Art Exhibits

Black & White

February 9, 2017 7:05 pm
Black & White Juried Art Show

My sketches “Moose Creek” & “Beaver Meadow, Whitney Creek” have been accepted for the Lake Placid Center for the Arts Juried show “Black & White”. They will be on display there from: Friday 2/10/2017 – Saturday 3/18/2017.

Black & White

Picasso Black & White

January 7, 2013 12:48 pm

Picasso Black & WhiteI recently attended the “Picasso Black and White” exhibit on view at the Guggenheim until January 23. I have long had a love/hate relationship with Picasso’s work. Anyone who has more than casually looked into his body of work knows he was by far one of the most prolific artists ever. I have seen probably somewhere around 4-5 large scale exhibitions of his work, all bringing something unique and completely different to the table. Not only was he a drawer, painter and print maker but he also did many sculpture and pottery works. Few artists have created so many works across so many mediums.

Taking into account the vastness of Picasso’s body of work it is hard not to like at least some of the work he did and if so, it is difficult not feel quite passionately and favorably about the works one does like. I would make a guess I probably only care for about 30% of his 2 dimensional works but those I do care for I feel very strongly about. This about sum’s up my feelings of the Black and White exhibit.

It is easy for those unacquainted with Picasso’s works to easily dismiss him as a abstract artist who made art for other artists. As is the case of many whom I meet that have only seen the occasional image of his in passing. Those who know his works a little better know he was an artists of extreme technical talent, as well as being quite expressive and was often a master at balancing the two. My favorite works of his were those of his younger years, often created between 1900-1930. ‘Woman Ironing’ and ‘Bust of a Woman, Arms Raised’ both included in the Black and White exhibit are perfect examples of the technical skill he possessed while still working quite expressively. In these works he demonstrates a knowledge of classical art all the while pushing the limits of contemporary art of the time.

Picasso - Woman Ironing

Picasso was most certainly a master of line and one of shape as well. ‘Head of a Woman, Right Profile’, ‘Reclining Woman Reading’ and ‘Painting of Man and Woman Kissing’ are wonderful examples of his ability to interpret and reduce line and shape to essential forms that visually seduce viewers.

The exhibit had its share of Picasso works I am not fond of as well. I feel he appeared to get bored with art in his later works. Often displaying what was once simplicity and elegance for a lack of effort, passion or enthusiasm. Its no secret as he aged his views of women became increasingly misogynistic as is apparent in some later works, though I do have to say of all the exhibits of his works I have seen this probably had the fewest.

Overall it was a great exhibit and well worth seeing, even seeing twice. It was well organized, presented and displayed. Despite a pretty sizable crowd it wasn’t overwhelming. Some of the large exhibits can seem like a cattle call. The pieces were well spaced and crowds flowed well between them. Very well done Guggenheim.

Degas & the Nude

March 11, 2012 1:30 pm

DegasI have spent a lot of time looking at the works of Edward Degas. The Metropolitan Museum of Art here in NYC at one time had 2 whole rooms of his work. The rooms have unfortunately since changed. I remember the first time I walked into those rooms. I was enthralled by, and in awe of, the energy and passion with which Degas so eloquently captured the figure. I was just 16 and I made a decision at that point that I wanted nothing else in life if not to spend it with such energy, passion and enthusiasm for drawing & painting the figure.

I recently had the incredible pleasure of viewing the ‘Degas & the Nude’ exhibit at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts’. Now on display at the Musee d’Orsay in France. It was simply one of the best, and my very favorite exhibits I have seen in my lifetime. Of course being a figurative artist and Degas being one of my most liked artists, makes me a little, ok a lot biased!

It was the single greatest collection of his work I had ever seen in one place. Everything from his preparatory drawings, to his prints and finished pastels.

I am intrigued at how as I grow older viewing a particular artists work in person time and time again different things stand out to me at different times in my life even when viewing the same works. While I noticed many things on this particular visit mostly I noted and studied Degas use of different papers, materials and methods. Degas at times combined printmaking and pastel with beautiful elegance. He worked on many different types of paper and with many mediums. He often layered his materials to achieve complex, beautiful effects. His proficiency over materials is absolutely stunning. Degas mastered the flow of passion and energy to paper. He communicates his feelings with the precision of a linguist who effortlessly commands words. Something I tirelessly strive for.

The Art of Bridges

February 9, 2011 8:53 pm

The Art of BridgesThere are times when standing among apparently infinite skyscrapers, apartment buildings, miles of concrete and steel or traveling through seamlessly interconnected subway systems, that it can seem easy to forget, New York City is a collection of islands. With the exception of the Bronx, New York City is surrounded by water on all sides. With all that water comes bridges! and lots of them. There are bridges made of stone, steel, concrete and wood. There are tall bridges, small bridges, long bridges and short bridges. Suspensions, trusses, arches, beams and combination’s of all kinds come together in a complexity almost unfathomable to bring the city together. All of those bridges have brought never ending inspiration to artists of all mediums including painters, photographers, architects, film makers, poets and many others.

The first time I crossed a bridge by foot in New York City it was the Williamsburg Bridge walking from the Manhattan side to Brooklyn via the pedestrian walkway. It was easily one of the most powerful experiences I had ever had in the city. As I began making my way across and I toke notice of the massive apartment towers to my left. They seemed so incredibly large looming at 20 stories or more. As I made my way up the gradual walkway I felt a feeling of rising up along side these massive structures. I was in awe that after 10 minutes or so, I had actually risen completely above them, looking down at their roofs from above.

