Tag Archives: Jerome Witkin

Misery Loves Company

I love a man who believes in the devil.

20191109_143929.jpg

I don’t give credence to evil.  I believe there is goodness and lack of goodness.  We create our own realities and so, perhaps unwittingly, we create sadness, doom, mayhem and what have you.  The Universe/God gives you EVERYTHING you ask for without the emotion associated with positive or negative vibes.

20191109_143950.jpg

That’s the gist of it.  In this way, no outside entity or force is inserting itself into your experience.  You and you alone create the life you have.

20191109_144007.jpg

The good news is that you can control your life experience by thinking positively, by working to create a sense of goodness via happiness, joy and love.  You can have a beautiful life if you choose to look at the good, that is to say to create rather than face reality.

20191109_144000.jpg

People who argue for their limitations, who need to revisit shit-storms don’t get this.  People who use the devil as a temptation scapegoat instead of taking responsibility for their actions – well, that seems a fearful way to live.

20191109_144749.jpg

I accept that I will not be loved unconditionally by this man, because it is apparent our beliefs have divided us, and so, this so-called devil has seemingly wedged itself in the cracks of my relationship after all.

20191109_144605.jpg

Isn’t that ironic?  You get what you think about – perfectly illustrated.  Imagined evil wins this round (for the sake of this article).  And the moral is that you just can’t take yourself too seriously.  Allow everyone to live their own truth even if it perpetuates pain rather than alleviating it. And don’t judge.  Yes, that’s the trick – to love anyway, even if you don’t always agree…and to trust, trust, trust that goodness will inevitably/eventually prevail.  There are always positive outcomes available to you. ❤

20191109_144306.jpg

Jerome Witkin has made a career of facing harsh realities via his large-scale figurative paintings.  Art must show our times, without any holding back, showing how we are living in this time – this world .  His quote operates on the assumption that everyone in this time is living crummy lives.  He uses Katrin Naumann, my friend and yogini as a primary model to illustrate the dastardly manifestations of society, which is such an irony in itself.  Katrin is an ethereal soul, an absolutely beautiful human person.

20191109_144029.jpg

Witkin is proficient in rendering and paint applications.  His compositions are modern visual collages shaped like temples for his angst-infused pulpit.  The devil is in the details, lol.

20191109_144735.jpg

Jerome Witkin:  This Time, This World is currently on exhibit at ArtRage Gallery (505 Hawley Avenue, Syracuse, New York 13203).  The art reception is tonight from 6-8 pm.  The show runs through January 11, 2020 with an artist talk planned for Wednesday, January 8, 2020 at 7 pm.

20191109_144743.jpg

Advertisements

Measuring Up

20190901_151714.jpg

20190901_155135.jpg

20190901_151910.jpg

The Art Galleries at Syracuse University are designed to facilitate education.  In other words, it’s a teaching museum.  Professors require students to go to there – to critique the art/learn how to judge a work of art.  Students journal about experiences for classes, attend the receptions and lectures, and even work there (which has to be the greatest work-study gig).

Last year, former Director Domenic Iocono mentioned it was the reason artists like Jasper Johns, James Rosenquist and Kiki Smith wanted to collaborate by sharing their work with our community, enhancing the walls of the spaces with their respective visions.

20190901_151821.jpg

In this season’s first exhibition, Not a Metric Matters, the university galleries led by new Director and Chief Curator Vanja Malloy, Ph.D. hosts its own – the School of Visual & Performing Arts faculty.  It is an opportunity to showcase their talent, yes, and also turn the tables on the critiquing process allowing the professors to show students how it’s really done.

Margie Hughto has been affiliated with the university for many, many years.  When I spoke to her last month, she said teaching is still fun and so, she will continue to share her expertise with students for many years to come.

Her ceramic and found object work is exquisite.  It is perfection in editing – selecting just the right found object pieces to coordinate with the ceramic pieces.  The work alludes to the recent discarded and forgotten in terms of technology.

20190901_151835.jpg

The thought provoking concepts aside, Hughto’s artwork screams of her strength of character.  She finds beauty in every angle, in each piece fused as one.  They are signatures of her style while continuing to surprise and delight us, continuing a growth trajectory as an artist and that in itself is the lesson.

