168 North 6th Street
Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY 11211
hours: Saturday/Sunday 1-6pm and by appointment
LIFE DRAWING SESSIONS
Life drawing from experienced models
Saturday from 10AM - 1PM
each session - 3 hours for $9.00
CURRENT & PAST EXHIBITIONS
My Encounter with Momoi
April 20 – June 3, 2018
Reception: Friday, Arpil 20th from 6-9PM
Figureworks is pleased to present Fulvia Zambon’s latest series of paintings in her second solo exhibition with Figureworks.
Since Fulvia’s last exhibition, she has been developing a striking series of oil paintings that highlight figures with nature. Some appear more direct with an elderly man feeding seagulls on a beach or a young woman playfully focused on her beloved cat. Other paintings are reminiscent of earlier works with undercurrents of mystery surrounding the subject, such as an inquisitive child in a baby carriage (a frequently used object) reaching out to intent cats emerging from a foreboding landscape. Each exquisitely painted work draws the viewer into an intimate place, whether peacefully or uneasily.Fulvia attended the Accademia Albertina in Turin, the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera in Milan, (studied with Lydia Silvestri) and advanced training at the Art Students League in New York City (studied portrait painting with Ronald Sherr). Fulvia has exhibited extensively including La Regola del Volto, Scoletta della Bragora, Campo Bandiera e Moro, Venezia, Italy, Paolo Tonin Gallery in Turin -TAG (opening of 18 galleries in conjunction with the Winter Olympic Games), a solo show at Headquarter, Hollywood, CA, and a celebrated group show at Museum of Permanente, Milan Italy, Premio Arte in 2004. Her work is in many private and public collections.
MARCH 2 - APRIL 15, 2018
"Unexpected Realities: Comics, Culture and Society in Contemporary Art”
Ai Kijima (work pictured)
curated by Bruce Weber
Figureworks is pleased to present Unexpected Realities: Comics, Culture and Society in Contemporary Art. Curated by Bruce Weber, this exhibition features the work of seven artists who engage in fascinating ways with the iconography of comic book superheroes and touch on our fixation and embrace of pop culture.
Brooklyn-based artist K. Saito is devoted to drawing, but also creates mobiles, animated short films and videos. His superheroes are simply rendered with a minimum of detail and with a sense of gleeful spontaneity that tickles the underbelly of the crowded and dramatic action-based world of the comic book superhero.
Ai Kijima initially learned the crafts of sewing, knitting and crocheting from her grandmother in Kyoto. She joins together the images she discovers on bedsheets, pillowcases, clothes and related materials at thrift stores and secondhand markets. These quilted fabric pieces are filled with a dizzying array of images drawn from pop culture, many of which feature superheroes derived from comic books.
Michigan-based Mark Newport has long identified with the genre of comic book superheroes and drawn on this imagery to create knitted costumes, prints and videos which portray him performing in his garb. A skilled knitter, he fashions outfits for superhero characters that hang on coat hangers where they sag, with a mix of comedy and poignancy, under their own weight.
Susan Newmark’s mixed media works integrate collage, paint, photo imagery, found objects and fragments from popular culture to explore narratives and storytelling, place, memory, nature, and the human body. A pair of works in this exhibition are appropriated from Japanese comics, and her Wonder Woman piece is from a new series exploring different ethnicities.
Peter Kernz’s character-based drawings were inspired by viewing the film “JFK” and reading “High Treason: The Assassination of JFK and the Case for Conspiracy” by Harrison Edward Livingstone. In his drawings, Kernz explores the dark atmosphere of the case. He states, “For 7 years I gathered my material in literature and each night I took my weapons of choice: gouache, India Ink, a range of drawing pencils, and a projector.”
Los Angeles-based artist Aaron Noble creates large scale site-specific wall paintings along with related drawings, prints and works on canvas. The superhero comics of the 1960s and 1970s were his aesthetic training ground, and through them he became dramatically engaged in exaggerating and abstracting the human form.
Don Perlis’ paintings of Times Square are filled with a variety of colorful and disturbing characters who act in perverse and violent ways. Many of them are garbed in the costumes of comic book superheroes, who, ironically, uphold the stereotypical image of New York as a sinister and menacing place.
Curator Bruce Weber is also a poet and historian of American art. He has been a curator at various museums, most recently serving as Curator of Paintings and Sculpture at the Museum of the City of New York. He has published extensively on the subject of American art.
January 12 - February 25, 2018
"On the LIne"
Joachim Marx has been working for many years on a series of 10" x 10" paintings on panels. The early series has finely detailed figures floating within these richly textured grounds. This series has reduced the figure to simple lines that now float above the paintings on a seperate sheet of glass. Hand painted frames unite them beautifully.
November 10 - December 17, 2017
Figureworks Biennial Life Drawing Exhibtion
Figureworks is very pleased to highlight various artist’s drawings from the galleries weekly life drawing sessions. A number of the artists have been regularly attending the Saturday morning sessions for over 15 years. This celebratory biennial event is not only exciting for collectors of life drawings but for the participating artists to see each others work. Please join us for a fun evening.
Another benefit to moving the gallery down to the ground floor this year is access to an intimate back garden. Over the past few months, we have been placing sculpture among the plantings. As with any garden, this space will constantly be growing and changing with the seasons and new pieces. We would like to celebrate this fall season with work by:
Janice Mauro, Howard Eisman and Alexandra Limpert
September 9 - October 29, 2017
In this my third solo exhibition at Figureworks Gallery I look into the material nature of art in our time.
I begin with figure drawings which I sew into three dimensions with a focus on lightness and expression.
Over time I experimented with various materials including the plastics which are part of this show. I settled on Lutradur because it is light and transparent.
I greatly admire the work of Jean Dubuffet. Other influences include the Greer Langton, Marta Kuhn-Weber and Eileen Gray.
June 9 - July 30, 2017
Figureworks is pleased to showcase Meridith McNeal’s latest series Inside/Outside: Windowphilia. This fascinating work explores hidden and complex layers connected with daily reflections. Created with the fluidity of ink and watercolor, these altered perspectives are inviting and engaging.
Lisa Peet, Associate News Editor at Library Journal, reviewed the exhibition:
Windows, in particular, invite a multiplicity of meanings. Add a reflective surface, so light can work its magic, and you bring a sort of graceful confusion: what is on one side can coexist with what is on the other, the space behind and before the viewer overlaid. Where you have been shows itself side by side with where you are, or where you may yet be going.
Meridith McNeal’s work brings that particular magic into play elegantly. Her precisely composed paintings offer a series of images that explore what it is to be on one side or another—or one side and another. It can be done, and McNeal’s paintings show us how.
Susan Hamburger and Jessica Hagreaves "Fish & Fowl" - a striking hall installation leading to Figureworks new ground floor space and back garden.
APRIL 22 - JUNE 4, 2017
William Gropper, Watergate Series, 1973, lithograph, 20" x 23"
In this current period of such great political unrest, it serves the public well to reflect on previous administrations and how our historic playbook seems to be so painfully repetitious. Fortunately, the lasting imagery of social and political artists address these events with great clarity.
Figureworks is fortunate to showcase a number of works by artist and political satirist William Gropper (1897-1977), whose career spanned over 50 years of fascinating American politics. This exhibition highlights Gropper’s final political series surrounding President Nixon’s Watergate scandal in the 1970’s.
Gropper was born in New York City in 1897. His parents, Jewish immigrants from Romania and Ukraine, were both employed in the garment industry and the family lived in poverty. His father was university-educated and fluent in 8 languages, but was unable to find suitable employment in America. The failure of the American economic system to make proper use of his father's talents contributed to William Gropper's lifelong antipathy to capitalism.
In his teenage years, Gropper attended the Ferrer Modern School in New York City, an avant-garde school promoted by anarchist Emma Goldman. Gropper studied under the prominent artists George Bellows and Robert Henri.
A committed radical, Gropper began his career illustrating for such publications as The Revolutionary Age, The Liberator, The New Masses, The Worker, and The Morning Freiheit.
Due to his involvement in subversive politics in the 1920s and 1930s and his 1946 painting entitled “William Gropper’s America: Its Folklore”, Gropper was called before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1953. Blacklisted for the next 20 years, the experience fueled an ambitious series of fifty lithographs entitled Caprichos, from Goya’s 1790’s series. Gropper’s Capriccios presented a vivid, specific response to McCarthyism, resonating deeply with the underprivileged public and enraging the corrupt, domineering politicians.
In 1973, late in his career and affronted by Nixon’s Watergate scandal, the artist completed his last political series, leaving viewers with one more satirical mark on a very dark time in America and Gropper’s life long struggle against political corruption.
Also on exhibit are related works by Figureworks contemporary artists, including Arlene Morris, Meridith McNeal and Mary Westring.
Of particular note is a pair of etchings by Mary Westring. The first is her original 1970's etching inspired from a Summit meeting. The second is a recent work reworking that same etching to include the tattered American flag.
Susan Hamburger and Jessica Hargreaves
"Fish & Fowl"
Susan Hamburger and Jessica Hagreaves have just finished "Fish & Fowl" - a striking hall installation leading to Figureworks new ground floor space and back garden.
March 3 - April 16, 2017
Figureworks has been on the move - one flight down to the ground floor space.
It is with great pleasure to re-open the gallery with new works on paper by Arlene Morris.
Arlene Morris was one of the first artists to exhibit at Figureworks in 2000, making this inaugural exhibition even more celebratory.
Arlene Morris divides her studio time between oil painting and mixed media work on paper. A Maine-based artist, she is inspired by her contemporaries and environment.
This new series uses handmade Kozo paper with embedded chips of Maine mica, created by neighboring artist Richard Lee. Arlene has molded, stitched, painted and stained the paper to create these spectacular reliefs. The work is personal and haunting. The figures, seemingly delicate and innocent hold dark secrets that is often revealed through hand stitched text.
Arlene says of the this work, "Sometimes I feel I’m all over the place when it comes to art. One minute I am engrossed in a painting, liking it but then needing to walk away from it. At the moment nothing is more beautiful than handmade paper and an idea when they come together. It started with a written piece; a stream of consciousness that went on for four typed pages about now and then, the time in between, growing up, before we have a sense of who we are and where we are going… each child looking forward; a woman looking backward. Out of the writing came a series of handmade paper figures, each painted, pieced, stitched and molded with embroidered words from the story."
This work is a perfect compliment to Figureworks new exhibition space - each historically reflecting on the past while recreating a striking new future.
Artem Mirolevich and Hermann Struck
January 7th - February 5th, 2016
fine art of the human form
168 North 6th St. (1 block from Bedford Avenue “L” train)
Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY 11211
hours: Saturday and Sunday from 1-6PM
Figureworks is pleased to open this year with Artem Mirolevich and Hermann Struck, two prolific artists whose passion for travel form the basis of their work.
Hermann Struck was born in 1876 in Berlin, Germany. Being raised in an Orthodox Jewish family, he focused much of his career on Jewish subjects. He studied at the Berlin Academy, where he was introduced to the art of etching. He joined the Zionist movement at an early age and in 1903, during one of his numerous travel experiences, met Zionist leader Theodor Herzl in Vienna. A devout follower, he created a number of striking portraits of Herzl, helping establish his career in portrait etching. He continued to secure numerous portrait commissions of leaders and celebrities throughout his career. By 1923, Struck had settled in Palestine (Haifa), where he frequently portrayed the everyday life of Jews and Arabs of the Middle East. He taught graphic techniques to noted artists Max Lieberman, Lesser Ury, Joseph Budko and Marc Chagall and today remains an important influence on many European graphic artists.
Of great historical importance are Struck’s drawings and etchings from his world wide travels. Included in this exhibition are etchings from Poland, Italy, Germany, Palestine, Sweden, England, Cuba and the United States. Struck beautifully captured the locals in common tasks or landmark settings.
