John P. Murphy: A Life Celebrated in Paintings
Exhibition Date/Times: 8/24/19 – 9/28/19
Opening Reception: 8/24/19 – 5p to 8p
Free and Open to the Public
An Orange County native and US Air Force veteran, John honed his artistic talents at Parsons School of Design, NYU and Penn State. He first taught art at Green Mountain College in Vermont and went on to become an art professor and Chairman of the Art Department at Rockland Community College, a position he held for over 30 years.
His artwork spanned many decades and reflected his unique perspective on nature and society, with particular interest in abstract landscapes, geometric patterns and the human form. The works on display represent a retrospective of over 50 years’ worth of John’s expression and creation.
The show will be staged by John’s daughters, Tana Mulligan and Gabriella Newrock, and his granddaughter, Lia Fierro, with help from other close family members and friends, in advance of what would have been John’s 85th birthday.
Visit www.johnmurphygallery.com for more info about John and his work.
This event is free and open to the public. RSVP is not required but is appreciated so we can plan to provide enough refreshments. Children are welcome with adult accompaniment, but be advised that some works may include nudity.
Worlds Within Worlds, The Surrealist Works of Eugene Arcieri
Exhibition Date/Times: 8/5/19 – 8/31/19
Weekdays 10a to 3p (by appointment), Weekends 1p to 4p
Exhibition Reception: 8/10/19 – 5p to 8p
Eugene Arcieri was born in New York City and started drawing and painting at the age of 10. He attended the Art Students League, studied the masters in this country and in Italy; painted in the West – Wyoming and Idaho. He returned to New York City and settled in Greenwich Village among artist friends who formed groups and counter-groups in the late 1930’s to 1950’s. During the Depression he worked on the Federal Arts Project – Mural Division and assisted Philip Guston on a New York World’s Fair Mural in 1938. Arcieri exhibited widely in museums and galleries in New York, Washington, DC, the New England States and throughout the US. He was a founding member of the Spiral Group (New York City – 1950’s), an active member of the Woodstock Artist’s Association (WAAM), where he served on the Board of Directors and as Chairperson of Exhibits in the 1980’s. Arcieri and his wife, Marcella, lived in Woodstock from 1950 to his death in 2005.
Eugene described his work as “… the forms are expressions … intended to suggest rather than illustrate a scenario, to stimulate participation and involvement on many levels, a kind of ‘listening with your eyes.’” The Exhibition focuses on the vast oeuvre of his abstract surrealist canvases and phantasmagorical dioramas.
The Surrealist Works of Eugene Arcieri will be on display during August at the times noted above. For more information on this exhibit, please contact the Citizens Foundation at 845-469-9459.
The Art of Charles De Cesare
Opening Reception: 5/3/19 – 6p to 9p
On View Friday, May 3 – Friday, May 31,2019
Weekdays 9a to 4p – Weekends 11a to 3p
Free and Open to the Public
De Cesare (1954-2019) was an artist, designer, and visionary whose talents touched on all facets of creative work. Receiving his BFA from the The School of Visual Arts, Charles maintained his contemporary multi-media art practices while simultaneously working as a designer and creative director in the high fashion world of New York City. In addition, he played in a Punk/New Wave band named the Lab Adults who performed at clubs in Brooklyn and Manhattan.
Curated by his family, the art of local artist, Charles De Cesare, will be exhibited at the Seligmann Center at the Citizens Foundation in Sugar Loaf from May 3rd to May 31st in the lower gallery. Charles was a multimedia artist whose work placed a strong emphasis on painting and illustrative techniques in combination with found materials. He used collage and bricolage principles to merge his processes to create a narrative visual language within his work.
Equal part writer and musician, his songs poetry and prose expose a poetic lineage which can be seen in his paintings, sculptures, collages and assemblages.
