POWer of 13

LUCKY NUMBER: 13-Artist Group Exhibition at Barrett Art Center

 Penny Dell, Curator 

 "POWer of 13"  is an exhibition by thirteen artists from the metro New York area who support each other as friends and critics. The work includes sculpture, painting, photography, mixed media, printmaking, drawing and collage.

As an individual artist I relish working on the different series that have caught my interest and translating them into communicable visual form. This exhibit it gives me great pleasure to gather and build their work into a kind of visual concert.    

It’ll be an opportunity for viewers to puzzle out connections between works and artists who through the years have continued to meet regularly.  It’s a challenge to detect affinities of shared concerns and practices. Some common themes, differently interpreted, include patterns, nature, the figure, found objects, collage and assemblage.

Abstraction is well represented - though laden with different emotive qualities in each case. Ellen Reinkraut’s exuberant paintings and drawings track the energy and mood of their making “My art is layered with meaning...drawing from an intuitive center, they are empowered by the intention to promote well being and manifest light.”

 Dail Fried’s paintings and prints feature nuanced color values and exciting surfaces, her sleek bronze and marble sculptures resonate beautifully with her 2-Dimensional work in installation. A similar three-dimensional "pop" seems to levitate Susan Lisbin's figures off unusually colored grounds. She, too, offers sculptural works in ceramics.

Ann Winston Brown anchors some of her abstract prints and mixed-mediawork with architectural features such as doors, while some explore unbounded fugal colors.  

In identifying different qualities of abstraction, it helps to know that a calligraphic drive is evident in Valerie Mankoff's abstract work, which has a mannerist, stylized signature. It's surprising to know Sandra Frech's early works were photorealistic but have evolved through expressionist landscapes into space abstractions.

Figurative work is an important driving force in the Barrett exhibit. Susan Sinek has extensive series of small paintings of mixed media on canvas, but also on acetate. Her recent use of gilding isolates her figures and their gestures in an iconic look that seems timeless. Pauline Chernichaw, in both her gritty street photography and in her paintings, communicates the essential humanity of her subjects. Edna Dagan, a musician, also interprets the figure in paintings, mixed media works and bronze sculpture.

Penny Dell combines printmaking with collage in works that use the patterns seen in the interior of security envelopes--the envelopes most bills and bank statements come in. Cut from the envelopes, collaged hexagons patterns led to meditations on "security blankets" and homeland security...to the appreciation of the central role security holds in today’s unstable world.

Indeed, the collage imperative is a strong pull in this group. Ruth Bauer Neustadter cements glass, sand and found objects into thick acrylic or oil paint. Her dense surfaces draw in the curious and invite touch: "I want a kinesthetic response," she says. Alice Harrison, too, uses extensive collage in her paintings, prints and books. Nancy Nikkal, a self-described "layerist", teaches every aspect of Collage at Pelham Art Center and includes geometry, typography and symbols in her paintings, prints and collages, a reduced visual vocabulary has enormous visual impact.

So the story centers on the capacity of a group to amp up dynamics of creativity. A crystal seems a fit embodiment of the way reflections from individual artist points can reflect and manifest.

This work will be on at Barrett Art Center, with an opening reception aturday, April 22nd 3-6pm, free admission.  Refreshments will be served.

A closing reception is scheduled for Saturday, May 20th, 2-4.