Pierro Gallery

A Minor Inconvenience, Emotion, and Kiss of Social Reality at the Pierro Gallery

I appreciate having several of my drawings selected for Emotion, an exhibit curated by the Montclair Art Museum's Young Curator Program. Three separate exhibits were planned, curated, and organized through the program: A Minor Inconvenience, Emotion, and Kiss of Social Reality.  These shows open this Friday, June 22nd and continue through Saturday, June 30th at the Pierro Gallery in South Orange.  The curators are scheduled to speak from 12 - 2 PM on the 30th, the final day of the exhibit. "MAM Young Curators is an intensive seven month excursion into the business of curating for high school juniors and seniors. The program is coordinated by independent curator and artist Asha Ganpat. This year, MAM Young Curators visited museums and galleries, developed their own audio tours, and finally, curated these exhibitions: A Minor Inconvenience, Kiss of Social Reality, and Emotion. The Young Curators developed exhibition themes, selected artists through an open call, and adminstered all aspects of the exhibition."

Odds, Ends, and Strange Tale #32

Kickin' it old school...as in 15th century old school... I now have my newest series of paintings and drawings on my website. These are works that are based in the botanical illustrations of the 16th and 17th centuries, but with a sexualized twist: certainly not suitable for all viewers, the Botanicae Amatorius are both erotic and humorous (granted, I have a dark sense of humor). The final paintings are done with gouache on calfskin parchment that has been stretched onto birch board: the calfskin is an exquisite surface for gouache - similar to the vellum used in 14th and 15th century manuscript pieces.  Vellum, to be technical, is the skin from a stillborn calf, and it is available -  but very expensive.  The calfskin is similar, with a few more flaws on the surface (which I like), still a bit pricey, but not so rare to come by and most specialty calligraphy supply outlets have it available.  I always gripe about reproductions, but I scanned the images on the site directly from the paintings and they are fairly accurate as far as color.  What is lost is the subtle depth of space created by the calfskin - the gouache sits on the surface and light reflects through the layers of skin making the gouache quite luminous (the pigment does not sink into the surface like it would on paper). I recommend the calfskin highly for gouache aficionados; some of the most beautiful works of art, from the Book of Kells to Albrecht Dürer's studies were executed on vellum - not a medium to be missed (I will write more about the botanical artists at a later date - the juncture of science and art is a passion of mine).

If you are interested in seeing the new paintings and drawings, click the link below:

Quite a busy month ahead (aren't they all):

In conjunction with the South Orange Maplewood Studio Tour, the Pierro Gallery is holding its Preview / Post View exhibit.  The opening is on Thursday, May 24th from 6 - 8 PM.  Speaking of gouache, in the Preview / Post View, I will be showing a painting that I rarely exhibit:

Ah yes, this one is on paper, not as luminous as the calfskin pieces, but a little jewel of a painting nonetheless.

The studio tour is on Sunday, June 3rd, from 11 AM - 5 PM; everyone is welcome to attend and this year the tour is free...not a bad deal for seeing 60+ artists in their studios.

Still Drawing...

In the studio, I have started my first of two (maybe three) sybils:

This will be a 5 x 3 foot pencil drawing, the figure is slightly smaller than life size.

Last, but not least...

The latest Strange Tale, pencil on Moleskine sketch paper, 5.5 x 7 inches (this is on a double page of a smaller Moleskine sketchbook):

The Sisters and the Serpent

As always, the jpeg reproduction is on the flickr stream as well.  For the studio tour, I am finishing up 5 of these that have been patiently waiting to emerge, and I will post them as they are completed.



Linda Pochesci "Out the Front Door", Jamie Greenfield "Moth Music", Valery Sutherland "Where the Buttercups Grew"
Linda Pochesci "Out the Front Door", Jamie Greenfield "Moth Music", Valery Sutherland "Where the Buttercups Grew"

Metaphor, featuring the artworks of Susanna Baker, Jamie Greenfield, Linda Pochesci, Merrill Steiger, and Valery Sutherland opened this past weekend at the Pierro Gallery in South Orange.  The reception for the artists is scheduled for this Sunday, September 19th, from 1 – 4 PM and will include an informal artist talk starting at 1 PM.

Susanna Baker's "Star Cluster"(wax, monotype on wood)

As the curator, I have to point out that the artwork for this show was not chosen around the title Metaphor: rather, I went through the files and pulled out work that interested me, intuitively organizing the artists’ portfolios into stacks that I felt worked as a grouping.   (The artists for this exhibit were curated from the artist files of the Pierro Gallery - to which I actively encourage all artists to submit materials; the guidelines are here).

