2007-12-14 / Columnists

From The Artists Studio

Rockaway Artists Alliance
Commentary by Susan Hartenstein

'Gifted' Finale, An American Renoir And A Synagogue's Glory RAA CONTACT INFO: Phone: 718-474-0861; Fax: 718-474-4373; e-mail: rockart116@aol.com; website: www.rockawayartistsalliance.org

"Orchids," by Lumila Bokov. Her wearable art and quiltwork are part of "Gifted 2007." "Orchids," by Lumila Bokov. Her wearable art and quiltwork are part of "Gifted 2007." This is the final weekend to catch RAA's annual member holiday exhibit, "Gifted." Admission is free. Gallery hours are Saturday 12-4 p.m. and Sunday 1-4 p.m. Each week, I have given my readers a glimpse of particular artworks in the show. Ludmila Bokov creates colorful, masterfully executed decorative quilts and wearable quilted jackets and ensembles. Her wearable quiltwork is part of "Gifted."

Mazel Tov (it IS Channukah, as I write this) to RAA's kidsmART Education Program Director, Christine Mullally, her husband John and their sons, Jack and Ronan, on the arrival of Catrina Joan. Word is that reactions by Mom, Dad and siblings were, in order of appearance, Whew!, Wow!, Huh?, and What's that? And a general, Aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh!

Our condolences and heartfelt sympathy go to Kenny and Eileen Bledsoe on the death of his mother, Estelle. Our thoughts are with you and your family.

Patrick Antonelle, the extraordinary American impressionist dubbed The American Renoir, will have a solo exhibition at the Van Der Plas Gallery, 89 South Street Seaport, Pier 17, 2nd floor, from December 14 to January 28, 2007. The opening reception is Friday, December 14 from 6-9 p.m.

Byron Coleman in "Gallery & Studio" magazine writes of Antonelle, [he] "is a real painter with an unerring sense of natural light who just happens to have a popular following. Which is to say, not only is Antonelle`s work in numerous corporate collections and prestigious private collections of contemporary art, it has also been purchased over the years by people like Leonard Bernstein and Frank Sinatra, as well as by serious collectors who are normally more likely to buy a Renoir or a Monet than a work by a living painter."

A longtime Rockaway resident and RAA member, Antonelle paints contemporary and nostalgic New York City urban landscapes, and landscapes of Nantucket and Europe. Of the artist's use of the techniques of impressionism and pointillism, Coleman writes, "he is one of the few contemporary painters who has mastered those techniques sufficiently to capture subtle qualities of light on different surfaces as proficiently as his Parisian predecessors. In his New York views, particularly, he shares their ability to invest scenes of everyday life with freshness and vivacity. … his command of firm, architectural linear strokes, along with his softer handling of the more ethereal elements of light and shadows, have long made his city scenes favorites of discerning collectors."

For further information: 212-227- 8983 or www.vanderplasgallery.com

In this holiday season, I can recommend a very interesting and artistically satisfying visit to the newly restored Eldridge Street Synagogue, now the Museum at Eldridge Street. The first synagogue in this country settled by Eastern European Jews, this impressive Moorish-style structure on the Lower East Side of Manhattan was completed in 1887. It served a flourishing community and congregation, and represented for those immigrants, religious freedom and economic opportunity. Some of the worshippers, like hot dog king Isaac Gellis, were well-todo and contributed much to make this a magnificently beautiful house of God. It eventually fell into disrepair and remained so for many years, during which time services continued, uninterrupted, in the basement chapel.

Thanks to the not-for-profit Eldridge Street Project, the synagogue, designated a National Historic Landmark, has recently been restored to its original glory, which includes a 70-foot-high vaulted ceiling; an impressive Italian walnut arc; walls, columns and ceilings brilliantly painted in trompe l'oeil style to appear to be marble; curtains and other decorations; and original lighting fixtures or newly replaced fixtures that match the original gaslight fixtures. All windows in the synagogue are stained glass, also restored to their original glory.

Today, there remains a congregation of 30 or 40 who continue to worship in the basement chapel. In the Eldridge Street Museum, visitors can study, through tours, exhibits and discovery programs, the history of this facet of New York and more, including architecture, the cultural aspects of immigration, and historic preservation. As one of our tour guides remarked, "[This place] connects me and all of us to the history of the Jews, of this country and the world."

For more information visit: www. eldridgestreet.org or call: 212- 219- 0888. FORT TILDEN HIGHLIGHTS:

FINAL WEEKEND: "GIFTED 2007," RAA's annual member holiday show. Free admission. On view through December 16, sTudio 6 Gallery, RoCA @ Fort Tilden.

(FREE) THURSDAY OPEN MIC MUSIC NIGHTS: Every Thursday at 7 p.m. in sTudio 7 Gallery, RoCA. Call the RAA office to schedule your spot at the mic.

(FREE) FRIDAY NIGHT IMPROV: Every Friday Night in sTudio 7, the improv group "No Shame Theater" performs and invites audience members to join in. Call RAA office to sign up.

PAINTING CLASSES FOR ADULTS: Tuesday nights, 7-9 p.m., Thursday mornings, 10 a.m. - 12 noon. $15 per class, supplies included. Instructor: Geoff Rawling.

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