance, it looks like their behavior is monitored and restricted in eternity. Communists only conveyed the deception of freedom to their citizens and Vahram’s models still linger in that world. Seventy years of communist aggression and scientific accomplishments in the world amended the environment and tried to dictate life’s direction, but humans remained the same avaricious and

cruel beings, who even are ready to destroy their own culture and cities as characteristic uncivilized creatures. All religions and humanitarian new ideologies failed to liberate humans from their inhuman impulses. To liberate himself from life’s ruthlessness and nuisances, the artist (in this case Vahram) shapes his milieu and determines the course of his life, where present is a vision for spiritual shelter and imagination is guided by inner drives, and life evolves in time and space for ever and ever. Each one of Vahram’s paintings is like a sacred oasis. His paintings continuously integrate with each other. They reflect common life in a common environment where feelings do not trail truth and truth does not correspond to the mute and weary human rulings. Although in Vahram’s paintings everything is illogical and absurd, his art is the repercussion of the harsh reality where we, the viewers, question life and death, black and white, reality and fantasy, apathy and responsibility, and bliss and melancholy. Vahram’s art leads the viewer to self-evaluative explorations, where our rationality itself is a unique value to be appreciated with no discrimination of human color, race, nationality, capabilities, achievements and other factors. All humans are equal as rational beings. Vahram endeavors to paint self-evaluated appreciation of humans, to mold their ego, to place them in the present and to eternalize the present, where we continue to pose perpetual questions of ‘Where is the truth? What is the truth?’ What is the truth? Does it lie in the things we touch or can it only be seen by an inner spiritual light? Is life more real than death? Is death an end or the doorway to an another life? Where is the fairy tale? Does it lie in children’s daily lives or in the inner sanctums of humans molded by sacred upheavals? And, finally, the big question lingers on: WHY? Fine Art Magazine • Fall 2009 • 19


Little Blessings, 30” x 40”, oil on canvas

Henrietta Milan — In the Tradition of the Masters By JAMIE ELLIN FORBES

T

he painted reflections rendered on canvas by Henrietta Milan are a clean song of nature attesting to the majesty of the subject and the mastery of the artist. Focusing on placid landscapes, riproaring florals and demure portraiture, she works in the tradition of Monet, Matisse and Renoir with a style all her own. Lushly applied by palette knife, Milan’s beyond-vivid colors bring a delicate power to her work, enhancing the imagery with a dimensionality that seems to take flight. This energetic passion emanates from one whose entire life has been an organic blending of sport and art, exemplifying a commitment to the cause of Sokol, whose traditions she celebrates every time she steps up to the canvas. 20 • Fine Art Magazine • Fall 2009

Sokol is a Czech word for the high flying Falcon, a species in which the characteristics of bravery, courage, heroism and strength are inherent and quite evident to all who come

into contact with most of these hawks, who can be ferocious predators. Sokol, which originated in Prague in 1862, was initially a gymnastic society to develop strength, litheness, alertness, and courage in its practitioners. “Simply put,” states Henrietta, “it means ‘strong mind-strong body.’ ” Milan’s paintings embrace Sokol in that they possess many of the intricacies of her chosen sport — “balance, a lot of motion, and action — the combination of gymnastics and art.” Banned during the Nazi occupation, the movement was revived in 1945 but proscribed again in 1948 by communist leaders because of its identification with Czech nationalism. It was later reborn after the decline of communist influence in the early 1990s. A great Sokol tradition emphasized mass calisthenics as a means of promoting communal spirit and


Discover Beauty in Nature, 30” x 48”, oil on canvas

physical fitness. In 1994, the first since the 1948 ban were held in Prague, with more than 20,000 participants. Recently, said Henrietta, “38,000 women performed there at once in what is the largest stadium in world — big enough for eight football fields.” Recently in Fort Worth, Texas, just steps from The Milan Gallery, (owned and operated by Henrietta’s son, Tal), the American Sokol International Sport and Cultural Festival was held at the Convention Center. Such a major event has only slightly derailed the prolific and dedicated artist from her rigorous painting schedule. Milan shares, “I usually paint every day. This year I have been very involved with this huge event and especially the American Sokol Museum. My husband Jerry played a major role in putting the week’s activities together,” adds Henrietta, whose art was featured at the event. In a busy year, she was honored with her first-ever museum exhibition at the Albin Polasek Museum and Sculpture Garden in Winterpark, Florida. As for her latest show, “It’s been a lot of hard work, quite a strain, but a lot of fun with traveling and meeting many people. The Sokol Festival is not quite the Olympics but my son, Rome, (Chairman of the Festival)

made it international, bringing in several sports and many countries.” The Museum exhibition boasted an exciting educational, cultural and historical display of memorabilia and collections focusing on the history of Czechoslovakia (T.G. Masaryk, Woodrow Wilson); the history of the Olympics (including 11 torches, medals, pins, etc, many from Jerry Milan’s collection); the history of Gymnastics; the history of Sokol; Immigration (featuring a rare Statue of Liberty Collection); an extensive Sokol and Czech postcard collection (Mucha, Svabinsky, Muttich); Sokol medal and pin collection; a Sport and Czech art exhibit and many notable Czech-Americans. Also on view was the unique 7’ x 200’ book by Lucy Seifert, The History of the Brave Czech Nation (courtesy of the Czech Embassy, Washington, D.C.). In addition, the restored “Stefanik Flag” used during fund raising events from 1914-1920; “The Accidential Army” about the Czech Legionnaires During World War I with uniform Courtesy of the Czech Heritage Museum, Temple, Texas; and “Island of Democracy” about the founding of Czechoslovakia. Henrietta Milan grew up in Chicago,

the daughter of Henry and Sophie Banfi. She celebrates her Czechoslovak and Polish heritage and family values often in her paintings where the early subjects have been her sisters, and later, renderings of an aunt’s house or garden in Czechoslovakia. Images that are more recent embrace and emphasize her love for her granddaughters who are frequent subjects. “I am inspired by anything that is charming, I especially love color and the outdoors. I’m really just a regular grandmother,” the self-effacing but highly accomplished artist says. Her athleticism is evident in her chosen mode of expression, One must be insightful, poised and steady, with both the schooled and natural reflexes of an athlete, to glean the benefits of the palette knife. “I love, it” says Henrietta, “because it is so fast — and brushes,” she laughs, “are so hard to clean.” Milan composes her shared vision with that particular tool, employing a technique that necessarily requires a rapid and definite purpose, knowing before the paint is applied to canvas what must and will transpire; which of her moves will bring the intended result and where the viewer will land, much like a gymnast dismounting the bars. It better be Fine Art Magazine • Fall 2009 • 21


Welcome and Rejoice, 30” x 40”, oil on canvas

on your feet, erect, chest puffed, head high and hands raised in triumph. You see this in her paintings, even the titles, i.e. Welcome and Rejoice. Otherwise, the impression sought or explored is unattainable and ultimately not seen. The result is not lost on her loyal collectors. Gold medal Olympic gymnastic winners, Bart Conner and Nadia Comaneci, are quoted as saying “...It may be difficult for us to be objective about Henrietta Milan’s work, because her collection includes some of the most energetic and life-like gymnastic paintings we have ever seen.” Milan contributed an image of Nadia to the Gymnastic Hall of Fame, where the works of LeRoy Neiman and Spanish painter Cristobal Garron are also housed. Her painting of gymnast Peter Korman is in the Library in Braintree MA, next to portraits of John Hancock, John Quincy Adams, and others from that city. Milan’s love of family, travel and painting has provided a path for the scope of her artistic impressions, styled after Monet, with inspiration accented by Matisse. The artist arrives at a place filled with balance, harmony and beauty, capturing in image the essence of a moment of time unfolding. Her vision reveals these little miracles observed in color and light arranged specifically to Milan’s understanding of rhythm and body awareness derived from her accomplished gymnastic career. Form, tempo and color unite explosively, enlivening interpretative landscapes and studied natural 22 • Fine Art Magazine • Fall 2009

scenes. Says the artist, “There was a time I stayed in monotone colors, and then after my son came home and said, ‘Mom, you discovered green!’ I went from sepias to the rainbow rather suddenly.” Milan’s mastery of palette knife technique, which allows for the thick application of the paint she is fond of and noted for, sets her apart in the milieu of Impressionists following a grand tradition. Her works are an homage to the masters she has studied, imbued with a centered energy unique to Henrietta alone, making each emblematic as image, one of a kind—a Milan. “At first, I did not want to paint scenes too similar to Monet but soon realized that a lily pad is a lily pad, and my style is my own.” Her cohesive use of accenting, contrasting or at times monochromatic colors that she classically arranges, provide the visual definition needed for her paintings to speak with conviction to the viewer, inviting each one into the captured flash of time. Gardens blooming, children in an arbor, a boat adrift on a pond and lilies resting on the water are all canvases dancing with color and depth. The arrangement of natural settings, unbridled imagination and an endless yet momentary visual opportunity offered by this artist are the skills that allow Henrietta Milan to muse and portray her love of nature in its absolute glory. She is a poetess with a palette knife, constructing insight that she catches in the visual. The descriptive resonance of

figurative image is transformed, suggested, made personal and swept on to a knife full of color that animates, then swept onto canvas. It is while executing her technique that Milan explores texture and the vibrancy or subtlety of color to render depth of definition and form, arranged compositionally within image. The full spectrum of Milan’s expression can be found within her threads of color, small ribbons traversing the breath or length of a dollop of paint, applied and floating, providing purity of hue that when combined, would otherwise not be possible if applied by standard brush. This painter grabs the eye of the viewer through lyrical expressions of soft, staccatonoted shades to depict her idea, suggesting the personal experience portrayed is just within reach, then culminating in fleeting pictures consumed with color, becoming like sound. “Henrietta is and always has been blessed with an inordinate talent that embodies her gentle unassuming spirit and unquenchable desire to share with others the beauty she beholds in the world around her. We still take pride in the throngs of people who echo our judgment of Henrietta’s artistry and have shared much of the beauty of the world through her eyes and heart as she has traveled to Monet’s garden at Giverny, and witnessed an explosion of color that make us wish we could see the world this way,” reflect Drs. Barbara and Lloyd McDaniel, Milan collectors for years. Another long-time collector, Dr. Tracy Loper observes: “My wife Becky and I first discovered Henrietta Milan during our second year of marriage in 1993. What we have always found incredible about her work is an uncanny ability to use each color to bring out every other color and draw you into the scene. ‘Mesmerizing’ might be putting too much of a spin on it, but I can definitely say each and every painting we own truly captures you. Every time we purchase a painting, it is like falling in love again — not only with her art, but with each other. She is so compelling yet so gentle, so dramatic yet so subtle, and so driving yet so calming.” The life activities with ties to her current art career were forged at a young age, including early gymnastic accomplishments that led to a degree in physical education. “I was a gymnast when you could count them on the fingers of your two hands,” says Henrietta. “I’ve been involved in gymnastics for years, it led into the painting. Henrietta, a former cheerleader at DePaul University, was the national Sokol gymnastic champion in 1959. After having her first child, she went to the Olympic trials and made 10th


Trails of Claude Monet, 30” x 40”, oil on canvas

“To step into the world of impressionistic serenity is a rare invitation to meditate on beauty in today’s fast paced world. Music and paint, curves and floral, all combine on paintings that showcase Milan’s sympathetic eye for natural beauty.” —E­­laine C. Cole, Quiet Contentment: The Art of Henrietta Milan place (the top eight went to the Olympics) naming her son Rome after the city where the games were held. Jerry and Henrietta spectated at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City and in 1972 took the two boys to Europe, where they bought a VW micro-bus and toured for three months. “We painted houses, garages, barns and trailer parks to make money to keep traveling to the Munich Olympics with a 9 year old and 13 year old. We saw the art, scenery and culture, great things.” Rome and Talon Milan have been to ten different Olympic cities to date. This sports background set the stage for Henrietta’s passionate pursuit of art. Her first colorful paintings were sold to fellow gymnast friends to make some “extra money when I was a young housewife. As we needed to gather

funds for our trips, I entered some shows and art clubs, was told I had gallery quality work and that’s what happened,” the artist matterof-factly recounts. Remembers Tal, “Henrietta used to get Rome and I to load up the station wagon and head to the weekend mall shows or juried out of town shows. We were very young but helped pull out boxes of paintings, miniatures and display racks made to fit the wagon and display rather primitively. The great part of these journeys was at the end. Most weekends it only took packing up the displays because so much art was sold.” The Milan Gallery came about in 1979, when Henrietta transformed her home studio into a showroom, open by appointment. As her works grew in popularity, Tal found himself marketing them. Today, Milan

Gallery is a bright spot in Sundance Square, one of the foremost galleries in the DallasFort Worth area with a varied group of collectors including American Idol star Kelly Clarkson (who recently added a number of Henrietta Milan originals to her collection), NBA coach Mike Dunleavy, former Dallas Mayor Bob Folsom, and best-selling author Robert Ludlum. Henrietta’s focus on painting as a path as compelling for her as gymnastics has resulted in an exceptional artistic career, not fully contemplated early on, but realized in mid-life, spanning thirty-nine years, born of a passion that was at its core athletic. “Color, action and keeping busy — that’s what life is all about for me,” she concludes. For further information, visit www.milangallery.com Fine Art Magazine • Fall 2009 • 23


Christopher M. Paints A Visual Feast By JAMIE ELLIN FORBES Born in 1975 in Oakland, California, Christopher Mangum (who paints under the name Christopher M) always had a penchant for art. “In the very beginning, in high school, I took a class in my senior year in which I prepared a portfolio of drawings and assignments and won the competition which resulted in a scholarship to art school. “Once I got to art school and began studying painting and drawing from life,” he said. “I was hooked. Since then I have never wanted to do anything else.” Educated at the noted Academy of Art University in San Francisco, he graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Illustration in 2000. He earned awards and honors from the Academy for his sketchbook, figure painting, landscapes and still lifes as well as from the San Francisco Society of Illustrators.

FINE ART: You have a very classically executed approach to art, whether you make it an abstraction or an impression. CHRIS: When I was in art school, I took every class for drawing figures that I could. I knew that I would need to do very accomplished 24 • Fine Art Magazine • Fall 2009

Opus One

drawings before I could deconstruct them and play around. If you can’t draw, none of that good stuff is going to happen. I am always thinking of different ways to make the imagery more exciting with color, texture and brushwork. Lately, color has been very much a fixation for me. I am experimenting with color to get patterns or a different emotion from what I’ve done in other paintings.


