2011-06-10 / Columnists

From The Artists Studio

History Is An Art


At left: “Untitled,” oil on canvas by Anne Frances Clinton, now on view through June 26 as part of “Tomorrow’s Art Today,” in sTudio 6, RoCA at Fort Tilden. At left: “Untitled,” oil on canvas by Anne Frances Clinton, now on view through June 26 as part of “Tomorrow’s Art Today,” in sTudio 6, RoCA at Fort Tilden. Featured guest at next RAA meeting:

For artist Nina Talbot history is a living, breathing entity. Always interested in history, approximately ten years ago she began a project to explore paths in the events of the world as illuminated through the stories of those who lived those events; of immigrants who had come to make a life for themselves in this country. Rather than recording those personal stories as words on paper, the artist brings them to life through vivid, unique painted portraits that picture the individual as he or she appears today, against a background that represents the landmarks of their personal journeys.

“These are not traditional portraits,” says Talbot, “they focus more on the person’s life trajectory.” “Each person has his own unique perspective on these historical events.”

The highlights of these artworks can now be seen by the public in “Painting Brooklyn Stories of Immigration and Survival,” an exhibit at the Brooklyn Historical Society, 128 Pierrepont Street at Clinton Street, on view through August 14.

Talbot curated the exhibit in collaboration with Dr. Rachel Bernstein, public historian at New York University. Fleshing out the exhibit are the recordings Talbot made of interviews with her subjects that are the bases for the portraits; personal objects belonging to the subjects, which give substance to the stories; and poems by writer Esther Cohen that are also based on the recorded narratives.

You can see some of the images and hear the full story behind the portraits, their genesis and their subjects, this Monday evening at the RAA’s general meeting at which Talbot will be the guest speaker.

The subjects also hold a connection to Talbot herself. A Brooklyn resident with family members who are Holocaust survivors, the painter’s di-verse ‘cast’ in “Painting Brooklyn Stories of Immigration and Survival” includes a survivor of Mauthausen concentration camp now living in Borough Park; a Haitian woman who was an adolescent during the fall of Duvalier, now living in East Flatbush; an Iranian Jew who owns a shop in Newkirk Plaza, a business strip whose proprietors Talbot knows well because it is near her home.

The latter subject is from a series of portraits the artist did, “Vendors of Newkirk,” illustrating the disappearance of “mom and pop stores,” owned mostly by immigrants, in that area of Brooklyn.

The immigrants of our city harbor stories of survival, courage, discrimination, triumph.

Their stories tell of history.

Their history is our history and the history of the world. Meet their chronicler this Monday, June 13 at the RAA open general meeting that starts at 7:30 p.m. in sTudio 6 Gallery, Rockaway Center for the Arts (RoCA) at Fort Tilden.

All are invited.

Visit: brooklynhistory.org.

Thanks to Vivian Rattay Carter for bringing Nina Talbot’s fascinating exploration to RAA.

“People at Work” submission deadline: Friday, June 10, 2011. Theme... uh, people at work. RAA CONTACT INFO:

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

Fort Tilden Highlights

PRESENT RAA EXHIBITS: “Tomorrow’s Art Today,” is in sTudio 6, Fort Tilden, RoCA (Rockaway Center for the Arts). It poses the question, What is ‘modern art’ in the 21st century? “Nature: Fur, Flora and Fauna,” in sTudio 7, invites artists to go wild and au naturel (au really?). Also in sTudio 7 is “Geoff’s Art Class,” the best of works produced in the class of RAA President Geoff Rawling. Dates: through June 26. Fort Tilden, RoCA (Rockaway Center for the Arts). Gallery hours: Sat. and Sun. 12-4 p.m. and by appointment. Free admission to exhibit, reception and special events.

GALLERY SITTER’S EVENT: Sun., June 12, sTudio 7, 1-3 p.m. “Noted,” an open music and poetry reading event hosted by Dan Guarino. Three poems or songs per person. Feel free to bring a friend and/or loved one; a poem, original or not; your voice, your instrument, your clappers.

RAA GENERAL MEETING: Mon., June 13, 7:30 p.m. in sTudio 6, RoCA at Fort Tilden. Guest presenter: Artist Nina Talbot discussing her exhibit “Painting Brooklyn Stories of Immi-gration and Survival,” at the Brooklyn Historical Society. See column for more. General meetings are open; all are welcome.

RAA SUMMER SOLSTICE EVENT: Sat., June 18, sTudio 7, 6:30 p.m.-midnight. Poets, writers, musicians and more.

PAINTING CLASSES FOR ADULTS: “Painting With Geoff Rawling”: Tues. 7-9 p.m., Thurs. 10 a.m.-12 noon. sTudio 6. $20 per class, supplies included.

THURS. NIGHT OPEN MIC: Performing artists of all disciplines invited. sTudio 7 stage. Sign-up: 7:45 p.m. Start time: 8 p.m. Join us. Free..

kidsmART corner

camp kidsmART: July 11-August 18, 2011; Monday-Thursday; new hours are 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

Limited number of applications still available. For children who have completed kindergarten through grade 7. For more info including tuition rate contact RAA office.

Once your child is registered for camp, camp packets will be available May 16 at the RAA office.

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