Thursday, June 11, 2015



Joan Snyder  "Amor Matris"  2015  63x84.5"  at  Franklin Parrasch Gallery thru June 20

I had three providential art experiences recently, for my first sortie from my new home in upstate New York to NYC, the paintings and reception of Joan Snyder, the last day of Bill Jensen’s paintings exhibit, and a three part program of the LINES Ballet.

Joan Snyder detail "Amor Matris"  2015  63x84.5  at  Franklin Parrasch Gallery thru June 20

Snyder’s work may be viewed as feminist in the best sense of the word as expressions of fecundity, blossoming, flow and infinite array . These works have a dance quality as do Pollock’s, with very different rhythm structures. There are waltz structures and semi narrative aspects which are painted in balanced groupings throughout the compositions. 

Ceremonial rose icons, passages evocative of bird’s nests, glossy pools, auricular pilings of paint roughed up with organic matter, glitter, word letters more painterly than literal, the warm rose pink wine palette pushes a generative feminist view.

Joan Snyder   Reqium Redux 2014 60x72"  at  Franklin Parrasch Gallery thru June 20

Sub Rosa, the title of the exhibit, is in opposition to the feeling of the show in some ways. A google search of the term shows that this is a term signifying secrecy and silence. Yet in the multitude of exuberant expression shown here, these works are anything but silent.

These are generous works that reward lots of close inspection.

This exhibit is on view at Franklin Parrasch Gallery 53 East 64th Street New York until June 20.

Joan Snyder detail "Really" 2015 36x120"  at  Franklin Parrasch Gallery thru June 20

Joan Snyder detail "Really" 2015 36x120"  at  Franklin Parrasch Gallery thru June 20

Joan Snyder "Winter Rose" 2014  64x30"  at  Franklin Parrasch Gallery thru June 20

for more writing on the Joan Snyder exhibit, Hovey Brock for Brooklyn Rail
and Roberta Smith for the New York Times


Bill Jensen END OF ORDINARY REALM 2013-14oil/linen 61x41"  at Cheim Read April 9 May 9

I caught a glimpse of the large exhibit of Bill Jensen’s paintings at Cheim & Read on the last day of the formal exhibit. These paintings continue traditions long associated with the masculine in western art such as romanticism and the distortions of figurative surrealism. That said, there are also works, my favorites, from the “Dark Dragon Blood” series influenced by oriental thought.

I caught a glimpse of the large exhibit of Bill Jensen’s paintings at Cheim & Read on the last day of the formal exhibit. I saw these works late in the day, during which time a friend of the artist’s dropped by and encouraged me to return during midday, when the skylights in the gallery heightened the glow of the works into completely different visions. Perhaps this was why I had the feeling these particular works were evocative of silence, though I think this is also intentional.

Combined in contrast with the subtle wet richness of this deepest dark combinations of complementary hues were textured pale grey brush work on matt white segments, dry, rough, as desert rather than a pool, or even perhaps even aged skin. The combination of opposites here feels inevitable, absolute and yet new.

Bill Jensen detail of STILLNESS 2012-14 54x75"  at Cheim Read April 9 May 9

There are three distinct bodies of work in these galleries which are pulled together with triptych and diptych formats. The first, “Transgressions” are corpuscular figurative fragmentations, line drawings appearing first as lyrical abstract line drawings before coming into focus as figurative abstractions said to be based on Micheangelo’s paintings in the Sistine Chapel. There are the multicolored and layered abstractions we know this artist for. The final and most moving paintings (for me), the DARK DRAGON POOL series, feature the use of the doxilene purple used in recent years, now shown darkened and made rich by combination with its complementary, orange, probably with a deep amber making a smooth glossy, silent deepness. 


LINES Ballet combines masculine and feminine into new forms. Choreographer Alonzo King mixes gender types and conventional roles with dancers that are “athletes of god”. Men fly extend and whirl, sometimes wearing skirts. 

The lighting and costumes, as always with this company, are subtle and supportive of the dancers, never overwhelming them or the choreography. King, internationally acclaimed and awarded, has collaborated with Shaolin Monks, tribal Africans and an international roster of many musicians and artists of world renown. As always, it is his collaborations with his dancers that are primary.