“One thing that draws me to painting the chefs that I meet is that I notice so many similarities with what the chefs do as artists and what I do myself as an artist.”

Cafe Boulud New York

FINE ART: You are very focused, your perspective holds up as a composition. You have a classic eye for composition. CHRIS: The further back you are, if that doesn’t hold together, you have failed. It is a classic law. I love Degas and Sargeant—two of my favorites. The classical artists were great and inspirational to this day, but at the same time we can’t live in the 1800’s. I try to incorporate their sensibility into the modern paintings along with those of Klimt, Beaugereau, Rauschenberg and Picasso who were all very creative and constantly looking for a new challenges, constantly innovative in their work and I relate that to my own question of ‘How am I going to develop my work in the future?’ Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns — I really like the way that they think and the way they develop their

painting processes along with the impression I get of their painting philosophies. FINE ART: Your selection of the chefs is a visual feast—food being the creative process where we consume the bounty of the earth in the way that art nourishes the soul. CHRIS: That’s one of the things I have to offer that might be different from what other artists are offering. The process of working with chefs and focusing on the culinary arts in my paintings has been fascinating and so absorbing. Meeting the great chefs has brought something new into my work that is very inspiring to me. FINE ART: Were you inspired by the current group of media star chefs? Fine Art Magazine • Fall 2009 • 25


Wine Cellar

CHRIS: A number of the chefs I have worked with have been on television. Kevin Rathbun was on “Iron Chef ” with Bobby Flay. I think he won. FINE ART: When you create the paintings and you are embodying the philosophy of a Rauschenberg or Picasso and you are applying the visual stimulation of the eye — whether it be through food or through art — what are the seeds that you draw your intent from creatively? What do you want to feed people when you paint? CHRIS: There’s a variety of things that go on with that. One big thing is the general philosophy of the chefs I have spoken with. They just don’t cook so they can eat the meal and tell themselves how great they are. It is to give someone who comes into their restaurant an experience that they’ve never had before With the stories that I tell in my paintings, I try to give the viewers experiences that might be reminders of important events in their lives or a restaurant that they love. It can go in all kinds of directions. FINE ART: In Cafe Boulud New York, you certainly captured the moment of the kitchen team in action. In the background you’ve abstracted the color and then you married that through a palette of blues highlighted by the reds. How did you choose that kitchen scene? CHRIS: I had the opportunity to talk to the chef, go into the back and make a lot of sketches. Then when I came home from New York, I 26 • Fine Art Magazine • Fall 2009

made the paintings. My impression when I was in New York is that there’s a real elegance there. I live in San Diego so a lot of times people aren’t very formal when they go out. In New York, when people go out they look beautiful wearing their best clothes, and at Cafe Boulud, even in the kitchen, I found a tremendous sense of professionalism. The design of this painting is to show that the kitchen is orchestrated at a very high level. There are extra little touches that show how much care of presentation there is in the people in the restaurant as well as the presentation of the dishes. FINE ART: I just love the way the background is abstracted, with bright red center of the floor.You have all this blue and the texture draws the eye to the canvas. CHRIS: One thing that draws me to painting the chefs that I meet is that I notice so many similarities as to what the chefs do as artists and what I do myself as an artist FINE ART: What are they? CHRIS: First the superficial things: their aprons, their knives, chopping, any little chore. The more that I worked out these paintings, the more I noticed deeper things like the way they used color and temperature and the same types of concepts of design and color that I have to use in my paintings. The sauces—there is so much life and color and vibrancy and I am so inspired to capture that. It reflects back on what I do, I have to have the same kind of dedication to craft and training as they have or the paintings won’t work. Many of the same stages are found in the kitchen as on my palette. There’s the prep stage, cutting and chopping, things getting cooked, delicate sauces and then it goes out. FINE ART: Presentation is key in this culinary art. CHRIS: It’s all about the presentation. I have my prep stage when I am laying out all my paints. Even as I do this, the painting is already starting. If I lay out my paints in a different way, the painting will be different. Then there are the initial stages in the kitchen. Middle stages of painting are like cooking the meal; when it gets framed and goes into gallery, it is very similar to a meal coming out of kitchen. FINE ART: You are capturing that memory in a vision… CHRIS: It’s a little poetic for me in that sense. Everything that I am doing is a metaphor of the subject he is addressing. FINE ART: Tell me about Chef ’s Table. CHRIS: The chef coming to the table to discuss the meal indirectly inspired this piece. It’s based on an experience at Oceanaire restaurant in San Diego, where chef Brian Malarky invited me in to see what his restaurant was all about.


Grand finale Mis En Place

FINE ART: So you’re going to be the artist’s choice for these top chefs. CHRIS: I was there with a friend we had dinner, Brian came out and introduced each course, very poetically explained everything from where the fish were caught to the artistic process of cooking FINE ART: So it’s the poetry of the living moment CHRIS: That’s a great way to say it. FINE ART: I see how you’re abstracting your backgrounds and placing your figures. It’s a great style. You have the Impressionists and the influences from the 1920s and 30s and then you have the current greats in there CHRIS: Order within that chaos. I love that cadmium because it so clearly shows passion itself, even if there’s a calmness in the expression of the chef - for myself, that’s how I am in my paintings. My passion drives me to be so disciplined and so careful and so exacting in my standards. I see that with some chefs, also, they need to be that disciplined to get things right. For them as well as for me, it’s a very demanding thing — art — any mistakes or flaws will show so you battle them constantly. FINE ART: Once you structure your piece, which is classically done, and then you add your technique, it comes out as the figurative pieces are almost floating in an abstracted atmosphere with realism. I haven’t seen anyone ever do this. CHRIS: It is possible the subject matter is influencing the style. Kitchens have completely abstract elements: color, movement and flow. The orderly elementd of those abstractions — of those hard shapes and large planes of color­ — those give a feeling of how organized a kitchen has to be. In this hierarchy, everybody knows what they are

supposed to be doing. FINE ART: In your paintings you are all of the above CHRIS: True. I am Executive chef, sous chef, the guy who has to wash the dishes afterwards. The depiction of the prep chef, when you are learning to cook, you are just starting out as a chef FINE ART: How did you get into the process? CHRIS: I did a couple of prototype paintings and then I started telling every one I knew this is what I want to do. I am still learning where the great restaurants are, nationally there are so many. I ask people to tell me where their favorite restaurants are and I get introduced to chefs. FINE ART: What inspired you originally to do this? CHRIS: Christian Graves, Executive Chef, watching as chefs were moving, I got a little hypnotized, noticed some of those similarities and parallels so I went home and did my first painting. When I showed it to my publisher Ruth-Ann Thorn, she saw a lot of potential that was there I wasn’t even aware of. She really encouraged me. I’ve learned. Some artists are painting in their own little worlds, not me. I am constantly learning from people around me; from Ruthann, from the chefs, from everybody. There’s some stuff that you said today that will probably come back to me. FINE ART: Did you study Bellows at all? CHRIS: He’s one of my favorites. Could be one of the greatest painters who ever lived FINE ART: You definitely caught the essence of what he had to communicate: the colors, the approach, the time. They’re uniquely your own. Fine Art Magazine • Fall 2009 • 27


les trois chefs

CHRIS: You don’t hear people speaking of him much these days. FINE ART: You are working on a propject with the Kimpton Hotels. CHRIS: I am going on a national tour to a number of their restaurants to research paintings and at the end of it we will have an art book with recipes to go with the paintings, to be finished a little later this year. FINE ART: Who is your favorite from the current group CHRIS: There are definitely a few different ones I like. Giada de Laurentiis- be really cool to meet her. FINE ART: Do you cook, Chris? CHRIS: I’m kind of learning. I’ll cook for myself, not yet for other people, I’m working on that. FINE ART: I love the concept of what you are doing, bringing it into their homes. CHRIS: There is one other thing that we do with our shows that I think is really cool. Because the restaurants I’ve been pairing up with Christian Graves and Rasthbun in Atlanta and went to their restaurants the first nights. Collectors invited to a special dinner - I paired a painting with each course, how the painting was affected by each course, the chef, how everything tied together as a somelier ties the wine to each course. The dinner, the food, the wine, myself and the music. FINE ART: You’re making these moments huge memories for people, spontaneity. 28 • Fine Art Magazine • Fall 2009

CHRIS: When times are a little rough or crazy that might influence one to strive for something that is optimistic, that celebrates things that are so great that are happening. It would be easy to do paintings that were moping FINE ART: Artistic articulation of the style and composition is very well planned and stated — and they open up a broader moment in memory, people can experience this wholesome life giving, soul feeding function, as is food. CHRIS: Because paintings have such a permanence, over the years your memory might fade, emotional experience in addition to the food, like a first date, painting anchors the memory. FINE ART: You’re taking the spice of both elements and marrying them to the elements. CHRIS: Ruthann pointed out to me one day that I am documenting a piece of history. The food networks — once there was one chef, Julia Childs — now it seems like we have so much more of an appropriate respect for the art of what is happening in the kitchen. Things are different now from what they were and documenting these great chefs is a reminder of this period of time. FINE ART: Are there other aspects of art you might like to try? You mean like totally different subject matter? For now, my real commitment is to this and I can see myself working with this theme for years and years. Each individual story, each individual chef all have new and different things to express.


Chef’sTable

FINE ART: About The Wine Cellar… CHRIS: That’s one direction I am going in. Wine is so important paired with the food. I am very interested in showing the relationship of wine to the food. FINE ART: There are multiple paintings within the paintings. They may be figurative yet they veer off into abstractions. CHRIS: Always fun to paint, but some paintings seem to paint themselves a little bit FINE ART: Do you walk into the settings or construct them? CHRIS: Sometimes I am in a setting and everything beautifully falls into place. But I also feel free to add something to the composition or emotion. I give myself that license. It is the painting that matters the most, not the reality, necessarily. FINE ART: Your work from life study is reflected in the colors. CHRIS: I go in and sketch. It makes me so much more open to color and mood and how I am connecting to everything. A lot of the sketches, even if they don’t get used in the painting, are a part of it. FINE ART:: So you marry the creativity through the thread of the palette of the artist to the palette of the plate of the chef. CHRIS: I am inspired and constantly interested to see a new connection FINE ART: You’re connecting everything so the viewer can experience… CHRIS: …An invitation. Everybody can come in and come along

Some Like It Hot is from Zensei in San Diego, a popular sushi place

with me. For further information, visit www.crownthornpublishing.com Fine Art Magazine • Fall 2009 • 29


Samir Sammoun presents his new book, Walking With Giants to Michelle Paige Paterson, First Lady of New York State, at the Governor’s Mansion, Albany, NY

Follwing Solo Exhibit at Plattsburgh Museum, First Lady Chooses Samir Sammoun Paintings for NYS Champlain Tribute in Capitol

W

ith decisive brushstrokes and vibrant colors, Samir Sammoun is painting a dramatic new chapter into the glorious realm of Adirondack art history, joining the ranks of such notables as Thomas Cole, Asher B. Durand, Winslow Homer, A.F. Tait, Rockwell Kent, Harold Weston and many others who have found inspiration in the rugged terrain and idyllic beauty of the north country of New York state. In S ammoun’s ne w landsc apes, created especially for the 400th anniversary celebration of Samuel de Champlain’s voyage to the lake that bears his name, there is a nobility, a quiet dignity and an awesome feeling of exuberance. In their stillness, there is great action, reflecting the unity of creation and creator. Under the skillful realm of a master such as Sammoun, subject matter and work of art are intricately woven by the eye and hand, to become painterly extensions of thought and spirit, far more 30 • Fine Art Magazine • Fall 2009

By VICTOR BENNETT FORBES

Samuel de Champlain Monument, Plattsburg, oil on canvas, 30” x 24

than reproductions. Sans fanfare, but with great dramatic effect all the more memorable for its subtlety, Sammoun magically sets himself apart from every other painter seeking to represent nature through his or her singular impressions. In his delicacy, there is a power. A sole flower, one among many in a sun-drenched meadow, is as memorable for a singular droplet of the most brilliant red as it is for its membership in the entirety of the composition. Sammoun handles the fate of his depictions as if the individual images were characters in a novel, or a lengthy poem. Like a flower, these paintings bloom, but unlike a flower, they do not fade away. In these works, there is ample opportunity for a casual viewer to enjoy a happy natural scene, as well as to take a deeper look into serious matters of the human condition through the Romantic notion of perfection. The brilliant canvases are imbued with Sammoun’s trademark impressions and passionate interpretations of the landscape


and an understanding of light

Lake Champlain and Camel’s Hump Mountain, Autumn, oil on canvas, 30” x 40”

for which he is known around the world. As a disciple of van Gogh, the spirit of Vincent is ever-present in these works with swirling movement of paint giving life to traditional landscape elements so that they take on an almost mystical atmosphere of ethereal harmony amidst the intense activity of his line. This dynamism is in perfect harmony with the rugged yet accessible terrain of these ancient mountain ranges in New York and Vermont, divided by Lake Champlain, in a region which has become a mecca for visitors from all over the world and somewhat of a bucolic paradise for those who make these parts their year-round home.

