Celebrate Diversity – FRED.GIAMPIETRO Gallery’s Annual Holiday Exhibition

Celebrate Diversity

FRED.GIAMPIETRO Gallery’s Annual Holiday Exhibition

November 25 – December 23, 2016

Opening Reception is Thursday, December 1st, 6-8pm    

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Find your special someone a gift that will be forever treasured! We will be offering an incredible selection of works priced for the holiday gift giving season.      

Featured Artists:

Michael Angelis • Chris Barnard • John Benicewicz • Power Boothe • Bernard Chaet • Emilia Dubicki • Cham Hendon • Danny Huff • Blinn Jacobs • Celia Johnson • Clint Jukkala • Zachary Keeting • Elisa Lendvay • Becca Lowry • Will Lustenader • Richard Lytle • Jane Miller • Loren Myhre • Jeremiah Palececk • Jana Paleckova • Steven Powers • Peter Ramon • Enrico Riley • Jonathan Waters • Becky Yazdan  

Guests:  

Aspasia Anos • Jeremy Chandler • William Georgenes • Bob Gregson • Meg Hitchcock • Barbara Coyle Holt • Sol LeWitt • Adam Lovitz • Tizzie Mills • Gerald Saladyga • Kurt Steger • Robert Taplin • Amy Vensel • Don Voisine • Joan Zagrobelny 

and a selection of small gifts and folk art

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Boothe and Lendvay – Exhibition closes this Saturday, Nov. 19th

Tomorrow, Novemebr 19th, is your last chance to view new paintings by Power Boothe and sculptures by Elisa Lendvay. Read a wonderful review of the exhibition below by Tiana Wang for the Yale Daily News.

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Between lovely lines

GUEST COLUMNIST

To take notes on graph paper is to resist the temptation to doodle. But Power Boothe has succumbed; he succumbed nearly 40 years ago. Since 1971, Boothe has been exploring the interplay between structure and chaos in his grid-based abstract paintings.

The concept of grid-based abstract paintings seems, at first, to be inherently contradictory. Abstract art brings to mind paint splatters, solid colors and unconstrained emotion. Grids are regular in their consistency, a neat framework meant to control and guard against disorder. In his paintings, Boothe does not focus on the opposition between the two so much as how each works with the other. The dichotomies seem irreconcilable in theory, but there is little tension on the canvas — colors and lines merge organically above pencil-sketched squares.

The first two pieces of the exhibit, “Transient” and “Long Tale,” introduce the techniques and motifs that emerge over and over again in Boothe’s pieces. From far away they look like clean lines and solid colors, but up close they become impressions without certainty. The lines smudge and bleed into bright areas of color, creating ombre effects that suggest melting boundaries. White space is concentrated in the middle of the composition, but concentrated is a strong word — the patches of white loosely form a meandering path not unlike the mazes in elementary school workbooks.

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Boothe’s work is not just playful in its maze-like layouts, but also in the shape of the lines and color choices. Most pieces — “Recursion,” “Findings,” “Ellipses #12,” for example — combine muted, soothing shades of pastel with the boldness of intense primary colors. In paint, Boothe traces straight lines that follow the grid before unexpectedly swaying into s-curves and rounded corners. Sometimes they hesitate and continue into dots and dashes. The lines also run into geometrically-inspired areas of colors. When intentional smears make a line occupy a space beyond its usual narrow stretch, is it still a line?

Each abstract painting is like a game of connect the dots, played with different rules. Sometimes the dots are connected, and other times not, as in “Heraclitean Fire,” where the randomness of lines speaks to the illogical nature of passion and anger. “Quiet Fury #5” sends a similar message, but the anger is simultaneously suppressed by the calming cobalt background, into which lines seem to sink. Blue takes on a different meaning in “Fracture,” however, serving to enhance a sense of disruption and removal. Even as the change in hues constructs the disconnectedness between parts, the color blue ironically unites the piece. “Surfacing” is also blue and white, but the story it tells is one of fabrication in progress, not deconstruction. Captured mid-action, the lines will not fully surface, and the question of whether they will assemble into a larger, more complete picture remains unanswered.

Boothe’s art often defies the clear-cut, tending towards being intentionally messy, overlapping and blending together. “Beginnings” is a creative take on cave paintings, rich with graceful transitions in multicolored lines that stand out on a beige, cave-like background. In “Entangle,” different designs rest on top of one another, making harmonious patterns from pieces that shouldn’t fit together. The little islands of vibrant color that stand out in a sea of white seem to be at the brink of change, and the piece itself appears to be unsure, deciding between whether to reflect the process of destruction or discovery.