100 years after Hermann Struck’s birth, in 1976, Artem Mirolevich was born in the city of Minsk, Russia. At the age of 17, he and his family moved to the States, making their home in Buffalo, NY. Soon after his arrival, Artem enrolled at the School of Visual Art in New York City and was granted a scholarship from the Department of Illustration. One of his greatest inspirations during his four years as a student was a semester spent in Amsterdam at the Rietvield Academy of Art. Intrigued by the city's cultural and architectural landscape, he used this inspiration to produce many works of art, including images of a post-apocalyptic city submerged deep under water. Artem returned to New York to complete his studies, and graduated in 1999 with a bachelor's in Fine Art and Illustration. Invigorated by his experience abroad, he was drawn to the idea of exploring other countries of the world and spent the following summer traveling through Israel and Egypt. Artem continues to travel to different countries, to help shape his perception and artistic vision of the world.
In this exhibition, Artem combines the use of etching with watercolor and ink. Artem creates a new world within each frame. These works are depictions of ancient civilizations, philosophy, present society, and also what he envisions for the future. The personality and emotion of various figures range from heroes and villains, to ordinary men and even mythological creatures. His tales include appearance from dwellers of Babylon, the lost soldiers of Alexander the great, Einstein, samurai warriors, urban legends, time travelers, and scientists of subterranean worlds. When words alone cannot describe what he envisions in his mind, it is his through his artwork that he finds a means of visual language and communication.
Spanning over 100 years, these artistic explorers provide great insight into our diverse world through their beautiful work. The past, present and future are honored and positively embraced.
NOVEMBER 4 - DECEMBER 18, 2016
Reception: Sunday, NOVEMBER 6th from 1-3 PM
Figureworks is pleased to introduce the work of Gilbert Hancox.
Gilbert Hancox was born just outside of London, England in 1908. He moved to New York when he 18 and studied at the Arts Student League. With this training, he became a theatrical scenic artist, painting stage sets for operas, plays, ballets and television. A master in trompe l’oeil and baroque design, he operated his own studio and executed numerous sets for the leading performance houses, notably the Metropolitan Opera Company.
The work in this exhibition, is his “second personality”. This was work he never revealed to the public and was created after midnight throughout the night. It was through this hidden personality that he spent a lifetime revealing the subconscious secrets of his mind through surrealism. These visions were far reaching and covered every aspect of his emotions. They carry elements that can be painful, cynical, witty and/or sensual.
Hancox created these drawings until end of his life, even when a stroke completely paralyzed one side of his body. He strove to express something at the very edge of his consciousness, something that was intended only for his eyes, now exposed to reach those who can connect to these mysterious thoughts.
September 9 - October 30, 2016
INGRID CAPOZZOLI FLINN
ELLEN EMMET RAND
Figureworks is pleased to open this fall season with music! "Art and Music" have always been associated together.
For this exhibition, a number of artists were asked to take the theme of music and create a figure-based work of art. For some, it was a challenge to take audio to visual and many of their creations became wonderfully conceptual. One can almost hear music in these works. Others used the opportunity to portray a specific musician or instrument that provides inspiration to them while working in their studios.
These contemporary works are now showcased with a number of 20th century works to provide even greater reference to how music plays such an valuable and important role in our lives.
Adding to this exhibition, Figureworks will also host a number of live music venues. Please reference www.figureworks.com as additional performances will be added throughout the exhibition.
September 8th from 6-9PM
Paul Buffa and Nicholas Grodsky
September 18th at 3pm
October 23rd from 2-3 pm
October 30th from 2-3 pm
As It Ever Was
July 2 - July 31, 2016
Figureworks is pleased to present Jessica Hargreaves’ first solo exhibition in New York. This show highlights her current series of paintings with installations of her decorative wallpaper, pillows and wearable accessories.
Jessica’s paintings focus on innocent children and their pets entwined with black and white sculptural relief elements of fighting, flirting, fornicating adults and animals. Combining these conflicting perspectives skillfully investigates many aspects of our complex psyche.
In Jessica’s installations, wallpaper and pillows represent adult self-absorbsion. Humorously cross-referencing the issues of depression and death, a nude man slumbers with a fish patterned duvet, inspired from the phrase “sleeping with the fishes”. In a complimentary piece, a woman is intimately kissing these same fish. Sculpted footwear and jewelry using precious gems and metals connect the above ideas with self-adornment, allowing one to actually wear these emotions.
The gallery provides an ideal venue for Jessica’s installation/exhibition with its intimate rooms and emphasis on the human form in all its beauty and emotions.
New York City Sketchbook
June 10 - June 26, 2016
Figureworks is pleased to showcase Willy Hartland’s original drawings and the trailer from his soon-to-be-released animated short film New York City Sketchbook.
Willy has been working diligently on this complex film for many years. This exhibition will feature a number of his original sketches created for the film as well as a 2-minute trailer. This is a very exciting celebration in anticipation for the films release later this year.
Willy says of his work, "In my art, most specifically my newest animation about New York City, I explore the urban experience unfiltered, with all it's beauty and it's blemishes. Working from my sketchbooks, in a form of visual journalism, the film attempts to document the challenges that NewYorkers face with their hopes and desires as they negotiate the urban matrix of the city itself.
There are layers and layers of people and places in the film, some opaque, while others we see right through. Most of the characters in the film were sketched from life, often in public places, but sometimes they are friends or lovers observed privately during moments of intimacy. In this regard, the film is personal and has as many layers of interpretation.”
April 29 - June 5, 2016
" The first comment people make on seeing my work is about color. I love using bright colors, colors that vibrate off the surface of the painting and make an immediate and direct connection with the viewer. My subjects are figures in urban environments. I’m inspired by the way the city and its inhabitants constantly change and reinvent themselves to adapt to new situations. The busyness of the city translates well into a very active paint surface.
In my pictures I depict figures walking either individually or in small groups. The composition resembles the view of a city street with the placement of pedestrians creating a visual rhythm as they move through the space. My paintings feature a highly abstracted method of depiction – a figure can be reduced to a gesture or built from simple shapes, while architectural elements are noted with directional lines.
I apply the paint using a variety of techniques to explore the full range of painting and its possibilities. Sometimes the paint is applied thickly, creating lush slabs of paint. In other places it can be brushed thinly as a wash or thickly with the bristles drawing furrows through the stroke, it can be smooth or textured with uneven layers of paint accumulating to form valleys and ridges. I’ll use nontraditional tools like sticks or cardboard to create new unexpected textures.
I see painting as a visual language that the eye reads as it moves across the surface of the painting. The contrast between using paint as a means of representation and exploring its material properties creates visual excitement as the painting cycles between representation and abstraction. Figures can emerge from the activity on the painting’s surface or the image can deconstruct into an abstract exploration of pictorial elements depending on how different passages are viewed. I’m continually exploring new methods and ways of thinking about the process of painting."
ELLEN E. RAND
March 4 - April 24, 2016
Figureworks is honored to present Ellen Rand’s latest oil paintings.
In 2012, Figureworks hosted a striking two-person exhibition with Ellen and her grandmother, a highly successful portrait painter from the turn of the century. This further motivated Ellen to develop her figure-based series in more depth, resulting in this greatly anticipated solo exhibition.
Ellen had initially begun these paintings as diptychs, on two seamless adjacent wooden panels. A major health crisis put a stop to the work and after recovering from this extreme medical intervention, she picked up where she had left off. But following a new aesthetic instinct, Ellen started introducing triptychs and adding narrow wooden strips to separate her panels. It was not until weeks later that she recognized these spacers were a direct response to her surgeries, where she too had been cut up, scarred, and successfully put back together.
Aside from this moving back-story, the work stands alone as elegant, powerful and emotional. Each work tells its own story and many of the sensual reclining forms even move into a dreamlike landscape.
An accomplished painter, Ellen is self-taught and began her career in stage design. Also an accomplished gallery director, Ellen is the proprietor of Art 101, a fine art gallery here in Williamsburg.
January 8 - February 28, 2016
Death in Venice
Wisconsin artist Warrington Colescott is an esteemed printmaker with a prolific body of work. Born in 1921, he has seen great changes in the world and has interpreted them in etchings with loaded imagery and vibrant aquatints. Figureworks is pleased to showcase a number of these significant prints, including The Great Mason City Raid, The Great Moon Trip, and the entire Death in Venice portfolio.
November 20 - December 20, 2015
from Figureworks weekly sessions
Reception: Friday evening, November 20th from 6-9PM
Musical Performance by Paul Buffa and Nicholas Grodsky, featuring their 1978 Fender Rhodes Mark1
Figureworks is very pleased to highlight various artist’s drawings from the galleries weekly life drawing sessions. Many of artists have been regularly attending these Saturday morning sessions for over 15 years. This celebratory biennial event is not only exciting for collectors of life drawings but for the participating artists to see each others works. Please join us for a fun evening with special live music.
October 17 - November 15, 2015
Figureworks is pleased to showcase Burdened Women - three artists who have created a body of work around unconventional beauty. Painters Donna Festa and Audrey Rhoda address the aging process, while sculptor Janice Mauro’s wooden totems accentuate the strength and grace of the supportive female.
“We all have them. Those heavy burdens that we carry with us making our shoulders droop. We push them down, far away from the surface. Bury them with food, drink, pills. Meanwhile, they make our hips wider, our hair greyer, our worry lines deeper. But we manage. Just manage.”
“Being venerable is part of being human, the empowered one being traditionally male. These charming wooden totems have reversed roles, although the attitude and gesture of the figures leave the viewer with wide open interpretation.”
“In this series, Imperfect Women in Landscape with Attitude, I take a tongue-in-cheek look at what I call the beauty-myth industry. Our society has become obsessed with finding ways to remove the signs of ageing without any reference to the importance of working on your mind. Ageing is an inevitable process and with it comes wisdom and insight into the human condition. These women in my paintings have embraced the ageing process with confidence. In painting this ongoing series, I am having a lot of fun, discovering each imperfect yet individual persona as she appears in the landscape on my canvas, living her truth.”
September 12 - October 9, 2015
Royal Young was raised on the Lower East Side of the early '90s by an artist
father whose mosaic murals decorated subway stations commissioned by the
MTA. Young grew up amidst artists, junkies, prostitutes and dreamers often
indistinguishable from one another.
In his show Lush Doom Young's paintings evoke the vibrantly colored street
murals he saw in the gorgeous, derelict downtown of his youth. Updated with a
modern Pop Art sensibility, Young is inspired by vintage Playboys, noir movie
stars, desperate characters and lost decadence. Young paints fantasy figures of
femme fatales. Lush Doom explores a mysterious, enticing world that is
doomed to crumble through dynamic, bold visuals.
Royal Young is author of the cult classic memoir Fame Shark. His writing has
appeared in the New York Times, New York Post and Interview Magazine. He
majored in visual art at LaGuardia.
Figureworks is pleased to partner with Advocates for Fine Art Enameling, Inc. to present some striking works of art done by melting glass on metal. It is called enameling, or sometimes vitreous enameling, to clearly distinguish it from "enamel paint." Vitreous enameling is an ancient art form which is older than recorded history. It had been used mainly in the decorative arts, but, since the 16th century, it also has been the medium for many impactful works of fine art. This exhibition, Forged by Fire, is the premier exhibition for Advocates for Fine Art Enameling, Inc. This exhibition presents the work of seven contemporary artists who work in enamel. All of them use the medium to convey aspects of the human experience with the wonderful colors, textures, and reflectances which can only be achieved with glass on metal. These works may be different from anything you have ever seen.
Internationally recognized for their artistic achievements, the seven adventurous enamelists share a wonder, even a reverence, for all of life, and a pursuit of joy and of fun.
June Jasen's wall works depict majestic landscapes with godly figures. With a touch of levity, she also will be showing her notable, life-size, realistic NOSES. June plays with low-fire ceramic materials, stencils and transfers, to incorporate great fun into her process.
Howard Eisman's wall hangings and sculpture "convey the idea that life can be a colorful, exuberant adventure." His golden ladies joyously leap with sensuous abandon into gleaming, swirling skies. While many enamel works are built up of panels accommodated in commercial kilns, Eisman has built his own extra-large kiln to accommodate pieces 2' x 3'.
Cynthia Miller's paneled expansive skies also gleam, but with luxurious order and serenity. "Many of my enameled pieces are designed like musical compositions: colors overlay and peek through each other, revealing lush depths under a smooth, shiny surface."
Herbert Friedson's wall hangings impose colorful complexity on fantastic humanoid forms to raise existential questions and "invite the viewer to interpret the work on a personal basis." He incorporates fine materials such as mahogany inlay into richly textured, embellished surfaces.