I

n this current body of work, featured in a one man exhibit at the Plattsburgh State Art Museum’s Burke Gallery, State University of New York at Plattsburgh, Sammoun travels back some four centuries in time, following the trail forged by Samuel de Champlain, depict-

ing scenes of Lake Champlain as the noted European explorer might have encountered them. These paintings were a result of a challenge made to the artist several years ago by Celine Paquette, vice-chair of the Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial Commission. “I took him on the lake on the northern end and southern end, and by car to Crown Point and Ticonderoga,” Paquette said. “I told him, ‘You have to see the lake and Adirondacks from the Vermont side,’ and we went to Burlington.” Further to the south is Fort Ticonderoga where Champlain came down the lake with his friend the Huron (the native of Quebec) to fight the Iroquois. It was the first time that firearms were seen by the natives. The two paintings of Ticonderoga at daybreak and midnight (on pages 32 and 33) reflect the solemnity of the day’s activities and the tranquility of the battle scenes—before and after. “I wanted to depict that calm as it was described in historical accounts,” said the

artist in a recent interview. “It was a quiet, nice morning with the sun coming up slowly. The air is fresh, life is beautiful and then the battle came. I wanted the scene by midnight of the same day to be very moving. Champlain battled against his will, he killed two chiefs and was sorrowful, that’s what history said and there is a certain sadness evident in the Ticonderoga scenes. The entire commission was very challenging as most of my prior work had inherent movement in the diasporas. In these compositions, the environments were naturally restful, yet required movement. I struggled somewhat to put activity in the scenery by playing with the sky and the water. I sought to make the mountains move and look like waves and channeled the pure and primitive energy of van Gogh to enable that happen visually. The task was really to paint the lake and its surroundings and I enjoyed it very much as did many of the people I met who lived around the lake and appreciated and recognized the authenticity of these Fine Art Magazine • Fall 2009 • 31


Lake Champlain and Vermont (Study),

Dennis Anderson, Director of Curatorial and Tour Services in Albany arranged for Sammoun to present the paintings in the State Capitol. Mrs. Paterson selected Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks, Sunrise, View from Burlington and Lake Champlain and Vermont for the display, which will be on view for one year in the Executive Mansion. The artist was duly impressed by his first visit to New York’s capitol. “The mansion is a Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks, Sunrise, View from Burlington, 2009, oil on canvas, 30” x 24”

particular works.” At the artist’s June 3, 2009 opening reception at the Plattsburgh State Museum, Ms. Paquette escorted the First Lady of New York State, Michelle Paige Paterson, who was feted as the Guest of Honor. “We’re certainly deeply honored she visited us and spent time with us,” said Ms. Paquette, who also noted, “She appreciated Samir’s work.” So much so that two of his paintings were selected for exhibit in the Governor’s Mansion in Albany by the First Lady, who commented, “Samir Sammoun is an impressive artist who so beautifully illustrates New York’s landscape. The ‘Views of Lake Champlain’ series brings to life our mountains, shores and woodlands, illuminating our environment and adding a new dimension to our own Quadricentennial celebration. We are so honored to display his work.” 32 • Fine Art Magazine • Fall 2009

Ticonderoga, July 30, 1609, 8 am Before the Battle, 2009, oil on canvas, 40” x 60”


2008, oil on canvas, 12” x 16”

beautiful place,” he said. “There are paintings from the Metropolitan there. The First Lady has wonderful taste—she picked two of my Sunset on Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks, 2009, oil on canvas, 40” x 40” favorites. It’s an honor for an artist to have this kind of exposure. I’m very happy with all that. Hopefully, there attend (at age twenty-one) the École Polytechnique, earning degrees will be more occasions to do other things for the State of New York.” in electronic engineering and telecommunications. No stranger to high level accolades, Sammoun’s work is in Constance Schwartz, Director of the Nassau Museum of government collections in both Canada and his native Lebanon, Art, Roslyn Harbor, NY, in her introduction to the artist’s new where an original hangs in the Presidential offices. After studies at coffee table book, Samir Sammoun: Walking With Giants wrote, the School of Arts and Crafts in Beirut, he settled in Montréal to “Notwithstanding the exactness of the science of engineering that is self-engendered, Sammoun’s art is not diagrammatic but instead reflects the artist’s hand. It is his gesture with the brush and that injects the actual ‘process’ of art immediately into the subject matter of his paintings. “Reverberations of brilliant light and air in rhythms at play with form and line are evident in these landscapes. Sammoun’s paintings provide the viewer with a skin of expressive paint that produces a vibrating tissue of optical sensation in a haunting beauty of glowing color that seems to produce a constant movement throughout the surface of the canvas.” In the catalogue accompanying the exhibition, Plattsburgh State Art Museum director Cecilia M. Esposito noted that “Sammoun uses a contemporary interpretation of the post-impressionist style of strong colors, a thick impasto of paint, and distinctive brushstrokes to illustrate his subject matter. Light and atmosphere play a major role in bringing the paintings to life.” In this collection, Samir Sammoun continues to build his reputation and more importantly, grow and meet new artistic challenges. Ticonderoga, July 30, 1609, Midnight After the Battle, 2009, oil on canvas, 40” x 60” Fine Art Magazine • Fall 2009 • 33


2008, oil on canvas, 12” x 16”

beautiful place,” he said. “There are paintings from the Metropolitan there. The First Lady has wonderful taste—she picked two of my Sunset on Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks, 2009, oil on canvas, 40” x 40” favorites. It’s an honor for an artist to have this kind of exposure. I’m very happy with all that. Hopefully, there attend (at age twenty-one) the École Polytechnique, earning degrees will be more occasions to do other things for the State of New York.” in electronic engineering and telecommunications. No stranger to high level accolades, Sammoun’s work is in Constance Schwartz, Director of the Nassau Museum of government collections in both Canada and his native Lebanon, Art, Roslyn Harbor, NY, in her introduction to the artist’s new where an original hangs in the Presidential offices. After studies at coffee table book, Samir Sammoun: Walking With Giants wrote, the School of Arts and Crafts in Beirut, he settled in Montréal to “Notwithstanding the exactness of the science of engineering that is self-engendered, Sammoun’s art is not diagrammatic but instead reflects the artist’s hand. It is his gesture with the brush and that injects the actual ‘process’ of art immediately into the subject matter of his paintings. “Reverberations of brilliant light and air in rhythms at play with form and line are evident in these landscapes. Sammoun’s paintings provide the viewer with a skin of expressive paint that produces a vibrating tissue of optical sensation in a haunting beauty of glowing color that seems to produce a constant movement throughout the surface of the canvas.” In the catalogue accompanying the exhibition, Plattsburgh State Art Museum director Cecilia M. Esposito noted that “Sammoun uses a contemporary interpretation of the post-impressionist style of strong colors, a thick impasto of paint, and distinctive brushstrokes to illustrate his subject matter. Light and atmosphere play a major role in bringing the paintings to life.” In this collection, Samir Sammoun continues to build his reputation and more importantly, grow and meet new artistic challenges. Ticonderoga, July 30, 1609, Midnight After the Battle, 2009, oil on canvas, 40” x 60” Fine Art Magazine • Fall 2009 • 33


Art Around Town

Beth McNeill at the newly completed McNeill Art Group Project Space in Tribeca

McNEILL ART GROUP OPENS IN TRIBECA McNeill Art Group of Southampton, New York opened McNeill Art Group Tribeca Project Space (143 Reade St., Tribeca, New York) October 21st with the inaugural exhibition Plastic, Rubber + Wood. Curated by founder Beth McNeill, Plastic, Rubber + Wood is an exploration of material, through content, subject, and form. The exhibit challenges our conception of the industrial materials of which our man-made world is comprised. Incorporating several processes, including photography, sculpture, painting and installation, the exhibition unveils the materials’ inherent beauty and alters our conscious perception of them as elements. Exhibiting artists include Americans Tapp Francke, Mike Solomon, Bob Schwarz, Rob Fischer, Jeff Muhs, Soraida Bedoya, Tyrome Tripoli, Edward Lightner, and Samantha Thomas, Korean artist Ji Yong-Ho and Turkish artist Esma Pacal Turam. McNeill Art Group began as an art consulting and acquisitions company in 2005. After establishing a presence as a private dealer and exhibiting artists at international art fairs around the world, McNeill began seeking exhibition opportunities in alternative spaces in an effort to continue the global movement towards enhancing the visibility of contemporary art while not conforming to the traditional gallery structure. 34 • Fine Art Magazine • Fall 2009

Sans lendemain, 34” x 48”

The Artist - André Desjardins

ROCCIA GALLERY’S MONTRÉAL DEBUT Nestled in the heart of eXcentris, a multidisciplinary and multimedia arts center Roccia Gallery owner Hélène-Bélanger Martin unique in Canada, The Roccia Gallery is committed to capturing the heartbeat of the visual arts in Montreal—and anywhere in the world—and to share their discoveries with the public. On the menu are surprising and diversified exhibitions where different artistic disciplines coexist, such as painting, sculpture, photography and video. The ROCCIA gallery is managed by Hélène Bélanger-Martin, filmmaker and graduate in the history of art. The first exhibition, Secret World, is devoted to André Desjardins’ new painting collection. This Montreal based artist is experiencing tremendous success in North America as a result of his presence at the New York Artexpo in March 2008, and subsequent relationship with Masterpiece Publishing. Desjardins’ passionate work explores sensual depth through a unique technique which brings together the pigment and oil on the canvas, allowing him to set in a fascinating perspective in the paintings, to give them a soul. It is then that his “Visual Emotionism” was born, a fusion of the figurative and abstract which translates the inner state of the subject. Painting more than often directly with his bare hands on the canvas, he sculpts his subject searching for an emotion. Roccia Gallery is located at 3536 boul. Saint-Laurent, Montréal, Qc, CA H2X 2V1 and via e-mail at info@galerieroccia.com; 514.803.7977 —MÉLANIE BRUNET


Light by the Drop By KENNY MANN Approaching Charles Balth’s house deep in the heart of Noyack is not unlike taking a journey into a mid-summer night’s dream…the impression of other-worldliness is enhanced by the dark, mysterious cavities of the house itself — shadowed, cluttered and embalmed in dust. And Charles Balth himself — 89 years of age, apple-cheeked and sprightly — emerges, not unlike a kindly folk-tale figure, an out-of-season Santa Claus, carried through life on the wings of one of his own fantastic chimerae. — SunStorm, Summer, 1982

A

fter I had met Charles Balth (a German carpenter who became an artist in his 70s) I began to see his whimsical plaster and shell creations in odd places, like the Seafood Shop in Wainscot, where he collected bones and shells for his work. In 1982, when I wrote about him for SunStorm Arts Magazine, he was considered a talented “outsider” artist and even Elaine Benson, of the renowned gallery of her name, exhibited his work. Since then, he is long gone and the delightful creature he gave me, fashioned from a chalky white body with eight crab’s pincers attached, has crumbled to dust. Not so the Hamptons art scene, however, which, contrary to many expectations, gleams with new energy and spunk while retaining some of that older, more schooled tradition that gave the area its name for art in the first place. All you have to do is trail along Sagg Main Beach in the moonlight, or head out to Napeague, so singularly lonesome on a summer evening, lovely heathers gathered at the shore, or watch the dawn skies cream from midnight to rose from a bench on the Long Wharf in Sag Harbor to understand the marvel of light, subtle color and melting landscapes that capture the artist’s heart.

Once a week Willem de Kooning used to walk across Accabonac Road in Springs and visit Pollock’s grave to make sure Jackson was still dead. This is their light that bleeds into the filter of the afternoon, the light they captured pure as shamans making weather.

From the poem AUGUST 10, 1996 by Max Blagg

The light hasn’t changed and is still there for the taking. It’s what drew the Hudson River School painters, Winslow Homer, the famed Tile Club and Thomas Moran out East in the 1870s. What they saw out here became fractured, ripped apart and put together again by the Abstract Expressionists like Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner, and Willem de Kooning — that group of friends who came out East because it was cheap and they could work here undisturbed, live on nothing and cause painterly revolutions that echoed the world over. One of them is David Slivka, now 95, and leaning happily into the wind at an opening of his work at the newish Delaney Cooke Gallery in Sag Harbor. His paintings burst off the walls — yes, we have seen many like them over the years, but he was one of the first, never forget that — and now he’s one of the last surviving members of that abstract club. He knew

Michael Knigin, Georgica Waves VI, photograph, 2009

them! Little chills chatter down my back. Lots of rather old people are milling about with their wine and cheese. I overhear one woman say to another: “Look at the date on this image, Doris. It’s from 2008! That man is still painting!” Slivka probably knew James Brooks — one of the most widely celebrated painters of the 1950s New York School — whom I interviewed in his Springs studio back in the 80’s. Cheese and crackers on the screened porch. Light fading on the wide lawn, glow worms flickering at the edge of sight. His wife, Charlotte Park, gently shadowing her more famous husband. Me, then, wondering whether it is ever possible to look into the mind of an artist, or even desirable. “My paintings start with a complication on the canvas surface, done with as much spontaneity and as little memory as possible,” Brooks said. “This then exists as the subject…It demands a long period of acquaintance during which it is observed innocently and shrewdly. Then it speaks, quietly, with its own peculiar logic.” Working creatively without memory, with only the medium at hand, might be the essence Fine Art Magazine • Fall 2009 • 35


of abstract art: that no meaning is intended — just the image itself — yet meaning attaches itself insistently. “One can kill a painting,” Brooks said. “If you force it or are too willful, if you try to make it into something that it isn’t — that you aren’t — you can kill it.” The light hasn’t changed, despite the raging development that is eating up our landscapes and vistas where vast, hideous houses stand empty and forlorn, like lost objects waiting to be found… maybe by a found objects manipulator like Sag Harbor’s David Slater. He might sling them all onto a kid’s pink plastic necklace, let them jingle from a walking stick and find in them some meaning, a satirical joke, a political statement — a work of art that would tell us something we don’t already know about these aberrations on the East End, make us sorrowful and make us laugh. Years ago, Slater’s wacky, life-sized tree covered in thousands of tiny metal and plastic objects decorated my front lawn as part of the Art Round Town (ART) exhibition that I organized with the late Candy Leigh. We got homeowners to lend us their front yards for sculpture and had some thirty pieces by known and unknown artists strung out all over the Hamptons, causing sturm und drang, just as intended. It was a way to give people access to art without having to go to galleries or museums and to our minds, was a fairly revolutionary step on the Fuddy Duddy East End. It was a rebellion that exposed a 36 • Fine Art Magazine • Fall 2009

Another grafitti at the Watermill Center

KENNY MANN PHOTO

Renee Dahl, Rainbow Ends in East Hampton, photograph, 2009

lot of artists to the limelight who might otherwise have been cowering in the dark caves of anonymity. We got into a lot of trouble from the Building Inspector in Sag Harbor, who said we needed permits for these structures, but since they were only temporary, we got away with it. But what a delicious hoo ha it was! Oh, the public was involved, the New York Times wrote us up. People organized car tours to all the sites and had picnics along the way and children and dogs wagged their heads and talked about art.