Interspersed throughout the gallery, sculptures by Elisa Lendvay echo and expand on themes of discovery and reveal. A pun on the word “archangel,” “Archangle” places common household items in an unconventional setting. Metal lids, crushed aluminum cans and pie tins are strung together like a strange skewer splashed with color. Lendvay incorporates materials unassociated in daily life into one structure and makes it seem natural, the artifact of an alternative world. Through this curious collaboration, Lendvay juxtaposes barrenness and exposure with cover — “Nest,” “Curve/Rednet” — and practical use with elaborate and fanciful design — “Deadwood,” “Ruffle.”

Abstract art gets a bad rep. It’s “artsy” without substance, some people say, or perhaps muddled with too much substance to have a concrete focus. Too confusing, too foreign. But when I walked into the Fred Giampietro Gallery and first saw the works of Power Boothe and Elisa Lendvay, I felt like I had returned to my childhood home. Once again I was sitting at my desk with crayons, piles of maze worksheets and board games in front of me and pie tins laid out on the kitchen countertop, ready to be repurposed. Once again, there was space to color outside the lines.

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Black and Boothe: Parallels, Refractions, and Synergies

Black and Boothe: Parallels, Refractions, and Synergies

A performance and conversation

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When: November 5th at 11am
Where: FRED.GIAMPIETRO Gallery, 1064 Chapel Street, New Haven, CT 06510

This collaborative event will feature the paintings of Power Boothe, while Robert Black performs Philip Glass’s new Double Bass Partita, The Not Doings Of an Insomniac.

The Not Doings of an Insomniac is a seven movement solo double bass Partita composed by Philip Glass, commissioned by Robert Black in 2015. Between each movement Robert Black recites poetry by 7 of downtown New York’s most illustrious musician/poets – Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson, Yoko Ono, David Byrne, Leonard Cohen, Patti Smith, and Thurston Moore.

Click here to watch a Robert Black performance at the Hartt School

Click here to watch a wonderful discussion with Power Boothe

A Conversation with Power Boothe and Elisa Lendvay.

Thank you to Power Boothe and Elisa Lendvay for such a wonderful open discussion about your work! If you missed this wonderful event . . . you are not completely out of luck. Next Saturday, November 5th, at 11am we will be hosting a collaborative event that will feature the paintings of Power Boothe, while Robert Black performs Philip Glass’s new Double Bass Partita, The Not Doings Of an Insomniac. More information on this event is to come. Click the photos below to see what you missed at the artists talk this past Thursday.

Upcoming Exhibition – Power Boothe with works by Elisa Lendvay – October 22 – November 19

Power Boothe
with works by Elisa Lendvay

October 22 – November 19

Artist Talk
Thursday, October 27th, 5-8pm

Performance by Robert Black on Saturday, November 5th, 11am


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Fred Giampietro Gallery is pleased to present Power Boothe: Recent Work, the first one-person exhibition of paintings and works on paper at the gallery.

Power Boothe has been making large abstract paintings, based on a grid since he first exhibited work in 1971, when his paintings and drawings were included in a show of ten young artists at the Guggenheim Museum. He has had 18 one-person exhibitions in New York City, where he lived and worked for thirty years. In 2001 he moved to Connecticut where he works in his Harwinton, CT studio.

Boothe regards, “painting as a form of thought.” He says, “I cannot remember a time when I was not drawing or making paintings. When he was four or five years old he acknowledges that he would draw, to the chagrin of his parents, on any surface he could find, including walls and furniture. He can’t remember a time that he was not making marks. “Today, my work continues to evolve and develop and surprise me; I am compelled to follow where it needs to go.” Boothe says, “making drawings and paintings seems as necessary to me as drinking water.”

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“My paintings employ the grid but they are not about the grid, the grid is structure that I can work with and against. My work is my way of thinking about life as a tightrope I walk between two great forces; chaos and order. To pursue either alone; to impose order and not acknowledge chaos, as either a silent emptiness or energized disorder,” he says, “would seem to deny life’s fragility and its complications.” Boothe says, “From painting to painting, I simply want to find that balance between what it means for things to come together, while at the same time, they are coming apart.”

