2001-06-23 / Columnists

From The Artists Studio Rockaway Artists Alliance

by Susan Hartenstein

From The Artists Studio
Rockaway Artists Alliance

Presently at the Jan Krugier Gallery in Manhattan, through July 26, is an exhibition of small treasures entitled "From Turner to Cezanne: Works on Paper." John Constable’s small pieces and studies have always been, for me, more interesting and satisfying than his finished paintings.

The freedom of these small works can be seen in "View in Borrowdale." Gustave Courbet is represented by a luminous black crayon drawing, "La prairie ensoleillee." Seurat’s contecrayon drawings reflect his profound understanding of the nature of light and shadow, exploring these two elements in a spiritual, metaphysical sense.

It takes a few moments to discern the images in "A deux chevaux." There is the odd feeling, in the swirl of black crayon and white space, that Seurat is pulling order out of chaos. One is made aware of the exquisite delicacy of Ingres’s line, most acutely, in his graphite drawings. Two are included in this show.

Works by Cezanne illustrate that his art is as much about the void as the painted space. The vellum upon which Turner has drawn a lighthouse gives the piece its luxuriant quality.

Some very interesting etchings and prints by Picasso are to be found in this exhibit. Perhaps the most wonderful surprise of the show is found in the work of Victor Hugo. In this author of "Les Miserables," one finds an artist ahead of his time. He achieves visual and intellectual subtlety through an incredible range of techniques. He experimented with materials as well as concepts of abstractions. His adventurous use of materials included coffee.

The works of many other nineteenth century artists are included in this exhibition. All make it well worth the visit. Jan Krugier Gallery is located at 41 East 57th Street.

Closer to home is a fine exhibit at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, "Gateway to Nature: Artists in the Park." The exhibit includes work of artists who have had solo shows at the refuge. There is an incredible range of media employed, from an intriguing assemblage by John Kominski to the fluid touch of Martha Killian’s watercolors to the subtle oil of Stephen Yaeger to the dramatic black and white gelatin silver prints of Joseph Rothenberg and Alice Hughey to the delicate touch of Jeff Rabkin’s haiku poems.

Dave Taft is one of the artists in the show. He is also Chief of Interpretation at the Jamaica Bay Unit of Gateway National Recreation Area. Taft began these art exhibits at the refuge. He states that those who work in the park are very good at explaining the scientific aspects of that park to the public. But it is the artists who can truly express its beauty.

There are several fine artists in this group show. They reflect some of the diversity of impulses and interpretations of the stunning, subtle, grand and glorious sights to be seen in this unique urban park. The exhibition runs through August 10. For information contact Gateway National Recreation Area.

Hope to see you this weekend at RAA’s Building Fund Benefit.

Note that John J. Grillo’s exhibit "Photographs: Near and Far" has been extended through June 24 at sTudio 6 in Fort Tilden, GNRA.

More art news next week from "near and far." Enjoy.

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