2014-02-28 / Columnists

From The Artists Studio

Art As Contemplation
By Susan Hartenstein


Artist, graphic novelist and Wave illustrator Tom Kerr will give a special presentation, “Drawing as Process,” at RAA. Artist, graphic novelist and Wave illustrator Tom Kerr will give a special presentation, “Drawing as Process,” at RAA. Artists combine a variety of art tools and techniques to make a delicious bouillabaisse of work in “Mixed Media,” on view through March 23. Award-winning printmaker and watercolor artist Christian Le Gars is exhibiting two excellent pieces combining different printmaking techniques, and equally excellent works that combine printmaking and watercolor.

John Simonelli, known to RAA audiences as a talented singer/songwriter/ musician, shines as a visual artist with “Doll Head,” photograph on glass. “Crazy Quilting,” fabricated by Pamela Williams, is a beautifully vibrant scrolllike piece of quiltwork punctuated with whimsical, expressive attachments that include fabric designs, costume jewelry and more.

I was greatly impressed by Arianna Rose’s design and execution of the miniature, “The Artist’s Studio.” From the colored front steps to its sea glassmatrixed roof, to the tiny shells used in the interiors of the rooms for decoration, the entire building is unified by pleasing color coordination and by the materials used. She even created the small scale paintings and took the miniaturized photographs herself.

Rose very much wanted the passions of her work and her life to be reflected in “The Artist’s Studio,” which includes a music room.

RenĂ©e Radenberg is exhibiting an exquisite, powerful stained glass piece titled “Phoenix.” Radenberg’s studio was destroyed by Sandy. In the process of rebuilding it, the mythical phoenix is for her a perfect metaphor for this rebirth, this reemergence from the flames. “It says it all,” she explains. Indeed, the piece breathes with life, hope, power and beauty. The base represents the flames of the bier of death and rebirth; the work is fashioned from fused glass, wood and metal. Various shades of bright red and yellow rise up, surrounding the triumphant bird. An iridescent glass in liquid form, that can melt into the other glass in the kiln, has been used as a kind of ‘paint’ to accent the larger pieces of glass. Much more awaits the viewer in “Mixed Media.”

Karl Lorenzen is instructor for “Watercolor Painting” on Sundays, 2-4 p.m. in sTudio 7 through March 2nd.

An artist for 30 years, he studied at Du Cret, a private art school in New Jersey where, he says, “the traditional arts of drawing and painting were strongly reinforced.”

“Seasoned professionals gave lots of personal help ... [making for] very supportive instruction.” When asked which medium he specialized in, Lorenzen responds, “every medium of painting ... and drawing I could find.”

When asked to discuss his approach to his art and goals for his class, he puts into words what many artists have felt instinctively. Watercolor painting as a contemplative art, he explains, can “create a calm, focused mind which is in touch with the universal mind, the source of all.” Indeed, many artists will tell you that while painting and drawing, they have experienced an emotional, spiritual connection to the subject and, in turn, to the universe as a whole. Lorenzen continues that he wants his students “to feel that the brush is an extension of the hand.”

The types of paintings done in class include landscapes, decorative and abstract work. We alternate, he explains, between abstract and realism. His own work is abstract, contemplative and decorative, and is based on sacred geometry, a concept he defines as “patterns of beauty and order that exist ready-made in nature.”

Lorenzen goes further. “Those who have this wisdom of unity have an ethical responsibility to bring it back into society.”

Teaching and showing his work are his means of fulfilling this responsibility. The atmosphere in Lorenzen’s classes has been described as very calm and peaceful, with an almost meditative feel to it.

Art as contemplation. Art as a spiritual connection to the universe. Not a new idea. And one that many artists have had the gift of experiencing.

Watch this column for the next class Lorenzen will be teaching. RAA Contact Info:

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

CU@RoCA.

Fort Tilden Highlights:

NEXT GENERAL MEETING: Special guest presenter: artist, graphic novelist, St. John's lecturer, Wave illustrator and political cartoonist Tom Kerr. Mon., March 10th, 7:30 p.m., sTudio 7, RoCA at Fort Tilden. Bring your art work (visual, musical or brief literary) to share your art, network with artists of all disciplines, learn about the issues that matter to you. All are welcome.

PRESENT EXHIBIT: “Mixed Media.” Exhibition dates: through Mar. 23rd, sTudio 7 Gallery, Rockaway Center for the Arts (RoCA) at Fort Tilden. Gallery hours: Sat. and Sun. 12-4 p.m. and by appointment. Free admission.

NEXT WRITERS GROUP MEETING: Sun., March 2nd, 4-6 p.m. in sTudio 7 Gallery, RoCA at Fort Tilden.

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