This poetic usage of found materials, techniques and subjects, unfold like verse with him often describing his creative process of being like that of a symphony or opera, consisting of many parts forming in different places and coming together in song. Charles work had spiritual characteristics and influence while still being strongly grounded in the physical world. He created a vision of the everydayness depicting the contemporary human condition and the longing for something more.
Charles’ wife, Catherine Pierson De Cesare, and his children, Elliott De Cesare and Rikki Valentine De Cesare, selected works for the exhibit. “We are so pleased to share Charlie’s works, and showcase his talent for our community.”, said Catherine Pierson De Cesare. Christa Orsino, VP of Development and Community Relations at the Citizens Foundation stated, “Charlie was a vital part of the arts and culture community, and an avid supporter of the Seligmann Center at the Citizens Foundation. We are grateful to be able to feature the talent and art of one of our own.”
Recent Drawings by Jackie Skrzynski
Opening Reception – Sunday, March 4, 2-5 pm
On View Sunday, March 4 – Thursday, April 26, 2018
Throughout her career, Jackie Skrzynski’s work has challenged physical and psychological boundaries between humans and nature. In this most recent work, she collapses the perception of interior and exterior space. Her large charcoal drawings of swirling forms and tangles suggest similarities between anatomical and botanical forms. Skrzynski writes that her imagery is inspired by her time in the woods near her home. Observing growth, decay and rebirth, she intends to convey her perception of nature as equally beautiful and unsettling. Perhaps the somewhat grotesque imagery is mitigated by the lushness and velvety quality of her drawing.
In her statement, Skrzynski describes her references as pulling from facial features, nerve cells, tree roots and vines. Her walks through the woods provide inspiration and a sense of connection with a larger natural system. In the safety of the studio and through the act of drawing, she depicts what she finds visually compelling, allowing her subconscious to manifest through imagery and mark making.
My drawings reference everyday observations I make of facial features, botanical forms, and anatomical elements. I combine them in a way that allows my subconscious to suggest imagery that visually and conceptually ties them together. By collaborating with my subconscious, and, importantly, overriding more rational, conventional depictions of portraiture and nature, I pay homage to the surrealists’ method of creating art.
The first time I visited the Seligmann Center was in 2010. I specifically went to see Kurt Seligmann’s print Exotic Garden because I was drawn to the painting’s haunting beauty. Over time, I learned Kurt Seligmann was deeply inspired by his time in nature, particularly the landscape around his home in Sugar Loaf. I also find my inspiration in my daily walks through the woods. I feel a connection to work like Envelopment (Mountain Spirit) A Mythological Trilogy (1959 oil on canvas.) and Moonscape (1959 oil on canvas). I see a similarity in inspiration, process and imagery between our works.
Recently, I became interested in the concept of “half-life” which describes a state when half of a substance has dissipated and half remains. While often used in measuring radioactivity, the term resonates for me when applied to a fallen tree. As it ages, a tree gets invaded by insects, drilled by woodpeckers, and covered by vines until it falls over dead. This marks its half-life. While it no longer “produces,” the tree continues to nourish the ecosystem as it decays. To me, this suggests a way to approach aging. Like the tree, I feel myself dissipating into my surroundings. I describe aging through the lens of nature because it makes visual and philosophical sense. These are my thoughts as I draw, using charcoal and pencil because I love the physical contact with the materials and the immediacy of making marks.
About Jackie Skrzynski
Jackie Skrzynski lives and works in Cornwall-on-Hudson, NY and has exhibited all over the country. She has a Masters in Fine Arts in Drawing and a Masters of Arts in Drawing and Painting both from The University of Albany, NY.
Her most recent exhibitions include: Order and Chaos, in the Giles Gallery Eastern Kentucky University Richmond, KY; The Nude, in Chris Davison Gallery Newburgh, NY; Nasty Women, in OKC Current Studio Oklahoma City, OK; The Garden State, in (Now) Bergen Gallery Paramus, NJ Curator: Amy Lipton; Three Person Exhibition (with Kirsten Kucer and Elana Goren), in Theo Ganz Studio Beacon, NY.
