News Archive
Solo Show in Los Angeles!

Thrilled and honored to be showing my work "Paths Of Life" inspired by my Patent Ductus Arteriosus surgery in 1973. I will be speaking with Dr. Enrique Ostrzega -Assoc. Professor of Clinical Medicine and Chair of the Year II Cardiovascular System at Keck School of Medicine.

Chain Reaction at the Painting Center

The Painting Center is pleased to present Chain Reaction in the Main Gallery and Project Room. This exhibition introduces a novel idea in curation by asking each Painting Center member to invite artists from their respective community to show one work. Chain Reaction explores those selections and its progression with various similarities and disparities consequential of the chain reaction. In their curated selections, members brought together a broad range of artists each with their own distinct studio practice. By combining more than 100 artists working in diverse styles and media, a chain reaction is created between selected artists, members, and viewers who experience the exhibition. A subliminal connection takes place between artists working in community, and this dialogue sparks new dynamics and visual concepts.

Artists include: Rebecca Allan, Claudine Anrather, Mary Anne Arntzen, Liz Atlas, Len Bellinger, Henry Bermudez, Pamela Blum, Cole Bourgeois, Alexi Brock, Mona Brody, Petey Brown, Eric Brown, Kenneth Browne, Steven Cabral, Melissa Capasso, Marc Cheetham, Bryan Christie, Rachel Citrino, Hallie Cohen, Sarah D'Ambrosio, Kevin Daly, Michael David, Susan A. Davis, Meredith Fife Day, Mary Devincentis, Kate Doyle, Olivia Drusin, Michael Ensminger, Camilla Fallon, Pamela Farrell, David Fratkin, Lorrie Fredette, Daniel John Gadd, Henry Glavin, Alyce Gottesman, Elizabeth Gourlay, Rima Grad, Ed Grant, Kyle Hackett, Kelley Harwood, Hannah Heinrich, Paula Heisen, Molly Herman, Ileana Hernandez, Sherri Hornbrook, Maia Ibar, Earl Iselin, Christina Kee, Xico Greenwald, Zachary Keeting, Anki King, Jim Langley, Aleya Lehmann, Emilie Lemakis, Janice Lessman-Moss, Sam Levy, Beñat Iglesias López, Lucia Love, Adam Lovitz, Kathryn Lynch, Jodie Manasevit, Michelle Marcuse, Andrea Myers, Curtis Miller, Thomas Minor, John Mitchell, Lizbeth Mitty, Katy Mixon, Katherine Mojzsis, Matt Murphy, Andrea Myers, Karen Nielsen-Fried, Jared Oppenheim, Ted Ormai, Paula Overbay, Victoria Pacimeo, Patricia Zinsmeister Parker, Cheryl Paswater, Uta Patinkin, Cade Pemberton, Lisa Pressman, Ben Pritchard, Susi Raphael, Elizabeth Reagh, Marcelle Reinecke, Rachel Rickert, Marybeth Rothman, Jo Ann Rothschild, Joanie Ryan, Thomas Sarrantonio, Roxanne Faber Savage, Sarah Schuster, Denise Sfraga, Christopher Shore, Niki Singleton, Christine Stiver, Sandra Stone, Michelle Stone, Rosemary Taylor, Dominic Terlizzi, Dora Tomulic, David Ubias, Kathleen Vaccaro, Marianne Van Lent, Marie Vickerilla, Emily Vigil, Barbara Weiss, Frankie Wright, Liz Yamin and Jacobie Zaretsky.


Near To You - Jan. 19 - Mar. 24, 2018 - Pelham Art Center

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Every two years since 2001, the Pelham Art Center presents an artist with a solo exhibition and award in honor of the late abstract expressionist painter and Art Center supporter Alexander Rutsch. As the national, juried competition has expanded, so has the talented number of participants. Recognizing this, thematic group shows inspired by the work of many of the competition’s finalists have become a happy and serendipitous outcome. This is the case in Near To You, a group show of portraiture that includes several paintings by Jenny Dubnauand over 20 miniature paintings and sculptures by Donna Festa, two finalists from the 2017 competition. Rounding out the show is Washington, D.C.-based painter and former award juror Tim Doud; Brooklyn artists and friends, John Mitchelland Heather Morgan; and the Los Angeles-based self-taught artist and former psychotherapist Julia Schwartz. What unites the work – and the artists – is that the paintings are equally as about capturing the nature of the subjects as they are about showing the expressive nature of paint. 
Oh so near to you, always near to you
Even now it seems we're face to face

