Exhibition: January 4 - January 27, 2006
Barbara Takenaga: Patterns of the Universe
Betty Woodman is an extraordinary artist who has been working in ceramics, painting and sculpture for over fifty years. She keeps developing her work, refreshing it, and raising it to ever higher aesthetic levels. This past year she was recognized by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York with a first –ever solo retrospective of a living ceramic artist.
Of late, the art of drawing has been engaging her even more than it has in the past. Taking inspiration from Rubens, Matisse and Picasso---not to mention Roman and Asian antiquity---she begins with a preparatory drawing for a three dimensional piece, goes to sculpting, firing, painting and finishing and then goes back to the two dimensional preparatory drawing. Then, using the clay-based terra sigillata as paint as well as graphite, wax and ink, she turns the original drawing into a work of art itself.
The vessel/vase, however, is still the primary focus for Woodman. As a metaphor for the human body it remains central to her work. She endlessly mines its anthropomorphic possibilities even though she can make a vase so flat the flowers have to remain on the outside.
Gorgeous exuberant color runs riot over all of Woodman’s work. It eloquently displays how her painterly qualities interact with her sculptural talents. As Woodman herself puts it, “Concepts of both painting and ceramics are intertwined and folded back upon each other.”
Born in New England, educated at Alfred University, Woodman now lives in New York and in Italy. From simple potter to world class artist she has come a long way and at age seventy-six she is still reinventing herself with spectacular new ideas.
There is an other-worldly stillness about the work of Alan Feltus. The figures he paints, often calm Italian beauties, are the embodiment of silence, suspension in time, intense solitariness, and great absorption. A mystery exists: What is the relationship of these people in which no one speaks?
Essentially domestic in theme these paintings evoke the solemnity of classical tradition but with coloring so sensuous it casts a warm glow over each canvas.
The Narrative of relationships is the primary emphasis of Alan Feltus’ imagery. His enigmatic paintings use the body language of his isolated figures to convey emotion. The viewer is compelled to create their own drama for these vignettes that are frozen in time.
Feltus studied at the Tyler School of Fine Arts, received his B.F.A. from Cooper Union in New York and an M.F.A. from Yale University. He has received many awards for his work including the Pollock – Krasner Foundation Grant in painting.
Steven Assael, a New York artist, attended Pratt Institute and currently teaches at The School of Visual Arts in New York. His edgy portraits focus on the human figure. Drawing upon his classical talents as a figurative painter, he manages to comment upon the frailty and romanticism of the human condition in contemporary society.
If realist art is a style whose time has come (or come back), the work of Steven Assael might be described as “expressionistic realism”. Blame it on a hunger for content, a concern for the human drama or perhaps a desire to look at wonderful, masterful drawing. Despite all the technical skill, Assael’s portraits have a large component of human connection with his subjects; beautifully rendered in the traditional sense, although his subjects often speak of a darker side.