Job’s Lane, Grant Haffner of BonacTonic

The Silas Marder Gallery occupies an old barn at Marder’s Nursery in Bridgehampton

I remember Frank Wimberley’s muted circular wooden piece straddling an ancient Indian path on North Main Street. Someone pinned to it an envelope containing a twenty dollar note and a blue ribbon. Was that a prize? David Porter’s heavy metal abstract piece graced the deck at B. Smith’s Restaurant where a waiter claimed to have seen two men remove it by boat and dump it into the harbor in the dead of night. Richard Wands planted a soaring wooden piece on Henry Street in Sag Harbor, something to do with skinning whales. John Battle’s weird metal man loomed out of the woods

on Division and Linda Scott’s giant heads gazed eternally skywards from a field on Butter Lane. Meanwhile, the tree in my yard rattled and squeaked deliriously in the slightest breeze, and from my upstairs office I could eavesdrop as passersby commented on the mad structure. “If my mother put something like this outside my house,” said one high school friend of my daughter’s, “I would kill myself.” While the local art “scene” used to be focused around East Hampton and Southampton, and Elaine Benson’s Gallery in Bridgehampton, I do believe our little village of Sag Harbor is stealing the limelight with galleries that have survived, probably because this village has had the wisdom to retain its local charm and entrepreneurial atmosphere rather than giving in to the Ralph Laurens, Tiffany’s and Coach Factories of our neighbors. “Save Sag Harbor”, that is our motto as CVS and other corporations hone in, trying to steal our light and our Main Street, but we fight back and lovely April Gornick, who knows all about light and paint, donates her work to our silent auction and can be seen at our meetings, working to keep the light, and the incidental communities that gather around it, for generations to come. So to Save Sag Harbor, we even have our own very posh annual Gallery Row Art Tour run by Rebecca Cooper of The Gallery and Tulla Booth of her own gallery that takes in Gallery B, Canio’s Books, the Delaney Cooke Gallery,

Dogs At Sea, Paton Miller

the Grenning Gallery, Donna Karan’s Urban Zen, Gallery Merz, Sylvester & Co., and the Winter Tree Gallery. The tour bypasses Christy’s Building Art Center, making me wonder what petty rivalries might be at work, whether this is considered a “real” gallery or not. Well, at the moment of my visit, probably not, because — yes! - a collection of motorbikes designed and manufactured by Billy Joel gleams with unleashed pizzazz, trapped within those brick walls. The Motorbike as Art and Icon, the announcements say. No soppy beach scenes here. Big men with big leather jackets, big stomachs and big hair wander in off the street, their mighty machines parked outside. Hi fives and a loud “Fuck me!” convey their delight. Now, have they come for the bikes or the art? That is the question that I am not asking. I adore this show just because it’s there, and those bikers are like a little graffiti on our otherwise pristine and sometimes prissy (although beloved) Main Street. A search through local gallery listings in just one week reveals many familiar names from way back, like Frank Wimberley, Sheila Isham, Gabriele Raacke, Linda Alpern, William King, Laurie Lambrecht, John MacWhinnie, Connie Fox, Jennifer Cross, Camille Perottet and Christine Chew Smith, still out there, still working, still showing all over the Hamptons. Carol Hunt recently showed at the Spanierman Gallery in East Hampton. Back in 1983, I found her disabled by MS and Fine Art Magazine • Fall 2009 • 37


Carol Hunt, Pastel 4, 2006 Pastel on paper, 20” x 26”, Spanierman Gallery, East Hampton

training herself to “get in touch with nature mentally” since she could not go outdoors. I was mesmerized by her energetic yet superbly controlled abstract pieces, much influenced by her studies of math and science. Twenty-six years later, her energy remains undiminished, her works spun masterpieces. At the same gallery, Roy Nicholson’s explosive abstracts on the theme of “Gloaming” threaten to create their very own new color spectrum. Twenty-six years ago, when he was drawing multi-layered visions of fish in a pond, he told me that “time and change” are his main obsessions, and they still are. I’m feeling rebellious. Enough of beach scenes and landscapes and flowers and photographs. Enough of painting. Give me something conceptual, something young and apocalyptic. Different. The beautiful young James Salomon, for example, a co-director of the Mary Boone Gallery in Manhattan, brings urban minimalist chic to a warehouse gallery in an industrial park off Route 114 — hiding away there so that no one can just pop in and really, you’re supposed to make an appointment, which makes me feel a little like hoping the bouncer at the in-club will let me in without too much humiliation. But when I arrive, just before closing time, a handsome, green-eyed, dark-haired young man — he must be an artist — aspiring artist? — says that he “sees much more white light out here than in New England, where it is more golden — golden light everywhere.” On show are Ned 38 • Fine Art Magazine • Fall 2009

Smythe’s constructions of interesting stones, twigs, roots — perfectly balanced harmonies in carefully organized spatial relationships. In his accompanying essay to this exhibition, Edward Albee says that “it is how we see as much as it is what we see,” and further: “These pieces are not about something, they are something.” Indeed, they are. Thanks, Ed. The mood continues at Robert Wilson’s Watermill Center, called A 21st -Century Academy, housed in an old factory, magnificently converted to studios where his work is developed, and a museum that houses his arbitrary collections of chairs and other objects, hiding away there in the woods on Watermill Town Road. There is a free community event there — a “multi-media performance” by some very young, disabled artists from Manhattan. One young man is blind. Another is autistic. A pretty young woman is hunchbacked, twisted, her body severely malformed. There is an audience of sorts, mostly oddities like myself who seek out the new and absurd in the cotton-wool Hamptons.The show is appalling — inaudible, incomprehensible, unintelligible, even for an avant-garde stalwart like myself.The best thing about it are the slogans painted on the walls — remnants of a previous installation. But I’m glad it’s there, glad that Wilson has seen fit to open his doors to young people with strange visions and that even I, should I so choose, might perform there and be considered equally daft or possibly, endowed with genius.

Like an amoeba, the East End art scene spreads its billowing arms further and further afield, bringing artists and studios and galleries even to Shelter Island, formerly a cultural desert but now boasting several interesting spaces, like the old church on Route 114. It’s now the Mosquito Hawk

GORDIAN RAACKE PHOTO

KENNY MANN PHOTO

Billy Joel’s motorbikes at the Christy Building Art Space,Sag Harbor

Gabriele Raacke uses recycled glass objects for her witty series of art boxes. This one is called Windows Vista


KENNY MANN PHOTO

KENNY MANN PHOTO

Objects in Robert Wilson’s collection

Gallery, run by a young lady called Alexis who is showing the works of Isabelle and Marshall Weber, who just happen to be father-anddaughter tenants in my Sag Harbor house. Isabelle is thirteen years old. She lives in my attic, where my daughter spent her teenage years drawing and painting, and it became my own beloved space where I have written books and scripts and love letters, and Isabelle has filled it with oddities, paper flowers, antique books, postcards from nowhere, little curiosities, stuffed toys — a girl on the verge of womanhood with a mind prone to death and mayhem, and the show is called The Murder Fantastic and Other tales of Woe. It’s suitably dark, with images reminiscent of Edward Gory ’s ghoulish Victorian humor, cleverly drawn and manipulated with Photoshop. I note that Isabelle has sold several pieces, while no one seems much interested in her father’s fascinating rubbings of tombstones. Even in Greenport on the North Fork, Amy Worth, owner of the South Street Gallery, tells me that new galleries are opening up along with a sushi restaurant, a raw bar, a new hotel — and they, too, run a monthly gallery walk. Visitors to the Hamptons may soon witness weary, bugeyed art lovers tramping from Greenport to Southampton, wine glass in hand, cheese dripping in the sun, as they complete the obligatory tours. Camping on the way. Or painting plein air. A jolly crowd in tweeds and britches and sensible shoes. They might come to Amy Worth’s gallery to see Paton Miller’s paintings of dogs — devilish, turbulent, passionate, not necessarily friendly or funny, definitely animals with their own agenda. His color palette and subject matter are influenced

by many years in Hawaii and travels in Costa Rica, South America and Bali. Ochre, deep red, bright yellow, turquoise, people in purposeful action, their hair blowing — an emotional world full of story and you want to know what happened before and what will happen next. I love his paintings at the New Paradise Café in Sag Harbor, where some claim that they aid in digestion, and others, that they do not. Paton has shown at Ashawagh Hall in Springs, which was set aside decades ago as an artist’s space where Jackson Pollock et al often exhibited their work. The tradition continues every weekend, and so popular is the place that one must book it a year ahead. So I find the East End Photographers Group (no apostrophe — that just drives me crazy) in full blast one weekend, with an eclectic show by several artists, one of whom is Beryl Bernay, a lady who, she says, “is too old to reveal her age.” In her lifetime, she has been a photographer, actress, TV host and United Nations correspondent and now she stands before some modest photographs that one must study closely to see their painterly maturity and scope. She talks about the old days, and misses “that spirit of companionship, appreciation and support” that was apparently evident among her peers - artists like Ibram Lassow, David Porter and Claus and Helen Hoie. “No one talked about money,” she says, “or what a painting was worth. We were interested only in the quality of the art, nothing else.” Now, Beryl claims, artists talk only about being in “the Hamptons” instead of coming from a specific village, and they are much more concerned with whether their art will sell or not. “There is no real discourse about art,” Beryl says. Well, she might be right and she

Berryl Bernay at Ashawagh Hall

might be wrong. Paton Miller tells me that Hawaii was “the north pole” as far as art was concerned and that he was twenty-five years old when he moved out East in 1974. “Out here,” he says, “I found a place where you can live in the country by the ocean, but enjoy a sophisticated, cosmopolitan community where there’s feedback about art. I could embrace all the experimentation, which was so important for a young artist.” He was also able to rent a house for one hundred and fifty dollars a month, get a free studio and do several odd jobs, like truck driving, to survive — jobs that have now been taken over by immigrant labor. “So today, just surviving out here as an emerging artist is impossible unless you have money or live with your parents.” Thirty-year-old artist Grant Haffner, who works at the Dan Flavin Art Institute in Bridgehampton, recently sold enough of his own work on a regular basis to move out of his parent’s home where the basement was his studio, and give up one of his three jobs. Just like generations before, he, too, is influenced by local landscape and light, but in a 21stcentury, modernistic way, his flat paintings of receding telephone poles and electric wires precise and mathematical, images that could never have been produced by a pre-digital generation, perhaps representing a cuttingedge evolution in how we see what we see. Along with Scott Gibbons, who sews entire installations of odd creatures, and several other artists between the ages of 24 and 30, Grant co-founded Bonac Tonic, a loose association of talented young people who show their work several times a year at Fine Art Magazine • Fall 2009 • 39


KENNY MANN PHOTO

Photograph by Evan Thomas, East End Photographers Group

Ashawagh Hall. “It was too hard to get into local galleries,” says Scott, “so we did our own thing and now the local galleries are a little upset with us because they see we’re doing something right.” Well, yes. They must be, because over two hundred people show up at their openings and each of the original artists now boasts their own collectors. Their first show made ten thousand dollars and everyone walked away with money in their pockets. Are they thinking about money? I would imagine so, although Grant’s and Scott’s passion for the work, for the shows and for the collaborations is evident. These emerging ar tists are not newcomers or immigrants to the East End. Most of them were born and raised here, attended local schools, like the Springs school where they were taken to the Jackson Pollock House on field trips and made very much aware of the local art legacy. According 40 • Fine Art Magazine • Fall 2009

Balcomb Greene, The Island, 1969, Oil on canvas, 56” x 48”, Spanierman Galleries, E. Hampton & NYC

to Grant, they did not have good basic art training in school. “We made a lot of fish prints,” he recalls. So they are all untrained, “outsider” artists with big shoes to fill, possibly to go down in history as the next big wave on the East End, continuing that earlier legacy of experimentation. Well, it depends on your outlook, I suppose. Abstract Expressionist Balcomb Greene lived for many years in Montauk, where I visited him in 1985. An old man stares out over the purple waves, coffee cup in hand, the almost white sky throwing ominous reflections off the water, off the large window pane, off white hair and deep blue eyes. Reflections mirrored in wall paintings, where heavyset cliffs, massive rock formations and, of course, graveled beaches, surround or are a part of his lone human figures. Valerie Peterson of ARTnews said his

work expressed “murderous grandiloquence.” Vivian Raynor of Arts wrote, “More lightning than light, he uses light to blind you.” Ah, that light again. Malcolm Preston of the Christian Science Monitor felt his work was “a blend of reason and emotion” and Ralph Brem of The Pittsburgh Press wrote under the headline: “Greene’s Art A Voice, Not An Echo.”

“To hell with the critics!” Balcomb cried, old and crusty and impatient as we ate at a noisy Montauk sea-food restaurant where a band played “Roll Out the Barrel” very loudly and a plump, pink-cheeked couple danced breathlessly. “These days, greatness is no longer possible. People confuse greatness with success. People don’t want to be in the minority with their choices, they’re afraid to be alone. Even the museums and galleries have lost the ability to discern between ‘great’ and ‘successful.’ Bah! Everyone is alone, basically.” —SunStorm, Summer, 1985


ARTHAMPTONS Early Results: Art Sales Reviving; The Hamptons Still Attract Enthusiasts By Jack Karp ArtHamptons 2009 repeated the attendance level of 5,000 fairgoers compared to 2008, the inaugural year, with 68 galleries, up 33% compared to the number in ’08, showing $200 million in art. Post-show activity reported a month later shows sales of $8 to $10 million. “The robust business over the four-day event is a definite harbinger that art sales are finally reviving and stimulating,” said Rick Friedman, founder of ArtHamptons. “The fish were biting, not like in 2008, but well enough to eat well. It reinforces that a good picture at a good price will always sell.” While Peter Marcelle Gallery’s sale of an Andrew Wyeth landscape for $975,000 seems at this point to be the on-site show leader, Mr.Friedman expects other major sales to follow in post-show activity. Sculptor Hans Van deBovenkamp reported a large commission was secured. On site individual sales ranged from $10,000 to $100,000, most centering in the $30,00 to $60,000 range. Many galleries reported that total on-site sales wellexceeded $100,000 including Forum Gallery, Gallery Henoch, Waterhouse and Dodd Gallery, Throckmorton Fine Art, Gary Snyder/Project Space, and Eric Firestone Gallery.

