2008-11-07 / Columnists

From The Artists Studio

Two Openings At Tilden
Commentary by Susan Hartenstein

"Wild Irises," by Madeline Braisted; Watercolor on paper. One of the artworks on display in "Gifted," on view November 15 to December 14. "Wild Irises," by Madeline Braisted; Watercolor on paper. One of the artworks on display in "Gifted," on view November 15 to December 14. "Gifted 2008," RAA's holiday member exhibition, by now an annual tradition, is on view from November 15 through December 14 in sTudio 6 Gallery. Mark your calendars now for the opening reception, which is Sunday, November 16 from 1 to 3 p.m. The holiday season will be just around the corner, and what a more "gamütliche" way could we have to welcome it than a warm, music graced afternoon with fellow artists and art enthusiasts. Gallery hours for "Gifted" are Saturday 12-4 p.m.; Sunday 1-4 p.m.; and by appointment. Admission is free.

"Gifted" promises to be an excellent show. Watercolor is beautifully represented in the exhibit. In possibly the finest watercolor paintings I have seen from the artist, Madeline Braisted offers two vibrantly, lyrically realized flower paintings. They combine a botanical sensibility with a floral sensitivity and freedom. Note when you see them, the graceful journey of each leaf. Ellen Hoyt's land/seascapes in the medium are incredibly luscious and atmospheric. The luminous atmosphere and reflected colors of Ludmila Vaynberg's cityscapes perfectly express the very special light and feel of a New York night in winter.

I am personally thrilled to see the return of watercolorist Robert Bainbridge to the RAA galleries after an absence of several years. He creates interesting, artfully rendered and technically expert pieces. Welcome back. Martha Killian is presenting two of her watercolors, which I have not as yet seen, but I'm looking forward to doing so.

Light and mood play an important part in the photographs of Jessica Schulman. In "Red Awnings," one of the photographs of Ruth Kraiem, the abstractions of shape and pattern play a role in the strength of the image. Geoff Rawling has created a powerful, largescale painting, commissioned by a Vietnam War vet, reminding us of a wrenching time in our collective past. Also returning to the RAA galleries is N.R. Mitgang, examples of whose sensitive and poignant photographs and accompanying written narratives were seen in "Good and Plenty" and "ARTSPLASH". Joan Boudreault presents oil paintings, poetry and photography with accompanying poetry.

In all, eighteen artists are represented in "Gifted." Other mediums in this wide-ranging show include bronze and iron sculpture, and acrylics.

The camp kidsmART yearbook kaleidoscope for 2008 has arrived. It is gorgeous, glossy and great! Even if you didn't already order one, they are still available. Contact/come in to the RAA office. (See RAA contact info.)

kidsmART will be open in T-149 on Veterans Day, Tuesday, November 11. Children are eligible to attend either the morning session, 9 a.m.-12 p.m., or the afternoon session, 1-4 p.m. Space is limited. Please call the RAA office to sign up.

The RAA Writers Group held its first meeting on Sunday, October 26. Future meetings will take place on the third Sunday of each month from 4-6 p.m. in sTudio 6 Gallery, RoCA, Fort Tilden. At the well-attended initial gathering, discussion included future directions, projects and opportunities; networking and outreach; readings, workshops and special presentations.

Next meeting: Sunday, November 16, 4-6 p.m., sTudio 6.

Rockaway's award-winning filmmaker, Robert Sarnoff, is being honored at the Queens International Film Festival on Saturday, November 8 at 1:30 p.m., Crowne Plaza Hotel - La Guardia, 104- 04 Ditmas Boulevard, East Elmhurst, NY. The Tribute will include screenings of his three gritty Rockaway films and a preview of the full-length documentary, "The Romeows," on which he is now working. For info: 718-457-6300; www. queensfilmfestival.com. Contact Robert Sarnoff: royalfur@yahoo.com.

Sunday, November 9 at 11 a.m. meet "Birdman" Denis Macrae at the RAA galleries in Fort Tilden for a walk along the beach and then to Battery Harris. Word from the Bird is, "If winds are favorable you may see 100 hawks, eagles and owls." Come rain or shine.

After - Potluck featuring Thaddeus Tubridy's famous barbeque, Christy's Specials and whatever one wants to bring. Music by Hudson's Hope with Dan Marston playing bird related music. And Happy Birthday, Birdman.

RAA will be hosting a Bake Off on November 22, 2008 at 2 p.m. in the RAA galleries. We are looking for bakers to enter the contest in the categories: Pies, Cakes, Cookies and Holiday Breads. There will be prizes and deliciousness to be had. To enter the Bake Off, please call 718- 474-0861 for an entry form, or visit www.rockawayartistsalliance.org. Deadline to enter is Nov 19, 2008. If you're not into baking, please come with an empty stomach because we'll needs tasters to judge the people's choice award.

Opening on Friday, November 7 at the Post Theater in Fort Tilden is the Rockaway Theatre Company's production of "The Prisoner of Second Avenue" by Neil Simon. Directed by the successful team of Peggy Page and Michael Wotypka, the comedy captures the often-painful humor of New York City life, as only Neil Simon can capture it. Wotypka states, "The most amazing thing about this 1972 play is how topical it is today. The lines resonate as much now, in 2008, as they did then." As example, he cites a line of the female lead, Edna, about their urban (and personal) angst. "I thought we were such a strong country, Mel. If you can't count on America, who can you count on?"

The co-director further comments, "The play is a perfect medicine for our troubled times.

[The lead characters] are our role models on how to get through our latest recession/depression. Humor as a survival tool."

The technical precision of Simon's writing impresses both Page and Wotypka enormously. He says, "You even have to observe the semi-colons. Even the punctuation is essential to the play's layered, meticulous language and its comedic rhythms." For tickets and performance info: 718-850-2450.

RAA CONTACT INFO: Phone: 718 474-0861; Fax: 718 474-4373; e-mail: rockart116@aol.com; website: www.rockawayartistsalliance.org.

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