Sean Alton's sculptures similarly have a fantastical quality, colorful and playful. "I like pieces with movement and surprises." Alton adds torch firing to kiln fusing in order to structure his fabulous creations.
In contrast, Mary Chuduk's wall hangings are detailed, representational, to "examine the preciousness of architecture, religion, folklore, and modes of dress/design from cultures that diverge from the American mainstream."
Finally, Stell Shevis, who at 99 years of age, symbolically expresses loss in her poignant wall hanging, Death of a Child. Throughout all these years, she still says, “I asked for wonder. There’s so much wonder in the world."
Recent paintings and sculpure
May 8 - June 7, 2015
Figureworks is pleased to open Mass Transit, Mary Westring’s recent paintings and sculpture addressing our subway system. Westring has been exploring this subject for many years but this latest body of work reflects on how the system humbles the masses. Her subject is most timely as it coincides with our current weekend-suspended L train service and notable overcrowding of all the subway lines in general.
Westring says of this series, “Mass Transit, or rather, the transit of the masses. New Yorkers getting from one place to another, submissive, patient, resigned, quiet. I observe them as they sit or stand, lost in thought, reading, listening to their ipods, studying their notes, eating, staring into space, oblivious to their fellow passengers, strangers who share a brief time of enforced intimacy. The subway, where all of us in our individuality become part of an anonymous whole.”
A number of Westring’s paintings are cleverly scaled to embody an entire subway car or train platform. Long horizontals embody brightly-lit cars as a highlight the darkened reflections of countless riders. Westring has then lifted some of her painted figures from the canvas and created a series of unglazed, clay figures in various subway scenarios, such as a group of passengers grasping a subway pole at rush hour and still avoiding eye contact. The two series work well together to combine moments of levity and a touch of humanity into a weary, daily commute.
15 YEAR ANNIVERSARY EXHIBITION
MARCH 27 - MAY 3, 2015
Figureworks turns 15 this April and since a traditional anniversary gift is crystal, I selected four notable gallery artists to present crystal-inspired works. Their creations are truly inspired and collectively make for one of the most joyous and celebratory exhibits to date.
Without / Color
January 9 – March 15, 2015
Meridith McNeal, Alexander Ney, Joanne Scott
January 9 - February 8, 2015
Howard Eisman, Fred Hatt, Arlene Morris
February 13 - March 15, 2015
Reception: Friday evening, February 13, 6-9PM
Without / Color is a two-part exhibition featuring six artists. Three artists, Meridith McNeal, Alexander Ney, and Joanne Scott, have executed work void of color. Three artists, Howard Eisman, Fred Hatt, and Arlene Morris, have used a palette rich in color for their work.
The initial concept for these consecutive exhibitions was to explore the impact of color, and lack thereof, in an environment. Figureworks, an intimate gallery, quickly embraces whatever is placed within it and though there have been nearly 100 exhibits in this space, what has transpired from this installation is far more powerful than what was envisioned.
PART I of this two-part series are works without color.
Meridith McNeal has created a series of watercolors entitled Liberty Clouded. The Statue of Liberty has been shrouded in fog and rain, addressing the anguish of false accusation and the gross failure of the American judicial system. Joanne Scott has been figure drawing from life for over 50 years. Her delicate and beautifully rendered pencil drawings of female forms in repose blur the lines as to whether her subjects are relaxing, sleeping or perhaps deceased. An oversized pair of Alexander Ney’slovely, white terra-cotta ravens, ominously riddled with patterned holes and intense expressions, guards the work with their sculptural presence.
What makes this particular exhibition so powerful is that it coincidentally opens as the country is in great unrest. This exhibition was designed around space and color, not any political or social agenda, yet these three artists possess such purpose and strength in their imagery that a collective message clearly addresses our current climate and serenely eliminates a color barrier while doing it.
PART II of this exhibition is strikingly dissimilar.
Arlene Morris has completed a new series of oil paintings that are rich in color, symbolism and mystery. Her subjects are placed in whimsical environments shrouded by spectacular wildlife. Self-taught artist Fred Hatt has been drawing from life for over 30 years. These new drawings are multi-layered, multi-colored figures on black paper. 3-D glasses are available to provide an additional experience - the overlapping forms clearly separate by color and float on the page in different dimensions. Notable large-scale enamelist Howard Eisman has taken on the formidable challenge of creating free-standing pieces in fused glass on hammered copper. These sculptures are a feast of luminous color.
The wall and sculpture placement is almost identical to Part I but as anticipated, the impact of all this saturated color has completely transformed the space from the previous series. A warm glow has replaced the airy briskness and the fanciful imagery has moved the environment toward a more boisterous emotional level.
November 14 – December 21, 2014
My Sister’s Doll: Artists Respond to a Christmas Saga
Claudia Alvarez • Daniel Aycock • Raina Bajpai • Elizabeth Berkana • Anne Bernard • Carrie Brittenham • Derek Brueckner • Ingrid Capozzoli Flinn • Cecile Chong • Brenda Colling • Clarissa Crabtree • Rodney Dickson • Harriet Edwardsen • Howard Eisman • Bonnie Faulkner • George Gillson • Reina Gillson • Susan Hamburger • Sayoko Harada • Jessica Hargreaves • Juliet Hone • Maho Kino • Yuliya Lanina • Alexandra Limpert • Elim Mak • Karen Marston • Janice Mauro • Meridtih McNeal • Karen Miles • Arlene Morris • Justin Nealy • Susan Newmark • Iviva Olenick • Ellen Rand • Audrey Rhoda • K. Saito • Joao Salema • Jacquelyn Schiffman • Joanne Scott • Amos Shumacher • Samantha Smith • Michael Sorgatz • Gonzalo Torres • Kathleen Vance • Anna West • Mary Westring • Elizabeth White • Lynn Wirtz
The Christmas Saga
One Christmas in the mid 1960's, my older sister, Jane, unwrapped a very special present. It was a large, beautiful doll in a special edition box – the perfect gift to steal the heart of a ten-year-old girl. A short while later, our less-privileged cousins came over, and my father, feeling charitable to the only girl in their family, made my sister give her new doll to her cousin.
My mother was furious and my sister was heartbroken. Christmas didn't end well that year. I felt so badly for my sister that I went upstairs and made a doll from an old toilet paper roll to give her as a replacement. This began a yearly tradition in which Jane has received a unique doll from me on Christmas every year. This collection has become quite eclectic ranging from exquisite finds to those on par with that first creation!
In honor of nearly 50 years of this tradition, I enlisted 50 artists to create a doll for a special exhibition where Jane will be our "guest judge”. Her choice will take first prize in the show and become this year’s Christmas Doll.
When I asked my artists to participate, I had no idea how enthusiastically they would embrace this side-project or how cathartic it would be for so many. Most artists have made direct connections to a similar family event that seeded lasting fond or troubled memories. As they were given no restrictions, the diversity in this work is inspired, ranging from intimate paintings to abstracted, life-size sculptures. One thing became consistent though – each doll evokes a powerful, emotional response far exceeding my initial request.
I trust this stimulating exhibition may now inspire fond memories for each of you too. Thank you all for ending this season on such a high note at Figureworks. Randall Harris, Director
September 6 - October 26, 2014
And The Wiinner Is...
Figureworks is pleased to open the fall season with an exhibition exploring the many forms of competition. Whether in sport, nature, or business, there is ultimately a winner and a loser.
“And the winner is….” features work from George Spencer’s Boxing series. Spencer is a Brooklyn artist whose paintings are about the contenders, the bloodied yet unbowed. Using a monochromatic pallet, Spencer layers watered-down acrylic to create a unique portrait of the contender filled with blood, sweat and tears. In the artist’s words, ”Boxing is simultaneously a thinking man's and a working class sport - both are traits that define me and my relationship with this borough.”
This exhibit will also include paintings and sculpture from a talented and diverse group of 20th century artists. These artists represent the many forms of competition ranging from Eugene Higgin’s gruesome safari hunt to Russell Patterson’s whimsical courtroom scene. A few other works include Lois Williams’ carnival scene, Laurent Casimir’s cock fight, contestants from a 1930’s Central Park dance contest by Lee Jackson, and Nathan Rapoport’s religious sculpture with Jacob wrestling with the angel.
This exhibition reminds the viewer that we are in constant competition throughout our lives even when we are not consciously aware of it. Daily decisions and struggles inevitably result in victory or defeat.
June 21 - July 27, 2014
Jorge Alvarez, Mural Study, watercolor, 11" x 14"
With only a few weeks before Figureworks takes a summer break for the month of August, it seems a great time to celebrate the diversity of its many talented artists. When various exhibitions close and my favorite works have remained unsold, I frequently hold on to them and display them in the salon-style back room or store them to show to interested clients. The works I have retained is getting quite heavy so I have made some selections to create this diverse and dynamic group show. There are works I was thrilled to revisit, including some pieces from my personal collection which I have been unable to enjoy over the years.
Here is a partial list of the 50+ works:
Jorge Alvarez, McWillie Chambers, Alexander Calder, Jennifer Delilah, Howard Eisman, Ingrid Capozzoli Flinn, Bonnie Faulkner, Matthew Greenway, Reina Gilson, Williams Gropper, Peter Krebs, Maho Kino, Richard Lindner, Arlene Morris, Rusel Parish, Joachim Marx, Meridith McNeal, Elim Mak, Arlene Morris, Susan Newmark, Audrey Rhoda, K. Saito, Michael Sorgatz, Jacqueline Schiffman, Raphael Soyer, Hermann Struck, Abraham Walkowitz.
As it is the close of the season, this show will rotate as works are sold, so please stop sooner than later if there are pieces you regret not acquiring earlier.
Looking forward to seeing you!
MAY 9 - JUNE 15, 2014
LEDS window installation by Carol Salmanson
Figureworks is pleased to present Jacquelyn Schiffman’s recent sculptures with Richard Lindner’s provocative lithographs. Each artist has created a body of work that reflect on memorable people from places they have called home.
Referencing family, friends and places from her childhood hometown of Detroit, Michigan, Jacquelyn Schiffman has produced a striking body of ethereal hanging sculptures. Schiffman says of her work, “Detroit is my hometown, where I grew up and where my aesthetic sense was formed. The people I knew and the places where they lived and worked form an essential part of what remains for me of the City. Through memory and fragments of material and paint, my Detroit is reconstituted.”
For many years, Schiffman has used spun web as a canvas for her painting. Spun web is a lightweight, polyester-based material that resembles rice paper but with sturdy, archival qualities ideal for accepting encaustics and other various mediums. In this series, she has painted fragments of this unique material and sewn them together to form figure based sculptures that can be suspended from the ceiling or wall mounted.
During his lifetime Richard Lindner (Hamburg, Germany 1902 – NYC 1978) was acknowledged as a significant and unique European-American painter. He was erroneously called a precursor of Pop art, but his paintings of pimps and armored women were cultural commentaries far removed from the banal images of Pop.
This exhibition includes Lindner’s lithographs from the 1971 portfolio Fun City. He loved the diversity and gritty culture of New York City, which heightened his interest in the superiority of aggressive women to submissive men. Shortly before he died, he told the American critic John Gruen, “My work is really a reflection of Germany of the ’20s. On the other hand, my creative nourishment comes from New York and from pictures I see in American magazines and on television. America is really a fantastic place.”
Bringing these two artists together clearly showcases how each stylistically fragment their subjects, even though they are working in very different mediums. Lindner isolates his challenging subjects with blocks of intense color and Schiffman passionately hand-sews each painted fragment into a three-dimensional memory. In both cases, the viewer is given a special glimpse into the artist’s extended family and naturally encouraged to reflect on one’s own influences.
March 8 - May 4, 2014
Meridith McNeal & Giuseppe Di Lelio
Figureworks is pleased to present Liar, Liar, a two person exhibition of drawings, paintings, and sculpture by artists Giuseppe Di Lelio and Meridith McNeal.
Lies are tricky things. Merriam Webster Dictionary tells us that lie is an intransitive verb meaning 1: to make an untrue statement with intent to deceive; 2: to create a false or misleading impression. What is important here is that there is an awareness or intent in telling a lie.
There is the notion of a “white lie” as a trivial, diplomatic, or well-intentioned untruth. But more often someone benefits and someone loses when there is lying going on.