Jackie has been a guest lecturer at Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary, Ramapo College of New Jersey, and Eastern Connecticut State University. She has also currated and juried exhibtions including: 2017 PUG Projects: Orange Alert Espiritu Newburgh, NY created pop-up gallery on 3 floors of brick building;2015 The Big Draw Beacon, NY -participated in jury panel for exhibition at Catalyst Gallery; 2013 PUG Projects: Orange Alert 3D Newburgh, NY-created pop-up gallery featuring sculpture; 2010 The Pop-Up Gallery: Orange Alert Newburgh, NY-created temporary gallery space in downtown warehouse; 2007 Domestic Mythology The Arts Alliance of the Hudson Valley Juror for online exhibition; 2006 Rage against the Machine Spire Studios Beacon, NY -co-curated with Robert Modafferi; 2005 The Pop-Up Gallery: Art Rave #1 Newburgh, NY -transformed unrented office space into a temporary gallery.
Greg Slick: Opened Ground
Opening Reception – Saturday, September 23, 6-9 pm
On View Saturday, September 23 – Sunday, December 31, 2017
Greg Slick’s work investigates the crossroads of art, archaeology, and anthropology as well as the influence of ancient and “primitive” cultures on modern and contemporary art. Prehistoric stone structures and artifacts, Informalism,
the Earth Art movement, and the study of shamanism are some of the key influences on his practice.
In many of his paintings, Slick references the graphic qualities of Neolithic through Iron Age archaeological surveys and sites within his abstract language. The palette within his works often alludes to that of the rural fields in which dolmens, wedge tombs, cairns, and standing stones are found. Slick has also begun to investigate the conventions of archaeological fieldwork and museum display. His stone beehive hut sculptures are presented as both scale models one might see in a history museum and as abstract works in their own right. His stone figures and petroglyphs leverage both ancient imagery and 20th century Primitivism while attempting to explore a connection between an authentic experience of the past and a museum-mediated one of the present. All of Slick’s sculptures live within the ambiguous zone between art and archaeological display.
Greg Slick’s longstanding fascination with the distant past raises questions about what we seem to know—and ultimately don’t know—about our origins. His work also raises questions about our institutionalized and accepted norms of knowledge concerning antiquity, and seems to suggest that in order to understand where our culture of aesthetic objects is headed, we must know from where it has come.
About Greg Slick
Greg Slick lives and works in Beacon, NY and has exhibited in NYC as well as internationally. Most recently, his work was featured in Fieldwork, a solo exhibition at Matteawan Gallery, Beacon, NY; GlenLily Grounds 2017, a group show at GlenLily Grounds, Newburgh, NY; Carte Blanche, a group show at Adah Rose Gallery, Kensington, MD; and Taconic North, a group exhibition at LABspace, Hillsdale, NY. In
2016 he had a solo exhibition at WAAM (Woodstock Artists Association and Museum), Woodstock, NY. His work has been included in group exhibitions at TSA New York in Brooklyn, NY; the Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah, NY; Ann Street Gallery, Newburgh, NY; and Mad Dooley Gallery, Beacon, NY. His work was included in several art fairs in 2014 and 2015, including the Governor’s Island Art Fair in Brooklyn with Ground Floor Gallery; JustMAD6 with TSA New York in Madrid, Spain; Select NYC with TSA New York; and Aqua Art Miami, Miami, FL with Matteawan Gallery. Recently, he was a juried fellow at the Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts in Ithaca, NY and in 2013 he was an artist in residence at the Burren College of Art in Ballyvaughan, Ireland. Slick is also an independent curator, and has worked with The Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at SUNY New Paltz, New Paltz, NY and the Garrison Art Center, Garrison, NY. In 2006 he co-founded Go North Gallery in Beacon, NY, showing work by emerging and established artists until the gallery closed in 2009. In 2010 Slick founded The Artist’s Statement Picture Show, a series of film and video screenings co-curated with artist Mollie McKinley. His early work was the subject of a monograph published by Brooklyn Arts Press in 2008. Slick studied Chinese calligraphy and painting at the Chinese Information and Culture Center in NYC.