The program opened with an ensemble of CONCERTO FOR TWO VIOLINS,

The second work on the program MEN’S QUINTET, taken from “Radius of Convergence”  could do for men what Balanchine (one of choreographer King’s primary influences) did for women in ballet. Certainly when I was studying dance few were the men dancing this way! They are all exquisite masters as are the women. 

the final work on the program, WRITING GROUND

“She was cut off from her own past. She was not able to situate herself in history. The entire art of her past became a political issue. To abandon this life. To wash the sheets”
Ballet/poetry collaboration from “Writing Ground” poetry by Colum McAnn for LINES BALLET


Wednesday July 15 through Saturday July 18, 8pm 
Saturday July 18 and Sunday July 19, 2pm

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

proposal(s) for new paradigm spaces & places to be

                                                                                  John Pawson St Moritz Church Augsberg

To provide places of refuge in art, within walking distance as a sustainability strategy & so the very young and old have access.

24 hour open access open art & craft studios with painting as the featured modality. Full time artist(s) on staff for consultation only at specified times.  

Rotating live in staff for consultation and information purposes. As a community venue, upkeep is contributed by participants. Every one cleans their own messes.

Small theatre on premises for plays, lectures, poetry readings.  Full time artist/event directors on staff to create social performance based programs.

Kitchen and garden on premises. Most foods available are grown in the gardens, which has purposes of focusing on sustainable eating and food preparation. Full time organic gardener and kitchen receptionist on staff.

Space allotted for neighborhood  re-use and exchange.

Space allotted for crafts for use in the community and trade with other communities.

Space allotted for clean and sustainable energy systems and their storage.

Why This Is a Good Thing

To establish the sanctity of life as our highest value. To continue with profit as our most important value, with the sanctification of violence to keep this value primary, is to commit atrocities and risk our survival as humans.

To heal the fears, anxieties, & general numbness resulting from lifestyles that have become too busy for contemplative acts. Art is a bridge contemplative act between the yogis and the layperson. It is through these processes being more widely available to all that we may begin healing as a society. Any who believe this healing is not needed can stop reading.

Space & freedom, necessary components of good living, as with everything else of any value in a commodity culture is not accessible by the majority. Fear has taken these elements of living well from our children. Since the open spaces to play and explore have become rare, we propose creating new spaces for these explorations through the portals of art & local community.

Where are these spaces?

These spaces may be begun in private homes as neighborhood salons, gardens etc. 

They may also replace the ubiquitous places selling poisonous foods, some originating in concentration camps for animals. We ere if we think eating in this way does not damage us spiritually and it has been proven to hurt our physical health. In addition, it pollutes the earth and is not sustainable.

The larger box stores selling cheap junk made by slaves in China may be retrofitted. We cannot support this without doing harm to ourselves. It is not sustainable on the physical plain either. These stores may serve as garden and design labs also facilitating community creativity in dealing with the logistics of daily living in sustainable ways that serve the community or communities they inhabit.  

each quarter mile in suburban and more in urban communities may have a larger community building either retrofitted from apartment building or built utilizing biomimicry processes where the young and others without access to space to do so may practice art. 


January 2015

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Town & Country

New York, Summer 2014

Part One

I start this post with mirror images as a bridge from the rorschach/mirrored symmetries post and as a device for indicating how much more involved I became in the process of mirroring that is a part of being actually seen so that real communication is possible. It was a relief to be in places where I did not feel like a total misfit and with those so much more similar to myself in intent and interests. In short, I love New York, both town and country.

Brooklyn Art Museum, a beautifully installed wall of mirrors combining contemporary and period mirrors.

self portrait in Fred Wilson's exquisite black mirror in the same installation

Brooklyn Art Museum figure from African Art Exhibit

Looking through these images, I was surprised not to see more in the way of abstract images, which are my forte, however, much of this trip was about contact and encounter, so these images, most of them of new friends and other figures, serve as a fitting memoir. For some such as myself, it is through the lens of art that encounter is often most interesting........

Isaac Hecker, work in progress by Fr Frank Sabatte, Director of Openings Art Collective and  the art residency at the Paulist Father's house at Lake George.  Fr Hecker was the  populist priest who founded St Mary's.


Mary, at St Mary's on Lake George, upstate NY & black angel in the Frick garden NYC

The angel and the mother. the dark and the light, the ever present polarity of existence on this plane. It is said that in China white is the color of mourning. Meanings and definitions fade into each other. Love and its lack manifesting in fear, wears all forms and hues. These elements of our existence, love & fear, are the opposites we seek to balance and finally transcend into the absolute supreme reality of love.