Americans are familiar with an antiseptic Disney version of Carlo Collodi’s tale of Pinocchio. The original Le Avventure di Pinocchio is an ambling story told in serial format set in a poverty-stricken Tuscan village in the late 19th century. If you scratch the surface a bit, it chronicles the misadventures of a puppet who becomes a liar when subjected to the mistreatment of con-men and bullies. There are moments of redemption, and also many instances of things that just go badly wrong.
In fact, Pinocchio is each one of us. Giuseppe Di Lelio’s elegant cast resin sculptures are about the liar that exists within everyone. Who among us has never told a lie? About his work in Liar, Liar, Di Lelio elaborates: “I jotted down a curious line I read (in a not so interesting blog): ‘Lies are like sex and nobody in the world can say they did not know, either directly or indirectly the rules of this ancient game.’ (Le bugie sono come il sesso e nessuno al mondo può dire di non conoscere per via diretta o indiretta, le regole di questo gioco antico.). These sculptures and drawings are the manifestation of my thoughts about that ancient game of lies and truth, lying and honesty. Creating this work is an emotional dynamic dance where the ideas morph and change. In the end, I return to the maxim of Saint Bellino, one of the healing saints, in which he asserts that the human conscience cannot rest if not in truth.”
Meridith McNeal’s nib pen and ink drawings, huge watercolor paintings, and sewn sculpture are about the nuances of lying in a societal context. We live in a society where our government and its agents are all to often allowed to lie with impunity. When that happens those institutions hold the strings that can dictate our actions, and in the most extreme cases our fate. Using imagery that references Carlo Collodi’s tale of Pinocchio, McNeal addresses one of the most petrifying villains steeped in lies -- our own judicial system.
“There are lies with short legs, and lies with long noses. Yours clearly are of the long-nosed variety.” —Carlo Collodi, The Adventures of Pinocchio
January 5 - March 2, 2014
It's in the Details
Jennifer Delilah, Chambliss Giobbi, Susan Hamburger, Maho Kino
Figureworks is pleased to showcase four artists who, through labor-intensive work, explore the human psyche. Each of these detailed series have manifested from outside forces and internal struggles. Producing this type of work involves hours of personal focus, insight and decision-making and the results carry emotions that range from whimsical to disturbing.
Narrative painter Jennifer Delilah finely details her multi-species subjects in elaborate and historic environments. Her subject matter challenges ideas of race, class, and gender. In these paintings, beautiful hybrid creatures are bound or oppressed by their captors in lavish, haunting environments. The viewer is drawn in by the alluring subject and landscape only to be reminded that beauty and extravagance can have its price.
Chambliss Giobbi’s figurative collages are objects of obsessive psychological and physical mutation. After an intense photo session between artist and model, Giobbi prints thousands of photographs from which he tears and glues them, piece by piece, layer upon layer, to create a new portrait. Formerly composed subjects now become disturbingly fractured and splintered, opening new windows into the subject’s persona.
Susan Hamburger borrows images and designs from 18th- and 19th-century European decorative and fine arts to address current social, political and economic issues. In this exhibition she has work from two series - a paper-mache tea service of delicate Delft cups and saucers that portray contemporary female politicians and multi-panel paper wall moulding featuring the CEOs of BP, Transocean, Halliburton and Cameron International at the time of the Gulf oil spill in 2010. What is so engaging in Hamburger’s series is the emotional duality it evokes. Her portraits are lovingly detailed and enticing while wrought with conflicting political and social mores.
On more whimsical note, Maho Kino humanizes the common peanut into playful, intimate etchings. Kino feels this simple organic form lends itself readily to personification. On a less obvious level, the peanut represents inherent duality (two nuts in one shell) that acts as a metaphor for the conflict in human character. Kino’s tiny narrative etchings are like peering through a dollhouse window into a newly discovered world where something as mundane as a peanut has become enchanted and treasured.
November 8 - December 15, 2013
Susan Newmark is a mixed media artist focused on socially charged collage works. Her working process includes cutting, tearing, layering and sanding with added drawing and color parallels. She is fascinated with simultaneous levels of meaning as she explores her own emotional identity and reflects upon the many contradictions of being female.
"Layered Narratives", Susan's latest body of work, explores storytelling through the creation of imaginary landscapes integrated with abstract elements. She says of this series, "I use found papers from popular culture – such as wallpaper, wrapping paper, magazines, newspapers, comics, and paint. The layering process begins as an improvisation and an appreciation of how torn posters on the walls of subways and buildings reveal layers of memory as disparate parts unravel and new unexpected realities emerge. Through an additive collage process and the juxtaposition of the abstract and the representational, my surfaces become interwoven networks and dense webs of vision not unlike a packed urban environment. The work constantly changes and fractures as paper is repeatedly added, sanded, and painted. The distressed surfaces, the fragile female images and the figures in the landscapes seem to contain their own histories and associations as they become interwoven within fields of color, form and pattern. The inclusion of Nancy in many pieces, recalls the daily comic strip I read as a child; she was fearless, curious, confident, a problem solver, and all seeing. I dreamed about having similar attitudes and adventures, and longed to play with her pets. I am, as well, fascinated with tattooed bodies as expressions of identity and transformation and their occurrence in all civilizations. They appear in my work as objects of an exotic beauty and messengers in the narratives. And although there is no one way to read my work, there are many points of entry."
Susan has exhibited at Figureworks in two solo exhibitons and many group shows. Her collages and artists books have also been in solo exhibitons at the Brooklyn Public Library at Grand Army Plaza ,and the galleries of John Jay College, Long Island University, St. John's University, and Garrison Art Center. Her work has been included in group exhibitions at the Brooklyn Museum, Parrish Museum, Islip Museum, Cummings Foundation, Brooklyn College ,The Center for Book Arts and Rotunda Gallery. Susan has had residencies at the Lower East Side Printshop, the Women's Studio Workshop ,and Byrdcliff Arts Center, She is in the collections of the Brooklyn Museum, Lower East Side Printshop and Medical Library of the University of Southern California. Susan was Director of Visual Arts at the Abrons Arts Center Henry Street Settlement for many years ,and as an advocate for the arts, is now on the board of the Center for Book Arts and the advisory of Kentler International Drawing Space. She also coordinated Dialogues in the Visual Arts, a series of artists conversations at Tribeca Performing Arts Center.
September 12 - November 3, 2013
Figureworks is pleased to showcase a number of etchings by Alexander Calder. One set of etchings in this exhibtion is based on the 1943 one-act play "Santa Claus" by American poet, essayist, and playwright E. E. Cummings. The allegorical Christmas fantasy recounts the tale of Santa Claus and the sinister character Death, who exchange identities in a cynical scheme to sell shares in a worthless wheel mine. A little girl, whose innocence allows her to see through their deception, finds them out. Remorseful, Santa reveals his true identity, reaffirming his faith in love. In 1974, Alexander Calder illustrates this tale with nine large etchings, Done in Calder's distinct style of simplified linear line, they deftly convey the emotional power of the story.
Also showcased is Calder's whimsical "Circus" portfolio. These sixteen lithographs, done in 1964, playfully captivate a frolicking circus adventure.
A Taste of Summer
select artists share the joys of summer in these inspired works
June 14 - July 28, 2013
Dwarfs & Giants
New York City in the Early 1900's
April 27 - June 9, 2013
Karl Dehman, Woolworth Building, drypoint etching, 11" x 8", c.1920
New York City has always been the great cultural melting pot and in 1905, for the first time in American history, more than one million immigrants arrived in the United States, primarily through Ellis Island. The challenges New Yorkers would face over these years, with World War I and social issues that included civil rights and job strikes, helped shape them into one of the nation's most resilient people, making the Empire City an even more attractive destination.
The office and housing solution to this rapid urban growth came through new buildings expanding upward rather than outward. New technologies and innovations, such as steel framing, concrete, and elevators, played a major role in this new construction. In America’s preeminent city of the twentieth century, the New York skyscraper became a symbol of America's modernity.
Iconic buildings such as the Flatiron were followed by the Singer Tower, the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower, the Municipal Building and the 792-foot (57 story) Woolworth Building, completed in 1913 to became the tallest building in lower Manhattan at the time. Though these skyscrapers were commercial successes, criticism mounted as they broke up the ordered city skyline and plunged neighboring streets and buildings into perpetual shadow.
Artists were fascinated by the growth and rapid change of NYC. Etchers Joseph Pennell, Karl Dehmann, and Anton Schutz painstakingly detailed these rising towers and, in reference to their majestic height, peppered the foundations with bustling figures. It not only scaled the magnitude of these structures but also served to humble the human existence among them. Other artists, like Jerome Myers, chose to highlight the overworked and underpaid work force that kept this city fueled. Hermann Struck’s etchings, from his visit to New York in the early 1900’s, captured aged pretzel vendors and paperboys working the streets for a meager living.
This exhibition highlights a handful of these prominent artists who’s works on paper, created roughly 100 years ago, honor the energy and excitement of the ever changing New York City skyline with the unique and creative people who made this city so remarkable.
HONKY - TONK BELLES
March 9 - April 21, 2013
Yuliya Lanina is a Russian-born American multimedia artist who splits her time between New York City and Austin, Texas. Having shown at Figureworks for many years, this solo exhibition highlights her most recent series of paintings and will also showcase her latest animatronic sculpture. This body of work portrays alternate realities that fuse fantasy, femininity, and humor.
Employing fanciful imagery from plants, animals and humans, Lanina’s characters simultaneously elicit feelings of uneasiness and empathy. Mostly female in gender, they are made of parts that are not supposed to go together and are derived from the artist’s own projections of nonsensical events and consequences. Painted on a stark white background, the primary isolated figure is accompanied by small winged creatures and quirky floral personas – all gesturing to get her attention. These unusual compositions celebrate feminine power and its connection to the mysterious, the beautiful, and the sensual. Lanina’s largest canvases are now introducing some intricately tattooed appendages that personalize and provide greater insight into these mysterious beings.
Lanina draws from many sources to create these characters. Though she often taps into Greek mythology with the half-human and half-animal demigods, she also relies on her personal roots with Russian fairy tales, which are filled with fantastic beings deeply rooted in paganism, mysticism, and symbolism. Her creatures and their stories move freely between logical and illogical, realistic and illusory, predictable and surprising, representing life that can only be lived, but never understood.
Bringing these two dimensional characters to life, Lanina has collaborated with Theodore Johnson (technical direction) and Yevgeniy Sharlat (musical score) to create “Honky-tonk Belles”, a festive, animatronic sculpture with characters from her paintings frolicking to an original soundtrack.
Arlene Morris, Self Portrait, oil on board, 16" x 16" x 2"
FACES OF FIGUREWORKS
January 5 - March 3, 2013
Byron BROWNE • Ingrid CAPOZZOLI FLINN • McWillie CHAMBERS • Marvin CHERNEY • George CONSTANT • Howard EISMAN • Philip EVERGOOD • Bonnie FAULKNER • Ernest FIENE • George GILLSON • Reina GILLSON • Matthew GREENWAY • Red GROOMS • Chaim GROSS • Mimi GROSS • Bernard GUSSOW • Abraham HARRITON • Bertram HARTMAN • Fred HATT • Joseph KAPLAN • Benjamin KOPMAN • Jack LEVINE • Elim MAK • Irving MARANTZ • Herman MARIL • Fletcher MARTIN • Felicia MEYER MARSH • Joachim MARX • Michael MASSEN • Meridith MCNEAL • Artem MIROLEVICH • Arlene MORRIS • Susan NEWMARK • Rusel PARISH • Robert Andrew PARKER • Joachim PROBST • Ellen RAND • Phillip REISMAN • Audrey RHODA • K. SAITO • Charles SARKA * Jacquelyn SCHIFFMAN • Michael SORGATZ • Raphael SOYER • Moses SOYER • Anthony TONEY • Mary WESTRING • David YAGHJIAN • Barbara ZANELLI • Marguerite ZORACH • William ZORACH
Figureworks is pleased to open the new year with over 50 self portraits from its contemporary and 20th century list of artists.
