2010-10-22 / Columnists

From The Artist Studio

InkSplash In Depth
Commentary by Susan Hartenstein

Yuri Yurov’s “Tornado,” original digital print on canvas, now on display in InkSplash, on view in sTudio 6 through November 7. Yuri Yurov’s “Tornado,” original digital print on canvas, now on display in InkSplash, on view in sTudio 6 through November 7. “Beautiful show.” “Very diverse.” “Better than last year.”

These are typical comments from those who attended the opening reception of InkSplash on October 10. The printmaking exhibit presented by the Rockaway Artists Alliance is on view at sTudio 6 Gallery through November 7 in the Rockaway Center for the Arts (RoCA) at Fort Tilden.

Curator Christian Le Gars has built a dazzling show featuring the artwork of master printmakers from the prestigious Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop (artists whose work received raves in last year’s InkSplash), to which he has added the work of printmakers from the Rockaway Artists Alliance. The result is an exhibit showcasing a wide variety of fascinating techniques, sensibilities and styles, illustrating the diversity, experimentalism and expressiveness possible in the medium. Guiding the viewer through this marvelous journey is a glossary of printmaking terms at the entrance of InkSplash. A discussion of their techniques and a ‘Q and A’ will be presented by the artists free of charge at the closing reception on Sunday, November 7 at 2 p.m.

John Russo’s “Bouncing Ball I” and “Bouncing Ball II” are relief prints that play with contrasting geometric shapes and colors in dynamic intervals. In “Bagel Lady,” a relief print with oil paint background, Russo again plays with shapes – the roundness of a central human figure and her wares and the rectangles and squares of the background architecture – in a strong and poignant statement.

Tara Sabharwal is exhibiting two etchings. “Night Boat” draws the viewer more and more deeply into dark realms. Luanda Lozano combines etching with chine collé (a technique in which the image is transferred to a surface that is bonded to a heavier support in the printing process). “Falling Into the World” looks at first like abstract shapes. But on closer examination, human shapes are interestingly interplayed with geometric forms making for one flow.

Three mixed media prints by Jeffrey Berman include “Cherry Blossom Festival.” As a basis, Berman uses a series of photographs he took at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, which he merged together on the computer using Photoshop, then painted with the computer program Painter by Corel, to which he then added actual pastel. Daniela Sessa’s emulsion transfer prints are breathtaking in their delicacy and subtlety. Because of the nature of the technique, each is a one-of-a-kind creation. Justin Sanz’ “Evolutionary Infatuation,” woodcut and etching, is a flow of extreme figures intertwined in intimate, sensual poses. Linear textures both unify and contrast.

“Hollow Heart I,” a lithograph by Rie Hasawaga, is a flowing sea of overlapping layers of foreground and background – strange, glorious human (or near-human) and non-human figures. Yuri Yurov’s “Tornado,” an original digital print on canvas, is a fire-tinged landscape/seascape of the imagination created expressly for curator Le Gars and this exhibit. Sydell Ruthafel’s monotypes, “Landscape I” and “Landscape II,” are each unique and colorful vistas. Geoff Rawling exhibits three prints, in which he uses etching/white ground/chine collé, under the title “Swimming With Dolphins.” He also displays their original plate. It is fascinating to explore this aspect of printmaking – the differing works that can be made from a single plate.

Daughter and father: Kalin Callaghan uses the etching technique to recreate the fine texture of the lion’s mane in one of her two pieces in the style of abstract African masks. Kevin Callaghan exhibits two gicleé prints – two beautiful views of our community, “Egret” and “Broad Channel.” Father and son: Janusz Skowron and Arthur Skowron. Skowron, the elder, displays drypoint, monoprints and linoleum prints. Abstracted designs, sometimes with human figures. Arthur says of his father’s work that they are sensual, evoking an emotional response, having a raw resonance. The son’s work also includes a range of techniques. His prints are full of movement, an organic energy, dramatic tension.

Elizabeth Harington continues the series of etchings she displayed last year. As in last year’s “The Two-Part Inventions,” Harington further explores the profound interconnection between visual art and music in “The Three-Part Inventions.” She uses the printmaking medium to translate this music by Johann Sebastian Bach. The color, rhythms, counterpoints, lines, mirror images and forms she creates are a direct translation of their aural equivalents in Bach’s music. In a complex process in which she rotates the plate and re-inks it each rotation, the intricacy, harmony, flow, overwhelming unity and power of these pieces are just reflections of the towering music of the baroque genius.

Contrasting and fusing warm and cool, rhythmic delicacy and strong composition, Lenore Lim’s inkjet prints, “Letters” and “Cherished Memories,” are a dance, a poetry of mass, color and line. “Pranamu” by Devraj Dakoji, one of the preeminent printmakers of India, is a square wheel of near mythological animal/ human figures linked in a kind of primal ritual. Using etching, aqua-tint and watercolor, Christian Le Gars has created three deceptively simple abstract gems – three scenes of his family’s native Brittany in “Bretagne I,” Bretagne II” and “Village Breton.”

RAA CONTACT INFO: Phone: 718-474-0861; Fax: 718-474- 4373; e-mail: info@raa116.org; website: www.rockawayartistsalliance.org.

Fort Tilden Highlights

INKSPLASH: Printmaking exhibition on view through Nov. 7 in sTudio 6, RoCA. Gallery hours: Sat. and Sun. 12-4 p.m. and by appointment. Free admission to exhibit, reception and special events. See more in column. CLOSING RECEPTION, THE ART OF PRINTMAKING: Sun., Nov. 7, 12-4 p.m. At 2 p.m.: Discussion by participating artists explaining printmaking techniques they used in their work.

NEXT WRITERS GROUP MEETING: Sun., Oct. 24, 4-6 p.m., sTudio 6.

GRIMM AND SCARY TALES: Halloween extravaganza. Fri., Oct 29-Sun., Oct. 31 in sTudio 7, 6-9 p.m. each night. Stay tuned. Medium Rayah’s crystal globes are vibrating even as we speak.

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