2002-01-19 / Columnists

From The Artists Studio - Rockaway Artists Alliance

By Susan Hartenstein

Call to RAA artists:

  • "PASSION RED" – the next Rockaway Artists Alliance member exhibition at sTudio 6 Gallery, Fort Tilden. "PASSION" will run "RED" from February 9 – March 10.
  • Drop-off for submission materials: Saturday, February 2 from 2 – 4 p.m. Place: sTudio 6 Gallery. Please contact RAA for revised details of submission guidelines.
  • Acceptable for exhibition: original paintings, limited edition prints, photographs (color and black and white), sculpture, installations, pottery.
  • Theme: Anything to do with passion, love, amour, embraces, kisses, valentines or prominence of the color red.

Limit of 3 submissions per artist. Music/Art/Poetry opening reception: Saturday, February 9 from 1 – 3 p.m. For information, contact RAA.

Jacob Lawrence was a major African-American artist who is the subject of two exhibitions in New York. Both are ending soon. The Queens Museum of Art in Flushing Meadows Corona Park presents "Jacob Lawrence: The John Brown Series" through January 27. Also at that museum is "The Long Walk to Freedom 1900-99: Portraits of Civil Rights Activists Then and Now." The exhibition features photographs, graphic timelines, biographies and artwork. It was created by the not-for-profit organization, Community Works, with the assistance of over 200 New York City junior high school students. At the Whitney Museum of American Art through February 3 is "Over the Line: The Art and Life of Jacob Lawrence." Included are over 200 works of art. Lawrence lived from 1917 to the year 2000. The exhibition traces the artist's evolution over his 65-year career. His gouache and tempera paintings capture the everyday life of his contemporary Harlem and the history of its people. He documents the struggle for freedom and dignity of African Americans within the context of that struggle by all humankind. Through the use of intense hues, bold color patterns, dynamic and repeated compositional elements and unusual angles of vision, Lawrence creates images that are dramatic and uncompromising, and never sentimental. Lawrence lived through the Harlem Renaissance. His work captures the vibrant "jazz" of that community – in both its "hot" and "blues" forms. Indeed, his visual language is the equivalent of the verbal and musical vocabularies and rhythms that emerged from his community and culture.

Throughout his career, Lawrence most often used the series format, centered on a single theme. Influenced by the storyboard process in filmmaking, the artist would create a cycle of visually unified narratives on hardboard panels (up to 60), rhythmically arranged. Some of the series, such as the "Migration Series" chronicling the great African American migration from the rural South to the urban North after World War I, include written captions as part of this narrative. The Great Migration was the largest movement of black people since slavery moved Africans to the Americas. Others, like the "War Series," relate the story without the written aspect and so become less a narrative cycle than a sequence of self-contained canvases tied together by mood and subject. The Whitney presentation of this exhibition is part of a nationwide tour. However, the Whitney and the Phillips Collection are the only venues at which the full 60-panel ensemble of the "Migration Series" will be displayed and where the full impact of this great artistic achievement can be assessed.

In response to the two traumatic events imposed on our community in recent months, the Rockaway Artists Alliance is sponsoring a free workshop for couples, designed to open communications and explore the reactions and impact of these events on relationships. The workshop is scheduled for February 6, 6:30 p.m.-9 p.m. in building T-6, Fort Tilden. Refreshments will be served. Call RAA for information and to register.

Thank you to Cindy Rosin for her thought provoking presentation, "Art and Activism," at RAA's last general meeting.

"Winter Light" continues through January 27 at sTudio 6 Gallery. Enjoy the unique beauty of this time of the year, both inside the gallery and outside it in our gorgeous national urban park. Gallery hours are Saturday 12 – 5 p.m., Sunday 1 – 4 p.m. and by appointment. See you there.

3. In every town Negroes were leaving by the hundreds to go North and enter into the Northern Industry.

The Migration of the Negro, panel 3, Caserin Tempera on hardboard. The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. Artwork c. Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence, courtesy of the Jacob and Gwendolyn Lawrence Foundation, Photo courtesy of the Whitney Museum of American Art.

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