Artists create self portraits for various reasons but frequently it is done as a reflective point in their career. Securing that moment in time when they feel the need to record their presence. Similar to a journal entry, it may manifest in a quick sketch such as the drawing Philip Evergood created in 1944 documenting his life threatening surgery or Byron Browne's ink drawing of his model with added self at his easel. These sketches were not created for exhibition purposes and are often stashed away with other personal belongings. Oppositely, some are finely executed oils done during long studio hours of self reflection, like those by Ernest Fiene and Joachim Marx. Equally personal, these significant executions are intended to preserve a specific place and time.
Additionally, a number of pieces in this exhibition were created specifically for patrons who commissioned the artist's portraiture for their collection. This includes the drawings by Red Grooms and Chaim Gross. Others, such as McWillie Chambers and K. Saito, were executed upon request specifically for this exhibition. These types of portraits start from a very different place than those mentioned earlier. The artist, typically just the hand behind the canvas, is asked to now become the subject. Over twenty years ago, Ingrid Capozzoli Flinn had only privately done self portraits. A labor intensive oil painter, this request was very challenging for her as she was forced to spend many hours looking back into the mirror of time.
This exhibition encompasses all of these processes and emotions in a wide range of media from pencil, oil, ink and wood to glass and digital imagery. Artists from different generations and practices are represented. It is also worthy to note the diverse self portraits by couples George & Reina Gillson and William & Marguerite Zorach which reinforces the individuality and personal expression which goes into each work.
LEAD THE WAY
Cecile Chong and William Gropper
November 9 - December 16, 2012
Lead the Way focuses on two like-minded artists from very different backgrounds and generations. Contemporary artist Cecile Chong was born in 1964 in Ecuador to Chinese parents. Her childhood was divided between these two countries until she emigrated to New York City at the age of 19. William Gropper was born in the lower east side of New York City in 1897 to Jewish immigrants from Romania and Ukraine. Both artists have created profound bodies of work directly inspired by their heritage.
Cecile Chong is a mixed media artist whose work addresses the process of cultural assimilation and the development of individual identity. Her exposure to different cultures and ideals has directed her creative exploration into how these influences are acquired, represented and interpreted. Specifically interested in how cultures copy each other and how borrowed ideas often find their way back to the original culture in curious ways, this body of work places figures from various origins into dreamlike landscapes. Chong has executed this series in encaustic. The surface layers are then delicately etched with colored line, reinforcing the philosophy that scratching the surface can uncover layers of history.
William Gropper, inspired by a 1948 visit to the ruins of the Warsaw Ghetto, spent the next 30 years of his life painting Jewish subjects. He felt their plight epitomized all suffering mankind. In 1970 he created a portfolio of 24 colored lithographs entitled The Shtetl, which are included in this exhibition. The concept of shtetl culture is used as a metaphor for the traditional way of life for 19th-century Eastern European Jews who lived collectively in pious communities that were socially stable and unchanging despite outside influence. The Holocaust resulted in the disappearance of the vast majority of shtetls, through both extermination under Nazi occupation and exodus to the United States and Palestine. Gropper acknowledged this series as "looking for my roots…a village and people that no longer exists, but a faint memory."
Both artists, thoughtfully processing their origins, have created engaging and beautiful works of art. These two series affirm that personal exploration within the creative process can both honor history and inspire future generations to examine the past from new perspectives.
Cecile Chong has exhibited work at El Museo del Barrio, Wave Hill, Kenise Barnes Fine Art, Corridor Gallery, Sue Scott Gallery, Praxis International Art in New York and with The Cynthia Corbett Gallery in London. Fellowships include Socrates Sculpture Park, AIM 2011 Bronx Museum, Urban Artist Initiative NYC 2010, Aljira Emerge 10 and the Joan Mitchell Foundation MFA Grant 2008. Cecile's work is in the collections of El Museo del Barrio, Citibank Art Advisory, Peggy Cooper-Cafritz, Carmen Ana Unanue and other private collections in the U.S., Europe and South America. Her work has been reviewed in El Diario La Prensa, Singtao Daily, and The New York Times. She received an MFA from Parsons The New School for Design in 2008, an MA from Hunter College, and a BA in Studio Art from Queens College. Her early schooling took place in Ecuador, Macau and China. Cecile lives and works in New York and is currently in the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts Studio Program.
William Gropper (1897–1977), was a U.S. cartoonist and painter who supported himself by drawing cartoons for the New York Tribune, Smart Set, Bookman, Dial, Vanity Fair, New York Post, New Republic, and The Nation while he studied painting. He was also a contributor to such left-wing publications as New Masses and the Yiddish Morning Freiheit. During the Depression, he painted murals for public buildings for the Works Project Administration. Gropper, for years a leading painter in the American social realism movement, used his art as a weapon in the fight for the betterment of the human condition. Gropper's art in museums, galleries, government buildings and universities around the world including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, MOMA, Washington D.C.'s National Gallery of Art and the Smithsonian.
September 8 - November 4, 2012
by discovering that they hold a whole world within them which is familiar to those living or walking throughout the New York City landscape. Clusters of human forms begin to surface amidst a lively and chaotic ground. The atmosphere of the city is apparent and the pace of these darkened figures breaking up the horizon feels familiar and expected, as if the need to move from their oncoming direction is inevitable. Though these paintings capture an everyday New York moment, the energy and movement in the work transcends far beyond a single moment.
Michael says of his work, "My paintings of figures in urban landscapes depict the constant evolution of the city, exploring the boundary between abstraction and realism. Working from digitally manipulated photographs, I systematically break down the image by overlaying a geometric pattern and reducing the image to a series of simple shapes. Using an improvisational method, I apply the paint with a variety of tools such as brushes and painting knives. This technique creates a highly textured surface as layers of paint are applied to build the picture, obscuring identities and context. The resulting images portray a dynamic state of turbulence where shapes collide, merge, and separate to create new forms."
Life Drawing - 12 Year Anniversary
June 8 - July 29, 2012
K. Saito, Caution, magic marker on paper, 11" x 8-1/2", June 2003
Since 2000, Figureworks has hosted a weekly life drawing session every Saturday morning before the gallery opens. Over the years we have showcased the drawings from those artists who have faithfully supported these sessions.
This year, taking advantage of this longevity, we have created a timeline using artist's earlier works with their current endeavors. It is exciting to see this history. Some artists have retained their signature style with more confidence while others have chosen to explore new techniques and various mediums. The diversity of this group is remarkable, especially in medium, which includes Ink, magic marker, oil pastel, watercolor, graphite, and colored pencil.
It is worth noting that these exquisite figure studies were executed from 2 minute to 20 minute poses. They are fresh, spontaneous, and many times unfinished. Foremost, all of these drawings are explorations into form and the study of human anatomy, many never intended to be formally shown.
Children of Conflict - 10 Years Later
April 28 - June 3, 2012
Akello Lucy Flora - Joseph Kony's "wife", 2012
oil and colored pencil on paper, 22" x 30"
In 2002, Mary Westring traveled to Uganda to confront the ongoing abduction of children who were taken by the Lord's Resistance Army and used as porters, child soldiers and "wives". She documented these children through individual portraits expressing their pain and suffering.
Ten years later, Mary has again documented these "Children of Conflict", this time with young adults who have lived through this horrific past and become the next generation addressing the changing needs of Uganda. Profoundly different from the children depicted ten years ago, this grouping shows healthy, hopeful and joyous young adults who are now attending college.
Mary and her family have worked for many years to bring attention to this crisis through a small but dedicated organization, uccef.org, which continues to provide much needed support for the positive changes in these children's lives.
Figureworks is honored to be able to showcase these portraits with their stories.
MARCH 10 - April 22, 2012
NIGHTMARES & FANTASIES
John-Pierre Alaux, Arthur Albert, Jorge Alvarez, Warren B. Davis, Felix Chavez, John Silk Deckard, Emil Ganso, Sante Graziani, Artem Mirolevich, Rafael Alvarez Ortega, Frederic Taubes, George Tooker, Pierre-Yves Tremois
“Sometimes we are terrified to fall asleep and sometimes the dream is better than reality”
John-Pierre Alaux (b. 1925 France)
Arthur Albert (1919 – 1987 United States)
Jorge Alvarez (1953 Columbia – 2007 United States)
Warren B Davis (1865 – 1928 United States)
Felix Chavez (1941 Peru)
John Silk Deckard (1940 – 1994 United States)
Emil Ganso (1895 Germany – 1941 United States)
Sante Graziani (b. 1920 United States)
Artem Mirolevich (b. 1976 Russia)
Rafael Alvarez Ortega (b. 1927 Spain)
Frederic Taubes (1900 Poland – 1981 United States)
George Clair Tooker (1920 – 2011 United States)
Pierre-Yves Tremois (b. 1921 France)
This work, from various artists of different generations and countries, explore fantastical dreamlike qualities, whether pleasant or disturbing. There is a vibrant emotional connection to the pieces that undoubtedly surface from personal experience.
JANUARY 13 - MARCH 4, 2012
ELLEN EMMET RAND
ELLEN EMMET RAND
Figureworks is pleased to start 2012 with a two-person exhibition by Ellen Emmet Rand and Ellen Emmet Rand, grandmother and granddaughter. The work in this show will combine Ellen Emmet Rand’s portrait paintings and drawings from the turn of the century with Ellen Emmet Rand's new abstract collage paintings, which have been inspired from and created directly over a series of her earlier figurative paintings done in the 1990’s. Though these women have created quite different works in technique and subject, there is a remarkable similarity in palette, use of light, and a unified sensitivity to composition. These women, having come from very different generations, paths and circumstances, manage to share a unique bond of creativity and perspective.
Ellen Emmet was born in 1875 in San Francisco, California. At a very young age Ellen showed artistic promise and was encouraged to pursue her drawing. When she was nine years old, her father died and she moved with her mother and sisters to New York to be closer to other family members. She studied drawing in Boston with Dennis Bunker, painting with William Merritt Chase at the Art Students League as a teenager and later attended the Chase Shinnecock School of Art. She began illustrating for HARPER'S WEEKLY and VOGUE when she was 17, becoming the major breadwinner for the family and managing to save enough to get herself to Paris. The highlight of early training took place in Paris from 1896 to 1900. Here she studied with Frederick MacMonnies, an American sculptor and painter living in Paris. His training provided her with unique tools and confidence from which she was able to independently support her family exclusively through portrait commissions throughout her career.
Returning to New York City in 1900, she opened a studio in Washington Square. Ellen was one in a handful of women painters elected as a full Academician at the National Academy of Design. In 1911, she married and changed her professional name to Ellen Emmet Rand. She had highly successful one-person shows including one at Boston's Copley Hall, where only James Whistler, John Singer Sargent, and Claude Monet had had such exhibits. Ellen’s portrait commissions, over 800 works, include many notables from society, politics, business and artistic circles. The Metropolitan Museum owns her portraits of Augustus Saint-Gaudens and Benjamin Altman.
A second generation later, Ellen Emmet Rand was named after her successful grandmother but ironically wasn't allowed to study art in high school. She was encouraged to study music. She came to painting after studying stage design and working in the theatre for a number of years. The solitude of painting was infinitely more satisfying to her than the high pitch of the theatrical backstage. Unlike her grandmother, Ellen is entirely self-taught having spent countless hours shut away from the world painting and scraping and re-painting.
In 2004, like many artists excited by the burgeoning Brooklyn art scene, Ellen opened Art 101, a contemporary fine art gallery in the heart of Williamsburg. A consuming task, she worked exclusively for the first 5 years on developing this masterpiece. When she returned to her studio, she found inspiration from her earlier 1999 - 2001 paintings. Rather than start fresh, she chose to rework these figurative paintings with rice paper and a variety of paint, pastel and oil pastel directly on top of these older oils. These new paintings were influenced by the old, whether or not their origins remained visible.
In the same respect, granddaughter Ellen Emmet Rand’s work is also influenced by grandmother Ellen Emmet Rand’s work, but that remains clearly visible.
20TH CENTURY FIGURATIVE SCULPTURE
SEPTEMBER 9 - NOVEMBER 6, 201
Influential sculptors including Chaim Gross, Milton Hebald, Bruno Lucchessi, Alexander Ney (pictured below), Hugo Robus, William Zorach
This new season welcomes more progressive changes and new directions for Figureworks. As noted in last season, there is a greater focus on exhibitions that couple 20th century and contemporary artwork. Having acquired a great deal more 20th century works over the summer, this focus will heighten beginning with 20th Century Figurative Sculpture. Pieces from various artists were selected to expose a broad range of style, medium, and individuality.