Even now. Let those two words sink in. The exhibition title is inspired by Nina Simone’s taunting version of the Adler-Ross show tune, from Damn Yankees. Simone’s imperfect, intimate and supremely intelligent phrasing certainly imparts the meaning with elements of time, stretching and expanding, as well as physicality and presence. Portraiture, intentionally or not, is an exploration of the passing of time. In Near To You, the interior dramas of lives lived is in play. What where they thinking? What where they seeing? What were they feeling? Whatever it is that haunts us is going to come through: the journey through the heart and soul of personal history.
Method does meddle with message. Tim Doud and John Mitchell paint from direct observation, and both self-portraits took several years to complete. Doud’s “Blue,” comprised of 30 individual paintings hung in a grid, is wholly staged and conceptualized – the shirts and eyewear acquired and donned exclusively for the serial portraits. Strict parameters in place, the artist is free to meditate, perhaps on paint and color and brushwork, perhaps on mood and feeling. Mitchell’s stoic self-portrait is explicitly transformative; it’s a painting that feels like a sculpture that has endured the battering elements, from cold wind and rain to the heat and blare of the sun. 
Jenny Dubnau has her subjects (or herself) sit for photographic sessions. Her realistic portraits then use photographs as references, so here we have the most forward example of the often-discussed relationship between photography and realistic portrait painting. The camera, which has the inimitable ability to capture in-between or unseen moments, may account for the enigmatic facial expressions and body language. Heather Morgan and Donna Festa also work from photographs but to different effect. Morgan’s work leans toward the intensity associated with the cinematic and performance. In her brushwork, some of the “cultivated hysteria” and nod to narcissism on display in the artist’s self-portrait in the show is evident. Flaw and mistakes go hand and hand with beauty and pain; it’s part of the drama and teeming with life, unhinged as it may be.  
Festa’s tiny oil paintings and sculptures simultaneously honor individuals she has personally known and/or observed, but at the same time sublimate them into a gentle anonymity. Here, the subject is not so much the individual but the overall human condition, the “story of us,” before we fade to black. Finally, if the best portraiture is supposed to show something of the character of the subject, where does that leave abstraction? Think for a minute of Frida Kahlo’s surreal mise-en-scenes or Francis Bacon’s twisted and paranoid faces, and then tap into your own ability to free-form envision altered states. Julia Schwartz does not paint a particular individual to study or assume we know, but rather, a whole colorful jangle of mental activity loosely pulled together in abstract heads that hint at shifting psychological states. 
It’s worth noting that despite the onslaught of selfies and Snapchat, organizations with as disparate aims and clientele as the Salmagundi Club and D/Railed magazine are having relevant discussions on the current state of figurative painting and portraiture; portraiture makes up a huge portion of museum holdings, evidenced most recently by the Whitney’s year-long exhibition of its portrait collection. We are so pleased to present the artists in Near To You, who through their own varied takes on the portrait, contribute mightily to this venerable art form. 
Alexi Rutsch Brock and Elizabeth Saperstein

New Paintings

Alexandra Rutsch Brock
New Paintings
Sept. 23 - Oct. 29, 2016

49 Lawton Street
New Rochelle. NY

insomnia - 1/22/16-3/26/16

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link to NYTimes review by Susan Hodara - 2/14/16