In the western tradition of alchemy, it is fitting that love should be replaced by gold, the symbol of wealth, yet another metaphoric symptom of the pathology of our (hopefully) passing paradigm. And yet,  material abundance aligns with love, but its primacy over it is a perversion that may yet destroy us.

More universally, the alchemy process results in the creation, from the combining of opposites, into the philosopher’s stone, said to be the emblem of immortality. 

The infinite love of the immortal creator, the lapis lazuli stone, ground to color the mother of god’s robes, and philosophy the questions that begin the journeys to understanding………

Sigmar Polke detail of painting at MOMA

Forever amber- the old alchemist Polke at the MOMA, many of the paintings have so much more strength in the flesh than in books. 
As a painter, i would have liked to see more paintings.  The proliferation of film and video comes off as a populist branding of a contemporary star, good humored and charismatic, which strategic technique is prominent now in contemporary practice to engage the masses in art viewing these days……

We painters love that amber resin, it historicizes and warms whatever is encased in it...........

Joachim Marx  b115

Said to be the “ultimate in postmodern painting” by fellow painters, utilizing the integration of figurative and experimental painting practices, the paintings of Joachim Marx are a fulsome juxtaposition of these elements.

Eric Jiaju Lee

Probably the artist closest to the process oriented practices of my own painting is Eric Jiaju Lee
Eric executed several of these experimental works in the time we were at the residency, & set up the outdoor studio over looking the lake. Eric's work is included with lots of other painting luminaries in the Brooklyn gallery  Life on Mars exhibit "Never Mind the Bullocks",  This gallery is run by painters Michael David and Fran O'Neil and is a PAINTER"S gallery in the best sense of the word.

Another work by Eric.

and more! Cooking!

Work in progress by master wood carver and scientist/engineer Anthony Santella, when finished this will be shown at the Opening's exhibit this fall in NYC. There will be a computer screen in this ladies upturned hands. I can relate! Too well!

Monday, June 9, 2014

         Notes on the Contemporary Iconography of the Rorschach

#3384 acrylic on stonehenge by virginia bryant @ ANON Studios June 2014

The fascination that the rorschach holds for contemporary artists touches several elements, first the process, secondly the aesthetics of balance, and finally its metaphors.

Artists as varied philosophically as  Bruce Conner, Andy Warhol, Sigmar Polke and Victor Hugo were practitioners. Now, in addition, many other artists are now involved in these processes through the new auspices of photoshop, such as Paul Cook and Tamorah Thomas, and of course there were the noteworthy tapestries of Gerhard Richter,  Paul Eberle's series "Flowers (for Richard)" utilizes flowers and growing things photographically to great effect using this process.
As any artist living in Florida in recent years has, I thought of Rauschenberg, realizing that this rorschachness is so integral a part of the print making process, central in this artists' oeuvre, that making rorschach images may have seemed redundant to him.
Along with my interests conceptually with Rorschach, these processes are woven into my work since the early 80's as a fabric designer and painter through the most recent MIRRORED SYMMETRIES digital series..

       #3388 acrylic on stonehenge by virginia bryant @  ANON Studios June 2014

from "MIRRORED SYMMETRIES" by virginia bryant @ANON Studios  2009

And so, back to our dialogue, if Arts’ manifestations are to lead to meaningful conversations about how we live, note of the rorschach iconography as a metaphor for balance may be useful. Who would not argue that most of our worst logistical issues would not be healed with balance? This may only be possible in a new age where justice is truly no longer blind.

from "MIRRORED SYMMETRIES" by virginia bryant @ANON Studios  2009

The imbalances of a dominator culture worshipping the false gods of the material and disregarding (the very real) requirements of spiritual life, which disregarding threatens our survival as a species. Our attractions to the rorschach are not exclusively decorative. These designs may serve as icons of balance.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

#3219 22x30" inks/acrylics on paper

Painting, a Third Way

A new third way of making paintings is coming into prominence with artists now. Rather than the first way of modernism’s enthusiasms for distortion such as Picassean fragmentations and surrealism, or the second, of glorification of slick manufacture and the false faces celebrated in post modernism, this approach descends from the spiritual hopes and ideals of Kandinskean abstraction.
The "Third Way" is connected to the ideals of a value structure which puts life's animating spirit in the center of new paradigm ways of conception and function. At its strongest art has always had connections to the spiritual, and so, we move into the possibility of our first "spiritual renaissance," previously spoken of by Chopra and Thurman, which includes new ways of relating to art.