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The Rockaway Artists Alliance has done something entirely different with its latest exhibit, Small, Smaller and Smallest, now at sTudio 6 through April 25.
The works featured are smaller than usual, though not freakishly so there are no landscapes painted on pinheads that must be viewed through a microscope. There are, however, pleasant surprises, beginning with Esther Grillos Seated Woman on Rug, of Mexiclay and ceramic tile. The work surprises because its only eight inches high and Grillo is known for pieces that are so towering and complex that theyre best placed outdoors.
Yet her little, voluptuous, unclothed woman rests easily in a little chair, with her eyes closed and legs crossed. The work is as intimate as one can get. The surprise is that, if you look, the back of her chair isnt attached to the seat and only comes down to the middle of her back. Grillo was so entranced with the womans plump behind that she couldnt bear to cover it up.
Christina Jorges 21, in clay with acrylic wash, is just as intimate. A large-bosomed young woman lolls on a chaise lounge holding an empty champagne bottle. Shes another of Jorges celebrations of sensual womanhood.
Jen Connells acrylic painting Goings Diner is a grouping of condiments on a table and makes you realize that one of the reasons some artists like to paint ketchup bottles and salt shakers is because they have nice shapes and catch the light wonderfully.
Maria S. Lambasas Mini sTudio 6 Gallery, as well as being an homage to RAA, is a diorama dominated by two tiny oriental rugs. When I asked the artist admitted she didnt weave them herself. Theyre from Turkey and are miniatures given to the buyer so they could see what the life-size rugs look like, which is intriguing in and of itself.
Madeline Braisteds watercolors, Surf II and Surf III, are seascapes evocative of Long Island but, according to the artist, pulled entirely out of her head.
Renee Lee Rosenbergs Rallus Elegance, Spizella Posilla, A Safe Place and Limosa Fedora are smashing pieces of jewelry made of brass, nickel, silver,copper and mixed metal that look like theyve been made of bent and hammered keys, coins and buckles.
Ellen Miffits Waiting for Lunch, Enso, The Way and Caught are something Ive never seen at the gallery before. Waiting for Lunch and Caught are sumi-e, or Japanese brush paintings, while the other painting is mixed media. In Waiting For Lunch, a frog squats with its hugely open mouth as an unsuspecting a bug flies above it. In Caught, a cat has just snagged the tail of a fleeing mouse.
Christian Le Gars presents with Windows and Le Panteon both tiny (four-by-six-inch) watercolors. The first is the front of a New York restaurant, the second is a view of the Pantheon in Paris viewed from a brightly lit street. The Pantheon is unlit and looms against a deep blue sky like something mysterious and somewhat threatening.
Christina Sarquizs Next Phase, Perimeter, In Turn, Procession, Balanced and Apex, all oil pastels on card stock or bristol board, are small abstract expressionist gems whose bold colors are brought out by the pale wood of their frames.
Dave Taft, who is also a ranger at Gateway National Park, presents The Bright Idea, Summer So Far and 15 Days Last Winter, all oil on panel works. The last one is a glossary of three rows of five dead bumblebees, killed, I suppose, by the cold. One would never guess that dead bumblebees could take on such interesting shapes.
I recognized the unique watercolor style and subject matter of Martha Elliot Killians paintings even before I saw the name beside them. They are Rocks, Path to Ocean and Sand Fencing, and continue her study of local beaches.
Another very happy surprise was to finally see RAA Publicity Director Susan Hartensteins works in the exhibit. She had Bittersweet and Porcelain Lady. In the first a few wands of bittersweet, a shrub that produces red and gold berries in the fall stands in a clear jar of water flanked by two ceramic pots. The wands gently arch into a completely blank area of the paper.
I was intrigued by the idea of going beyond the space into, I dont know, a void, she said.
Porcelain Lady is a figure Hartensteins mother had since before her daughter was born. Its like my mother: graceful, elegant, beautiful, she said. After Hartensteins mother died she did a whole series about the figurine. In this painting the lady is slightly bent over, because that reminded the artist of her mother in her last years.
Janet Dever has Looking up on Santorini and Jerome, AZ both watercolors. In the first, the viewer looks up at a tower and beyond it into a deeply blue Grecian sky. In the other, Devor captures the esthetically pleasing shabbiness of the facades of some old buildings that line an Arizona street.
Denis Macrae carved his Dollar Spears on a block of acacia wood while he was in the Phillipines. Acacia wood is hard to carve, and while he was resting his hands his teacher came and carved spears where the two lines would be in the $ symbol. The spears symbolized his tribe.
I almost overlooked a couple of pieces they were right beside the bathroom door. Jae Hi Ahns White Fungus Series No. 6 and White Fungus Series No. 12 made of rice flour and glue dont look like fungi as much as they evoke the petals of pure white roses or camellias.
Maria S. Lambasas Colorado Landscape is a fun piece of mixed media (rocks, foam, plastic). Its a diorama made up of those tiny elements trees, rocks, people, cows that architects use on their scale models. In this one a herd of Holsteins grazes in a pasture across a road, or something, from a group of people bathing at the foot of a waterfall.
Norma Allendes pristine Revolving, made of white clay, is a fluid, Brancusi/Thomas Moore sculpture thats only about a 1 1/2 feet high.
Rockaway Artists Alliance has once again put on a gorgeous, imaginative, wholly satisfying show.
©2004 Community Newspaper Group
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