White triangular sails punctuating thick olive water under crisp cerulean skies, the sun setting orange off in the distance. Vivid seascapes like these are often what come to mind when thinking of the Hamptons, a beautiful seaside playground where New Yorkers and the world’s elite go for a myriad of reasons. For many people the Hamptons evoke images of windswept seas lapping up against cool, sandy beaches. But, surprisingly, many of these breathtaking images can’t be seen outside the walls of the wealthy enclave’s multimillion-dollar homes, but on them. “The Hamptons have a century-long tradition as a world-famous marketplace for

Elliot Erwitt, Marilyn Monroe New York City, 1956, © Elliott Erwitt/Magnum Photos, Erwitt will be at ArtHamptons at the Hackelbury Fine Art gallery on Sunday, July 12, 12 to 2 p.m.

painting, art collecting, and art patronage,” says Hamptons resident and art collector Rick Friedman, founder/chairman of the ArtHamptons fair. “We currently have about 2,500 active painters living and working here.” “This is where the rich, famous, and big art collectors spend the summer,” Friedman says of the Hamptons. With all these celebrated artists and collectors, Freidman Steve Zaluski in his Humansphere mobile sculpture at ArtHamptons 2009 felt “we have everything except a major international fair.” Resnick, the usual suspects.” With over 80 So that is exactly what he set out important works amassed in four years, to remedy when he began ArtHamptons Friedman now has a major collection and one year ago. ArtHamptons, the second brings that same passion from his own edition of which was held July 10-12, 2009, collection to ArtHamptons. is the Hamptons’ first and only fine art fair Housed in four large, connected, spotlighting museum quality modern art. modular buildings, the fair hosts 64 nationally “In a sense, I am paying homage to the respected galleries, including New York’s Hamptons as a center for fine art by staging Forum Gallery, Tibor de Nagy, and Gallery ArtHamptons,” says Friedman, who lives in Henoch, as well as galleries from Toronto, Southampton and is himself a passionate Barcelona, and London. This year’s festival collector of post-war New York Abstract offered an eclectic mix of well-known Expressionists. “I felt it was a ‘can’t miss.’” masters — Larry Rivers, Donald Sultan, Jane Like the artists he collects, Friedman Freilicher, August Saint-Gaudens, Childe is excited and inspired by the beauty and Hassam and William Glackens — peppered electricity of this eastern end of Long Island with group and solo shows by younger, “I collect the artists who painted here in the emerging artists, like hyper realist painter 50s through the 70s – Pollock, Krasner, de Denis Peterson, participating in the fair for Kooning, Motherwell, Kline, Brooks, Rivers, the second time. Fine Art Magazine • Fall 2009 • 41


Larry Rivers Vocabulary Lesson (Polish) 1964-65 Courtesy of Tibor de Nagy Gallery, NY Brad Kunkle, Windhandle, Oil, Gold And Silver Leaf On Canvas, 51” x 32” 2009

Malcom T. Liepke, Sensual, 2009, Oil on canvas, 20” x 20”, 2009, Arcadia Gallery, NYC

“Last year, I was interviewed by a national art magazine and offered portfolio representation by a prestigious London gallery,” Peterson reports, “neither of whom I would have met were it not for the show.” Possibly even more important than this exposure, though, is the chance to get feedback from the audience viewing his work. “It helps me to be aware of how well the genre, style, and chosen series motif are communicating a particular visual statement to viewers,” Peterson says. “Last year’s show gave me a certain sense of direction…that has continued to influence my work to this day.” ArtHamptons also featured panel 42 • Fine Art Magazine • Fall 2009

Lillian Bassman, Barbara Mullen, Essex House C.1950’s Gelatin silver print, Peter Fetterman Gallery, Santa Monica, CA

discussions, visits to private art collections, and artists’ book signings as well as seminars on “What You Need to Know about Collecting Photography” and “Hamptons Bohemia: the Artist Playground From 1880 to Present.” Festival organizers gave lifetime achievement awards to painter Jane Wilson and legendary photographers Lillian Bassman and Elliott Erwitt. “The Opening Gala/Collectors Preview was pretty hot,” Friedman promises. “It’s one of the social and media highlights of the summer

Andrew Wyeth, Sheepskin, 1970, a Helga painting tempera on panel, 29” x 32” ($15,000,000) Courtesy Peter Marcelle Gallery, Southampton

season.” Friedman based that guarantee on the resounding success of the 2008 fair. In its


Winold Reiss (1886-1953), Observation Car, 1932 Oil on canvas, 66” x 68”, Provenance: Estate of the artist; Bernard Goldberg Fine Art, NY & East Hampton

inaugural year, approximately five thousand art lovers from around the country attended, generating a stunning $20 million in art sales. According to Friedman, “Not bad volume for a first-year fair. It’s a great time to buy important artworks,” he continues, “because primary and secondary market prices have adjusted and there are great treasures to be had at very fair prices — and you can enjoy them daily on your walls. Art is a lot more interesting and tangible now than your stock portfolio.” The success of this year’s fair is no shock to Friedman. “The booth space has sold out with an expanded floor plan and we have a waiting list,” he says. Several major galleries exhibited at ArtHamptons for the first time this summer, including DC Moore, Vered, Arcadia Gallery, Godel Fine Art, and Throckmorton. These newcomers joined returning galleries like Bernard Goldberg Fine Art, Grenning Gallery, June Kelly and London’s Waterhouse & Dodd. “We exhibited at the inaugural

Fernand Leger (1881-1955), Objets, Gouache, pen and ink on paper; Signed with monogram & dated 1932, 15.75” x 13” Waterhouse & Dodd / Fine Art Brokers, London, U.K.

Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Diana, originally modeled 1886; this cast 1985; Bronze with gilding, 110” x 59” x 22 ½”, Conner-Rosenkranz, New York

Jane Wilson, Early Heat, 1993, Oil on canvas, 70” x 70”, DC Moore Gallery, NYC

ArtHamptons in 2008 and we’re delighted to be coming back,” says Waterhouse & Dodd director Ray Waterhouse. “We made some sales last year and were also pleased with the number of terrific new contacts. I think the fair will become an established feature of summer in the Hamptons and will be a must-see for collectors.” Friedman is especially excited that “a wider spectrum of media... works on paper, more contemporary, more prints, more photography, art glass, objects d’art, and sculpture, both indoors and outdoors are in the show.” Fairgoers at ArtHamptons have a diversity of interests and are split in what they collect, he says. “I would say many invest in the masters from the 20th century. It is a big business here… and midcareer contemporary artists as well as Asian contemporary and contemporary photography also has a robust market. “I believe the right picture at the right price will always sell.”” “The masters will always sell here. Not only is it a solid investment, but it’s serious cocktail talk with bragging rights. I still expect a ton of sales in this affluent area,” and the results from 2009 prove him correct.

Peter Marcelle and two collectors, at ArtHamptons 2009, Peter Marcelle Gallery booth. Fine Art Magazine • Fall 2009 • 43


NORMA MINARDI 1929-2009

Norma Minardi walked through life with the heart of a fauve and the soul of a deKooning. Born in Brooklyn, NY, in 1929, she attended Washington Irving High School in Manhattan where art comprised almost all of her time. She left before she graduated due to illness. However, she continued to study independently while working and raising a family. Her paintings reflect her studies, and borrow from schools as different as Abstract Expressionism and Social Realism. Her mind was not locked into any particular class of art, and so each period of her painting brought her audience a surprise. In her latter years, she was a member of the Montauk Artists’ Association, (where she lived) and exhibited at a number of galleries in the New York area. Some of her paintings are in private collections. In an article published in Fine Art in 2004, Norma recalled her childhood in Bushwick, where, as a five year old sitting and drawing at the kitchen table, she was somewhat surprised by her ability to create a scene depicting “my mother, father and myself showing not just the three of us, but I also invented a sibling, making it the FOUR of us. I could create anything I wanted simply by imagining and this made my loneliness bearable. What a discovery.” Norma sought out any and every job she could find apprenticing in art, enrolling in classes in The New School, where she further absorbed the works of Motherwell, Hans Hoffman, Frankenthaler

Norma Minardi, Elves in the Garden, oil on canvas, 2006

and others at the vanguard of the Abstract Expressionist movement. “Art,” she said, “is not a profession that has a beginning and an end, but rather it’s an ongoing exercise in discovery. Everything we do is a form of art, even the way we view daily life. The way we see things grow and then die, the way we love and not love, all things joyous and painful.”

Tapestry of the Centuries

To read more, visit www.fineartmagazine.com.

© Vladimir Gorsky Original Mixed Media 18’ x 9’

by Vladimir Gorsky To promote the importance of art in education, Tapestry of the Centuries is available through the Vladimir Gorsky Foundation for viewing and Educational Programs. www.vladimirgorskyfoundation.org 44 • Fine Art Magazine • Fall 2009


HOMAGE A GAUGUIN by John Pacovsky Grande Absente, Absinthe Originale is now made legally, using the exact original recipe from 1860. Grande Absente is still handcrafted in the south of France with the highest quality spirits and select botanicals, including the legendary Wormwood, aka Artemisia Absinthium. Grande Absente is 138 proof so please enjoy responsibly.

www.absente.com Grande Absente Liqueur, 69% ALC/VOL., Grande Absente and Grande Absente Logo are trademarks owned by M. P. Roux, Imported from France by Crillon Importers Ltd., Paramus, NJ 07652 Š 2008


David Martine at Shinnecock exhibit. NMAI, 2009, Stephen Lang photo

By David Bunn Martine

I

t was while I was studying art at the University of Oklahoma, Norman that I grew to more deeply appreciate the history of my mother’s Shinnecock/Montauk, Fort Sill-Chiricahua Apache heritage. Then, while attending The Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe a few years later, studying under Otelle Loloma and Linda Lomaheftewa, I began to synthesize this knowledge into a coherent style that I would go on to continue to develop to the present. While my degrees are in advertising design, art education, and museum sciences, I utilize my historical knowledge as fuel for my creative activities. Today I am grateful to the Creator for allowing me to continue in the arts and progress my style and development. While living with my grandmother on my home reservation—selling pencil drawings of animals, sailing ships, and Indian portraits 46 • Fine Art Magazine • Fall 2009

at our family arts and crafts shop—I grew up knowing about my grandfather’s two fathers, Chin-Chee, a warrior who fought with Geronimo and died before the surrender and my other great-grandfather, Martine, who, as Apache scout with his cousin, Kayitah, helped persuade Geronimo to surrender for the final time in 1886, resulting in the long years held as prisoners of war until 1913. How his son Charles Martine Jr., my grandfather, put himself through Hampton Institute and dealt with the boarding school system and excelling despite great difficulty—these things became a natural part of my background. I always knew I also had a distant relative, Allan Houser, the famous Apache sculptor, who I came to know and admire for his achievements and influence while living in the west. My family heritage is rich in the arts, from my Shinnecock/Montauk great-grandfather, Charles Sumner Bunn, a professional guide/ hunter and shorebird decoy carver and also

David Martine

PHOTO COURTESY NEWSDAY & D. MARTINE

A Life in Historical Realism


Powdawe - Shinnecock Whale hunt of the 17th. century, Oil on masonite panel 2005

Shinnecock (Potedaup) Whale Ceremony, 17th Century, Oil on masonite panel, 2005

Taza - Son of Cochise, Chiricahua Apache, Oil on canvas, 2003

Shinnecock Indian Man of the 18th Century, Oil on mansonite panel, 2005

to my renderings without being too stiff and overworked. I have not had the luxury of figure models during most of my career so I have had to work by assembling images and designing by sketching the compositions from reference material. This is especially true for my historical scenes at our Shinnecock

Wyandanch - Montauk Sachem - Ca. 17th Century - Acrylic on canvas - 2007

museum which depict the six cultural phases of Long Island Indian history—from the Paleolithic period to the present.

“Today I am grateful to the Creator for allowing me to continue in the arts and progress my style and development.” Shinnecock Nation Cultural Center and Museum, Shinnecock Reservation, Southampton, NY. Fine Art Magazine • Fall 2009 • 47

PHOTO COURTESY NEWSDAY & D. MARTINE

my father, Thomas Siklos, a Hungarian music director and voice teacher. Charles Bunn’s skills were rarely equaled either as a hunter or wood carver. His ancestors were whalers and seamen and taught the English settlers how to hunt the ‘Right’ whales in the 17th century. My Hungarian grandfather was a famous architect in Budapest who was knighted in the Order of St. Sylvester by the Pope for his work on behalf of the Catholic Church. My mother was a classical singer who sang many concerts in different parts of the country, studied voice culture with former Metropolitan Opera members and studied painting and drawing in college. This bac kground inf or m ed m y consciousness that the arts would be central to my adult life. I also enjoy wood carving as well as creating in the two-dimensional— pencil, pastel, ink, oil, acrylic and gouache. I have always found the most satisfaction in classical realism and careful rendering. Some of this comes from my mother’s brother David who was a photographic retoucher and woodcarver. Illustration and narrative historical scenes have been a primary occupation in small scale pieces or in large scale murals—oil or acrylic on Masonite—at our Shinnecock Nation Cultural Center and Museum at which I am Director/Curator. My primary art influences have been N.C. Wyeth, Andrew Wyeth, Allan Houser, Norman Rockwell, Jamie Wyeth, the great Dutch Masters of the past and many of the great Renaissance Italian Masters. I always try to imbue a sense of life-like realism, a spark of movement and crispness


W

orking in collaboration with other museums, scholars and archaeological associations, I have tried to capture the essences of each time period, not only for educational purposes but to show the Shinnecock/MontaukLong Island Algonquian cultures to their best, most dignified advantages, retaining accuracy, but trying to show dramatic power through color and detail. I believe it important to not conform to the stereotyped image of our people. Native American cultures have been burdened by incorrect impressions disseminated for years by the mass media and poor educational content. The museum sciences have enabled me to incorporate art with exhibition design, conservation, collections management, public relations, fund-raising, event planning, educational programming and a multitude of areas that encompass the arts and cultural issues. The Shinnecock Nation Cultural Center and Museum has three major exhibits. “A Walk With the People” is a tour through the historical periods through murals, artifacts and taxidermy specimens; “People Of The Shore: The Maritime History of The Place of Shells” consists of three kiosks containing graphic images and texts in three themes: the history and importance of wampum, ancient fishing techniques, and the importance of whaling in the ancient and recent past. The third major exhibit is “My Spirit Dances Forever,” featuring the bronze sculptures of the Lakota people by the famous contemporary sculptor Dave McGary. The Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian George Gustav Heye Center recently asked the Shinnecock museum to participate in their recent educational program, “Waters That Are Never Still – The Way of the Wampum.” The program consisted of table exhibits and representatives from the major Native peoples who fabricated the wampum beads from the purple and white quahog clam and whelk shells, namely the Shinnecock, Narragansett, Wampanoag, Mahegan, and Hodenasaunee peoples. It was a privilege to participate– in this event and share a very important aspect of Shinnecock and Montauk history with children and adults who attended the educational workshops dealing with the production, trade and use of wampum both prior and post-European contact. This will be an event long remembered by those of us representing the Native peoples who were closely associated with this great art form in its historical contexts and in its contemporary uses. 48 • Fine Art Magazine • Fall 2009

“Iron Hail” Bronze by Dave McGary - “My Spirit Dances Forever”, donated by Frederick DeMatteis, bronze sculpture exhibition at Shinnecock Nation Museum and Cultural Center

David Martine at Shinnecock Museum exhibit at NMAI program “Waters That Are Never Still - The Way of the Wampum” , Stephen Lang photo.