Season of the Witch
Opening Reception – Saturday, July 22, 6-9pm
On View Sunday, July 23 – Monday, September 4, 2017
SP Projects and the Seligmann Center are pleased to present Season of the Witch, a group exhibition of new work exploring ritual, magick, and modern-day mysticism. Season of the Witch is curated by Sarah Potter (SP Projects).
Artists in this exhibition include Evie Falci, Lala Abaddon, Heather Gabel, Astral Eyes, Hilary White, Lucien Shapiro, Hunter Stabler and Robert Ryan. Evie Falci transforms the mundane materials of denim, pleather, rhinestones, and metal studs into the divine by creating intricate mandalas referencing sacred geometry and ancient symbology. Utilizing the medium of collage, both Astral Eyes and Heather Gabel create powerful visual alchemy from collected imagery to reveal the surreal in their work. Working in a vibrant color palette and a variety of materials, Hilary White’s sculptural wall pieces act as portals to another realm of consciousness. Lala Abaddon’s woven photographs straddle the digital and analog realms revealing a pixelated dreamscape of her deeply personal inner world. Lucien Shapiro gives new life to discarded materials through his labor intensive crafting of masks and self-protection pieces for the ritualistic escape from reality. Influenced by his knowledge of Eastern Spirituality, Western Mysticism, and Amazonian Shamanism, Robert Ryan’s paintings represent a meditative practice tapping into a hidden language revealing itself through occult symbolism. Hunter Stabler’s intricately cut and layered paper compositions play with perspectival pattern and reference mythical origins to create magical and spatially complex work.
The exhibition will be presented in the former painting studio of Kurt Seligmann. Considered an expert on magic, Seligmann was a central figure of the Surrealist movement and compiled his vast knowledge of esoterica and the occult in his book “The Mirror of Magic.” The history and magical aura of the Seligmann Homestead marries perfectly with The Season of the Witch, framing its content within a magical context.
About Sarah Potter
Sarah Potter is the founder and owner of SP Projects, an independent art advisory and consulting business based in New York. With more than a decade of experience in the fine art world, Sarah has placed an emphasis on curating private and corporate collections with artwork that is aesthetically satisfying and a good financial investment. Sarah graduated with honors from The Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University with a BFA in Fine Art and Art History focusing on New Media and Performance Art. With a discerning eye, Sarah utilizes her passion for modern-day mysticism, spirituality, and the occult to create experiential exhibitions of innovative artwork and memorable performances. Dubbed The Good Witch of the Art World, she possesses a unique approach and philosophy to her work by intuitively assisting both new and seasoned collectors to connect with artwork to inspire their minds and nourish their spirits.
Late Bloomers: An Exhibition by Yaron Rosner
Sunday, March 26 – Sunday, May 7, 2017
Yaron Rosner’s paintings appear as if from dreams. A series of large-scale, richly painted portraits depict subjects Rosner describes as “living on the side of life.” A middle aged shirtless man stands staring at the viewer, an iguana perched on his neck, in a space between fear and confrontation. Rich in symbolism, humor, and contradiction, Rosner’s paintings portray both strength and fragility; a young man reveals a wound, a woman holds a drooping bouquet, another man cradles a turtle. Affinity for reptiles aside, there is purpose in Rosner’s pairings and dreamlike as they are, one sees oneself in the paintings.
Each subject is surrounded by a different variety of blooming flower, stitched together and thus charged. Neither background nor wallpaper, the flowers speak to electricity and DNA, forming a kind of protective sphere. Both the subjects and their accompanying flowers are imagined, yet Rosner knows them intimately and each carries a story. The portraits of Late Bloomers might call to mind the grand paintings of the wealthy or politically influential, though Rosner presents a canon of his own, capturing darkness amidst whimsy, drawing heroes from shadows.
