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By Arthur Stampleman

The Rye Arts Center continues to expand our horizons with its public initiative to add art to the landscape and spark thought and conversation throughout the community. 

The latest installation outside the Milton Road art center is David Provan’s <Private Horizon,> a colorful sculpture fabricated of powder-coated steel. Seen here are line, color and, at first glance, abstraction. But is it actually abstract, or does it represent something real?

RAC members enjoyed a presentation on the work by the artist earlier this month when he was introduced by Rye sculptor Bob Clyatt, the driver behind the art initiative.

<Private Horizon> is essentially a demonstration of the principles of perspective, a tribute to artistic and scientific efforts to improve our understanding of the world, explained Provan. Perspective is the art of drawing solid or three-dimensional objects or scenes on a two-dimensional surface in order to give the right impression of their height, width, depth, and position in relation to each other when viewed from a particular point.

The artist began his presentation with the development of perspective by painters of the Renaissance. In their initial efforts, they utilized single point perspective, in which there is only one vanishing point on the horizon. Provan emphasized the importance of the horizon line that is the boundary between sky and land when an observer looks at an object or scene. He pointed out that there can be multiple perspective points.

<Private Horizon> consists of Provan’s own personal horizon holding six separate constructions, each showing a different perspective. The blue, long, straight, flat steel bar about two-thirds up the sculpture is a representation of his horizon line. Each of the six different portrayals of perspective is attached around the horizon line in one of the primary colors – red, blue, or yellow. The easiest to see are the yellow and red single point perspective representations on either side. The multiple point perspective portrayals are more difficult to recognize. A red construction in the rear shows the perspective when looking up at a tower.

The installation is only temporary and has no permanent home yet, nor does a maquette, one-sixth the size of the final work, which you can view inside The Rye Arts Center.

Provan, a native of California, now lives with his wife in Cold Spring, on the east bank of the Hudson River. After high school he joined the Navy where he served as an airborne reconnaissance operator in Vietnam. After his discharge, he worked as a carpenter, building houses in Japan, and, later, practiced Buddhism in Nepal. Returning to the West, he earned degrees in art and architecture from Yale (B.A. 1979) and the Royal College of Art in London (M.A. 1981). His years in Asia and his interests in art and design coalesced into a long series of sculptures that often embody the ideas of Buddhism and Taoism as manifested in a modernist 21st-century design sense.

Provan’s work has been shown in numerous galleries and museums across the country, including Grace Borgenicht Gallery, New York. He has completed several public art projects, including a 200-foot installation of kinetic sculptures for the New York City subway, and a design for a series of innovative historical markers for the Municipal Art Society of New York.

— Arthur Stampleman

A group show of art by senior artists associated with SPRYE — members, volunteers — is on display in the Art Gallery at The Osborn until March 30.

SPRYE helps senior citizens in Rye and neighboring communities remain in their homes. The Osborn displays art for the enjoyment of patients, guests, residents, and staff while supporting the local creative community. The relationship between the two organizations dates from SPRYE’s startup, when The Osborn gave them office space for several years.

Three different media are represented among the almost three-dozen works on display by four talented retirees. An exhibit program contains biographies on each of the artists.

  • Needlepoints by Nancy Platt, a retired human resources professional;
  • En plein air photographs by Tom Saunders, a retired telecommunications engineer and SPRYE’s first president;
  • After retiring from a marketing career, Susan Storms embarked on a “Delight in Being” theme for her photography;
  • Oil paintings, mainly landscapes, by Marjorie Wynne, a retired Rye schoolteacher.

The public is invited to view the exhibit any day of the week from 4-6, but The Osborn asks that you call 925-8218 at least a day before you would like to visit. The Osborn Art Gallery is located in the Rehabilitation Center, which may be accessed through the Pavilion building.