Chaim Gross (March 17, 1904 - May 5, 1991) was an Austrian born American sculptor. Gross was noted for his direct wood carvings, frequently using South American hardwood for its exquisite grain to highlight various curves and form. In 1922 he began sculpture and drawing classes at the Beaux-Arts Institute of Design with Elie Nadelman and began exhibiting his sculpture in 1935. Brooklyn Museum of Art houses “Ballerina”, a wood carving executed before crowds at the 1940’s World Fair. In the 1950’s, Gross began casting in bronze and produced a lively and looser body of work, which he felt he was not able to achieve though wood. Gross was a professor of sculpture at the Educational Alliance and the New School in New York City. He was a member of Artists Equity, the Federation of Modern Painters and Sculptors, and the National Institute of Arts and Letters. He served as President of the Sculptors Guild of America. His sculptures can be found in numerous museums and private collections.
Milton Hebald (born May 24, 1917, NYC) is a sculptor who specializes in figurative bronze works. Twenty-three of his works are publically displayed in New York City, including the statues of Romeo and Juliet and The Tempest in front of the Delacorte Theatre in Central Park. His major work, created in 1961, is a 220-foot 12-piece Zodiac Screen, then the largest sculpture in the world, commissioned by Pan-American Airlines for its terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport. He studied, starting at the age of ten, at the Art Students League of New York, the National Academy of Design and the Beaux-Arts Institute of Design and had his first one-man show in NYC at the age of 20. He was awarded the Prix de Rome Fellowship to the American Academy in Rome in 1955, 1956 and 1957. He remained in Italy with his wife, painter, Cecille Rosner Hebald, until returning to the United States in 2004, six years after her death.
Bruno Lucchesi (born 1926 in Lucca, Italy) is a sculptor most known for his contemplative female figures and genre scenes that capture daily life. Lucchesi studied at the Art Institute of Lucca and in 1953 became Assistant Professor at Florence University. In 1958 he moved to New York City and taught at the National Academy of Design and the New School. His works are in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum, Whitney Museum, Hirshhorn Museum, the Museum of the City of New York, and many others. He has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, as well as gold medals from the National Sculpture Society and the National Academy. Lucchesi has published four books on sculpture.
Alexander Ney (born 1939 in Leningrad, Russia) is known for his unique work in terra cotta sculpture, involving heavily perforated surfaces and intriguing forms. After being given private art lessons at the home of Russian sculptor V.V. Lishev from 1954 to 1957, Ney studied at the Art School of the Leningrad Academy of Arts, and later at the Art School of the Surikov Moscow Art Institute from 1957 to 1959. From 1965 to 1967, he taught sculpture to children at the House of Young Pioneers in Leningrad. Ney immigrated to the United States in 1974, where his intricate and innovative approach to modeling ceramic sculpture continues to gain greater recognition and praise.
Hugo Robus (May 10, 1885 - January 14, 1964) was born in Cleveland, Ohio and studied painting at the Cleveland School of Art (1903-7) and the National Academy of Design, New York (1907-9). In Paris (1912-14) he studied sculpture with Emile-Antoine Bourdelle. In 1918 Robus moved to NYC and focused his career on sculpture. Greatly influenced by the wave of Cubism and Futurism, he developed his distinctive sculptural style of streamlining his figures with gentle curves that enfold and quiet each form. These pieces, cast in silver and bronze, were often highly polished. Robus has an extensive exhibition history and his work is in numerous private and public collections throughout the world.
William Zorach (1887 Eurberg Lithuania – 1966 USA) studied painting at the National Academy of Design in New York City (1907-1910) and then went to Paris. There he saw his first modern art and was particularly attracted to cubism. In 1911 he returned to America and two of his abstract paintings were accepted for the famous 1913 Armory Show in New York. In 1917, Zorach made his first sculpture and soon devoted himself entirely to woodcarving. In 1924 he executed his first piece in stone: a portrait head of his wife. Though Zorach was completely self-taught as a sculptor, he understood and stated that "real sculpture is something monumental, something hewn from solid mass, something with repose, with inner and outer form, with strength and power." Zorach first showed his sculpture in 1924 at the Kraushaar Galleries and numerous one-man shows followed at the Downtown Gallery from 1931 to 1967. In 1950, a retrospective was held at the Art Students League where Zorach taught from 1929 to 1959. The Whitney Museum of American Art mounted a major retrospective of Zorach’s painting and sculpture in 1959, and the Brooklyn Museum organized an important posthumous exhibition.
January 11, 2008 - February 17, 2008
Jorge Alvarez Retrospective
Jorge Alvarez was an accomplished artist and respected professor. Born in Medellin, Colombia in 1953, he moved with his family to New York City as a teenager. He received his Bachelor's of Fine Art in Painting and Drawing from the School of Visual Arts, NYC in 1976 and his Master's of Fine Art in Painting from the New York Academy of Art, NYC in 1995. He went on to become the Studio Manager of Evergreene Painting Studios from 1996 - 1999 executing large scale wall, ceiling, and alter pieces for numerous hotels, churches, and residences throughout the country.
In 2002, Jorge became a full time professor of painting and mural studies at the Savannah College of Art and Design. With his students, he created numerous murals around the Savannah area. In acknowledgement of Jorge's outstanding work, the college purchased three of his major oils for their permanent collection in 2006.
Jorge was a dedicated studio artist throughout his career. His commissioned portrait work was in constant demand and he was regularly preparing for solo and group exhibitions, including this last year at Figureworks and at the Red Gallery in Savannah, GA.
Jorge was a friend, artist, colleague and mentor to many and is greatly missed.
February 22, 2008 - April 6, 2008
Michael Massen exhibited his bronze sculptures at Figureworks in 2002. Recently completing his MFA in Painting at the New York Academy of Art, he is now showcasing his latest oils on canvas entitled "Quiet Paintings". With this formal training and established sculptural sensibility, each canvas presents a draped figure in an isolated state reflective of his three-dimensional works. Within each piece, richly layered grounds showcase his mastery of this medium.
Jacquelyn Schiffman has completed a new series of wall hangings and free-floating encaustic figures on spun-web polyester, the notable translucent industrial fabric she showcased in her former exhibition at Figureworks in 2003. These compositions grew out of this series as they had begun to reach beyond their two-dimensional format. The images are based on portions of this previous work, reassembled into a combination of painting and wall relief sculpture. These fanciful images are reminiscent of cartoon characters, costumed dancers and stage performers of the 1920's.
April 11 - June 1, 2008
painting from the male form
Ingrid Capozzoli Flinn
painting from the female form
Figureworks is pleased to welcome McWillie Chambers and Ingrid Capozzoli Flinn for their first formal exhibitions in the gallery. Many of you are familiar with their works from the Figureworks "Back Room" collection. Both these established NYC based artists are exploring gender related issues. Chambers focuses on the male form in narrative settings and Capozzoli Flinn isolates the female form in stark studio settings. In common, both sensitively personalize their subjects through body language, composition and attentive brushwork.
This series by McWillie Chambers showcase men at the beach or pool-side. Painted from photographs collected over time, he affirms the uninhibited pleasure of men lounging, conversing and frolicking in a sun drenched atmosphere. Loosely painted with a vibrant palette, this cheerful series reflect the joyous days of summer. Chambers was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 1951. He received his BFA from Kansas City Art Institute in 1973 and then moved to New York City to pursue his career. He has had numerous one-person exhibitions including Tricia Collins Grand Salon (1995/1997), Barbara Levy Gallery (1998,2002), Fischbach Gallery (2002), and John Davis Gallery (2007).
Ingrid Cappozzoli Flinn 's paintings handle light in a different way. Working directly from models in her naturally lit studio, she articulates the subtle contours of the female form. Poses are often symmetrical, yet the gradient light to shadow provides a richly challenged composition that evokes thoughtful introspection into each subject. Capozzoli Flinn grew up in an Italian and Polish Catholic family in the suburbs of Detroit in the 1960's. She moved to NYC five years ago and has been working passionately and privately on this particular series, rarely exhibiting them until now.
June 6 - August 31, 2008
1932 - 1997
Figureworks is pleased to present the erotic work of pop-artist Bob Stanley from a series he executed in the late 1960's. This exhibition includes Bianchini Gallery's complete 1966 silkscreen portfolio. Original ink drawings for this series are also generously included through the Stanley estate http://estateofbobstanley.org/
Mr. Stanley defined his work from this period by limiting each piece to two punched-up colors, such as purple and red or orange and green. Solid blocks of color expose each figure while the opposing color supports details or the grounds in which they are placed. By cleverly using this technique to abstract his subjects, the sexually explicit nature of the work is much more inviting than confrontational. Bold in color and graphic in nature, this work clearly defines the sexual liberation of the 1960's.
Published in the New York Times shortly after his death on November 21, 1997, Roberta Smith commemorated the life of this artist:
Mr. Stanley was born in Yonkers, N.Y., in 1932. After attending Columbia University for two years, he received a bachelor's degree in English literature in 1953 from Oglethorpe College in Atlanta and studied art at the High Museum of Art there. Back in New York, he first worked in collage. In the early 1960's, he began to base his paintings on images clipped from newspapers and magazines, following the example of Pop artists like Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, who would become his brother-in-law.
Enlarged and often rendered in two equally saturated colors (red and green, for example), Mr. Stanley's images could border on the abstract or be powerfully explicit. His preferred subjects, including rock stars, sporting events and pornography, always seemed to grate against the pretenses of high art. In the late 1960's Mr. Stanley started using his own photographs, basing paintings on images of tree branches or the ground, and also using pictures of life-drawing models at the School of Visual Arts, where he was a faculty member for 16 years.
Mr. Stanley had his first solo show at Paul Bianchini in 1965 and thereafter exhibited regularly in New York City and Europe. His most recent exhibition, held last month at the Mitchell Algus Gallery in Manhattan, completed its run the day he died. His work is represented in many public collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art in Manhattan; the Fort Worth Museum of Modern Art, the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington and the Milwaukee Art Museum.
September 5 - October 19 , 2008
Figureworks is pleased to open the fall season with new paintings by Joachim Marx. Marx believes that there are still timeless human themes that ask for a contemporary image. He paints floating, falling or suspended figures in an undefined space. These are figures that are thrown into the painting just as human beings are thrown into existence, trying to comprehend their being here, trying to remember their true nature.
Still, with this seemingly haphazard approach, the formal aspects are clear: the grounds, the material qualities of the paints and their application, surfaces, textures. Often the surfaces don't seem painted. It seems they somehow happened. They suggest a space and in this space Marx places his figures. With this continuity of thought on our existence, Marx figures do not readily reveal themselves. Their union with the space beautifully compliments each composition. The technique inspires the subject matter and the subject matter inspires the technique. And it is repetition that reveals an observing and meditative approach to painting.
Joachim Marx, born 1960 in Germany, received his MFA in 1991 from the New York Academy of Art. He has exhibited in numerous shows in commercial galleries, public spaces and museums in the US as well as in Germany. German public television featured him in a 30 minute documentary called "Marx and the Culture of Contradiction" in 1993. He lives in New York City.
October 24 - December 21, 2008
NYC Subway Series
etchings and monoprints
Figureworks is pleased to welcome back Mary Westring and Barbara Zanelli with an exhibition showcasing commuters on the New York City Subway.
Mary's approach to this familiar subject is isolated to commuter hands gripping the support poles. We passengers all find ourselves staring blankly at the poles between stops and rarely reflect on the many hands that are gripping the poles with us. Mary has taken the time to execute this fleeting moment in finely detailed and beautifully rendered etchings.
Barbara draws constantly and gets great inspiration by sketching in crowded trains. She fills many sketch books from the energy and bustle of people coming and going. This is her second series of monoprints created from these sketches. Long and narrow in format, they scan a portion of a subway car and capture that energy with quick lines and a direct gritty approach.