20190901_151851.jpg

20190901_151844.jpg

20190901_152730-1.jpg

20190901_152756.jpg

20190901_152744.jpg

Holly Greenberg has isolated grief in this productive series of drawings.  These pieces resonated with me – as you know my father recently passed away and his belongings are still in the closets, his car in the driveway at Mom’s house.  Using these ordinary objects as memento gives them a lovingly somber power and isolating them in their compositions drives the message home.

It is curious how objects can retain the emotion of the spirit and Greenberg’s proficiency in rendering provides the elevation of their status.

20190901_152823.jpg

20190901_152500.jpg

20190901_152352.jpg

Ann Clarke‘s fiber artwork is marvelously original.  Texture is my thing and seeing monumental work on the walls creates a bold statement about time.  The fabrics are traditional, but the techniques are fresh and alive.  The hooked rug eye is really incredible in-person.  I love the idea of taking a method we all used in the past and formulating this new pattern, which seems to denote to me that someone is watching over me, loving me.

20190901_152430.jpg

Clarke’s statement does imply that she is the watchful eye for her ailing mother and that is a beautiful thing.  That the old becomes new again, and time is cyclical.

20190901_152420.jpg

20190901_152639.jpg

20190901_152333.jpg

20190901_152536-1.jpg

Other teaching artists in this show –

Yasser Aggour, Cooper Battersby, Emily Vey Duke, Don Carr, Deborah Dohne, Heath Hanlin, Seyeon Lee, Sarah McCoubrey, Su Hyun Nam, Vasilios Papajoannu, James Ransome, Tom Sherman and Chris Wildrick

Their work takes dimension as paintings, drawings, photo-collage, video and installation – and all have something important to say within the context of their visualizations.

20190901_152549.jpg

20190901_153638-1.jpg

20190901_153632.jpg

20190901_152639.jpg

20190901_152707.jpg

20190901_153638-1.jpg

20190901_153632.jpg

There are more exhibits in the space, all curated by different people.  DJ Hellerman is the curator of this show.  He is the Art and Program Curator at the Everson Museum of Art and collaborates with SU’s Department of Transmedia.  I met him while stumbling into a critique of university students’ final exhibitions at Apostrophe’s.

20190901_153827.jpg

David Prince curated the display of former VPA faculty members.  As you know, I am an SU grad (B.F.A. ’85, M.S. ’93).  These professors are my people.  I absolutely loved Rodger Mack.  He was so devoted to building the sculpture department and his bronze sculptures are THE BEST!

20190901_153653.jpg

Seeing his hands portrayed by Jerome Witkin brought a tear to my eye.  There is so much love here, people.  Going to Syracuse University was a dream come true for me – I feel incredibly blessed to have been the first person in my family to ever go to a university –  and to see the professors being honored is such a gift.  They deserve every accolade.

20190901_153820.jpg

They were and are true working artists, not just people showing up to collect a paycheck.

20190901_153737.jpg

There’s lots more to see of these exhibits and the vast permanent collections.  It will all be on display until November 24, 2019.  There will be an art reception on Thursday, September 12, 2019 from 5 – 7 pm.  And Holly Greenberg will be giving a presentation in the adjacent Shemin Auditorium on Thursday, November 7, 2019 at 6:30 pm.

Syracuse University Art Galleries is located in the Shaffer Art Building on Syracuse University campus.  Free parking is available on Sundays and on Thursday evenings in the Q lot – or at least it was when I was there yesterday.  Call (315) 443-4097 for more information including hours of operation.  ❤

20190901_153721.jpg

20190901_153756.jpg

Living in the Real World

20160306_140145

I did this backwards – I went to the symposium first, at Watson Hall on Thursday night, a panel discussion about art starring the five artists represented in the current art exhibition at the Syracuse University Art Gallery.