ORLANDO AGUDELO-BOTERO

The Sunny Side of Life F

By MARK COTE

rom the earliest stirrings of ancient, civilized life, mankind’s ongoing fascination with the Sun as the preeminent symbol of life-giving benevolence has manifested itself in ritualized ceremony, deity worship and of course, countless pieces of art, sculpture and architecture from cultures as vast and varied as the Egyptians, the Aztecs and the many indigenous peoples of the world. As civilizations advanced and with it, the birth of new thought in the fields of science and astronomy, the Sun became less an object of idolatry; becoming instead, a tangible concept as a source of global energy upon which our very dependence to sustain life on earth is pivotal. In the tradition of the great 20th Century Modernist painters, Orlando Agudelo-Botero has, with the stroke of his brush, recast the Sun as potent a visual metaphor as possible: the iconic symbol of realized human potential. This theme informs and illuminates the cycle of paintings that comprise his latest body of work entitled “The Sunny Side Of Life.” Orlando offers clear evidence that art has the possibility to uplift the objective conditions of the human experience, as each painting in itself is a compelling argument for choosing a positive outlook despite the fluctuating moods and conditions of our lives. Beginning with Procreatus (Procreation), the birth and the rearing of a child is an experience that the artist has articulated as perhaps one of the most fundamental examples of conscious, deliberate optimism that can be applied to a lifetime’s cycle. With an unerring solidity and radiance, the stately figure of a mother speaks through the dusky palette of warm, gold colors with a spirit of hushed repose and contemplation. Her meditative calm draws us in to contemplate the child emerging from her center; a child who is dazzlingly rendered as the very embodiment of infinity. In his audacity to embrace space and abstraction over solid form with such deft grace, Orlando seems to ask the viewer to seek a deeper radiance beneath the surface of what ordinarily meets the eye.

Sunny Side of Life

“Each painting in itself is a compelling argument for choosing a positive outlook despite the fluctuating moods and conditions of our lives.” An extension of this theme is evident in the disarmingly playful Mapas Imaginarios (Imaginary Maps). The planet Earth is rendered through the eyes of a child with a sense of wonder and innocence that is independent of all parameters of “adult” logic. Colors and shapes freely inhabit the globe with a spontaneity of joyful abandon. In the upper right corner of the Earth’s edge, hope is personified by the faintly transparent figure of an angel assisting the child’s depiction of the world. Perhaps, it is in the act of embracing the innocence long dormant in each one of us, Orlando seems to ponder, that we may finally reclaim the potential for idealism on both a personal and a global level. In The Giving Tree, the concept of

giving as it relates to basic human interaction is addressed with a facile lyricism that has long been a distinguishing characteristic of Orlando’s work. To quote the artist, “ One of the most important gifts that we receive from God-nature is the capacity to feel someone else’s needs or pain. One of the most gratifying aspects of life is to give. Giving, therefore, is without hesitation, a key ingredient of the sunny side of life.” With an exquisite balance of color and an economy of form, Paradise is evoked in which the figures of a father and his daughter hover, joyously in midair; their bodies simplified to a circular arc that arches upwards to meet the benevolent foliage of the title tree. The overall impression conveyed is Fine Art Magazine • Fall 2009 • 49


Procreatus

Intellectual Curiosity

one of ecstasy, in which both the limitations of gravity and human ego presence versus the surrender of the will to the black void of despair. are absent, freeing both man and nature to merge in an act of selfless It is hope, however, that finally emerges as the victor here, represented giving and receiving. It is a timely message that invites each one of by a sympathetic sun that delicately caresses the profile of a man’s us to consider the possibility of an existence hinged on a reciprocal upturned face. Exemplifying the struggle inherent in each one of us, balance, as it relates to both the ecology of our planet and our most the nearly defeated man sits alone against a tree, seeking solace in a personal selves. forest that is resolutely alive and stirring with movement. Nature, the The enigmatic nature of love is celebrated with a hushed artist seems to say, is a song of rapture and reaffirmation that awaits eloquence in Aspects Of Love. However, as one ventures more deeply each one of us as we take the journey inward, though it may be a dark into the painting, it is apparent that Orlando is interested in far more forest indeed. Emblematic of the inner music that one may hear, in than merely creating a lush paean to romance. Despite the unifying such moments of private intensity, is the solitary violin that hangs whole of the male and female bodies suspended from the branches of the that merge into one form on the trees—a gift waiting to be received. canvas, both figures retain their “The capacity to overcome adversity steadfast individualism: she, with “ says Orlando “is essential to the her gaze focused upwards toward a sunny side of life.” sunburst of infinite possibility and The exuberant Euforia he, immersed in the pages of a book (Euphoria) with it’s palette of entitled The Beautiful Things In muscular yellows and multitude Life. Being in love requires a full of white suns is teeming with an immersion of the self, yet neither of unbridled joy for the very essence of the two figures have been forced to life. The artist captures a moment of compromise their singular identities dizzyingly high exhilaration that is nor their silent, inner lives in order to Giving Tree completely independent of external form a union. Heralding this vision circumstances—the happiness of of harmony, Nature emerges from them victoriously, as the Tree of simply being alive. Life—its leaves bursting upward with verdant splendor. Commenting “This was the first piece on the easel “ says Orlando, describing on the piece, Orlando says, “Aspects of Love is a painting that focuses on the painting The Sunny Side Of Life, “and the genesis of this entire body one highly important element in the relationship between two people; of work. It was at that time that I decided to treat the concept of the silence. The absence of conversation is respected as their individual sunny aspects of life, giving each element the proper space and time. beings come together in eloquent silence.” I felt that together all of these elements would contribute to a life of In striking contrast to the tone of unflagging optimism that quality.” A meditation on individualism, The Sunny Side Of Life resounds underlies all the paintings, Sol de La Media Noche (Midnight Sun) with a steadying calm. Enlightenment in our individual lives, the artist resounds with a palpable tension: the need to sustain belief in a higher seems to whisper, is cultivated from within and then borne outward as a light to be shared collectively with the rest of the world. 50 • Fine Art Magazine • Fall 2009


Sol de la media noche

Describing the ambitious painting Intellectual Curiosity, Orlando has this to say: “The highest source of inspiration in life derives from the pursuit of knowledge of something not previously known. The quest for learning through the ages assures us the course to realization and to wisdom.” A hymn to the continual, personal cultivation of the higher self, Intellectual Curiosity features a face rendered as an abstract, circular motif. To do justice to the theme of knowledge as an evolutionary force, Orlando has deconstructed the formal constraints of the human face­­, leaving only the merest suggestion of identity. As a species, he seems to say, we are continually reinventing ourselves

through the committed, conscious pursuit of wisdom. The artist has chosen to illustrate this concept by framing the face with actual text of his writings on the ideals of intellectual curiosity; a choice which ultimately personalizes and empowers the painting further. In each of these paintings one senses a deep spiritual yearning for something that transcends the parameters of our visible world. We carry in each one of us, Orlando affirms, the capacity for a sunlight that we can use to illuminate clear, decisive paths for ourselves and then impart that very light back into the world, forwarding a cycle of human life as unending and timeless as time itself. Fine Art Magazine • Fall 2009 • 51


Devotion to creativity their spiritual path

Amy Zerner & Monte Farber Amy Zerner and Monte Farber

ince 1988, Amy and Monte have combined Amy’s gorgeous fabric tapestries and Monte’s creative, intuitive writing to create 40 unique books and tools, divination systems, three children’s books, a book about relationships and a coffee table art book, Paradise Found, that they wrote about their work and their life together. They have combined their deep love for one another with the work of inner-exploration and self-discovery to build The Enchanted World of Amy Zerner and Monte Farber; books, card decks, meditation kits and oracles that have helped millions answer questions, find deeper meaning, and follow their spiritual paths. Amy ’s ar t collages combine different spiritual traditions which stem from her own eclectic spirituality. She believes at the core of every faith and belief system exists the same truth, and expressing that truth through her art is her mission in life. Her rich and fantasy filled pieces combine ancient wisdoms, different cultures, and time periods with unique fabrics and textures. In her pieces you will find butterflies, temples, birds, waterfalls, angels, planets, stars, mountains and mermaids. “The fabrics, ribbons, laces, appliqués, trimmings, and thousands of other objects that fill the bins and shelves of the second floor of my studio are my “paint,” reveals the artist who, in her work, will

layer a Japanese flower appliqué with an Indian Turtle Amulet and old Indian Sari with ribbons and lace and much more. She combines many textures with lots of dimensions, which she believes are in harmony to the layers of life. One may uncover myriad symbolic secrets and mysteries in the complexities of her art which she describes as “very Zen— spontaneous and infused with nature and both masculine and feminine energies. “ I belie ve our consciousness is

Peace of Mind, Spiritual Couture jacket

52 • Fine Art Magazine • Fall 2009

connected to the Higher Forces. Through our use of oracles and through the creative process, Monte and I are trying to make a clear channel between us and our Higher Selves. This ‘channel’ concept has appeared in many of my tapestries. The image is a sort of ladder, or a veil—a connecting energy that reaches from Earth to the Higher Plane. My tapestries always show the dualities in life. From the flower at our feet, up to the stars in the galaxy. I try to put it all that complexity in there and make a balance out of it. Good

PHOTO BY PHILIP D’ARROW

S

By JILL V. MANGINO

Amy & Monte on their wedding day in 1978


art can elevate us from the mundane and lifts us out— reminding us that truth and beauty exist. It’s definitely about beauty!” With over 1,000 original collages, Amy has displayed her unique National Endowment for the Arts award-winning fabric-collage tapestries in more than 80 one-woman and group shows in galleries and museums in the USA and Europe. Amy has also integrated her fabric tapestries into a fashion line called Spiritual Couture™. Her wearable art pieces demonstrate her ability to perfectly blend high fashion style with fine art sensibility. Sewn together with a rare expertise and attention to detail, Spiritual Couture™ is represented exclusively by Bergdorf Goodman in New York where she has bi-monthly shows. Her collectors include Elizabeth Taylor, Oprah, Patti LaBelle, Martha Stewart, Shirley MacLaine, and Michael J. Fox.

Amy in front of Mid-Life Isis

The Empress (in the collection of Torie Gibralter)

Good ar t can elevate us from the mundane and lift us out – reminding us that truth and beauty exist.

Monte and Amy think that within us all is the power to make real what we can imagine. This is yet another way that proves the wisdom of the Bible’s statement “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness,” (Genesis 1:26). “We, too,” say Amy and Monte, “can create our universe. When we do, we glimpse the spiritual dimension in our mind’s eye and feel its power in our intuition. By so doing we get closer to understanding the mission of our spirit: to actualize our soul’s purpose, one moment at a time.” Devotion to their creativity is their spiritual path because they believe you are cleansing and healing yourself when you go within and tap into that creativity—it is where all the answers lie. Monte says, “We are all creative beings. It is encoded in our genetic makeup. We are all spiritual beings,

Reflection

PHOTOS BY MONTE FARBER

too. In a very real way, creativity is spirituality. When we wish to create something that has never been before, we must first conceive of it and visualize. When we do this, we contact the essence—the spirit—of what it is we wish to create. Has this spirit always existed or are we creating that, too? It doesn’t really matter, for when we approach living as a creative process, we are emulating The God/ dess Force, the creative energy that brings everything into existence, and questions of time and origination become irrelevant.” With over two million books in print in fourteen languages, they have received thousands of letters which “warm our hearts with tales of how our work has helped others to live their lives more fully.” They now have their own shelves in the Spirituality section of every Barnes & Noble store. “Creatively, we agree with the Dalai Lama that the purpose of life is to be happy. Also, as Joseph Campbell said, ‘Follow Your

Amy working on a Goddess jacket

Bliss.’ For Amy and me, our bliss and our happiness has been our journey together on the path to making our life a work of art and our art a work of life. Sharing our art and our discoveries about life with others has also brought us much happiness.” Their new titles include The Soulmate Path, Tarot Secrets, and Healing Crystals. For more information visit: www. theenchantedworld.com Fine Art Magazine • Fall 2009 • 53


Studio Visit with Daria Deshuk Painting-in-progress, Daria Deshuk’s studio, Bridgehampton, NY

Kundalini Happening

Sagg Main Beach, Bridgehampton, NY Kundalini — Sanskrit, literally “coiled.” In Indian yoga, a “corporeal energy” - an unconscious, instinctive or libidinal force or Shakti, envisioned either as a goddess or else as a sleeping serpent coiled at the base of the spine, hence a number of English renderings of the term such as ‘serpent power.’

Kundalini Happening photographed by the artist 54 • Fine Art Magazine • Fall 2009

photo by Daria Deshuk

Focused on the Light Far beyond interpretation of reality provided by a photograph, painting allows the artist to take a snapshot of a condensed stolen moment that stops and then extends time thereby leading the viewer into the reorchestration of light, space via the pure beauty of paint itself. “I love this painting,” comments Ms. Deshuk, “because it’s large and allows me to capture the essence of human experience while playing more with the paint. The subject comes from photos I took at Monday Night Drumming, Sagg Main Beach in Bridgehampton last summer. It’s a local home grown ‘happening’ where all come and share the setting sun and the ocean; absorbing vital energy both of nature and community; sharing music, dance, spirits, and friends. I guess you can say the experience of being at theses events is an art form itself, ‘The Happening.’ “In my early work, I painted street views of New York City (Ed. note: see dariadeshuk.com). Since living full-time in Bridgehampton, this happening has become one of my favorite subjects. My interest in making this painting was to develop a composition referencing scared geometry, strengthening the mystical and classical influences of the figure. The contemporary event of this happening and snake dancer/ performer, reference for me the goddess and Kundalini energy rising, awakening spirit.


[MUSINGS]

GRACE ROSELLI and KEN WILBER'S POST-MODERN REVELATION Musings By DARIA DESHUK

I

From the album “New Work ’09” by Grace Roselli. “This is an older painting, based on a collage on same image.” The setting is the collector’s house.

