2006-10-06 / Columnists

From The Artists Studio

Art Classes, A Great American Painter and Modern Dance
Commentary by Susan Hartenstein

Arts this week @ RoCA, Fort Tilden: ARTSPLASH continues: RAA's month-long arts festival featuring visual, performing and spoken word artists. On view through October 15 at the Rockaway Center for the Arts. Admission to the exhibition and special events is free. Gallery hours: Saturdays: 12-4 p.m., Sundays 1-4 p.m. and by appointment.

For information: 718 474-0861; rock art116@aol.com, www.rockawayartistsalliance. org.

Modern dance @ ARTSPLASH: Saturday, October 7 at 3 p.m. the highly praised Mariana Bekerman Dance Company will perform "Taro," a fiftyfive minute dance concerning mysticism and the human psyche. It is performed to original music. More about "Taro" below.

Save the date! At RAA's next monthly meeting, Monday, October 9 @ 7:30 p.m., Joseph Rothenberg will present an illustrated slide lecture on John Singleton Copley the foremost portrait painter in colonial America in pre- Revolutionary days. The talk will feature a discussion of Copley's visit to the Rockaways in 1771 to paint the portrait of Josiah Martin's granddaughter, Mary Elizabeth Martin, which hung over the mantelpiece at Rock Hall - the magnificent Georgian home that Josiah built in 1767 and which is now Rock Hall Museum. Mr. Rothenberg is a docent at the Metropolitan Museum of Art where several of Copley's portraits hang. The meeting will take place in Building T-149 at Ft. Tilden. Members and non-members are cordially invited to attend. Rock Hall presentation: Sunday, November 5 at 1:30 p.m. Learn more about this renowned artist below.

This year's Halloween Event will be "MALICE IN UNDERLAND". RAAis looking for Volunteers to help scare, construct and organize this event. Dress as your favorite character from ALICE IN WONDERLAND with a demented twist. Please contact the office to volunteer or for details: 718- 474-0861, rockart116@aol.com

RAA's Adult-Seniors Painting Class every Thursday from 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. in the sTudio 6 gallery in Fort Tilden for hands-on painting classes. Taught by accomplished painter, muralist and RAA President Geoff Rawling, this class is open to students at all levels. Lessons include techniques for mixing colors, creating still-lifes, landscapes, portraits, abstracts, and more. All supplies and materials are included. Cost is $10 per senior and $15 per adult.

Live model drawing workshop returns: Dates: starts Friday October 6, 7 p.m -10 p.m., continues for a total of eight sessions. No experience necessary. Bring your own drawing materials. Sessions will include short and long poses. Final session will be one pose all evening. Cost: Register for all 8 sessions, $80. Single session, $15. Location: sTudio 6 Gallery, Fort Tilden. Pre-registration deadline: Tuesday, October 3. Workshop run by RAA members Elizabeth Green & Kenneth Hutley.

The "evil eye" has a long tradition in Jewish cultural, mystical and religious history. Fear of it can have chaotic emotional effects on the human spirit. Choreographer Mariana Bekerman draws on her Russian Jewish roots in the seven-person dance, "Taro," with original music composed by Andy Cohen, Benjamin Dauer and Alon Nechushtan. It explores the psychological effect of accepting the power of the "evil eye"; of attributing dire consequences to the bad and negative energies of those people wishing you ill. "Taro" takes us on the journey of a protagonist and the evil spirit she encounters. Ultimately, the audience comes to realize that such powers are under one's own control. In the words of Mariana Beckerman, "...evil has no place in one's life unless it is embraced."

John Singleton Copley (1738-1815) was born in Boston, the son of Irish immigrants. He came to be considered the greatest American painter of the 18th century and the finest artist of the colonial era. Though he had little formal training, he studied with his stepfather, the engraver Peter Pelham. He learned much through trial and error. By the age of twenty he had become a highly successful portrait painter known for his 'portraits d'apparat,' portrayals of his subjects with the objects associated with them in their daily lives or professions. He was also known for the brilliance and clarity of his paintings and for insightfully capturing the character of his subjects, who were largely the merchant class of the new nation. In 1774 he moved to England, where he gained fame and honors, and remained there until his death. In England he also began producing large history paintings. It is said that in England he added a subtlety and polish to his work but lost much of the energy and individuality of his early opuses. Today Copley's great significance is being recognized, not just for its early artistic brilliance, but as an invaluable record of the era and of the prominent people who inhabited it. People that included Samuel Adams and Paul Revere. And Josiah Martin's granddaughter, Mary Elizabeth Martin, whom Copley painted on his trip to the Rockaways. Come to RAA's open general meeting this Monday to learn more about this and other portraits and the fascinating artist who produced them, in a slide lecture by the extremely knowledgeable Joseph Rothenberg. The meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. in building T-149 in Fort Tilden.

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