20160306_140223

20160306_140228

According to their newsletter, “the five artists included in the exhibition, Robert Birmelin, Gillian Penderson-Krag, Joel Sheesley, Tim Lowly and Bill Murphy, have all enjoyed long careers making images. Their decision to work in a representational manner put them at odds with an art world that has, at times, been little interested in the genre, preferring instead the forms and color of abstraction.”

Professor Jerome Witkin co-curated the exhibit, titled Poetry of Content: Five Contemporary Representational Artists, and led this panel with questions that were meant to delve into these talented artists’ minds and offer pearls of wisdom from the depths of their psyche.

20160306_140303

I tend to think the more we are able to verbalize what we are doing visually, the better non-artists can understand the whole she-bang and in turn, the better we can all understand each other in order to express our worlds.

20160306_140317

20160306_140341

Some people are good at this and some are not particularly good at it. Which is why art ends up seeming incredibly difficult to comprehend to those who need that linear connection.  I think hearing these artists speak about their work first then going to see the exhibit, which I did today, finally (yay!), made viewing the work so much better, because I felt like I knew them a little bit better.  I had heard about their processes, their successes and their struggles. They were real people living in the real world all while manipulating the world via creating their visions on canvas, wood panel and paper.

And so, the emotion they conveyed in their marks, in their compositional viewpoints and in their selection of color and texture became poetic. Not sure if I would have had the same response had I seen the show first. So backwards in this case was better – for me at least.

20160306_140408

The art gallery is open on Sundays.  You can park for free in the Q4 lot across the street and once there, you can practically have the gallery to yourself.  I visited with my friend Joyce Backus and the only other people there were artist Ken Nichols and his wife, and the person at the front desk.

20160306_140440

Funny that, because as we made small talk, we realized that Cheryl Chappell and John Fitzsimmons were the ones who had planted the seed in all of us to go on a Sunday.

Thanks, Cheryl and John!

20160306_140444

20160306_140500

It was such an amazing experience strolling through the space.  Witnessing the large-scale works by Tim Lowly was certainly powerful.  I would say more so after hearing him tell the tale of how they came to be – images of his daughter who, as he mentions in his artist statement, is developmentally disabled.  He uses acrylic paint and it is handled in such a magnificent way that I cannot understand how he can do that.  The colors are muted in an oil-painterly style with light coats of brush stroke and this incredible texture.  And the way he created light effects is genius!

20160306_140512

Joyce and I looked at each other and she said, “It makes me want to go home and paint!” And I agreed.  I was actually thinking the very same thing.  Ken said Golden Acrylics has a new product out that mimics the drying time of oils so…maybe….

20160306_140529

20160306_140311

Many of the artists chose to do multi-paneled works.  Some on canvas, some on wood; placed near to one another or next to each other.  Robert Birmelin’s were more of the former.  People permeate the canvases then disappear into each other or other objects, giving the artwork a futurism flavor.  You could almost hear the sounds emanating from the work – of car horns, guns blazing, people shouting – the hustle and bustle of it all and all in motion, yet completely still in the quiet of the empty museum.

20160306_140537

Gillian Penderson-Krag’s artwork was the smallest of the bunch.  A lot of square canvases with amazing details – still-lifes and turquoise-walled interiors with people sitting around gazing in a way that creates rhythm (what do I see/what do they see?)  And land and seascapes that were a bit more universal in terms of connecting with the viewer.  She’d said that a professor once told her to paint what she liked and this was so profoundly simple in its truth that it changed her artistic life from painting abstractly, as was the style when she was in college, to creating these brilliant little works.

20160306_140235

This exhibition continues through March 20, 2016.

20160306_140549

In addition to these works in the main gallery, there is a show of graphic art by Robert Kipniss and…(drumroll, please)… etchings by Rembrandt!  OMG, one of them is a self-portrait, a tiny thing, but he looks like he is looking right at you.  Like he is staring and saying – go home and make art!  You have this. You love this!

20160306_140152

20160306_140207

Yes – the collective shows, as well as the vast collection of art in this gallery, is incredibly inspirational.  Thanks, Syracuse University for being one of my soul-mates. ❤

If you want to help support SU Art, go to www.suart.syr.edu/give-now/.  You can also support the program by purchasing from the gift shop here.