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Locally, his work is represented in in the collections of the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, the New Britain Museum of American Art, as well as the Florence Griswold Museum. In a review of his 2014 exhibition at Five Points Gallery in Torrington, the art critic Tracy O’Shaughnessy wrote:

“It is as if Boothe is saying that even in the most paradisiacal vistas, we insist on an order, even if the order falls apart. Perhaps this marriage of intuition and order is a reminder that the visceral and the analytic are forever at loggerheads, the resolution of which can be beautiful to watch.”

Click here to watch a wonderful exhibition discussion with Power Boothe


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“Lendvay’s hand melds into her creations, blurring the line between the synthetic and the pre-existing, fabricating objects that tread the boundary between our memory and hers. The artist’s psychological excavation and manipulation of the phantasmagoric creates a skewed archeological repository that forges a nexus between history, memory, and matter, projecting a latent spectacle of our collective unconscious and distorted archetypes.” Holly Jarret, 2014

 

Elisa Lendvay received her MFA from the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts, Bard College and her BFA from the University of Texas at Austin. Her work has been exhibited in a number of solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States and Europe. Lendvay has been awarded many prestigious honors from the Edward F. Albee Foundation, the New York Foundation of the Arts, the Santa Fe Art Institute, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Center, the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts, the Vermont Studio School, the Dallas Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, and the Marie Walsh Art Foundation. Currently, she is an Adjunct Professor at Montclair State University.

Click here to view Gorky’s Granddaughter interview with Elisa

 

 

John Benicewicz – In the Studio

Paintings by John Benicewicz and Sculptures by Robert Taplin on view now through October 15th at FRED.GIAMPIETRO Gallery

John Benicewicz

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“Benicewicz’s paintings are often cerebral, the brushstrokes dabbed across the canvases intuitively, sweeping in large swathes of unbounded color. In “The Brightest Door That Ever Opened,” Benicewicz presents a triptych of memory drawn from his unconscious. Its center panel contains ghostly figures rendered in a delicate, buttery white. This ephemerality contrasts with the sienna background’s overwhelming solidity and permanence. Similarly, the painting “Return” features bright spaces of almost pure color that recall the vibrancy of Matisse’s cutouts. Nude beige figures stroll and lounge, their earthy forms juxtaposed with the everlasting blue and deep red that surround them. Benicewicz is a master of summoning the human figure without so much as explicitly depicting an individual face.”

Joshua Baize
Yale Daily News
click here to read the full article 

In the Studio

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“My studio is a private, almost sacred, space for me. After being asked to write about it, the features that I kept noticing were the examples of creation and decay that are throughout it. I find that I’m most comfortable when those two forces are in balance or when I feel that creation has a bit of the upper hand.

I like to keep it the way it is so I rarely have visitors and changes to the environment happen very slowly. On the creation side there are of course the paintings (especially the one that’s currently in the making) and the materials at use. Paintings are started, worked, and finished, then eventually on to the next. The surroundings stay pretty much the same though, and there are areas where unused, abandoned (perhaps only for now) bits of stuff accumulate. Time seems to stay still, but then I notice the decay: dust, dirt, and cracked and bubbled plaster from a leaky roof. Creation moves against time.”

John Benicewicz, 2016

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Benicewicz mixes all of his own oil paints in addition to preparing the canvases using only traditional methods. John notes that his work is not about process, but the process of creating a painting—from beginning to end. “I’m not entirely sure of the reasons for this–they’re more emotional than rational—but I find it necessary to be as close as possible to the work through the materials.”

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John Benicewicz is a New York based painter, who studied at Parsons School of Design in New York and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.  His work demonstrates an incredible understanding and sensitivity to color, composition, and classic techniques. Benicewicz’s paintings focus on the “real, the perceived, the past, present, and future . . . mapping various times and places . . .” The work, like that of Robert Taplin, places the figure contextually in both the past and present simultaneously with reference to the narrative as well as classic execution.