Insomniais an inability to fall asleep or to stay asleep as long as desired. Artists have famously used this time in a creative way, as both a new origin and parallel to their creative pursuits. Insomnia had been a lifetime companion of Louise Bourgeois whose drawings “come from her deep need to achieve peace, rest and sleep”.
Having insomnia brings forth two things for me; creativity in the studio and being an observer on my Ipad. Going through Facebook, Instagram and Tumbler at 3 am, finding other artists who are also awake, posting images, and having discussions about these visuals. Social media can be credited for interesting discussions, critiques, virtual friendships and has culminated in this exhibition of the works of these twelve artists.
The works in this exhibition were created between sleep and wakefulness. This “insomnia time” instigates creativity. Some artists use the night to inform the day, and others use the day to inform the night. These artists have drawn, painted and constructed whatever thoughts, memories, and images surfaced. They use this productive period in a myriad of ways; to wind down and relax, to finally be alone, as a meditation and for healing. These “night studio” results are the embodiment of all the impulses, sources, and motifs inspiring their work. When they post images to social networks, they are giving the rest of the world a peek into their conscious and unconscious worlds.
Julia Schwartz has long been working on her series she calls her “Insomnia Paintings and Drawings”. These refer not just to the hour of the day when they were produced, but also to her mood and her state of mind. Her small gouache works are what inspired me to curate this exhibition. In 2013 she posted images on Facebook, and I purchased two. When talking to her about the work we found that we had a similar “insomnia/night studio practice.” For both Julia and me, our paintings were done in a meditative state and the equivalent to counting sheep. Like Louise Bourgeois, these were done with the purpose of calming down and gathering ourselves at the end of the day. Julia’s newer series relates to unbearable situations. Her works now feature figures that appear in a limited palette, arms reaching and grasping out, and a multitude of eyes looking in all directions.
Taking their night inventions into their day practice Anki King, Lauren Britton, Ola Mananaand Katherine Mojzsis use the time between sleep and awake to initiate their paintings.
As the emotional and decision-making parts of her brain are impaired, and a dreamlike state sets in, Anki draws imagery where surreal unexpected creatures, figures and events appear. These small drawings may or may not find their way into her large-scale oil paintings in the future.
Lauren’s works are meditations on her paintings, and the kind of forms that she has been exploring. She thinks of these drawings like the inside of a piped paint line – they are more IN than ON the surface of the drawing. These works are about the awkwardness and emotional resonance of bodily experience and are explorations of the space in-between awake and asleep & body and embodiment.
For Ola, insomnia is the moment she awakens and tries to recall her dream images. For the past twenty years, her work has centered around her dreams and she spends time transcribing them into notebooks. Some of her dreams are prophetic, some spiritual, some related to anxiety. She fixates on the image from this beautiful vague state and draws the scene. These drawings become small gouache studies for larger scale narrative paintings.
Katherine Mojzsis’s works on paper build up patchworks of color through planes of darkness. As the night passes, the layers continue to build. Architectural motifs float up and out of the picture plane. These then become apparatus to her large-scale oil paintings on canvas.
Sleep deprivation works well for and John Mitchell, Kerry Law andEric Brown. The desperate need for more time to do it all keeps these three artists up much too late.
For Eric, often it isn't that he can't sleep, but instead he doesn't want the day to end and another to begin. Unlike his paintings that are made with the comfort of time and direct focus, these works have an insistence. They feel immediate, done in fleeting time with a freedom of chance. It is in this propinquity that often truths are revealed.
Both working serially, John andKerryuse the night to continually study what is right in front of them. It is in the quiet time of Brooklyn after midnight that John is the most productive. He finds the sleeping person a good model because they’re still, their body present, but their consciousness not.  John’s life partner Ankihas been a long time muse of his. He has been dedicatedly drawing every day for the past 25 years, jotting down times and notations, building a true artistic diary of his life and interactions.
Creating his own visual diary when looking out a window, the night brings a different muse for plein air painter Kerry Law. For him, the Empire State Building is “an icon of continual fascination and mystery. Each painting is made in one evening from direct observation alla prima. Every night the same, every night different.” The seasons, weather and changing colors of the tower lights give him a constantly changing, yet consistent model.
The last three artists take their days into their nights. Jason Rohlf literally hashtags his night creations (a way for people to search for information that has a common topic)  #inthenightstudio, like the well-known memoir of Philip Guston by his daughter Musa Mayer.  His #shopragproject are created on soft fabric shop rags, which use the remaining paint of his large-scale paintings. Jason’s studio is within his living space, and he works on these while his family is sleeping a few feet above him. The smaller scale and quiet focus allow him to layer paint and ink, both intentionally and through chance happenings. There is evidence of paintings from the previous studio day; through similar shapes and colors, yet the night brings a loss of senses, and with it dynamic happenstances.
Peridot Smith and Lucy Mink Covello both endure the insomnia that motherhood brings. 
For Peridot, being away from her daughter brought on these new creations.  Relocating to another state for work, the new job caused a separation of their residences. She began combining the clothes and other miscellaneous items that were left in the closet from her daughter’s visits. This body of work became a place for her to process thoughts and emotions and in doing so became something new and unexpected. 
Like so many painters that are parents,Lucy Mink Covello juggles the time between motherhood and the studio.  Things around her, incorporating music, family and daily events, including her children’s reactions, inspire her paintings.  Whether painting large or small scale, the tired feelings are no different for her. The paintings just play out differently on a bigger scale. She includes so much of her daily life making them and it’s fine with her if they happen slowly. The smaller ones happen just as slowly. She treats the two sizes the same in the studio. “Insomnia is not so much about losing sleep,” says the artist. “It’s how you find yourself working differently at times when you could easily sleep instead”. 
Alexandra Rutsch Brock
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