2009-11-20 / Columnists

From The Artists Studio Rockaway Artists Alliance

'Tis The Gift To Be Simple, 'Tis The Gift To Be Glass And Water
Commentary by Susan Hartenstein

"Panteon," watercolor painting by Chris - tian Le Gars. "Panteon," watercolor painting by Chris - tian Le Gars. Opening this weekend in sTudio 7 is "Glass and Water." On view November 21 through December 6, the reception is Saturday, November 21, 1-3 p.m. As a special event on Sunday, November 22, 1-3 p.m. "G & W" artists Christian Le Gars and Renée B. Radenberg will discuss their work, including a Raden - berg power point presentation on mobiles.

"Glass and Water" places two seemingly disparate disciplines and temperaments into one gallery. Raden berg uses recycled and scrap stained glass and metal to create mobiles and sculptures. Deriving inspiration for her ab - stract work from the natural world, the artist says she "tries to ex press a movement of spiritual energy that takes material normally thrown away and turns it into beauty." The works move and whirl through space; the air surrounding and defined by them is as important to Radenberg as is the solid forms themselves. The artist has ex - hibited in various prestigious venues and exhibitions that in clude the Sal - magundi Club and Pen and Brush, NY.

Christian Le Gars is the "water" half of "Glass and Water." Yet the clarity of the artist's watercolors is unrivaled by the beauty and brilliance of stained glass. Thus it is more than a fitting partner in this exhibition. "Glass and Water" presents a retrospective of the work of this respected and versatile artist.

Le Gars says, "I always loved prints. For many years I thought I couldn't do it; it was too complicated." Then he found out about the Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop and the rest, as they say, is art history - literally. He found world-renowned master print - maker Elizabeth Harington teach ing at the workshop. When he told her that a lot of people said about his watercolors that they reminded them of woodcut prints, Harington said that printmaking must be in his blood and that he should learn the difficult technique of aquatint. He started with aquatint and etching. Haring ton came to comment of Le Gars' work that aquatint dictates to most artists. But Le Gars dictates to aquatint, so great is his control of the technique. The art - ist is one of only 25 printmakers whose work appears in the first portfolio published of the internationally renowned Printmaking Workshop of the legen - dary Robert Blackburn.

Le Gars then began combining his two passions. Many of the works in the exhibit are prints into which he adds hand-painted watercolor. Le Gars' handling of light and shadow is brilliant. His art has won numerous awards, and is featured in permanent collections and exhibits at respected venues that include the Salmagundi Club and the National Arts Club. "Glass and Water" will trace the art - ist's journey from watercolor to printmaking to prints with added watercolor. It will also introduce new works by Le Gars not previously exhibited. As a special treat, Le Gars will unveil a new work commissioned by the owner of Con nolly's on Beach 95 Street - a water color entitled "Night at Con - nolly's."

Opening this past Sunday and on view through December 13 is "Gifted," RAA's annual member exhibition featuring 26 artists. Watercolorist Ellen Hoyt is represented here by "Breezy Point I" and "Breezy Point II." In the long, narrow formats of the paintings, Hoyt reveals the full sweep of the seaside community's bungalows, dunes and "breezy" ocean waves; the jaunty angles and fresh, lively colors of the beach cottages.

The story that is "Summer After - noon" is told in subtle visual metaphor by Penelope Atheras. We see a portion of the sienna-colored outside wall of what may be an apartment house (no need to see more to get the message). Cast across it are shadows created by a summer sun. Pulled blinds at the two windows waft in what we can sense to be the soft breeze. Window boxes of small pink, red and white flowers complete the utterly pleasing metaphor.

Kudos to the Rockaway Music and Arts Council and West End Temple for the exhibit, "Between the Waters," they presented this past weekend in honor of Barbara Eisenstadt. The nine artists featured are to be congratulated for their fine work.

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

Fort Tilden Highlights

OPENING RECEPTION FOR "GLASS AND WATER": Sat., Nov. 21, sTudio 7, 1-3 p.m., RoCA at Fort Tilden. Admission free to exhibits and receptions. Exhibit dates: Nov. 21-Dec. 6, sTudio 7. New gallery hours: Sats. and Suns.: 12-4 p.m. and by appointment.

"GIFTED": RAA member exhibit. On view through Dec. 13, sTudio 6, RoCA.

SPECIAL EVENTS: free Sun., Nov. 22, 1-3 p.m.: Artists' demos. in sTudio 7. Approx. 2:30 p.m.: Shirl Holt and Friends - poetry/prose/music in sTudio 6

WRITERS GROUP MEETING: Sun., Nov. 22, 4 p.m., sTudio 6.

HOLIDAY PARTY/ELECTIONS: Mon., Dec. 14, 7:30 p.m., sTudio 7.

ART CLASSES FOR CHILDREN AND TEENS: Fall classes include painting, digital photography, sing - ing, acting, cartooning. Call RAA office for details.

kidsmART corner

Happy Thanksgiving to all of our kidsmART families.

kidsmART will be open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at PS 104 and Tuesday at Bldg. T-149 in Fort Tilden.

kidsmART will be closed at both sites on Thursday in order to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday.

Happy and healthy Thanksgiving to all. We are very thankful that we work in such a terrific community.

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