2014-06-13 / Columnists

From the Artist’s Studio

ARTSPLASH Is Coming; And So Much More
By Susan Hartenstein


“A Tree Grows There,” a 48’’x48’’ multi-media painting by James C. Giardina done in oil paint, spray paint, pastels, colored pencils. “A Tree Grows There,” a 48’’x48’’ multi-media painting by James C. Giardina done in oil paint, spray paint, pastels, colored pencils. LANDSCAPE, SEASCAPE PAINTING CLASSES: Coastal, Seascape and Landscape Painting, Tuesdays 10 a.m.-1 p.m. in sTudio 7 Gallery. RAA members - $20 per class; non-members - $30 per class. Instructor: award-winning painter Joseph Perez. Students bring their own supplies. Contact RAA for more info.

Coming soon to a Rockaway Peninsula and national park near you: an extensive cultural and recreational event this summer involving RAA and other major partners in the city. Watch this column and this newspaper for details.

ARTSPLASH: RAA’s largest exhibition of the year, at the sTudio 7 Gallery. Artists are free to explore any theme and all genres in this juried show. ArtSplash 2014 is open to all media, including painting, photography, watercolor, stained glass, film and video, artisan crafts, sculpture, the literary arts, cartoon, assemblage and more. Awards will be given for Best in Show and works voted best in a selection of mediums. Interested artists may also submit their ideas and proposals for consideration. Your talent, imagination and vision will make this an outstanding exhibition. Submission deadline: August 22. Exhibition dates: September 13-October 19. Opening reception: September 14. Visit: rockawayartistsalliance.org for downloadable entry form and prospectus.

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If you attended the May RAA general meeting, you were introduced to a fascinating artist named James Giardina, who presented some of his work that evening to a captivated audience. Giardina’s art is imaginative, inventive and adventurous. His paintings express his views of the world; its inhabitants; and the universal, philosophical, metaphysical issues that confront us all – translated as symbolically and surrealistically rendered objects, structures and human figures, or as abstract free-flowing designs of color and space.

From the language I’ve used, don’t think these works are distant and removed. On the contrary, they are very approachable by the viewer. They pull the viewer in visually and intellectually and keep him or her there for “the long read,” to be enjoyed for their beauty, their visceral appeal and their underlying intelligence.

Giardina’s cityscapes are colorful recognizable urban structures that are somewhat abstracted and surrealized and draw elements of nature into the very fabric of the structures, transforming the image of the moment into the larger exploration of eternal questions and answers. To quote his website, his art “depicts the challenging nature of pairing color theory abstraction and urban realism to create a sense of timeless depth.”

The artist’s earlier works are colorful abstractions exploring earth, space and water capturing the chaotic movement and energy of visual creation. These pieces are hypnotically beautiful. Done on Masonite board, the final paintings are created in such a way that they look like marble. He has adapted faux marble techniques learned in a furniture design class in college. Wanting to make these pieces larger, however, these pieces of faux marble are, as the artist describes them, like large slabs you would find in a marble shop. The oil-based glazes layered on the board make the paint translucent, so that there are layers and levels of designs and patterns of paint. As the paints and glazes dry, a moment in time is frozen in a ‘marble photograph.’ As the volcanic ooze, for example, dries and hardens to build a geologic structure, we are privy to that moment of solidification. From the depths of the ocean to the fluidity of the water, that moment of creation is captured in a visual freeze frame. In a particular series of these works Giardina named “Divinities in Color,” the artist’s imagination sees the white between the organic patterns and flows as essences or spirits cavorting in a primordial soup that has been frozen in time, giving us “a peak at cosmic essences.”

One of Giardina’s teachers theorized that the future of art lay in the fusion of abstraction and realism, and the best of those works would create that fusion in the most interesting ways. The artist says, “That is always in the back of my mind when I create art.” He comments, “It would be great if people look at my work and take away what I’m trying to express. But it’s also OK if they are taking away what they make of it, especially the abstract pieces.” Check out Giardina’s website: jamescgiardina.com.

Congratulations to Arianna Rose and Paul Beigh on their ‘beachy’ nuptials.

RAA Contact Info:

Phone: 718-474-0861; Fax: 718-474-4373; email: info@raa116.org; website: www.rockawayartistsalliance.org CU@RoCA.

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