Gorky’s Granddaughter interview with John

Robert Taplin “History of Punch”

The sculptures of Robert Taplin and Paintings by John Benicewicz on view now at FRED.GIAMPIETRO Gallery through October 15th

Robert Taplin
“History of Punch”

“History of Punch,” was started before the Dante project and continued after it. My interest in puppetry also dates back to my years at Pomona College. I was involved in the theater program there primarily as a stage designer, studying with David Flaten. The director of the theater program was a Brecht specialist, Andrew Doe. The whole Brechtian ethos, particularly its non-naturalistic way of telling a story, was a formative influence on me. The “alienation effect,” which Brecht used purposefully to break up the theatrical illusion and the audience’s identification with the characters on stage before setting it all back in motion, seemed to me important then and still does. In 1973 the theater program organized a trip to Los Angeles to see a production of the National Bunraku Theater of Japan. At Pomona we staged several full-scale kabuki shows under the direction of Leonard Pronko, and the bunraku theater, in which two or three black-clad puppeteers operate half-scale puppets directly on stage in imitation of kabuki actors, made a tremendous impression on me. Punch, the deformed little puppet of Punch and Judy fame, found his way into several small sculptures I made in the late ’80s and early ’90s. Then sometime in the late ’90s I saw an exhibition of Tiepolo’s Divertimento per li Regazzi (Entertainment for Children) at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Derived from the earlier Commedia Dell’Arte tradition on the continent, this set of 100 or so pen-and-wash drawings from the turn of the nineteenth century use a Venetian carnival version of Punchinello in multiple to overrun a mildly surreal, late Baroque, Italian genre world. These drawings are roughly contemporaneous with Goya’s “Caprichos,” and they seemed to offer a way to dive fully into the world of genre. I adopted Punch and threw him into contemporary society.

 

In my early years as an aspiring modernist, I always assumed that Rococo was the most despicable and superficial period of European art. At some point, as the modernist period was in its death throes, I started to take a closer look. I remember sometime in the ’90s looking at a portrait of a milkmaid by Boucher and being struck by how much more contemporary it seemed in tone and handling than the Bernini maquettes exhibited in the same room. In evidence were all the objectionable aspects of the Ancien Regime: the elite’s spurious infatuation with the “people,” the obvious undertone of sexual availability, the address to the “male gaze,” etc. And yet there was also a frankness to it, an openness that seemed contemporary and attractive. It gradually dawned on me that the late Baroque was an era of private extravagance and public spectacle, with power concentrated in the hands of tiny elites, playing out against a backdrop of ongoing religious conflict and spectacular achievements in the sciences and arts. The scenes of carefree dalliance, with everyone blissfully oblivious to the coming deluge! Those fabulous drawings by Watteau! It all felt so familiar.

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So Punch is a figure of aggravated ambivalence. His comic vulgarity, lack of inhibitions, and his apparent absolution from the normal requirements of society make him a figure of abuse and fascination. He is both a pariah and a free spirit, an alien among us who demonstrates the power of shame and guilt by ignoring them completely. As I worked on this series, I became aware of how far and deep Punch-like figures go back in European society. The court jester, the fool, the Jack in the Box, and all the witches of European lore have the same stereotypically Semitic features. Deep-seated fear and envy of the Jew are bedrock tropes in European society, comparable in function to the cultural load projected onto African Americans in the contemporary U.S. The majority culture is convinced that these supposed outliers have some great secret power or talent unavailable to the mainstream, a creative genius that allows them to dominate certain areas of the cultural sphere, inspiring both fascination and superstitious dread. If, according to this thinking, Jews and blacks are mysteriously generative and resourceful, they are also seen as capable of inexplicable treachery and random acts of violence. All this is likewise true of Punch. Lewis Hyde, in his book Trickster Makes the World (1999), extensively investigates the ancient mythos of this phenomenon. Punch’s ancestry probably goes all the away back to the comic satyr of classical theater. So Punch is in the tradition of the grotesque – the hunchbacked, over-sexed alien, a conglomeration of things that frighten and appall us. Yet he also clearly wields considerable power, the power of the despised, the unknown, the exotic, the outsider. We would like to ignore him or just get rid of him, but we recognize him. We don’t trust him, but, under the right circumstances, we might even follow him. We watch him with a queasy fascination and lingering self-reproach.

In the last piece of the Punch Series, Punch Pops the Weasel (2013), Punch rises up heedlessly, ecstatically, in a tutu, bursting out of the box like some floozy from a birthday cake at an over-the-top party. But it’s also Punch in ascension, the apotheosis of Punch, Punch in a very short moment of self exposed glory. When he comes down, he’s likely to get hurt, but for the moment he doesn’t care. Punch is all in, totally committed in a way most of us can’t manage.
Good luck to him.

Robert Taplin
December 19, 2015
New Haven, Connecticut

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