YARON ROSNER is a multimedia artist based in Sugar Loaf, New York. Born in Haifa, Israel, Rosner graduated from the photography department at the Neri Bloomfield School of Design in 1989. Following his studies, Rosner moved to Paris where he spent several years working as a commercial photographer, pursuing his own practice and exhibiting widely. He later returned to Haifa, Israel to teach photography at WIZO College of Design. In 1998, Rosner and his family moved to Sugar Loaf, New York, and opened Rosner Soap. In the last few years, Rosner has returned to his artistic roots, painting figurative works with an engaging touch of symbolism.
Rosner has exhibited his work in many solo and group exhibitions in Israel, Germany, France, Turkey, and the United States. His work is collected by Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, France, Paris Audiovisuel, and M.E.P – the European House for Photography, France. http://www.yaronrosner.com/
Louisa Waber: Recent Painting and Drawing
Saturday, February 4 – Sunday, March 19, 2017
Resolute with both depth and vitality, examples of Louisa Waber’s abstract art have been noted for many years in exhibitions in New York, and can now be seen on their own together.
Waber mentions Cezanne, Hofmann, de Kooning, and Guston, as a context of inspirers. But her current working mentality is also moved by Byzantine mosaics, and by geometry and architecture, a quality of airiness, and the moody industrial landscape seen from her studio window: old factories, the sky at a certain hour. Waber paints rhythm and light, a sense of being able to move in and out of the picture plane.
Her paintings are both direct and mysterious. As she paints, she says, she accepts that her paintings are working when they take on a voice of their own and she can respond to what they are saying. Every mark or stroke can exist only in the moment. The moment in the process cannot be repeated. Even after only five minutes, it becomes a different mark and a different painting.
Whether a painting is finished or not is often unclear to her – some paintings always want more. Others are more definitive, they practically shout, “done.” Sometimes she’ll leave a painting alone for weeks or months, and then revisit it once new possibilities reveal themselves. But that is the finished feeling of her works: possibility revealing itself.
Jesse Bransford: Nomina Magica
September 25, 2016 – January 9, 2017
Jesse Bransford’s work to date represents an ever-sharpening focus on Art’s relationship to Magic. Bransford believes that this relationship represents a crucial space for a contemporary reconsideration of what it is to be Human. This exhibition focuses especially on two Magical systems: Icelandic magic as seen through contemporary seiðr practices, and Indian yantra forms, especially as described in the Mantramahodadhi (the “Ocean of Mantras”). While seemingly as far flung as two systems of thought could be, both geographically and culturally, the magic they both profess share striking similarities, relying heavily on visual meditation forms and so-called sacred geometry. Both are living traditions that recognize cultural overlaps and the site of consciousness as the generator of what is considered ‘reality’. Bransford’s aim in working with these two traditions is to draw out syncretic overlaps between the forms and to create synergies between the magical intentions of both systems.
The easiest access to the works presented are to realize that all magic practice involves three active categories:
Verbal: A series of vocalizations, sometimes intelligible, often in alternate languages or pure vocalizations. The project’s title, Nomina Magica (Latin: magical names) recognizes and draws attention to the possible powers of words, names, and speech.
Somatic: The body used as a vehicle for magical energies, usually in the form of ritual postures (e.g. yoga). These postures activate actual space and ground the event/ritual in the place of the ritual. Both the artist and viewer are intended to be implicated in this dynamic.
Material: The theory of correspondences states that every thing has a symbolic meaning or lateral relation. Blood is akin to fire, for example. Every material can be likened to another thing or idea. The materials deployed to ends in this exhibition operate on many levels: color, tone, and form, as well as sign, symbol, and metaphor.
