2007-06-15 / Columnists

From The Artists Studio

Rockaway Artists Alliance A Band Fest And A Papier Mache Menagerie Inhabit Fort Tilden
Commentary by Susan Hartenstein

Rockaway Artists Alliance
A Band Fest And A Papier Mache Menagerie Inhabit Fort Tilden

Commentary by Susan

'Octopus', Artist: Patrick Simon, Medium: Linoleum print
'Octopus', Artist: Patrick Simon, Medium: Linoleum print

RAA contact info: Phone: 718-474-0861; Fax: 718-474-4373; e-mail: rock art116@aol.com; website: www.rockawayartistsalliance.org.

RAA Summer Solstice Event:

Thursday, June 21 is the summer solstice. RAA welcomes the summer with a gigantic Free Music Fest starting at 7 p.m.! Come see bands perform on dueling stages.

The bands: Kuff & The Buttheads, Fillet Of Soul, Daha, SixthBoro, Walker, Indaculture.

RAA Exhibitions through Sunday, June 24: Planet Animals: sTudio 7 Gallery, Fort Tilden, Rockaway Center for the Arts (RoCA). The Recent Work of Shannon Elliott: A solo show featuring the most recent works of this widely exhibited upstate artist. sTudio 6 Gallery, Fort Tilden, RoCA. Free admission.

Gallery hours for both shows: Saturdays 12-4 p.m., Sundays 1-4 p.m., and by appointment.

RAA Hosts Student Exhibit at sTudio 7 Gallery, RoCA: Learning from Nature. On view through June 20.

Nature has been, and continues to be, a subject that captivates the interest of artists. It is the power, beauty, elegance and frailty of nature that inspires these artists and is the focus of the Scholars' Academy eighth grade visual arts enrichment class.

See below.

Watercolor Class taught by Ellen Hoyt in sTudio 6 Gallery, June 15 and 22, 2007. Attend both classes or choose one: $35 per class.

Materials: watercolor paints, watercolor paper, brushes, can (or something in which to wash brushes). $5 materials fee, if you choose to have supplies provided.

Please call Ellen if you need her to bring supplies or if you have any questions: 718-338-7281.

Thanks to John V. Gioia for his fascinating lecture/slide show at the last RAA general meeting that displayed his very original embroidery work.

Learning from Nature, a student exhibition on view through June 20 at sTudio 7 Gallery, is full of a child's wonder and energy, informed by careful, accurate study, resulting in a joyous exhibit of the wonderment of nature and of a child's mind.

The students of the M.S. 323 Scholars' Academy eighth grade visual arts enrichment class, as explained in the exhibit wall text, "analyzed and studied the meanings of nature through different approaches and techniques taken by artists to represent nature as a work of art."

Their studies took them from the detailed flower drawings of the Renaissance and the scientifically accurate botanical illustrations of the early 18th Century, to Post Impressionists and the 20th Century modernists in whose work "the artist's act of creation becomes more dynamic than the subject matter itself."

Influenced and inspired by these great artists of the past, these young artists of M.S. 323 interpret the structures, subjects and sensations of nature in a variety of media that include graphite, colored pencil, paint and papier maché. Leaves fall in graceful, swirling, dancing splendor. Still-lifes and created poses present flowers, stems, seed pods and man-made objects overlapping, sitting, floating and bursting with color and energy.

In a particularly interesting section of the exhibit, the students have created "alebrijes," which is a word Mexican artist Pedro Linares used for his brightly colored papier maché Mexican folk art sculptures of fantastical animal-like creatures.

Linares was a poor artist who made traditional piñatas, carnival masks and Judas dolls for local fiestas. In 1930, following the inspiration of a dream he had, Linares began making these alebrijes.

The work was discovered by a Mexican gallery owner and was eventually exhibited around the world. For their project, the artists of M.S. 323 studied and drew the skeletal systems of two different animal species. Then, the students synthesized the two to create their own hybrid animals. Their detailed drawings of the animals gave the students a structural understanding of armature and sculpture.

These structural drawings are included in the exhibit. They then proceeded to construct those sculptural forms in papier maché, which they next painted in the bright colors and intricate patterns inspired by their study of the work of Linares. The result is a menagerie of eye-popping, sweet, humorous, intriguing creatures.

Learning from Nature beautifully demonstrates the fusion of academic study with the creative expression and discipline of the arts, each reinforcing the other in this valuable, enriching, multidisciplinary approach. The visual arts teacher at M.S. 323 who is to be credited with leading her students in these projects, and with developing this display, is Ms. Kelly Trpic. She was assisted by Mr. Jonathan Bradley in teaching the still-life painting.


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