—Arthur Stampleman

#0992 Photo of pelican by Tom Saunders

#7538 Marge Wynne, <Santorini Ilse>, oil on canvas

#7532 Nancy Platt, Bird & Flowers needlework

#7530 Susan Storms, <Holy Cow>

Sculptor and artist Damien Vera will discuss his creative process and the themes expressed in <Cope>, his 14-foot steel sculpture currently on display at Rye Town Park, Tuesday, June 13 at 6. Meet by the sculpture at the north end of the park.

The program is part of the Rye Arts Center’s Public Art Initiative. Rye Town Park is offering free parking for those visitors headed to the event.

By Margot Clark-Junkins

Tiny houses sprouting from flowers, monkeys, birds, and ceiling-high dancers: what do they all have in common? These playful constructions are made of corrugated board —cardboard— and will be soon be featured in a solo exhibition, Corrugated World: The Art of James Grashow, opening March 16, 6-8pm at Flinn Gallery in the Greenwich Library.

A sculptor, printmaker, and illustrator, James Grashow has lived in Connecticut for 40 years. He has exhibited widely at museums and galleries, including DeCordova Sculpture Park & Museum, MassMOCA, Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, and New Britain Museum of American Art. Grashow’s woodcut prints, which include album covers for high-profile musical groups such as Jethro Tull and the Yardbirds, are also included in the Flinn exhibition.

In preparation for the exhibit, which I am curating with Karen Sheer, we visited the artist in his studio. It was a magical space, filled to the rafters with a veritable menagerie of cardboard creations. An animated speaker, Grashow moved rapidly through the room, talking about his creative process while pointing out certain pieces with pride, running his fingers across their papery surfaces. His giant dancers on wheeled platforms could be rolled around the room. His life-size crane was completely covered in handmade feathers, all of cardboard. There were miniature houses, replete with shutters and shingles. Grashow picked up a woodblock covered with tiny gouge marks, then opened a flat-file drawer to show us the remarkably detailed corresponding woodcut print.

Collector and art dealer Allan Stone, who raised his family in Purchase, represented Grashow for decades, and it was Stone’s daughter, the filmmaker Olympia Stone, who made Grashow the subject of a penetrating documentary, “The Cardboard Bernini” (2012). The film chronicles the creation — and calculated destruction — of Grashow’s largest project, a cardboard replica of Bernini’s great fountain in Rome. The film offers a rare glimpse into the mind of an artist, showing us Grashow’s artistic methods, as well as his hopes, fears, and inspiration. It will be screened in Greenwich Library’s Cole Auditorium March 24 at 8, followed by a Q&A session with the artist. The exhibit runs through April 26. 

<Flinn Gallery is open most days from 10-5, Thursday nights until 8, and Sundays 1-5. The not-for-profit gallery is supported by the Friends of Greenwich Library. Admission is free and events are open to the public.>

Captions

James Grashow, <Corrugated Dancers>, corrugated board on wheeled platform, 2014

James Grashow, <Black and White Houseplant>, paper, wood, and acrylic paint, 2016

James Grashow, <Statue of Liberty>, woodcut on Japanese paper, edition of 400, 1986

James Grashow, <Herons in the Stream,> corrugated board and wood

Artist James Grashow in his studio

Photos by Margot Clark-Junkins, Robert Grant, and Karen Sheer

By Arthur Stampleman

The Bruce Museum in Greenwich has some 14,000 objects in its collection. The history-science-art mix of objects reflects the range of activities Robert Moffat Bruce had in mind when he deeded his Greenwich property for the museum in 1908. The change in emphasis over the years reflects the changing interests of the museum’s different directors and organization over time. For much of the time, the focus was on science and history, so art lovers were accustomed to seeing art exhibits featuring works on loan from other museums or local residents. “Canvas and Cast,” however, the new exhibit which runs through June 11, displays only art works from the Bruce’s permanent collection, which has been growing in recent years.