NOUR 51” x 39” mixed media/ paper

was fascinated to see the recent artwork of Grace Roselli, renewing a friendship via Facebook. I was struck by the street culture and mark-making she used in the drawings, spray paint, collage and mixed media, which inspired me in my own art work and led me to question the relationship of subject matter, culture and world view. These images are reminiscent of what I know of the artist from time spent living on the fabled lower East Side of Manhattan with its accompanying explosive street life. It was, and remains, a fantastical environment where graffiti art was everywhere. I understood Grace’s depictions of women in her art, and acknowledgement of female empowerment movements of the time. I too was a part of this energy. Remember the power suit, the birth of the Guerrilla Girls, a collective awakening of the goddess, and the pop idol Madonna? Yet my questioning continued. There was, I ascertained, more going on than the merely contemporary view. There was something that felt foreign and mystical, not of my world or the streets of NYC alone. As I started reading A Brief History Of Everything (A description of the path of human development-the evolution of consciousness) by Ken Wilber (Shambhala), my mind expanded to understand both Grace’s artwork and Ken’s writing on integral life principles and how they worked in tandem in the realm of Post -modern theory in art and its need to address evolution of consciousness to create art that transcends, presenting new images and visions. As the author states, “The ‘subject’ (artist) is situated in its own contexts and currents of its own development, its own history, its own evolution. The pictures it makes of the world depend in a large measure not so much on ‘the

MONA LISA WANTS 96” x 60” mixed media/ canvas

world’ as on this ‘history.’ ” In his chapter The Great Post Modern Revolution, he continues, “As the cosmos comes to know itself, more fully different worlds emerge. This revolution in human understanding and ‘new paradigm’ approaches to knowledge is that different world views create different worlds; they aren’t just the same world seen differently.” Soon after Grace posted her recent paintings on Facebook, she also posted photos that were fascinating and definitely not from my world or the New York City environment which she and I both knew so well. In her album Mabrook Ramadan, Grace’s images show the artist and her daughters riding camels, her children’s aunt in a head scarf, a women in a hijab is in the background of a photo of her daughter. A portrait of a woman with Henna hands, of a grandmother holding her daughter, of an aunt in a wedding dress too heavy for the bride to walk in, so she is carried on a tray. By posting and sharing these photos of her relationship to family and life in Morocco and notes on its culture, we are given information to

reference Grace’s art in which she creates work that is mingled with self, family, culture and views of women unique to her. Creating a work of art layered in this meaning, Grace goes beyond the representation paradigm “mirror of nature” which fails to take into account the self that is creating and embeds her work with personal and subjective meaning. This results in new and interesting images with multi-levels of culture. I now understood Wilber’s thesis about consciousness creating new world-views and how this was very present in her art. “So the great post-modern discovery was that neither the self nor the world is simply pre-given, but rather they exist in contexts and backgrounds that have a history and development,” he maintains. W hen we understand evolution of consciousness in the Post-modern mind, through the quadrants of I (inner-space, emotions, thoughts, individual interior and insight); WE (shared meaning, relationships, mutual understanding of collective interior); IT (culture, time, place); and ITS (world views, cosmos), our world view is informed at a deeper level and new perspectives are born. Art that creates new imagery and content asks us to go deeply into the artist’s views and subsequently develop new and unique understandings of the artwork, the artist and the world, possibly even ourselves. “The world view is the mind, the base is the body of spirit. These body-minds evolve, and bring forth new worlds in the process, as spirit unfolds its own potential, a radiant flower in the Cosmos springs forth, in not so much the big bang as the big bloom. And at this stage of development the world looks different because the world is different…” — and there is the great post-modern revelation, from A Brief History Of Everything by Ken Wilber. Fine Art Magazine • Winter 2009 • 55


CHAR L E S

WILDBANK Advancing digital technology finds an increasing number of established artists switching from paint and brush to mouse-pen and software, and New York artist Charles Wildbank has given this opportunity his inspirational best in new light. Wildbank long has derived his inspiration from nature as is seen in his “Stone” series of images on canvas, recently on display at the Armonk Art Show in Armonk, New York where he has participated since 1989, having won several awards. Born and raised on Long Island, Charles Bourke Wildbank drew and painted since age 4 as his prime means of communication, as he was born deaf. His ability to speak caught up later while his art has made life a lot more pleasant and easier for him. He took art classes on Saturdays with the encouragement of his family and found himself earning scholarships to Pratt Institute and Yale University where he majored in Fine Art and Photography. His latest achievements include two 18-foot-high murals commissioned by the Cunard Line for the new luxury ocean liner Queen Mary 2. The murals depicted cliffs and coastal scenes of England and America hinting of what a Capricorn would revel upon. Though the murals were applied with paint, Wildbank made extensive use of digital and photographic technology in his sketch preparations. Up to present day, observable form and vivid color have long been

Charles Wilbank with his painting, Sedona

Moon Stone, giclee on canvas accompanied by Tulips, giclee on canvas

Messenger, giclee on canvas 56 • Fine Art Magazine • Fall 2009

attributed to Wildbank’s art. His recent works appear to flirt with the abstract and the surreal. “. . . the inner world for me is one vast camera obscura with all its images of light and ever-changing color. Then I seek outside for models to reflect that vision from within.” His new digital painting hints a marriage of the ancient pagan and contemporary zen in his use of stone as subject matter, evoking a rare emotion that is perhaps refreshing in our modern cities. For more info visit www.wildbank.com


Public Art in a Small New York Hospital Detail from mural.

I

f you’re President/CEO of Community Hospital at Dobbs Ferry, NY, and your visitors are having trouble finding the cafeteria, you could put a few signs up with arrows pointing the way, tape copies of the menu in the elevators, post an ad on the website or you could engage an artist to create a tromp l’oeil, larger than life mural, which is exactly what Ron Corti did at Community, about an hour North of Manhattan. Mr. Corti, an advocate of a warmer, less hospital-like atmosphere in the facility with a focus on “making our patients, their families and visitors as comfortable as possible,” couldn’t have chosen a more perfect artist for this task than Filomena Sousa whose stated goal in mural painting is to “bring a vision to life with lots of love. Bringing love to people’s lives is my theme. I truly want people to feel calm and relaxed when they see my work, as if they are in Paradise.” Born in Angola, Mena reached Portugal as a civil war refugee at the age of 12. While still in school, Mena was offered a commission to paint a local chapel in Portugal. “It was previously painted by an artist—the theme was the Nativity of Jesus—and since the paint was very old and the artist no longer lived, they asked me to restore the mural. Unsure that I could do the job, I thought about it and decided that if I was asked, it was because God knew I could do it and if He knew that, then I, too, knew I could.” The project was received with great honor and success and when Mena arrived in the USA at the age of 18 the following year, she was asked to muralize the Portuguese church in the city of Yonkers, NY, just north of New York City. Another successful project resulted and Mena has been painting murals ever since. 64 • Fine Art Magazine • Summer 2009

The artist at work, Community Hospital, Dobbs Ferry, NY

“From time to time, I found it a bit difficult to carry on the mural art when I had my children (adults now) who inspire me continually to pursue my talent as God’s great gift. Being a mother again, I decided that painting was going to be part of my motherhood, instead of putting it to the side. We truly use kids as an excuse for not pursuing our dreams. It’s not the kids—it’s us that stop the dream.” Mena’s success in her work is even more inspiring in that she “didn’t have to go to school and major in art.” After dropping out of high school in Portugal she enrolled in an art correspondence course. “There was no teacher physically present but instead I learned from reading books and practice; that I had a will and passion for it also helped.” Mena would send her work in via mail which the instructor would grade from 1-10. “Some of it was 8, but most was 10,” she recalled in a recent interview. “I was determined to be 100% perfect to my satisfaction. Often, I didn’t have the right material, or enough (they would just send one piece of art paper and I would have to work on it without any errors or mistakes), so I couldn’t take a chance to mess it up.” Mena didn’t finish the course as some time during the middle of it she left for the USA. “I did complete a good part of it — pencil drawings, sanguine, colored pencils, crayons, pastels, charcoal and ink. At times, I turned to craft, painting on fabric, decorative china, wine bottles, glasses and so forth. Later on, I became accomplished in acrylics and oil here in the USA by becoming my own teacher

Detail from mural.

Ron Corti, President & CEO with Mena and Ellen Weiner, VP Business Development

and critic. I am still learning and find we all learn about something new everyday. I love art and the freedom that it gives me to express myself, especially on a big scale. The bigger the mural, the better for me. A wall to me it is like chocolate or candy to a child.” While commercial walls are great for the public and the artist, “If it is residential, I always involve the whole family on the project. Sometimes I even have them paint their share on the wall. You hear ‘wow’ after ‘wow’ and ‘How I wish I could paint’ just like I wish I could sing, or play music. This is my God-given talent. Painting murals is freedom and gives me the joy of sharing my work with others. I painted a little girl’s room that she was going to share with her new-coming sister. The mother later told me the new baby always slept with no problem, and loved to look at the walls. I thank God, my kids and friends for the inspiration, time and talent. ” —VICTOR FORBES


Picturing Rhythm By JACK KARP It is 9:30 on a Monday night at Los Angeles’s world famous jazz club, The Mint. Spectators are restless in their seats and the buzz of anticipatory chatter fills the room as show time approaches. A man enters and sets up his equipment. But he is not a musician; he is artist Steven Lopez and he is about to paint “live” to the music of the Kevin Kanner quintet. “Ever since I started drawing I always had music in the background. It had the power to build the atmosphere that I needed,” Steven says. “It was only a matter of time before I started merging the two.” That’s exactly what Steven has been doing. Starting out as a graffiti artist on the streets of L.A. opened Steven to hip-hop music and “helped expose me to the sampled artists, and I followed the trails into jazz, rhythm & blues, and be-bop,” he says. Though he has since moved from painting on alley walls to acrylic on canvas, the echoes of that music still vibrate through Steven’s paintings. Images like The Rabbits make me feel pensive... illustrate the repetition and rhythm that cycle through his work, much the way hip-hop’s heavy bass lines move through the music that inspires him. In images like In between her and Wreckless harmony, which was the first of this series made between 2006 and 2008, figures not easily discernable from the background of color and shape emerge, much the way lyrics and rhymes emerge out of the syncopations of rap. And like the DJs who are constantly sampling other musicians, Steven often samples other artists, grafting images from science fiction, comics, and pop culture onto his work. In surrealist images like The crime of difference is eclipsed by the power of self-realization, Steven appropriates imagery from as far afield as Salvador Dali and sci-fi animation. But it’s in his After Midnight series that Steven’s marriage of music and painting culminates. In this, Steven attempts to evoke specific hip-hop and R&B performers like Erykah Badu and Aretha Franklin in a way that echoes the mood of their music. “I started the project because I wanted to document my painting process via time-lapse photography,” Steven explains. “I thought that 58 • Fine Art Magazine • Fall 2009

music was going to accompany the footage.” So Steven began videotaping his process as he painted to the music of the performers he was capturing. “It took less than a minute to realize that I should use the canvas in direct response to the song that I chose.” Steven is only one of a number of artists increasingly working across disciplines as a way of evoking rhythm and sound in his visual art. Like him, Erika Kapin is a visual artist who finds inspiration for her photography in music and vice versa. “Light and sound both come from vibration,” the New York-based photographer and violinist likes to point out. “Something that is audible has a color to it, and something that is visible also has an audible sound.” Erika began her artistic life playing jazz violin, “although visual art was always present in my life.” After several years performing music, she began feeling compelled to express herself visually. “I do feel that they are very related in how I use them and in the creative process.” Erika takes inspiration for both art forms from the other. “In playing music, I often will visualize a color and focus on playing that hue,” she says. But it is in her photographs that the influence of her musical background really shows. “The photos I take attempt to draw parallels between music and life. Rather than a specific photo being taken to evoke a certain music, an image is intended to convey the relationships between sound, light, and how it relates to life as whole.” Her image, Urban Pulse, for instance, illustrates the repetitive rhythms of the city she calls home, as commuters pass the camera over a period of time while one stationary figure seems to be the uneasy element in the multitude of frames. The

Erika Kapin, Urban Pulse

Steven Lopez, In Between Her

highly stylized geometric structure, with a single figure consistently reappearing in various places throughout, evokes not only the structured urban grid of the city, but also jazz’s familiar underlying repetitions that contain improvisations within them. Erika takes a different approach in Echo, seeking the visual equivalent of an audible reverberation in the movement of a visual form through space. Looking at the image, one can almost feel the figure depicted vibrating like a bell that has just been rung. Yvonne Murphy is also an artist who draws inspiration for her visual art from the rhythms and repetitions of sound. Only the rhythms that drive Yvonne come not from music, but from poetry. A published poet whose work has appeared in literary journals like Poetry and Borderlands, Yvonne started creating sculpted books as visual art in 2004. Originally, the books were a separate form of expression, intended to “manifest personal dreams and visions,” Yvonne says. But inevitably, the two art forms began to mingle. “I started using my poems in some of the books — like Poetry Book and Silver Book. In those, I cut out some of my poems and put them in pockets inside the books.” Yvonne continued sculpting books as a way of crafting physical representations of specific works of poetry until the books themselves began to fascinate her. “I became more and more interested in the book as a physical entity,” she says, and in 2007, Yvonne went to Ireland to study the Book of Kells and other


rare manuscripts. The trip was an epiphany and led to Yvonne’s creation of Scarred Book. “I was just as transfixed by the skin – stains, marrings, patches, and scars – of that manuscript as I was by the transcendent art and script.” But something else happened during her biblio-immersion. For the first time, not only was Yvonne inspired to create a book, but “I began writing poems about books,” she explains, like in these fist lines of her poem Covered by Forest: “The book is full of language, hybrid monsters interlaced in hedgerows/ of alliterations, peacocks, gargoyles, griffins. Twisted into verbal knots…”

Bibliomancy, Yvonne’s second manuscript of poetry on which she is currently working, “is a fruition of this back and forth between art and poetry and all things book,” Yvonne remarks. In her poem, Kermes Red, a reference to the dye made from insects used in ancient manuscripts, Yvonne’s obsession with those intricately designed manuscripts is evident in her use of baroque language as well as in the poem’s almost archaic structure: Cr imson wingless insects, your pregnant bodies the color of Antiquity inked on European cedars, the Middle Ages, your bellies scraped for vermiculum by meticulous fingernails. You shift into a potent scarlet dye used in medicine, tabernacles, courts, our most sacred books…

By now, “the interconnection of my sculpted books and poetry is relatively symbiotic,” Yvonne says. “Everything kind of happens simultaneously now. Sometimes poems get written first and sometimes books start getting made first. I’m usually working on them at the same time.” Karen Johnson, also like Yvonne, is inspired by the rhythm of words. A photographer who grew up in the rural Midwest hearing stories told by her elders, she became heavily influenced by the “rural oral tradition.” Karen now incorporates the language of those stories into her photographic images. “Sometimes I write on the image,” she explains. “Sometimes I use a high contrast film to make a photographic image of the text and then print it as a separate image paired with or printed on the image.” Karen creates large installations of images and artifacts combined with text, and her work tends to be narrative, mining her

family’s rural past and storytelling heritage for material. “The process of making my work is often very personal, motivated by a drive to understand personal experiences and concerns,” she says. She usually writes her own text, though she sometimes appropriates text from historical documents or songs. In Dad Never Told Me, for instance, she places her grandparents’ aging wedding photograph at the center of the piece, with handwritten copy documenting all the family secrets her father kept swirling around the image in concentric rings. While in Fish Story, she transcribes a tale she recorded her grandmother telling about the very big fish caught by the farmer who lived across the road from her directly onto the image of her grandmother. The result of this process is “the creation of new images which are, in a sense, poetic responses to the original images and to the stories they awaken for me,” Karen insists. This need, to somehow respond visually to the audible rhythms of life, whether those rhythms come from music, poetry, or stories, seems to be the driving force behind the work of all these visual artists, artists who listen as well as simply see. “The process and goal of art and creativity are very much the same regardless of the means,” Erika Kapin says. “Vibration, light and shadow, rhythm and motion, form and shape – all of these elements which together form art and music, also are building blocks to life.”