JANUARY 9 - MARCH 8, 2009
New York Academy of Art
2nd Biennial Alumni Association Exhibition
F. Douglas Blanchard • Claudia Butz • Dean Dalfonzo • Matthew Greenway • Caitlin Hurd • Lisa Lebofsky • Aldo Lira • Alyssa Monks • Maggie Rose • Stephen Shaheen • Daehyuk Sim • Ros Winner Sterling
Figureworks, through juried selection with the New York Academy of Art Alumni Association, is pleased to present this second biennial exhibition. Twelve accomplished alumni were selected. Graduates range from 1993 through 2006. Work includes mixed media collage by Ros Winner Sterling, drawings by Caitlin Hurd, oils by F. Douglas Blanchard, Claudia Butz, Matthew Greenway, Lisa Lebofsky, Aldo Lira, Alyssa Monks, Maggie Rose, Daehyuk Sim, watercolors by Dean Dalfonzo and sculpture by Stephen Shaheen.
Each artist present strong, diverse, and accomplished work. Collectively, the beauty of this figure-based work supports the merits of the Academy and strengthens the mission of this gallery.
Located in the heart of TriBeCa, the New York Academy of Art, a not-for-profit educational and cultural institution, is dedicated to the advancement of figurative painting, sculpture and drawing. The only graduate school in the United States devoted exclusively to the study of the human figure, the Academy fosters values and skills intrinsic to the creation of significant contemporary art. With this focus, Figureworks is honored to support and host exhibits with their alumni.
March 13 - April 5, 2009
WPA/Federal Arts Project Artists
Gerrit Hondius (1891 Holland - 1970 USA)
Benjamin Kopman (1887 Russia - 1965 USA)
Figureworks is pleased to honor WPA artists Gerrit Hondius and Benjamin Kopman with a selection of rarely viewed paintings.
Born in Kampen, Holland in 1891, Gerrit Hondius studied at the Royal Academy in The Hague. He left for New York in 1915 where he studied with Max Weber and Andrew Dasburg at the Art Students League. Hondius was also greatly influenced by the French Expressionist painter and printmaker Georges Rouault. He worked for the Federal Arts Project and his primary subjects were ballerinas, circus scenes, landscapes, still lifes, and masked figures.
Hondius had over fifty one-man exhibitions in Europe and the United States. His work was shown at the Whitney Museum of American Art, 1924-26, 1932 and 1934; the 1939 World's Fair; Museum of Modern Art; Rockefeller Center; and Graham Gallery, in the 1950s. His work was exhibited posthumously in New York City WPA Art in 1977 at the Parson's School of Design, New York City.
Hondius' work may be seen in the collections of the San Francisco Museum of Art, California; Whitney Museum of American Art; Newark Museum of Art, New Jersey; Reading Museum of Art, Pennsylvania; Norfolk Museum of Art, Virginia; and Provincial Museum, Kampden, Holland. His papers, sketchbooks, photographs, letters and clippings are in the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
Jewish-American artist, Benjamin Kopman was born in Vitebsk, Russia in 1887 and came to the U.S. in 1903 where he studied at the National Academy of Design. He was a painter, illustrator, and sculptor and exhibited widely including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Carnegie Institute, Art Institute of Chicago, Pennsylvania Academy, Corcoran Gallery, and the Salons of America. He was an active member of the WPA. His illustration work included the novels "Crime and Punishment" in 1944 and "Frankenstein" in 1948.
His work is in the collections of the Whitney Museum, Museum of Modern Art, Boston Museum, and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art. Kopman became a well-known "American Scene" artist.
Source for these biographies: T P LaRose, Peter Falk, "Who Was Who in American Art"
APRIL 10 - MAY 3, 2009
The human figure in fired glass-on-metal
Curated by Howard Eisman
Ruth Altman/Geraldine Berg/Arlene Egelberg/Howard Eisman/Alejandro Flores Horta/Leni Fuhrman/June Jasen/John Killmaster/Maritza Morillas/Stell Shevis/Judy Stone/Katherine Wood
Figureworks is pleased to host a fired glass exhibition by renowned artists from the United States and Mexico. This exhibit is curated by noted enameler, Howard Eisman.
Each of these twelve artists bring to this exhibit their own unique method for executing fused glass on metal. Diverse works range from Ruth Altman, who incorporates vivid enameling into her stained glass panels, to Maritza Morillas, who enamels personalized images onto utilitarian objects. This is seen in her piece pictured above entitled Señora Mia (Our Lady). Morillas has enameled an iron jar and encased it in a hand painted acrylic and gilded shrine. Unusual large scale enamels include works by Howard Eisman and Alejandro Flores Horta, who has created two free standing sculptures measuring well over two feet high. Balancing the exhibit are many intimate pedestal and wall works such as those created by Stell Shevis, who just celebrated a 70 year retrospect of her work in Camden, Maine.
As enameling lends itself to color and light, this exhibition is perfectly positioned to welcome spring into New York City.
MAY 8 - JUNE 7, 2009
JUNE 12 - JULY26, 2009
ADOLF DEHN (1895 - 1968)
Figureworks is pleased to showcase Adolph Dehn's provocative and sensual watercolors, ink sketches and lithographs from his worldly travels covering forty years (1920 – 1960). Included in this exhibition are works done in Karlsbad, Venice, New York City, Paris, Haiti, and Afghanistan.
Irving Penn, Adolf Dehn, photograph, 1947
Dehn was born in 1895 in Waterville, Minnesota. Dehn began creating artwork at the age of six and by the time of his death had created nearly 650 images.
After high school he went to the Minneapolis School of Art, known today as the (Minneapolis College of Art and Design) where he met Wanda Gág. Later he and Gag were two of only a dozen students in the country to earn a scholarship to the Art Students League of New York. After graduation, he was drafted to serve in World War I, but he was a conscientious objector. Dehn was imprisoned for two years for refusing to serve in the military.
After the war was over, he went to Europe. In Paris and Vienna he belonged to a group of intellectuals and artists, including E.E. Cummings. A number of the caricatures he drew depicting the Roaring 20s, burlesque, opera houses, and the café scene appeared in such magazines as Vanity Fair. His favorite medium was lithography, and he alternated between spoofing high society and creating beautiful landscapes. It was in Paris that Dehn met his first wife, Mura Ziperovitch, a dancer who had left the Soviet Union.
In 1929 he returned to the United States with his wife. As the Great Depression had taken hold of the country, they were desperately poor, and their financial difficulties contributed to their ultimate divorce. In the 1930s, his work began to appear in magazines such as the New Yorker and Vogue. During his period as a lithographer, his striking images of New York City, including Central Park, captured the essence of the Roaring 20s and the 1930s Depression era.
He earned a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1939, which allowed him to travel to the western United States and to Mexico. After the Second World War he turned to watercolor and his scenes of farms and farmlands in rural America are well respected. Several trips back to Minnesota inspired many of these landscapes and farm scenes.
Dehn participated in and helped develop the American Artists Group, and it was at this group’s gallery that he met his second wife, Virginia Engleman. They worked side by side as artists for the rest of his life. In the 40s Dehn began to sell more lithographs and to teach other American artists lithography techniques. As he became more widely recognized and financially successful, he was able to travel extensively. As well as visiting and painting Key West, and the southwestern region of the United States, he went to Venezuela, Cuba, Haiti, Afghanistan and other areas of the world. The wide range of subject matter found in his prints, drawings, and paintings reflects his travels.
In 1961 Dehn was admitted to the National Academy of Design. He died in 1968. Adolf Dehn is remembered as a prolific artist of great range. His works are held in over 100 museums (including the Smithsonian). Astonishingly, over twenty-five museums hold extensive collections of Dehn's output (between twenty-five to as many as 250 individual works). Dehn died on May 19, 1968.
Biography provided by:
Arthur F. Jones and Steve Arbury. Adolf Dehn. Radford University Foundation Press, 2003.
Jocelyn Pang Lumsdaine and Thomas O'Sullivan. The Prints of Adolf Dehn. St. Paul, MN: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1987
September 4 - November 1, 2009
Cult of Michael Jackson
Rusel Parish, a Brooklyn-based artist, explores the obsession with Michael Jackson in an installation exhibited at Figureworks in September/October 2009 entitled Cult of Michael Jackson.
This exhibition presented the life of Michael Jackson from childhood to present and had been a focus for Parish over the last three years. Continuing societies endless fascination with MJ, this work does not judge the addiction but tries to understand its complexities. Presented in a chapel-like format, the work brought together pop expressionism with religious iconography and was a study of how media and cultural obsession met in a powerful way, multiplying images and ideas globally.
This exhibition was not created nor altered around Jackson's recent death but had been scheduled earlier that year to coincide with Jackson's fall world tour. With this shocking turn of events, the exhibition presented a range of emotions from celebration to sadness.
Parish’s work covers a variety of media, but the core are mixed media paintings that are built in layers of wax and resin, with broad slashing strokes of paint behind, in-between and below these transparent and semi transparent layers. This gives a haunting 3-d painted and sculptural effect only fitting for the reinventions of Michael Jackson, especially as the series covers the many altered stages of his life.
Also on display in the “vestibule” was an array of altered MJ merchandise, with both his vintage 1984 and 1995 dolls brought back to life. The dolls dubbed Wax MJ and Chocolate MJ come in a variety of colored wax and dark, milk or white chocolate candy. All the various figures are uniquely packaged and presented nude or in his iconic costumes. A full line of Parish inspired candles, stickers, shirts and magnets expose the vast array of merchandising associated with the cult figure.
Press Coverage: FOX61 - New York Post - Time Out NY - Huffington Post - Brooklyn Eagle - Brooklyn Papers - The L Magazine - The Village Voice - NBC New York - New York Blips - Art Cat - Anorak - New York Art Beat - New York Times - Animal New York - Bigger Than Beyonce - Free Williamsburg - Viral Stash - New York Times - Examiner - MSNBC
November 6 - December 20, 2009
Original Tote Bag Traveling Exhibition
The Future Figure
curated by K. Saito
This exhibition arrives from Japan where it has been on display this summer and features over 100 original tote bags made by artists from around the world, including many Figureworks artists. The tote, a humdrum daily use item, is given new life through the vision of these exceptional artists. Ecological friendliness meets bold artistic vision: the tote reborn.
Countries represented:Canada, China, Czech Republic, Ghana, Haiti, Japan, Russia, Spain, USA, Venezuela
January 8 - February 21, 2010
In the Footsteps of the Starry Messenger
Figureworks is pleased to present In The Footsteps of the Starry Messenger by artist Meridith McNeal. The exhibition includes over 40 nib pen and ink drawings painted in watercolor, ranging from 7 inches to 7 feet, and is inspired by a seminal scientific event that changed the course of history. Some background:
In January 1610, Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei observed three very bright objects close to Jupiter. After several nights, he noticed that the pattern changed and a fourth bright object became visible. Galileo explained there were four satellites which revolved about Jupiter and Jupiter and its satellites revolved around the sun. To Galileo, it followed that the sun must be the center of the universe. In March 1610, he published the results of his observations in his book, The Starry Messenger. On the evening of April 14, 1611, Galileo demonstrated his theory to the influential philosophers and mathematicians of the Jesuit Collegio Romano, letting them see with their own eyes through his telescope the reality of the four moons of Jupiter. They were also able to read an inscription on a building three miles away. While in Rome he was also made a member of the Accademia dei Lincei, the first formal scientific society founded by Prince Federico Cesi.
McNeal explains the connection of her exhibition to Galileo: “While in residence at The American Academy in Rome in spring 2009, I was working in a studio on the actual site where Galileo first set up his telescope for his colleagues at the Jesuit Collegio Romano, which was followed by a formal banquet to celebrate the occasion. This fascinating historical link became the springboard for my exhibition, In The Footsteps of the Starry Messenger. The work is about the people who have been in that particular space and what they have done there. I chose to draw shoes to represent the people themselves. For source material, I stopped people on the street in Rome to photograph their shoes, made sketches in museums, and looked at shoe images in Roman advertising. Also on view are images relating to Accademia dei Lincei, and to my own idea of a banquet: my Roman food and my kitchen at the Academy.”