Of the 42 works on display — 35 paintings and seven sculptures — the range is quite broad – dating from 1590 to 1981, styles traditional and modern, various motifs and techniques, artists American and foreign, and names unknown and known. The latter include Childe Hassam, William Merritt Chase, John Henry Twachtman, John Frederick Kensett, Jacques Tissot, Auguste Rodin, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, George Wesley Bellows, William-Adolphe Bouguereau, and Robert Rauschenberg.

The exhibit’s design and the layout of the gallery are rather unusual. The emphasis is on motif and themes, rather than emphasizing a particular medium or tracking chronology. When going through the exhibit, viewers will observe that works focusing on a particular technique or motif are grouped together, and so they can then focus on how each work in that group differs from others in the same grouping.

As you enter the gallery you will see four portraits, the earliest dated 1590 and the latest dated 1917. They are a number of differences between them — the greater emphasis on realism and the unusual format or frames in the two earlier portraits, including one in the old tondo or round format, and the contrast between the fine application of paint in the earlier works versus the streaky application in Tissot’s pastel (<Admiring a Portfolio>) and Chase’s spontaneous, loaded brushwork approach (<Young Girl>).

Landscapes, all by Americans, make up the largest group of paintings in the exhibit. The earliest is <Fourteen Mile Island, Lake George> by Kensett the Hudson River School artist, an example of his realistic technique and invisible brush strokes. This is in contrast to the several Impressionist paintings in this section of the gallery where most artists focus on atmospheric effects and do not hide their brush strokes. They include oils by Hassam (probably the best known of the group), Twachtman, Leonard Ochtman (a founder of the Cos Cob Art Colony), and Theodore Robinson. A pair of paintings by Walter McEwen is of special interest, each showing the same Hudson River scene, one in daylight, and the other in evening.

There are several “genre” paintings, works depicting scenes of everyday life. Here <The Broken Flower Pot> by Jan C. Verhas, a Belgian, stands out, portraying two children with guilty looks beside a plant that has fallen on the marble floor. Were they the cause of the accident?

The sculptures in the show demonstrate the variety of techniques and materials available to artists. <The Kiss> by Rodin is a bronze, but he is a molder; he starts his work by molding in clay, leaving his workshop to cast the bronze. Hiram Powers’ <Proserpine> is a portrait bust he carved in marble. Rauchenberg’s <Greyhound Nightmare> is an example of an artist assembling a work from different materials, in this case solvent transfer, acrylic, and collage on wood with aluminum and objects such as chair, wood box, rope, and glass. Not surprisingly, Rauchenberg called his works “combines”. It is possible to see those works from several sides, but Saint-Gaudens’s <Portrait of Robert Louis Stevenson> is a bronze bas-relief, a sculpture in which the figure is raised a few inches from a flat background to give a three-dimensional effect.

The Bruce Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 to 5 and Sunday from 1 to 5. Visitors can also enjoy the extraordinary retrospective of paintings by the impressionist Alfred Sisley until mid-May. For a complete schedule of exhibits and events, call 203-869-0376 or visit www.brucemuseum.org.

Captions:

1

Unknown, Haarlem or Amsterdam School

Portrait of a Gentleman, Bust Length, in a White Ruff, c. 1590

Oil on panel

Bruce Museum Collection 2015.14

3

Theodore Robinson, <Apple Blossoms, 1880

Oil on canvas

Bruce Museum Collection 2006.42

4

Auguste Rodin, The Kiss (Le Baiser), conceived in 1886

Bronze, cast by Alexis Foundry, Paris

Gift of Melissa Anne and Jillian Leigh Pedone, 1994, in memory of their father, Anthony Paul Pedone

Bruce Museum Collection 94.24

5

William Merritt Chase, Young Girl, c. 1900

Oil on canvas

Bruce Museum Collection 2002.31

8

Robert Rauschenberg, Greyhound Nightmare (from Kabal American Zephyr), 1981

Solvent transfer, acrylic and collage on wood with aluminum and objects

Gift of Bill and Fran Deutsch

Bruce Museum Collection 2011.07