2008-03-07 / Columnists

From The Artists Studio Rockaway Artists Alliance

Opening Reception For 'Structure'
Commentary by Susan Hartenstein

"Illumination" "Illumination"
Phone: 718 474-0861;
Fax: 718 474-4373;
e-mail: rockart116@aol.com;
website: www.rockawayartists

The opening reception for "Structure," which explores architecture, buildings, bridges and anything manmade through the interpretive eyes of the artist, is Sunday, March 9, 1-3 p.m., sTudio 6, RoCA. Many of the artists will be on hand to discuss their work. Delicious culinary treats and live entertainment will complete the afternoon. The exhibit is on view March 8- March 30. Gallery hours are Saturdays 12-4 p.m., Sundays 1-4 p.m. and by appointment. Admission is free to exhibit, reception and special events. "Structure" is presented by the Rockaway Artists Alliance in partnership with Gateway National Recreation Area, and sponsored in part by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the Independence Community Foundation and JP Morgan Chase.

"Structure" Spotlight: Have you ever walked along Shore Road, the road in Fort Tilden that runs along the dunes? If you have, you know the breathtaking beauty of the area many refer to as "the back fort." Its beauty takes many forms, at various times of the day and of the season. The changing hues of the shrubbery; the tall, shifting mountains of sand; the wind-shaped trees; the roar, smells and taste of the salted sea. Perhaps among the most poetic of sights in the back fort are the abandoned buildings that were once an active part of this former army base. These one-story, one-room structures are, today, ghosts of the past. Their eloquence lies in their peeling paint and crumbling walls that cry out for memories of better days to be held in tact.

"Early Moon" Two photographs by Mary Beth Brunner. They are part of the new exhibition, "Structure," opening on Sunday at sTudio 6 Gallery, RoCA, Fort Tilden. "Early Moon" Two photographs by Mary Beth Brunner. They are part of the new exhibition, "Structure," opening on Sunday at sTudio 6 Gallery, RoCA, Fort Tilden. The photographs of Mary Beth Brunner capture this exquisite dichotomy. What appealed to the artist about her subjects and their context was that they were "very peaceful." Born and bred in Rockaway, Brunner took these photographs during her walks with her dog. Both images were taken at sunset, illuminating the buildings in the warm bath of orange-red hues. "It's all about timing and lighting," she reveals. Careful to include in the camera frames, the evidences of disintegration, Brunner "tried to capture their deterioration [in order to] create the beauty of [their] vulnerability." In so doing, she has allowed them their dignity and their lyrical agony.

Charles Zigmund creates "sculpture paintings." An artist his entire life, he began painting reliefs in about the year 2000. Afew years ago, his work became three-dimensional. Both his entries into "Structure" are night scenes. "Street Above a River" is created from polymer compound and oil. It is closer in structure to a relief than its exhibition mate, "Night from a Train," which is fashioned from wood, thick textured gesso and acrylic paint. The latter is a more three-dimensional work. Both pieces are composites of Zigmund's imagination and actual places in the Bronx, where the artist grew up.

Zigmund's sculpture paintings hang on the wall, but can project from the wall up to a foot and a half. Inspiration for these sculpture paintings came in part from the thick impasto paintings of Rembrandt and Van Gogh, "which seemed to make the people and objects they painted more solid and tangible." "I use thick, freely brushed paint in my work to model the experience of being in motion while seeing a landscape." Influence also came from the shaped and sculptural paintings of Frank Stella. Zigmund writes, "I found that certain of what I considered key ideas in representational painting could be achieved in new ways through this sculptural buildup."

"Street Above a River" and "Night from a Train" enthrall the viewer in the mysterious after-hours world of cars in motion, guided by the focused and spreading illumination of headlights and street lights; and the shadows of hidden realms along the route.

Bobby Abrahamson is a talented photographer, whom kidsmART families will remember as an equally talented and caring teacher. He has compiled a new book of his photographs titled, "Rabbit." The book features 75 black and white images from six extended journeys that "weave a lyrical narrative of 14 years of wandering and searching for [lasting] serenity and contentment in life." "Rabbit" can be viewed and ordered online at: http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/ 176969.

The book serves as a catalogue for Abrahamson's, "Rabbit," a mixedmedia installation "using photography, journal entries, letters, emails, drawings, poetry, found objects and personal keepsakes to weave a lyrical narrative" of this personal journey. The show is on view March 7-March 30 at the Newspace Center for Photography in Portland, Oregon. FORT TILDEN HIGHLIGHTS:

OPENING RECEPTION - NEW EXHIBIT: Sunday, March 9, 1-3 p.m., sTudio 6, RoCA. "STRUCTURE" explores the artistic nature of architecture, buildings, bridges and anything man-made. Exhibition dates: March 8-March 30. Gallery hours: Saturdays 12-4 p.m., Sundays 1-4 p.m. and by appointment. Free admission.

NEW ART CLASS: LIFE DRAWING with live model. Every Thursday, 8-10 p.m. in sTudio 6 Gallery, RoCA @ Fort Tilden. Fee: $20 per class. No pre-registration necessary. Instructor: Geoff Rawling (FREE) THURSDAY OPEN MIC MUSIC NIGHTS: Every Thursday at 7 p.m. in sTudio 7 Gallery, RoCA. To this great night of music and friendships add drawing: join other artists drawing on their imaginations and on one huge sheet of paper. Call the RAA office to schedule your spot at the mic. PAINTING CLASSES FOR ADULTS: Tuesday nights, 7-9 p.m., Thursday mornings, 10 a.m. - 12 noon. sTudio 7, RoCA @ Fort Tilden. $15 per class, supplies included. Instructor: Geoff Rawling

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