Sunday, December 30, 2012

Continuing the Conversation- Artist as Collector

Philadelphia area artist Bill Brookover is this week's guest blogger for the Artist as Collector Series.
Fran Gallun, Untitled
collage and mixed media on paper,
10"  x 7 1/4" 

I’m lucky to have been a friend of Fran Gallun’s for over 30 years. We are part of a small group of friends who have watched our kids grow from diapers to kids of their own. Over the years I’ve watched Fran’s work evolve from large square canvases of still lives and scenes from her studio, to installations of sacred spaces, to small collages evoking the landscape of Israel and the spirituality of Judaism.

Several years ago my wife and I bought one of Fran's large still life canvases; we have been watching this recent phase of her career with great interest. She uses strips of intensely colored paper laid done onto equally intensely colored backgrounds. They evoke landscape, layers of history, and layers of time through their sheer beauty. 

We visited her open studio last month and, when we saw this small collage, we decided the time was right to own a piece. Its small size made it affordable for us. We’ve recently moved into a new house and can’t wait to see it framed and in conversation with the still life from decades before.

Fran Gallun is represented by the Rosenfeld Gallery in Philadelphia; her work is currently on view at the Philadelphia Museum of Jewish Art at Congregation Rodef Shalom.

Bill Brookover is a photographer, printmaker and teaching artist based out of Haddonfield, NJ.
Bill has taught silkscreen printing at Fleisher Art Memorial in Philadelphia. since 2010. His work celebrates the beauty of everyday life in the buildings, cities, and landscapes around us. 

Friday, December 28, 2012

Wrapping up the Year 2012

Wrapped Up, 2012
Shell, overly beaten flax

As 2012 wraps up I would like to acknowledge and thank all of you who have touched my life.

May the new year bring good health, peace, joy, love, inspiration and prosperity. May we acknowledge the miracles big and small that make up our days.

With love and peace,


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Gifted In Istanbul, Artist as Collector

This week's Artist as Collector blog post comes from American Printmaker Celeste Pierson currently living and teaching in Istanbul, Turkey.
Garden of Ephsus
Solar Plate Print
collection of Celeste Pierson

Last August after packing up my belongings and putting them in storage,  I got on a plane with my dog Nelly, and we flew to Istanbul, Turkey where I  had accepted a job teaching art at a wonderful school called Robert College.  A month later, my partner Jack joined me. We are happily settling in while exploring the culture and sights of Istanbul.

One day a phone call came to the house where we live on campus, from an old friend and former colleague, Dan Weldon who just happened to be teaching art on a cruise ship docked for a few days in Istanbul.  We journeyed down to the port to visit with Dan, and over tea we discussed many interesting things.  In the course of conversation Dan mentioned his concern because his assistant for this leg of the trip wasn’t able to make it… and would Jack like to join him for a week free of charge and travel throughout Turkey and Greece as his teaching assistant? Of course, said yes!!  Jack went on the  cruise while I stayed and worked. 

This solar plate print by Dan Welden, - the first print of our Istanbul collection, was gifted to us as a gesture of thanks and gratitude for Jack's help on the cruise.

That’s the bonus of being a printmaker- creating multiples to share and exchange of our work,  so we can surround ourselves with “soft and fuzzy” memories of friends, students and colleagues.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Capturing Images You want to Share Again and Again

Chester County, PA based photographer Rich McFarland is this week's guest blogger for the Artist as Collector Series.
Otter Cliffs Acadia

Every creative person knows- or has a very good idea about their strengths and weaknesses.  As a photographer, composition, lighting and color are my strengths. Conversely, I feel that although, like most photographers, I began almost 25 years ago shooting in black and white, I’ve never been satisfied with my finished b&w products.

Perhaps that's why I gravitate to Nate Parker’s work. His concentration is the New England landscape and seascape, and spends a lot of time shooting Acadia National Park – not far from Bar Harbor, Maine.   His latest work has been almost exclusively black and white – and it’s simply amazing. He mixes things up, throwing in some long exposure from time to time - such as "Otter Cliffs Acadia".
It has a ghostly, otherworldly feel – and the image could have been taken in 2012 …or 1912. 
Rich McFarland's work includes his own beautiful landscapes, portraits, corporate work and more. This statement is from his bio page.

"Someone once told me that a photo is only worth something if you want to see it again...

My photography is centered on that concept - capturing images that you
want to share again and again."

Thanks for sharing Rich!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Indulging Her Passion - Artist as Collector

Philadelphia based artist Ellen Benson is this week's guest blogger for the Artist as Collector Series.
collection of Ellen Benson

I collect 2 main types of art: sculptural work made out of found objects, and "outsider" and folk art. I go to Mexico every winter and I call Oaxaca the art capital of the world, so it's not been hard to indulge this collecting passion!

This piece is from Florida based artist Michael Russo which I fell for when I saw it in a small gallery he owned in Miami Beach on Espanola Way, probably in the late '80's. The simplicity wowed me.  He made something fabulous out of absolutely NOTHING--a box that held XMAS ornaments and some artfully crumbled up faces torn from magazines- stuff that would have been thrown out anyway, with no intrinsic value.

Quite different from ART BASEL Miami Beach where I saw hundreds of collectors flown in on private planes to write checks for Jeff Koons pieces for millions. 

Ellen Benson is a member of the Dumpster Divers of Philadelphia, a group of artists which focuses on re-claiming cast-off pieces of the world around us to make art, as well as to make use of things headed for the trash stream. She is moving towards her goal of creating 1000 figures that she calls "divas"many of which she makes an armature for their “bodies” from those ubiquitous plastic grocery and newspaper delivery bags. To date she is up to about 400, many of which are currently on display at the Philadelphia International Airport.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Exploring the Mundane or the Forgotten- Artist as Collector

Delaware based artist, Jane Chesson is this week's guest blogger for the Artist as Collector Series.
Untitled, 2011
24" x 24"

I was introduced to the work of Philadelphia based artist Jeffrey Stockbridge through my position at the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts where he had an exhibition in 2011. The show featured interiors and portraits. I became enamored with the interiors of abandoned homes in and around Philadelphia, but purchasing one at the time was not feasible for me. When I heard Jeff was donating a work of art to our annual art auction I knew I had to have it. This photograph is significantly different than the work that was in his exhibition. It depicts a pile of discarded Christmas trees in what appears to be a park or abandoned city block. I fell in love with this image. I find it to be so quiet and peaceful. I was actually fairly surprised after I purchased it when friends started saying that it was "sad" or "depressing." 

I get that response a lot from my own work as well - even though I don't see it as such. I really enjoy exploring the idea of the mundane or the forgotten. Perhaps this is what draws me to Jeff's work. In my own paintings I make - what I like to think of as - insect death portraits. I find dead bugs and make somewhat tedious, slow paintings of them using traditional mediums and techniques. This intimate process is very important to me, even though it is not always apparent in the finished work.

Most people would not see a direct link between Jeff's work and mine and I think that is important. It has always been more interesting to look at and be inspired by artists working in a completely different process than my own. I think being surrounded by works or art that you love and that challenge makes life exciting!

Oil on panel
33" x 14"
Jane Chesson is a painter, teaching artist and the Director of Education at the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts.