2005-09-02 / Columnists

From The Artists Studio

Rockaway Artists Alliance ArtSplash Multi-Media Arts Festival Set
by Susan Hartenstein

Rockaway Artists Alliance
ArtSplash Multi-Media Arts Festival Set

Sweet Reward,” Sweet Reward,” ARTSPLASH 2005, RAA’s annual multi-media arts festival begins Saturday, September 10 and continues through Sunday, October 16. For 6 weekends, the Rockaway Center for the Arts (RoCA) at Fort Tilden will be bursting with a dazzling array of visual arts, dance, music, outdoor and indoor theater, poetry and video art. Admission to the galleries and special events is free.

Each year, under the warming and spicy sunshine of autumn, hundreds have come from near and far to see the talents of artists who, themselves, have been chosen from near and far to participate in this unique and expansive event. This year is no exception. Artists have come from Texas, Virginia, Chicago, Latin America and Turkey. And Rockaway and Brooklyn. The cutting-edge art of the computer; installations that surround and are surrounded; oils of brilliant imagination; watercolor used in ways you have not seen before; eye-popping and mind-bending graphic arts. This year, a journey through the galleries, screens, stages and gardens of ARTSPLASH will take you from the serenity and solace of a glowing Rockaway seascape to the edgy humor of a huge comic book-type heroine doing battle with a tasty symbol of our consumer society. There are artworks here that are beautiful representations of our physical world. Others use images to explore the metaphysical and the social and political implications in our human condition. Still others show us the physical world, but through a different “lens” than the one to which we are accustomed. Just to give you a small sampling…

Paula Temple of Oxford, Mississippi uses watercolor to paint powerful, haunting images of dark birds. She brings to brilliant life “the abstract compositions they can create in an open sky.” Temple plays upon the psychological strength of their symbolic significance as subjects of warning and healing and the visual strength of their blackness against a lighter sky. She states about her work, “The mischievous actions of the birds playing with pearls and rosaries are not only a high contrast in visual characteristics for an artist to work with but in their content.”

Using acrylic paint and rope on fabric, Susan Kirby has created a series of very large artworks entitled, “Camouflage.” “I became intrigued with the various connotations raised in the use of camouflage both politically, environmentally and socially. These pieces mark some uncharted midpoint between order and chaos, between knowledge and intuition. They are not meant to merely look into the face of violence or destruction but rather to reveal that the notion of conflict, whether political, environmental or social, which has become so masked that war is even an intangible, somewhat secretive act carried out against ephemeral enemies, known to us through a media that filters according to its own agenda…. I am not attempting to excite cynicism or despair but seek to open avenues and expose uncertainties about what we really know or perceive.”

Katrina Rhein casts her comic book-type super heroine, who symbolizes the ultimate idealized woman of strength, beauty and goodness, in a more complicated role. She does battle against images of food and physical/ psychological deterioration. Rhein states, “I’m interested in analyzing engendered fantasy and consumerism - conveying distortions of certain biological processes due to cultural interference. The concept of each piece focuses on the alteration of these basic, fundamental needs, both physical and psychological, into cultural wants.” Ultimately, “I attempt to make the toll of the impossible visibly evident by highlighting the absurdities of conflicting cultural messages.”

In the coming weeks, through their images and their words, this column will bring you intimate views of many of the almost 50 artists in ARTSPLASH 2005. But don’t let that be a substitute. Be sure to see and hear the talents of a national array of diverse artists whose creativity will be showcased at the Rockaway Center for the Arts at Fort Tilden. Gallery hours are Saturdays 12-4 p.m., Sundays 1-4 p.m. and by appointment. The reception will be Sunday, September 25 from 1 to 3 p.m. A full schedule of special events and performances will be posted in this newspaper and on the RAA website at: www.rockawayartistsalliance.org.

For information: 718 474-0861 or rockart 116@aol.com.

Geoff Rawling’s exhibition, “Hops and Dreams,” opens at the Brooklyn Brewery on September 2 and runs through September 30. There will be live musical entertainment every Friday in September, as part of the exhibition. Performances are 8-11 p.m. September 2, enjoy the band, “Brian Bonz.” September 9 “Indaculture” will entertain. Check out the press release at another location in this newspaper for further information.

Be sure to check out this exhibition.


by Katrina Rhein, acrylic and oil on canvas, 46” x 52”. One of the artworks in ARTSPLASH 2005, RAA’s multi-media exhibition opening at Fort Tilden.

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