Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A Teacher Discovers a New Medium and a New Art Form at The Art School at Old Church

Jackie Shatz, a sculptor whose works often incorporate both collage and painting, has been teaching at the Art School at Old Church for several years. The artist, who lives in Rockland County, has taught workshops and courses exploring the “universal language of abstraction” and encouraging students to play with symbols and shapes in drawings, paintings and sculpture.

Intrigued by the wealth of courses offered at Old Church, Shatz enrolled in Susan Kasson Sloan’s workshop in Precious Metal Clay jewelry design. Smitten with the process, she took the workshop again… and again. Shatz was delighted to have found a material that she could work with sculpturally to make jewelry. With her new mentor and independently, Shatz began to create rings and pendants out of silver PMC.

“I always loved jewelry and used to go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to study ancient jewelry pieces, which I think of as miniature sculpture,” Shatz explains. Working in PMC, she was able to bring her sculptor skills and aesthetic to her new medium.

Working in silver PMC also allowed Shatz to indulge in her passion for geology and natural stones. On a visit to the Adirondacks, she bought bags of locally mined garnet dust and even panned for tiny natural gems.

Back in her studio, Shatz experimented with a wide variety of techniques. For some pieces, she made molds from a material called Microsil (used to make impressions for hearing aids) and then pressed natural materials such as lichens, seaweed, and pine needles into it. She then pressed the PMC clay into the mold (which it doesn’t adhere to). Finally, she removed the clay and worked with it sculpturally. Shatz even explored the feasibility of encasing delicate seaweed in many dilute coats of silver clay. The final product, while not exactly what she expected, is lovely.

Each piece is unique and gets all the careful deliberation of a large sculpture or painting. Some rings are set with natural garnets and tiny gems like zircons and peridots. Others are carved with ancient symbols, like the ancient Egyptian Eye of Horus. Still others are include casts of old jewelry pieces or materials like a shard of art glass from a broken ring. Shatz also discovered that with PMC she could go back and reapply the clay to fired pieces, enabling her to add new textures and elements.

Shatz is selling her growing collection of art jewelry at Maria Louisa in Nyack, at the Tailored Mermaid in Beacon, NY, at One Well in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and at the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake, NY. The Nyack Library is also hosting a show of her work in the month of October. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Beware of the Year 7000

Art School faculty member and figurative sculpture guru Janice Mauro has embarked on an incredible journey into the future. Beginning in 2009, Janice and collaborator Joanne Pagano Weber began exploring the artifacts uncovered at the site of a future archaeological dig. This month, the ongoing project will be visible to those of us dwelling in 2014 at exhibitions across two Connecticut galleries.

Read more about this project including the artists' statement from bewareoftheyear7000.com:
"Janice Mauro and collaborator Joanne Pagano Weber present “Beware of the Year 7000,” a mixed media installation which expands upon “The Tidal Decade,” hosted by Silvermines’s Director’s Choice to delighted audiences in 2009. Art 101 Gallery held a coordinating exhibit in Brooklyn and visitors were encouraged to “make the pilgrimage.” 
The ever-growing urgency of the ramifications of global warming and corporate greed, along with the evident loss of one’s humanity, provoke our ongoing collaboration. The work will comprise mixed media: sculpture, painting, voice, and text. 
The meaning of sculptures of an evolving robotic race is revealed through a series of letters by two fictional artists, along with their paintings. The correspondence, which thematically explores the human condition circa the year 7000 is a lifeline for the artists, who describe a horrific period of future history where humanity repeats its tragic exploitation of the living planet. The content of the sculpture and the painting in this show is nothing less than the loss of the human soul and the fight to preserve it.

Our ongoing work reopens an uncomfortable wound for examination and presents a fresh way to bring all-important humor and self criticism to the table. We have seen the positive results of engaging audiences by resonating the content of our art with their lives, allowing them to discover the narrative as they move through the show. The use of found objects to create futuristic sculptures, gadgets, and paintings reflects and subverts today’s obsession with technology through comedic social criticism.

The project is inherently educational as a wake-up call and a speculative journey into the unknown. As we consciously experience a monumental shift in our planet’s evolution due to climate change, City Lights Gallery and Trailer Box Gallery presents Beware of the Year 7000, where installation artists Janice Mauro and Joanne Pagano Weber ask the question, if corporations are people, too, what if they lose their humanity? Art lovers, thinkers, prophets, or gamers, look no further."
City Lights Gallery, Bridgeport, CT opening reception 5:30-8:30PM, 9/25, on view through 10/23/14
Trailer Box Gallery, Danbury, CT opening reception 5:00-8:00PM 9/27, on view through 11/1/14
"It’s the second melting of the polar icecap. The power of the few dictate the blueprint of a resurgent planet depleted once again. All resources are up for grabs as the human race divides along biological / robotic fault lines. While multitudes transition becoming semi-human mechanisms under the control of an artificial brain, two artists continue their work in hiding, corresponding by the only thing they have left – their creativity."

Friday, September 5, 2014

Draw Yourself In: 2014

August 4 - August 23, 2014

Over the summer, the Mikhail Zakin Gallery hosted a collaborative drawing project that invited the community to draw on the gallery walls... On mural-sized paper, that is. The theme of the project was portraiture, and we invited artists young and old to add a portrait and "draw themselves in" to this community project.

The project took place over the course of the two-week BLAST! of art program for kids. We received many enthusiastic contributions from the young artists enrolled in these summer classes. Below is the description of the project that was posted on the wall:

"Portraits: A portrait is a painted, drawn, photographic, or sculptural representation of a person. The key is to define the likeness, personality and mood of the person. We challenge you to draw a portrait of yourself, your mom or dad, maybe even make a new friend and draw their portrait. Draw just thier face or draw them in a scene. Give them crazy hair and colorful clothes.You are the artist, so be as imaginative and creative as you would like. Use these famous portraits as guides for your own work. But most importantly, have fun!"


Thank you for all the wonderful contributions!