Recognizing the historically charged and magical aura of Seligmann’s farm, Bransford has not only made art objects that function magically, but is also explicitly making magical gestures that function artistically. If successful, the overall installation creates a series of spaces, portals, and windows into other ways, magical ways, of experiencing art.
Jesse Bransford is a Brooklyn-based artist whose work is exhibited internationally at venues including The Carnegie Museum of Art, the UCLA Hammer Museum, PS 1 Contemporary Art Center, and the CCA Wattis Museum, among others. He holds degrees from the New School for Social Research (BA), Parsons School of Design (BFA), and Columbia University (MFA). An associate professor of art at New York University and the chair of the Department of Art and Art Professions, Bransford’s work has been involved with belief and the visual systems it creates since the 1990s. Early research into color meaning and cultural syncretism led to the occult traditions in general and the work of John Dee and Henry Cornelius Agrippa specifically. He has lectured widely on his work and the topics surrounding his work and is the co-organizer of the biennial Occult Humanities Conference in New York. Work can be seen cataloged at http://jesse-bransford.blogspot.com/
Identity & Anonymity
Curated by Jonathan Talbot
June 19 – July 23, 2016
Curated and presented by Jonathan Talbot, Identity & Anonymity features works by regional and national artists including Leslie Fandrich, Claire Gilliam, Joan Hall, David Horton, Andrew Marvick, Cody Rounds, Frank Shuback, Deborah Snider, Stephen Specht, Maria Kastan, and Lisa Zukowski.
Each of the works in the exhibition explores identity and/or anonymity from a different point of view. There are works which examine duplicity of identity, anonymity by context, the irrelevance of identity, gender-based anonymity, surrogate identities, anonymity of subject, the interface of identity and anonymity, and stereotypical identities.
The opening of the exhibition will also celebrate the publication of Identity & Anonymity –An Artful Anthology, a new book edited by Talbot, Fandrich, and Specht. This book, an outgrowth of the exhibition, includes contributions by Judy Chicago, Peter Coyote, Madelyn Greco, The Guerilla Girls, Janet Hamill, Dan Mack, Andrew Marvick, Thelonius Tinker, and many more.
Jonathan Talbot: Collage/Paintings
May 1 – June 12, 2016
Jonathan Talbot’s works have been shown at the National Academy and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, have represented the U.S. overseas in exhibits sponsored by the State Department and the Smithsonian Institution, and are included in museum collections in the U.S. and Europe. Talbot is the recipient of the 2015 Orange County Art’s Council’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Talbot’s works are the subject of a book, “The Collages of Jonathan Talbot,” by Professor Deborah K. Snider.
While Talbot has exhibited extensively throughout the U.S. and abroad, this will be his first solo show in Orange County in more than twenty years. The exhibition will be installed in the former studio of noted surrealist Kurt Seligmann. “This is a hallowed space,” says Talbot. “Not only because of the unique energy Seligmann brought to it, but also because it was visited by Marcel Duchamp, Kay Sage, Yves Tanguy, Max Ernst, Alexander Calder, Marc Chagall, and so many other outstanding 20th Century artists. To walk in their footsteps is a privilege. The Citizens Foundation is to be commended for preserving the exceptional artistic heritage of the Seligmann homestead.”
Included in the exhibition will be collage/paintings from Talbot’s Patrin Series and from his new Leturgy Series. Also on display will be collages from the artist’s Bachelor’s Series, created in response to Duchamp’s “La mariée mise à nu par ses célibataires, même,” as well as a number of uncategorized works.