I reached the first tower of the bridge and looked up at its massive structures in absolute disbelief. Its cables suspending from the trussed towers seemed too large to be real. Its lights seemed like runways to the moon. I looked back to the city. To the north I could see all of the city’s lights. I could see land mark buildings like the Empire State Building, Met life Building and the Chrysler Building with their brightly lit and very recognizable tops reaching for the stars in the night sky. I could see the Queensboro Bridge off in the distance. I turned to my left and to the south I saw the Manhattan Bridge, the beautifully lighted Brooklyn Bridge, lower Manhattan and Brooklyn all gloriously shimmering in the nights sky. I continued my walk across, quite overwhelmed by the massiveness of it all. I was completely in love. I wanted to walk all of the city’s bridges, I wanted to walk the bridges of other cities. Though I had crossed this bridge many times by car and train, for the first time I felt finally understood the inspiration and majesty of bridges.

I have since walked most of NYC’s major bridges as well as many smaller bridges, and bridges elsewhere such as the Golden Gate in San Francisco. My favorite is still the Williamsburg bridge because the walkway takes pedestrians above the traffic and trains. It is no secret though, NYC’s favorite has long been the Brooklyn Bridge.

Museum of the City of New York I recently attended a lecture at the Museum of the City of NY entitled The Brooklyn Bridge as inspiration, gender and the Great Depression and More which coincides with the current exhibition running there Glorious Sky: Herbert Katzman’s New York. The lecture focused on the Brooklyn Bridge and the art it has inspired since construction began on it.

Richard Haw author of Art of the Brooklyn Bridge; A Visual history (Rutledge 2008) headed the discussion with the Artist Bascove, photographer Jonathan Smith, and Sean Corcoran curator of prints for the museum.

Samuel H. Gottscho Brooklyn BridgeSean Corcoran reviewed some of the Museums more notable prints of the bridge. His selection of prints was great. A real sense of time was conveyed as the first images of the bridge spires under construction were shown and Sean continued with slides of photographs from its first completion, the great depression and through to modern times. As Sean spoke about the bridges influence on photography I took note of NY’s ever changing skylines in the photographs. It was really amazing to see views of the bridge from places I had stood that were of a completely different time.

Museum of New York City Archives

Johnathan Smith Manhattan Night Photographer Jonathan Smith spoke about his “Bridge Project” photographs. Jonathan spoke about the difficulty of coming up with unique images and perspectives of New York City bridges since they are so endlessly photographed. One aspect which makes his work unique is his photographing of some of the cities less popular or well known bridges. He also spoke about some of the difficulties gaining access to some area’s to photograph. Jonathan makes use of objects which sometimes obstruct views of the bridges brilliantly making them one with the composition while not losing a feeling for the bridges. Jonathan’s work is really great. It takes us through time and space as we look at scenes of bridges in various weather, hours of the day, and times of year creating intense mood. Jonathan often juxtaposes the bridges against scenes of decaying piers, changing neighborhoods and people creating dynamic combination’s of the bridges and their surroundings.

Johnathan Smith Bridge Project

Bascove Brooklyn BridgeThe artist Bascove showed slides of her work of New York’s bridges and spoke about her process. Bascove a more than capable figurative and still life painter has painted many of the cities bridges and has several books of her works of these structures. Bascove’s work is beautifully colored and strikingly lit. Her work is teeming with enegry and excitement. She has a mastery over composition using dramatic perspectives and at times combining multiple angles to create views which challenge viewers to perceive these structures in new and engaging ways. Her lush landscapes coexist with the bridges which convey a sense of nature and man made structures living side by side in perfect harmony.


I was only briefly able to check out the current exhibit of Herbert Katzman’s work of New York skylines but for what I did see I was impressed and it definitely merits a visit back to the museum.

Bascove Brooklyn Bridge

Glorious Sky: Herbert Katzman’s New York

My art at its core is figurative and I believe it always will be but I certainly can appreciate the beauty of bridges in art and in life. Having spent the last 6 years working in a studio shadowed by the Queensboro Bridge and walking it regularly I have certainly considered more than once expressing her in all her beauty through art. Perhaps someday I too will express the art of bridges but for now I stand in appreciation and admiration of those who do.

John Currin – New Paintings

December 9, 2010 11:47 am

John Currin - Constance Towers

Today I had the pleasure of going to see the John Currin showing of recent works at the Gagosian Gallery on Madison Avenue. Currin is one of my very favorite painters along with Lisa Yuskavage. The show was great! Currin can freaking paint! I feel he is easily one of the greatest living painters. Even at times when he is criticized (and those times are few) critics always admit he has great skill.

I marveled at his new works. I spent a long time studying these paintings. What stood out most to me was Currins ability to paint everything well. Shoes, tile floor, fur, drapery, glass, and of course figures & portraits all executed with the absolute finest
of touches.

Each stroke of his brush seemingly exudes absolute confidence in the result it will bring. Currin continues his subtle playfulness in his current work with many tongue in cheek expressions on the faces of the people in the paintings. His current palette when painting people is very pale, fleshy, somewhat Rubenesque. Of course the show included a couple of Currins more sexually themed paintings. Not necessarily my taste in painting but they are incredibly well executed.

I highly recommend the show to anyone who can make it out to see it.

John Currin is truly a contemporary master.

John Currin at Gagosian Gallery