2002-02-09 / Columnists

From The Artists Studio

Rockaway Artists Alliance
By Susan Hartenstein

"PASSION RED" is the Rockaway Artists Alliance (RAA) member exhibition opening at sTudio 6 Gallery in Fort Tilden, GNRA on Saturday, February 9. The wine and cheese reception on Saturday is from 1-3 p.m. It will feature music from singer/songwriter Michael Finnegan and poetry by invited poets and those who wish to participate in an open microphone session. All poets are asked to come at 12:30 p.m. to sign up. "PASSION RED" has to do with things passionate, loving and red. So come and enjoy all or any of the above. The exhibition runs February 9 – March 10. Gallery hours are Saturdays 12-5 p.m., Sunday 1-4 p.m. and by appointment. For information call RAA or send an email to RockArt116@aol.com.

"Palindrome 2002" is the next exhibition at sTudio 6, from March 16-April 14. Intrigued? See the story in this week's newspaper.

"Echoes of a New Millennium," Queens Council on the Arts first annual artist member exhibition, runs February 11-March 13 at Queens Theatre in the Park. The multi-media show includes the work of five Rockaway artists – Geoff Rawling, Michael Redpath, Susan Hartenstein, Larry Racioppo and Dee Dickason. Rawling, Redpath and Hartenstein are RAA members. Redpath is the exhibit's featured visual artist. The opening reception is Sunday, February 10, 4-6 p.m.

ACA Galleries is presenting an exciting exhibition, "Visions of America – A Black Perspective," through March 2. It explores the wide diversity of visions, styles and media among 12 African American artists. Their work spans the years of the Harlem Renaissance through the present. The work ranges from the delicately rendered figurative drawings of Charles White to misty, abstracted oil paint landscapes of Richard Mayhew. Romare Bearden's eloquent and powerful collages and Jacob Lawrence's tempera, "Fruits and Vegetables," vibrate with the rhythms and colors of jazz. An intense watercolor self-portrait by Norman Lewis is included in the exhibition. Sculptor Richard Hunt is represented by two pieces of work. "Offsett" is, as one viewer put it, simultaneously mechanical yet free. It put her in mind at once of a bird and flames and a ballet dancer. "What's Going On" by Barkley Hendricks is elegant and highly expressive. "Cotton Pickers" by Hale Woodruff was commissioned by a Chicago lintner. It is an important painting from 1931 that was thought to be lost for more than 50 years. It was rediscovered in 1996.

Of particular interest to this writer are the story quilts of Faith Ringgold and the oil and collage paintings of Benny Andrews. The story quilts are colorful, insightful, bold and intensely unique pieces of visual art and literature. Benny Andrew's clever canvases pop out at the viewer in a burst of imaginative energy. Andrews recently illustrated the children's book, "The Hickory Chair," which is available at the gallery. The charming pictures grace the story of a boy and his grandmother. Andrews is pleased that the book, though about a boy, who is African American and blind, is neither about race nor blindness. It is simply the story of a young person's love for his grandparent.

"Visions of America – A Black Perspective" is a show very much worth seeing. ACA Galleries is located at 529 West 20th Street in Manhattan. For further information call the gallery or log onto its website at www.acagalleries.com.

The Valley Brook Inn on Route 209 in Wurtsboro, NewYork is hosting a free art show on the weekend of February 16 and 17, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. The show features members of the Rockaway Artists Alliance and exhibits by local artists. Everyone is welcome. Hot refreshments will be served. Free overnight accommodations for exhibiting artists, friends and family. Saturday there will be a complimentary soiree. The art show is part of the Wurtsboro Winter Weekend. Saturday will feature ice sculptures during the second annual ice-carving contest sponsored by the Wurtsboro Board of Trade. On Sunday, join the Rotary Club at its first annual Winter Carnival at the Town Park.

RAA's next general meeting is Monday, February 11 at 7:30 p.m. in building T-149, Fort Tilden, GNRA. Guest speakers are photographer Irv Gordon and Viviana Espinosa. All are welcome to attend. Artists may bring their work to be viewed in a warm, supportive atmosphere filled with warm, supportive people. See you there.

Patrick Antonelle had two exhibitions simultaneously last month. One was at the famed Plaza Hotel and the other at the National Arts Club, situated in quaint Gramercy Park. Although both shows were very successful, the latter invited him to an encore exhibit from February 12 until February 26. While in excess of 30 paintings will be on view, you won't want to miss either the exhibition or the building. It's one of New York's 1840's landmark treasures and the residence of our past governor, Samuel Tilden. It's located at 15 Gramercy Park South (at East 20 Street), between Park Avenue South and Lexington Avenue.

Benny Andrews – Practice (Study for "Blues Over Harlem), 1998. Oil and collage on paper. Part of the exhibition, "Visions of America – A Black Perspective" at ACA Gallery. Photo courtesy of ACA Galleries.

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