By Chance: New Work by Lisa Breznak, Mimi Czajka Graminski & Riva Weinstein
June 20 – August 8, 2015
Lisa Breznak is a sculptor living and working in Peekskill, New York. Using a variety of material and patinas for surfacing on clay and recycled material, her anthropomorphized forms address universal issues of the human condition and the natural world. Breznak exhibits internationally and has had residencies in the United States and Japan, and a solo exhibition at the Hudson River Museum, New York. She has lectured on her work at Seika University Kyoto Prefectural University, and the Kyoto International Group, Japan, the Dorsky Museum, and Exit Art in New York City. She was a NYFA Fellow in the 2008 Mark Artists program and is the recipient of two NYFA Special Opportunity Stipends. Breznak holds degrees from Rochester Institute of Technology, SUNY, and Goddard College. http://www.lisabreznak.com/
Mimi Czajka Graminski juxtaposes unusual materials with traditional hand crafts, bringing new meaning to both. She has exhibited work nationally at venues that include Pratt/ Munson Williams Proctor Gallery, Abecedarian Gallery, Samuel Dorsky Museum, Islip Museum, Katonah Museum, and Sam Houston University Gallery, the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, Exit Art, Lubbock Fine Arts Center, and Haggin Museum. Graminski’s work in Love of Art at The Hat Factory, New York was highlighted in the New York Times. She has received numerous awards including a NYFA Mark Fellowship, a NYFA Mark Consultancy Fellowship, a NYSCA grant, a Re-Arting Troy Grant for public art installation, and a New York Special Opportunity Stipend. Graminski lives and works in Red Hook, New York. http://mimigraminski.blogspot.com/
Riva Weinstein creates site specific performances and installations using every day experiences and materials. Weinstein has exhibited work throughout the Hudson Valley, New York City, Los Angeles, and New Zealand. Her work has been exhibited at venues including Exit Art and the Dorsky Museum and has work in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Museum. She has received awards for her use of reclaimed materials, and presented workshops at the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies. She holds an MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College. http://rivaweinstein.com/
Katarina Riesing: Laws of Sympathy
January 10 – March 15, 2015
Katarina Riesing is a multi-media artist working in photography, drawing, video, and fiber. She holds a BA from Smith College and an MFA from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Her work has been exhibited in New York, Oregon, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, and Berlin, Germany. Riesing is currently an assistant professor in Foundations Art at Alfred University in Alfred, New York. She lives and works in western New York. katarinariesing.com
Juanita Guccione: Defiant Acts
September 13 – November 1, 2014
Presented in partnership with Weinstein Gallery of San Francisco, California
Juanita Guccione (1904-1999) is one such artist whose work – and life – mirrored the radically creative and philosophical underpinnings of Surrealism. After a childhood in Massachusetts and Brooklyn, Guccione became a fashion model in New York City in the 1920s; rather than falling into the romantic role of ‘muse,’ she studied at the Art Students League before venturing to France, Italy, and Greece, supporting herself through portrait commissions. From there she sailed to Egypt, eventually settling in 1931 in Bou Saada, an artists’ colony in Algeria, amongst the Ouled Nail tribe. Traveling among Bedouin nomads in the Sahara, she produced a diverse oeuvre of portraits and landscapes that in 1935 would be exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum, alongside works by Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko. After the birth of her son in 1934, Guccione returned to New York, designing murals with David Alfaro-Siqueiros for the Works Progress Administration and studying for seven years with Hans Hofman. Guccione infused social realism, cubism, surrealism, and abstraction with her own indefinable and audacious style, creating an independent mythology and challenging social conventions in her art and life. Women populate her canvases in wonderland environments, alongside animals, architecture, and fantastical landscapes, at times hinting to world events, other times mystic explorations. The writer and poet Anais Nin said of Juanita, “Few people can paint the world of our dreams with as much magic, precision and clarity.” Guccione’s work continued to evolve and elude the interpretations of critics worldwide – ultimately to her peril, as her name and art fell into relative obscurity.
The art critic Michael Welzenbach of the Washington Post writes that Guccione’s “single-minded approach to her work, (her) willingness to follow its development wherever that might lead… locates (her) squarely among the few but formidable ranks of the modernist avant-garde – a group whose integrity and vision will not be seen again in this century.”