Erika Kapin, Echo

Steven Lopez, Badu

Yvonne Murphy, Silver Book Fine Art Magazine • Fall 2009 • 59


Molly Crabapple PHOTO AERIC MEREDITH GOUJON

By Elizabeth Bissette Molly Crabapple is a lot like her art work; original, vibrant and inspired. Her art collectively seems to form a marvelous, surreal peep-show and, though only 26, she’s a rising force not only in the New York art scene, but in art communities all over the world via her Dr. Sketchy’s Anti’Art schools, now in 96 locations. Her new graphic novel, Scarlett Takes Manhattan, has just come out on the heels of her clever and entertaining Dr. Sketchy’s Rainy Day Activity Book. Her work has also been featured in “Weird Tales” and is going to be included in Marvel’s upcoming “Strange Tales MAX” Indie anthology. She’s also contributed to “The New York Times” and a number of other publications. Ms. Crabapple recently travelled to ComicCon and also organized the first SketchyCon earlier this year. People came from all over the world to, “meet each other, sharpen their skills and stir up a little mayhem.” Ms. Crabapple said in a recent interview with Newsarama.com. Molly is arguably today’s Queen of Neo-Burlesque, a popular part of nightlife in New York and other cities. Events draw huge crowds and Dr. Sketchy’s has recently been organizing some in Times Square, broadening the audience in an innovative way. Today’s Burlesque shows range from showcases of dancers to grand spectacles including acrobats, magicians, comedians and circus performers. It is not unlike it was when it began as a launching pad for Vaudeville and, in some instances, Vaudeville itself. Like now, the other periods in history that have embraced burlesque have been times of political upheaval and socio-economic inequalities. Examples of this are the heyday of the Moulin Rouge, the staid façade of the Victorian Era, the Edwardian Gibson Girl, and the Follies that foiled the grim realities of the 30s. Burlesque is a way to escape from reality, to distract, entertain, amuse and excite. Ms. Crabapple has created a new dimension for us to escape to and placed doorways to it across the world. By doing this, she has helped re-define Burlesque for our time. The fine art world begins to shift a little too. “I started reading books about Paris in the mid to late 1800s and was inspired by them. They got my mind churning; why not have that? I looked for something like it but found nothing. So I just did it. You can create the New York you want each day. In my dream of New York, artists aren't isolated in studios or ivory towers. I want an art world that's fun and talent-loving and decadent, a 21st century Montmarte.” As an artists model she had romantic expectations but found the reality dull, de-humanizing and not particularly well-paying. So, along with friend A.V. Phibes, she created Dr. Sketchy’s. She describes it as, “a 60 • Fine Art Magazine • Fall 2009

Dorian Deconstructed, 2007

place where models could make a fair wage and express their amazing personalities, while sketchers could partake of that pseudo-bohemian atmosphere so many of us went to art school for." Now her events are often sold out and receive 5 star reviews. She’s interjecting new life into art scenes everywhere, and is fast becoming a classic. “The schools are very diverse.” Molly says, “The definition of a flamboyant underground performer is different in Singapore than in San Francisco; each is influenced by the people running it and the theme around it. "We comb New York to find the most glamorous and subversion underground celebrities. Then, twice a month, you guys get to draw them. Did we mention you can also drink?” Thus says Molly Crabapple. Her paintings are a little like Lautrec’s were. As he was, she is immersed in a Fin de Seicle scene and renders it. “Lautrec didn’t do the classes,” she laughingly reminded me. Ms. Crabapple paints the New York scene in a sensual yet often sarcastic and a little sinister way. Though quite different in execution, her work is a bit Goya-like with subjects caught unawares in private moments. The moments are sometimes beautiful, sometimes grotesque. Though in some ways light hearted, many of the visions


she creates have cynical, wistful or slightly a home to wayfaring artists for over 50 years.) foreboding tones. She describes it as “a gorgeously bohemian “I want my work to show the aching place with thumb sized roaches, squat toilets backs, the fake smiles, the low wages, the and no working showers.” greasepaint and the sweat of performance as Of the Middle East, she says that it well as the tassels and sequins. We live,” she wasn’t the Burton-esque perfumed garden she said, “especially in NY, in a fame and celebrity expected. “In Turkey, there was this place on the obsessed culture, and people create these border I wanted to see—a castle with arches, a elaborate personas. I think that’s interesting. weird fantasia with domed stropped turrets still I don't condemn at all—we live in a time of crumbling. I went there and I couldn’t believe elaborate promotion. I find it fascinating. I it. The Government had hideously restored it try to expose what's underneath it.” by putting on plastic roof architecture. It was As with Durer, her subjects encompass horrifying, sort of like a McDonald’s roof.” a broad range of human experience. In her Done with world travel and moving paintings and drawings we find beautiful forward from pen and ink to color, what women growing old, useless rich and can we expect from Ms. Crabapple next? drudging poor, lovely young girls making a She’s thinking more large scale paintings living appealing to really unappealing men and theatrical design. A 30 foot theatrical and much more. These are reminiscent of curtain she designed for New York mayor the work of artists from the mid 1800s-early Bloomberg’s annual summer party whetted 1900s. However, like burlesque itself, her her appetite to fuse visual and performing work also contains a heavy dash of humor. arts. “I suppose an ultimate for me,” she says, “Where other people might denounce,” “would be to design for some ultra decadent she says of her sexy sideshow of subjects, “I opera, perhaps La Traviatta.” poke fun.” She’s recently collaborated for Dr. It is artifice itself that fascinates her Sketchy’s with legendary New York artist most, she says, as she describes it as the Ron English. English is perhaps best known very basis of Western art. She is, in a way, for his guerilla billboard paintings, often its knight in spangled armor, a magician Scarlett Takes Manhattan, cover of Molly Crabapple’s bitingly sarcastic and usually painted over new graphic novel with longtime collaborator John who transforms a blank piece of paper actual billboards in broad daylight while he Leavitt. Published by Fugu Press, 2009 into something entirely different. The arts, posed as a regular sign painter. Her work is performing and fine art in particular are, for Crabapple, a sort of black also going to be featured in an October exhibit at Richmond, Virginia’s magic. “It’s trickery,” she says. Gallery 5. Other artists participating include Katelan Foisy and Wes She describes Burlesque in similar terms. “I love how, onstage, you Freed, a musician and visual artist best known for his cover art for the create an entirely different self in the same way you create a canvas.” She Drive By Truckers. said. “I love the power of being what you’re not. A good photograph doesn’t Whatever shape her future paintings take, wherever they are found, so much as capture a moment as invent one a moment far more poignant they will, no doubt, continue to be reflective of an extraordinary everyday and symbolic than the one when the picture was taken.” life. Ms. Crabapple has long blurred the distinction between artist and “I don't think of my subjects as extreme because, for me, it’s the way subject, between creator and muse. Like Andy Warhol, Molly Crabapple life is. In the East Village performance scene, everyone is doing things has made herself her art. Not unlike Studio 54, Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art like that. The idea of doing it myself seemed normal to me. I’m a loner. Schools provide a set for her and the brilliant circle of Sketchy directors. What most people think is impossible, I think, ‘of course I can do this or that.’” For example, the sideshow acts she once did. “A friend taught me,” she said. “I haven't done it in a while.” When I mentioned to her that I had read that she can eat fire, drive nails up her nose, walk on glass and chew light bulbs she said, “But I only ate light bulbs once. It’s hard on the enamel of your teeth." As she now, in adult life, lives in a fantastic world that to most seems dream-like, as a child she didn't really see the difference, she says, between books and real life. Her imagination was captured by The Arabian Nights, for example. She said that, by adulthood, they still seemed alive enough to her to merit trips across the Middle East. Another time, inspired by Anais Nin, she traveled the globe with just $300.00. She’s a sort of real life Alice, visiting a series of exotic wonderlands. While filing five notebooks with travel sketches, she visited four continents, snuck into mosques, was detained in jails, drew for bread, and resided in attics. She even lived in bookstore in Paris, where she slept on the floor in exchange for working the Portrait of Simon Hammerstein, 2008 cash register. (The bookstore, “Shakespeare and Co.”, has been Fine Art Magazine • Fall 2009 • 61


Porter Sunset, oil on canvas, 16” x 40”,

Edward “Bear” Miller

Corscaden Barn, Keene Valley, NY “My hope is always that the canvas I am working on will graduate to become pure poetry of the spirit. That said, I generally settle for fresh, gritty landscape paintings with soul. Like an alert swimmer stroking and exploring the tones and textures of a beloved lake or river, I plunge into September Spreadeagle, oil on canvas, 20” x 30” and meditatively process the colors and currents that I encounter as I paint. This year’s batch of finished canvases explores familiar scenes around our house on Beede Road in Keene Valley. My pieces originate in the realist impulses of Gustave Corbet and Robert Henri, but they strive for the abstractions of Arthur Dove and the immediacy of John Marin. After ten years of teaching high school history, I recently decided to become a full-time painter. Washington, D.C. is my home, but Chapel Pond is the center of my universe.” —BEAR MILLER

Tripod Brook. oil on canvas, 16” x 24” 62 • Fine Art Magazine • Fall 2009

Trinity Falls (IV), oil on canvas, 24” x 32”

September Brothers, oil on canvas, 7” x 10”


JEANETTE KORAB

Fusing Art Into The Illustration Of Fashion By JAMIE ELLIN FORBES

“I like to work with unusual angles to emphasize classic timeless beauty, to bring out the inner essence…”

all images © Jeanette Korab 2009

Jeanette Korab the wife of the late artist Vladimir Gorsky, has reopened her photographic studio in Dallas, Texas, Korab Photography and Fine Art. Jeanette put her own career on hold while establishing Gorsky Fine Art and to help further Vladimir’s robust international career. The married team successfully focused on his accomplishments during their time together. Jeanette found that after Vladimir lost his two year fight against brain cancer, she was able to find salvation in her work, relaunching her own career. After apprenticing during graduate school with Dallas’ noted Fashion Photographer Constance Ashley, Jeanette opened her first studio, J. Korab Photo Design in 1976, and began photographing models from the top fashion agency in Dallas, Kim Dawson. Her clientele grew to include Neiman Marcus, Lou Lattimore, Daired’s Spa Pangia, Balliet’s, (W) magazine, FASHION! DALLAS, of the Dallas Morning News, The Houston Chronicle, designer Victor Costa, Rosewood’s five star Hotel & Resorts of the Carolyn Hunt family and icons such as The Neville Brothers and Elizabeth Taylor. Jeanette handled photo assignments from Dallas’ own Southfork Ranch to Hollywood, to Monet’s Garden in France, to Hong Kong. During her years with Vladimir, Jeanette never totally lost touch with her subjects, clients and love of photography. She began again recently to accept photographic projects as well as create her own upcoming line of fine art photographic prints. Korab combines her experiences in the fine art and fashion photography worlds to expand her artistic horizons, bringing a sophistication and in-depth look of beauty to the subjects found by her camera’s eye. Korab attended Stephens College, Columbia Missouri, receiving a BFA degree in Fashion Design. She taught abroad at the American Fashion College of Switzerland, Lucerne in 1974-75. Her students gained from her insight and interest in modeling, fashion design, and fashion illustration. Returning as a Graduate student in 1975-76, Korab refined her talent by attending Texas Woman’s University for a masters program in Fashion Illustration, developing her thematic interest in “illustrating fashion through photography” and branding it within her industry as distinctive. Creating art through fashion using the camera’s lens and her distinctive appreciation of light, Jeanette captures the inner beauty of her subjects in the energy of the moment, fusing all the elements into an amalgam, the end result of which is an artistic impression of distinctive beauty. Korab’s use of light wrapped around and amidst the human form is the hallmark of her work, glorification of her subjects and imagery without artificiality. “I compose angle and light to enhance the human form,” she says. “Photography satisfies me creatively when the results are classic, timeless beauty.” Her technique of joining individual compositional designs into a coherent artistic statement with style, dress, poise and fashion posture are the primary factors that inform her work from the beginning of her career up to the present day. With Vladimir’s art still very much at the forefront of her life, Jeanette established the Vladimir Gorsky Foundation to foster art in education and expand on her and Vladimir’s philanthropic message of assistance to those in need. To get involved, visit vladimirgorskyfoundation.org. korabphoto@aol.com Fine Art Magazine • Fall 2009 • 63


CHRISTOPHER M. “The Painter of Chefs”

Cooking with Wine

22 x 30

A Good Night

24 x 24

Savor the Moment

88 s/n 8 AP Fine Art Limited Edition on canvas

Young contemporary artist Christopher M. known as “The Painter of Chefs” continues his artistic legacy with delicious fervor as he paints a tribute to the culinary arts. Christopher M. celebrates the epicurean delights and that which we seek to enjoy; fine art, fine wine and fine food. Like a Master Chef striving to create the ultimate culinary experience, Christopher M.’s paintings are sure to satisfy even the most discriminating artistic palate.

Original Paintings and Limited Editions by Emerging Young Masters. Contact us at (619)895-3027 to Become an Exclusive Dealer.

www.crownthornpublishing.com

25 x 36


HOMAGE A MOORE by John Pacovsky Grande Absente, Absinthe Originale is now made legally, using the exact original recipe from 1860. Grande Absente is still handcrafted in the south of France with the highest quality spirits and select botanicals, including the legendary Wormwood, aka Artemisia Absinthium. Grande Absente is 138 proof so please enjoy responsibly.

www.absente.com Grande Absente Liqueur, 69% ALC/VOL., Grande Absente and Grande Absente Logo are trademarks owned by M. P. Roux, Imported from France by Crillon Importers Ltd., Paramus, NJ 07652 Š 2008

Fine Art Magazine - Fall 2009  

Full Fall 2009 Fine Art Magazine