2004-05-14 / Columnists

From The Artists Studio

Rockaway Artists Alliance
by Susan Hartenstein

This week’s column touches upon the links among art, nature and science. But don’t worry – you don’t have to take notes and there won’t be a quiz. Just sit back and enjoy.

The two super exhibits now up at the RAA galleries at Fort Tilden beautifully combine those three entities. In "Jeff Berman: Art of the 21st Century," we see an artist schooled in traditional techniques (with master artists at places like the Art Students League), who combines these traditions with cutting edge technology and the latest digital equipment available. Add in Berman’s unflagging dynamic energy and unquenchable love of the cultures, people and traditions he sees around him. The result is Berman’s own unique impressionist style. Allow me, or rather Jeff himself, to wax technical for a moment.

The early pieces were a mixture of digital photos shot with the Nikon 995 and the Nikon 5000 digital cameras. These images were manipulated in the early version of Photoshop.

"Most of my new work uses a mixture of images shot with the Fujipix S2 pro SLR digital camera. The images are then manipulated in Photoshop 8 and Painter 8 computer programs and printed with the Epson 7500 large scale Archival printer. These images, done on a variety of archival textured paper, were used as an under painting for the layering of watercolor pastel.  These techniques allow me to expand the limits of pastel and mixed media artwork."

Holly Gordon is a naturalist and an artist. Both these passions are evident in her exhibit "Galapagos Face to Face." Her photographs are rendered with technical expertise and artistic sensitivity for the subject matter. Gordon is as versed in the scientific aspects of a Galapagos tortoise as she is in the camera she uses to capture its beauty and majesty.

Gallery hours for both exhibits are Saturdays 12-5 PM, Sundays 1-4 PM and by appointment.

Don Riepe, Jamaica Bay Guardian and Director of the Northeast Chapter of the American Littoral Society, presented a slide show and talk about the Society’s 1996 trip to Galapagos Islands, at the RAA meeting on Monday. RAA thanks Don for the informative and beautiful presentation.

The Society offers many lectures and trips that are of interest to those of us interested in both the scientific and artistic aspects of our environment. Many pertain specifically to our local environment.

For example, 3-hour narrated Jamaica Bay sunset boat cruises are planned for May 29 and June 12, that will teach the history and ecology of the bay and look at the animals and plants that inhabit it.

Another trip to the Galapagos is planned for April 2005. The flora and fauna of this magical place are found nowhere else in the world.

Log onto www.alsnyc.org for more information. Or contact Riepe at driepe@aol.com.

Queens artist/ecologist Brandon Ballengee, whose work has appeared at sTudio 7 Gallery, has an exhibit through the end of May at the Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning. Entitled, "Picturing Ecological Transformation of the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge," this art/science project includes large-scale prints of microscopic organisms.

The prints alert the public to critical conditions of the environment and at the same time are extremely aesthetic and expose the inherent natural beauty we don’t normally see with our bare eyes. The exhibit is accompanied by lectures and field trips.

For more information log onto: www.jcal.org.

Keep those bare eyes on the RAA website for the latest on RAA exhibits, education programs and special events.


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