During the process of organizing, I realized that there is a connection between the works of this group of artists: in one manner or another, they all deal directly with metaphor.  One could argue that most art deals with metaphor on some level (even for non-representational artists, such as abstract expressionists, the painting in itself becomes the metaphor for the action of painting).  However, these artists have a more straightforward use of metaphor in their work.  More subtle than analogies, these are visual metaphors that play out in correlations between juxtaposed imagery or contrast space, scale and color, so the artists are creating their own visual symbolism, evoking emotion, or suggesting narrative.

Merrill Steiger, "Arachnophopia", acrylic on canvas, 60 x 48 inches

In addition to metaphor, nature is also notably featured within the works of these artists - references to weather, daylight, insects, geological formations, natural textures and patterns, the macrocosm as well as the microcosm:  elements that come together, conveying suggestions to the passage of time, hints towards the essence of spirituality, contemplation of environment, and allusions to the enigmatic personal experience of the artists themselves.

As with literary metaphors, there is an elusiveness that brings the viewer into the work to ask what is happening?, what does this mean?, and demanding the viewer to assume more responsibility for interpreting meaning, because these artists have not created clear-cut narratives and explicitly elucidated stories or concepts.  These artworks show an array of symbols and private iconography - the meanings for which the viewer is not necessarily privy - but intuitively, and with contemplation, the viewer can generate their own version of meaning through the visual imagery that each artist has presented.

Installation view of Valery Sutherland's "The Old Ones"; six sculptures, acrylic on layered plywood

Pierro Gallery: Committee/Committed Exhibition

I have two drawings on display in the exhibition Committee/Committed which opens this Sunday at the Pierro Gallery of South Orange.  Having helped to put up quite a few shows at the Pierro (in truth, following that great master of exhibition hanging, Jennifer Takahashi, around with a pencil, level, hammer and nails), I can say without hesitation that this one is quite compelling in quality and scope: 25 talented artists who have given their time and energy to be part of the Pierro Gallery committee.  
I do feel like a newcomer - technically on the committee for only about a year.  All of the groundbreaking work to get the gallery up and running was done over 15 years ago by a group of incredibly dedicated artists and art lovers.  My affection for the Pierro goes back to nine years ago, when it was quite a surprise to discover that I had moved into a town that was home to a gallery with such a unwavering dedication to serious art and exhibitions.  After struggling in Boston for several years to find some sort of connection to the artistic community (quite unsuccessful for me in that traditional-portrait-and-sea-landscape-painting-lovin'-town), finding the artists in South Orange and Maplewood (and of course the Pierro and 1978) was like finding a little artistic sanctuary in the Garden State.
It is true that artists serving on the committee are not permitted to exhibit in the Pierro, however this exhibition marks a significant crossroad for the gallery - the departing of Judy Wukitsch, Assistant Director of  Cultural Affairs in South Orange.  Judy, along with her husband Lennie Pierro, co-founded the gallery 16 years ago.  I never had the opportunity to meet Lennie, but watching Judy as the dynamo behind the gallery has been an eye-opening experience (quite simply marvelling at the dedication and time that it takes to make a non-profit gallery of this nature run seamlessly ~ she will be difficult to replace). 
Oh, by the way, speaking of my committee duties, any artists who are interested in exhibiting at the Pierro (from anywhere in the US), the next portfolio review deadline is June 20th; acceptance will put you into the file that is used to curate exhibitions in the gallery space.  Portfolio entry information is here


Opening Reception:  Sunday, June 12th 2 - 4 PM

Directions to the Pierro are here.

Pierro Downtown - Small Works South Orange

This Thursday is an Art Night Out!!!  A reception at Stony's in South Orange (across from the train station) from 7 - 10 PM for Small Works South Orange.  I am exhibiting giclée prints of five of my drawings (the actual drawings will be in my studio during the studio tour).

I have to give a big thumbs up to iprintfromhome.com for the giclée prints: they do a beautiful job with printing and the prints are reasonable (plus they have great customer service).  I like to have giclées available on the studio tour (or any other small works venue) because it allows art lovers who cannot necessarily afford the real thing (or do not have space for one of my large drawings) to buy quality reproductions of the images that they really like = spreading art into the world.  The catch is that you really have to start with professional digital files or direct scans to get clear prints of artwork (which is true regardless of who does the printing).