2006-02-03 / Columnists

From The Artists Studio

Rockaway Artists Alliance A Colorful Gauntlet, An Intriguing Women
by Susan Hartenstein

Rockaway Artists Alliance
A Colorful Gauntlet, An Intriguing Women’s Show

“Arctic Terns” Artist: Martha Elliott Killian. Medium: Watercolor
“Arctic Terns” Artist: Martha Elliott Killian. Medium: Watercolor Rockaway Artists Alliance threw down the gauntlet and several talented and adventurous artists picked it up, with very satisfying and interesting results. A Primary Exhibition begins its run on Saturday, February 4 at sTudio 6 Gallery in RoCA @ Fort Tilden. The opening reception takes place on Sunday, February 5 from 1 to 3 p.m. The brainchild of Exhibitions Committee member Martha Killian, A Primary Exhibition asked artists to create paintings using only one to three colors – that is, a monochrome (one color), the three primaries (red, blue, yellow) or a combination of any three colors. Instead of seeing this description as a constraining limitation, the participating artists used this challenge to stimulate greater and expanding possibilities.

Provoking the imagination of the artist, the exhibition also provokes the mind and imagination of the viewer. The viewer is often enticed into a kind of clarity of focus and concentration. He/she also becomes acutely aware of the role that temperature plays in a color scheme. Wilda Gallagher, for example, presents four versions of the same sunset. Yet each has its own set of related hues and associated temperatures (hot, warm, cold and cool). Thus each painting orchestrates a separate and unique set of emotional and intellectual responses. The simplicity and repetition of composition in each allows a visceral focus on the effects of the color components.

Lest you think that all the paintings in A Primary Exhibition are of simplified composition, consider the stunning photorealism of Jonas Mlenak’s Corner Cigar Store, evoking the joys and memories of our bygone youth; or the compositional dances of Janet Dever’s not-so-still lives.

There is much more to appreciate in this exhibition, but I will leave that for other columns. Perhaps I have whetted your appetite sufficiently to convince you to attend the reception on Sunday, which will include refreshments and live entertainment. A Primary Exhibition is on view through February 26. Gallery hours are: Saturdays 12-4 p.m., Sundays 1-4 p.m. and by appointment. For more information call 718 474-0861, email: rockart116@ aol.com or visit: www.rockawayartistsalliance.org and keep watching this column.

Christina Jorge, former RAA Vice President and Education Director, is a participating artist in a group exhibition at the Varga Gallery in Woodstock, New York. Owning It: Our Feminine Divine will be on view at the gallery beginning February 3 and running throughout the month. It is a 28-day fete of sacred art, education and events by women, for women and about women, which explores the spiritual, earthly, artistic and life-giving nature of the feminine. All the participating artists, performers, poets and teachers are women. In addition to the excellent artwork, the month will feature an intriguing roster of workshops, performances, discussion groups and readings. Events include a public reading of the Vagina Monologues on Valentine’s Day, February 14. The opening reception is Friday, February 3 from 6 to 9 p.m. Christina Varga is the owner of the gallery and a brilliant artist who radiates positive energy. Her breathtaking triptych of icons of Buddha, Jesus & Mohammed was recently on display at the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine in New York. These large panels are now back at her gallery. More about this fascinating and enterprising woman, her gallery and this exhibition in a future column. The ride to Woodstock serves as a beautiful prelude to Owning It: Our Feminine Divine on display this month at Varga Gallery located at 130 Tinker Street. To learn more and see the art of Varga and the other participating artists visit: www.vargagal lery.com.

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