February 26 - April 4, 2010
CUT & COLOR: THE JANES
Mixed Media Collages and Artists Books
Barbarous Rituals, Mixed Media Collage Book, 8" x 9" x 1", 2009
CUT & COLOR is a series of mixed media collages and artists books based on the persona of Jane Russell, one of the first “bad girl” movie stars whose sensual omnipotent persona was a harbinger of today’s cult of celebrity. Jane’s image is appropriated from a vintage coloring/paper doll book made for little girls in combination with icons from current fashion, film, tattoo and skin magazines. An early Barbie, she works, plays, travels, sails, dresses well and socializes -- is always alluring and always in total control. But, while Jane’s gaze conveys confidence and an assertive slightly illicit engagement with the world, in Susan's work she is simultaneously struggling and unraveling, losing body parts, morphing and fragmenting or disappearing entirely into herself. It is these very human states of uncertainty, fear, anxiety and obsessive thinking that interests Susan in exploring the disparate clash of public message and personal reality. Her working process of cutting, tearing, layering, sanding and layering again with drawing and color parallels her fascination with simultaneous levels of meaning as she explores her own emotional identity and reflects upon the many contradictions of being female. This additive process with its cumulative layering of drawing, images and color creates a dense web of vision that incorporates intent, accident and improvisation. Her unique artists books are created by altering the structures of cardboard children’s books with collage and embellished glitzy spines, a reference to the encrusted jewels that adorned medieval manuscripts. These pieces become “semi-precious” containers for the reader to reflect not only on Jane’s individual body parts, but on directives that might help in our voyage through life.
This is the artist’s second solo exhibition at Figureworks Gallery. Her work has been seen in one person shows at the Brooklyn Public Library/Grand Army Plaza and the galleries of John Jay College, Long Island University and St. John’s University. She will be having a solo exhibition of artists books in 2011 at the Garrison Art Center. Ms. Newmark has been included in group exhibitions at the Brooklyn Museum, Parrish Museum, Islip Museum, Nathan Cummings Foundation, Brooklyn College, Rotunda Gallery and The Center for Book Arts. She has had residencies at the Lower East Side Printshop and the Women’s Studio Workshop and is in the collections of the Brooklyn Museum, Bio Medical Library/University of Southern California and Lower East Side Printshop. She was guest curator for Rare Editions:The Book As Art at Lehman Art Gallery and coordinates Dialogues for the Visual Arts, a conversation series with artists and arts professionals at Tribeca Performing Arts Center. She is a board member of The Center for Book Arts and on the advisory committee of Kentler International Drawing Space. Ms. Newmark was the Deputy Director for the Visual Arts and Arts-in-Education at Henry Street.
April 9 - June 6, 2010
10 YEARS OF FIGUREWORKS
Figureworks is honored to turn ten years old this year, opening its doors on April 16, 2000. To celebrate this achievement, I have asked ten artists to join me in an anniversary exhibition. Having shown hundreds of incredibly talented figurative artists in my space over these years, it was a challenge to restrict my choice to ten so have selected a cross representation of artists that have supported my mission over the years to provide diverse, celebratory artwork.
Jorge Alvarez first exhibited at Figureworks in 2001 with a series of nine finely detailed red-pencil drawings. The pieces all sold and supported my philosophy that a strong foundation in figure study is key to executing significant work. Jorge had two more highly successful solo exhibitions at Figureworks, including a retrospective of his work in 2008 after his sudden passing the previous year. Jorge was the primary reason I began hosting the biennial New York Academy of Art alumni exhibition and he continues to be a personal inspiration to my own artistic endeavors.
Bonnie Faulkner and Howard Eisman introduced glass to Figureworks. They share my belief that glass is much more than craft by using enameling, stained and fused glass to create exquisite fine art.
Fred Hatt has been a supporter of my weekly drawing group since its conception, years before the gallery even opened. Fred’s dedication to working with the figure ranges from life drawing to performance work and body painting. Fred continues to challenge our views on figurative art.
Meridith McNeal first introduced herself to the gallery with tours of art educators and students. Meridith’s approach pushes traditional figurative boundaries as she creates work that highlight accessories for the figure without actually including the figure. Dresses, shoes, gloves and corsets cleverly entwine history with a deeply personal human response. Meridith’s continued support and promotion of the gallery has been very rewarding.
Arlene Morris has perhaps been the strongest influence in the formation of Figureworks. From our time in a college art program in the early 1980’s, Arlene’s maturity and dedication in exploring the human form with highly charged personal compositions left a lasting impression on me. I introduced her work to Figureworks in my opening months and continue to showcase each challenging series as it reaches completion. Her dedication to exploring new directions in various media while retaining her noteworthy human and animal-like portraiture (pictured above) complement all series-based artists.
Doug Metzler and Jacquelyn Schiffman approach the figure very differently. Doug attends weekly anatomy and drawing sessions to further hone and accurately represent his subjects in taunting narrative paintings. Jacquelyn takes her figure-based subjects and abstracts them into floating sculptures that reflect human emotion by the use of color and form.
Audrey Rhoda was one of my first international artists. Born in South Africa and living in Australia, her whimsical work in oil and wax were welcome additions as they introduced yet another new medium and broadened the geographical exposure to the Figureworks vision.
Mary Westring is one in a handful of my remaining Williamsburg artists. Being able to walk from the gallery to various studios in Williamsburg is less common as our area sees so much development. Being able to frequently follow her process is rewarding as she, like Jorge, reaffirms that a solid foundation allows complete freedom to explore and master various subjects, mediums and techniques. Mary successfully expresses her ideas through etching, oil painting, ceramics, and watercolor.
June 11, 2010 – August 1, 2010
Randall Harris (b.1960)
Leonard Baskin (1922 – 2000)
William Gropper (1897 – 1977)
Joseph Hirsch (1910 – 1981)
Morris Kantor (1896 – 1974)
Rico LeBrun (1900 – 1964)
Ruben Nakien (1897 – 1986)
George Tooker (b.1920)
Randall Harris is the founder and director of Figureworks. He opened the gallery in 2000 with a solo exhibition of his works on paper and has rarely exhibited in the gallery since then. This exhibition pays homage to a few who continue to influence Harris' personal direction and style. Drawings from Figureworks 20th century collection are displayed with Harris' figure studies, which were created in Figureworks weekly life drawing group.
Exploring 100 Years of Figurative Art
Part I – The Edith Halpert Influence
September 10 – December 19, 2010
It gives me great pleasure to open this season with a three-part exhibition entitled “Exploring 100 Years of Figurative Art”. This four month series will combine contemporary and 20th century artwork dating from 1910 to 2010.
Inspiration for Part I of this series comes from Edith Halpert, Director of the Downtown Gallery, whose career is well documented in Lindsay Pollock’s “The Girl with the Gallery - Edith Gregor Halpert and the Making of the Modern Art Market”.
At the age of 26, Halpert founded the Downtown Gallery in 1926 and became one of the most influential dealers of modern American art for over four decades. She fostered and aggressively promoted countless American artists including Jack Levine, Bernard Karfoil, Alexander Brook, William and Marguerite Zorach, Stuart Davis, Jacob Lawrence and John Marin. Continually faced with personal and national obstacles, she creatively promoted and sold art through the Great Depression, WWII and the conservative 1950’s.
Unaware of her influence, I established my gallery using the Edith Halpert formula. I opened in a domestic setting that encourages a leisurely and comfortable environment for which to view works with her belief that everyone should own original works of art for their home. As Edith, I promote affordable artwork and offer payment plans for those wanting to stretch their budget for a piece of art they feel cannot live without.
Early in her career, Edith expanded her gallery to include American folk art. She would often showcase her contemporary artist’s work with these early period pieces to educate her patrons and diversify their collections. On a yearly basis, since opening Figureworks in 2000, I have exhibited group or individual exhibitions of 20th century artwork to honor and reference historic influences on figurative art in today’s market. Though my influences were Edith’s contemporaries, the message is the same - each new generation of artists is influenced by their predecessors. Comparing their differences and similarities is of great interest to me and will remain a focus for Figureworks.
In this initial exhibition, Edith Halpert’s Downtown Gallery artists, who were heavily influenced by figurative art, will be honored and combined with Figureworks contemporary artists. Downtown Gallery artists include Bernard Karfiol, Jack Levine, Reuben Nakian, Mitchell Siporin, Abraham Walkowitz, and William Zorach. Figureworks artists will include McWillie Chambers, Matthew Greenway, Meridith McNeal and Susan Newmark.
Covering 100 years of figurative work is very daunting and, as Figureworks is such an intimate space, a great deal of editing must be done to achieve a diverse overview. Armed with a vast collection of work to choose from, I will edit my series to reflect on influencial 20th century artists that compliment my fine stable of contemporary artists. As noted, Part I will address important American artists from the Edith Halpert collective. These artists, deriving inspiration from the figure, stylized and abstracted their work to challenge traditional views of fine art. Part II will address those artists who use the figure in more traditional and representational means to convey their message. Part III will explore how the figure has been used in commercial and decorative approaches. These artists will include illustrators, designers, and craftsmen.
Exploring 100 Years of Figurative Art
Part III - The Figure in Commercial and decorative Arts
November 12 - December 19, 2010
Figureworks is now pleased to open Part III – The Figure in Commercial and Decorative Arts to this season long exhibition entitled Exploring 100 Years of Figurative Art. This series continues to combine contemporary and 20th century artwork dating from 1910 to 2010.
Inspiration for Part I of this series came from Edith Halpert, Director of the Downtown Gallery, who established her gallery in 1926 and dominated the modern American art scene for over 40 years. Edith Halpert's Downtown Gallery artists, modernists who were heavily influenced by figurative art, were combined with Figureworks contemporary artists. Downtown Gallery artists included George Biddle, Alexander Brook, Arthur B. Davies, Bernard Karfiol, Jack Levine, Reuben Nakian, Mitchell Siporin, Abraham Walkowitz, and William Zorach. Figureworks artists included MacWillie Chambers, Matthew Greenway, Meridith McNeal, and Susan Newmark.
Part II of this series explores artists who have retained a sense of realism in their work. These artists are masters of detail and directly depict their subjects in clearly defined settings. These deft portrayals evoke personal responses with intimate details. Included in this grouping are 20th century works by Emil Ganso, Kyra Markham, Eugene Speicher, and George Tooker. Contemporary Figureworks artists include Jorge Alvarez, Reina Gillson, and Mary Westring.
To complement the previous two series, Part III introduces the commercial and decorative arts. Commercial art forms have played a valuable role in shaping American's view of the arts. Many artists support themselves by illustrating books and creating advertisements for consumer products. Heavily figurative in design, these illustrations often represent a central figure in a domestic environment either telling a story or adorning an item for sale. Figureworks honors and respects these masters. This exhibition includes early 20th century illustrators Maurice Bower, J. C. Leyendecker, and Saul Tepper. This coming spring, Figureworks will present a more extensive exploration of how the figure is used the commercial art world.
From another commercial perspective within the arts, Figureworks is pleased to show original, 1950's Paint By Number objects from the Palmer Paint Company Archives. Most of the original archives were donated to The Smithsonian Museum of American History which held a major 2001 exhibition in Washington D.C., " Paint by Number: The How-to Craze that Swept the Nation." Popular, figurative images in the paint by number repertoire include ballerinas, celebrities and religious figures.
Use of the figure in decorative arts is a challenging art form as it requires executing the human form in various media onto unusual, often utilitarian, objects. This part of the exhibition will include works by Figureworks contemporary artists. Highlights include lamps by glass artist Bonnie Faulkner and an impressive floor standing tri-fold painted screen by McWillie Chambers.
To show contrast and broaden the exposure of all mentioned artists, a number of the works from Part I & Part II will remain on display within this new grouping. Contrasting this work, many created in the same years, gives testament to the diversity and explorative directions in figurative art over these last 100 years.
Covering 100 years of figurative work is very daunting and, as Figureworks is such an intimate space, a great deal of editing must be done to achieve a diverse overview. Armed with a vast collection of work from inventory to choose from, I will edit my series to reflect on influencial 20th century artists that compliment my fine stable of contemporary artists. As noted, Part I will address important American artists from the Edith Halpert collective. These artists, deriving inspiration from the figure, stylized and abstracted their work to challenge traditional views of fine art. Part II will address those artists who use the figure in more traditional and representational means to convey their message. Part III will explore how the figure has been used in commercial and decorative fields. These artists will include illustrators, designers, and craftsmen.
Figureworks · 168 North 6th St. · Brooklyn, NY 11211 · 718-486-7021