1999-12-25 / Columnists

From The Artists Studio


Rockaway Artists Alliance

"Dalliance"-1997-oil painting by Dorothea Tanning.



Sarah Brave, 88, Oglala Sioux, silver print, by Jessica Burstein.

By Susan Hartenstein

Thank you to all who made RAA’s December general meeting such a success. Included that night was our fifth annual exhibition—a reminder of just how much talent is in our organization and of what a wide variety of skills and humanity RAA contains. The walls of T-149 were filled to capacity with the "latest and greatest" RAA has to offer, replete with "jaw-droppers" and "ooh-elicitors". Many thanks to Kevin Buckley, Jesse Kassowitz, Rosemary Murray and Audrey Pheffer—advisory board members who were able to attend. To those unable to attend because of previous commitments, we were thinking of you and we’ll see you next time. We were also pleased that Terry Savage, acting superintendent of Gateway National Recreation Area, joined us. Vladimir Rozenshtein was a welcome guest speaker whose lecture/demonstration added a special touch to the proceedings. More about Rozenshtein and his beautiful work in a later column. We regret to see Kevin Callaghan’s experience leaving the RAA board of directors, but we welcome Kate Judge, who joins us. To Matt Gelfer and Miriam Abraham—our palates and our tummies thank you for the delectable comestibles. Much effort and culinary talent went into them and helped make the evening as wonderful as it was. Let’s do this again at the end of the next millennium.

December 28 from 12 noon to 3 p.m. the Hammels Senior Center will host the latest exhibit of artworks of the seniors taking Geoff Rawling’s oil painting class at the center on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The center is located at 90-01 Rockaway Beach boulevard. This regular exhibit is always quite special, so try to see it.

"Photographs from The Grandmother Book" is a tender and insightful tribute to grandmothers and the ties that bind them to their families and to the generations. This exhibit at the Neuhoff Gallery is a collection of glowing, beautifully conceived and composed black and white photographs by Jessica Burstein from the upcoming "The Grandmother Book". The first person text accompanying each photographic portrait is written by sister Patricia Burstein and is included in this exhibit. Together they make for an experience of great poignancy. Jessica Burstein encourages her camera to capture the essences of these women, recording them in telling poses and settings. Women from a range of ages and economic and social backgrounds look at us with faces of strength, beauty and pain—"grandmother" in varied incarnations. A 30 year-old unwed mother who wants better for her grandchildren, a Viennese countess, a 60’s hippie and activist who is "still rocking", a grandmother of two children killed in the Oklahoma City bombing—each of these women is fascinating in her own way. The text serves to reinforce what is revealed visually about the individual. It also adds a special poignancy, as in the case of the Oklahoma City grandmother. Jessica Burstein is an accomplished photographer whose long list of credits includes being the first woman staff photographer at NBC. Her photographs have been published in almost every major magazine and newspaper including Paris Match and The New York Times. The Neuhoff Gallery is at 41 East 57 street and the exhibit runs through January 22.

At the same address Zabriskie Gallery is showing "Flower Paintings" by Dorothea Tanning. Tanning recently created 12 paintings of imaginary flowers. They are the subjects of the book "Another Language of Flowers" in which each is accompanied by a poem pertaining to that flower, written by 12 different contemporary poets. James Merrill, Adrienne Rich and W.S. Merwin are three of the writers. Eight of the paintings appear in the exhibit. Tanning creates large, open forms of erotic grandeur which invite the viewer in with their sensual colors, shapes and tones. Because each is an imaginary flower, one is freed from attempting to identify from some mental seed catalogue and simply "falls into" these huge, inviting forms like some willing caterpillar about to be attracted to…what? Included in the exhibit are initial sketches, providing insight into another aspect of the same impulse. Tanning was born in 1910. She has lived and worked in New York, Arizona, and France, creating in various art forms such as sculpting in cloth materials and lithography and in various styles including the early surrealist paintings of the 40’s and 50’s. This exhibit runs through January 15.

Remember in June when we were all saying we had plenty of time until the new millennium? Can you believe it is just about here? I hope this has been a happy and fruitful holiday season for you and next week…well, we’ll talk of various things

 

 

 

 

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