Griffin Gallery Presents: Guardians of Society, Featuring a Senufo Wooden Bird Sculpture

The Griffin Gallery opens a fascinating exhibit to the public.  A wooden Senufo Bird Sculpture will offer visitors a look into a society of people from the Northern Ivory Coast/Mali.  Bird figures are among the many art forms associated with Poro, a society of initiated Senufo men. Poro functions as a system of governmental and economic control, preparing young men for their roles as adults and serving as a channel for the worship of ancestors and of Ancient Mother, one of the two principal Senufo deities. The Rickie Report suggests bringing the family to see the amazing objects d’art, relics and antiquities the Griffin Gallery has to offer. It is an opportunity to bring history alive.  In addition, there are contemporary works of art. We share the details here.

 

 

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GRIFFIN GALLERY

Presents

GUARDIANS OF SOCIETY:

FEATURING A SENUFO WOODEN BIRD SCULPTURE

Northern Ivory Coast / Mali
Early – Mid 20th Century
Ex: L. Greenberg collection, Florida

Opening Reception:

Thursday, February 12, 2015

5:00 P.M. until 7:00 P.M.

Exhibition continues through March 11, 2015

Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday 10:30 A.M. until 5 P.M.

Monday by appointment only and closed Sunday.

Bird figures are among the many art forms associated with Poro, a society of initiated Senufo men. Poro functions as a system of governmental and economic control, preparing young men for their roles as adults and serving as a channel for the worship of ancestors and of Ancient Mother, one of the two principal Senufo deities.

 

 

 

GriffinSenufo

SENUFO WOODEN BIRD SCULPTURE

 

 

 

 

Within the society there is a series of grades though which groups of initiates pass at six- or seven-year intervals. Poro activities center around initiations of new members, the elevation of members to higher grades, and funerals. In some Senufo villages, the bird sculptures are kept in the sacred grove of Poro, where they stand guard protecting the members.

 

 

During initiations and some funeral rituals, they are carried in processions and are sometimes worn on the head in dramatic displays of strength. Poro and its art forms continue to play roles in Senufo society, although the bird figures have become rare. Senufo bird figures refer to both the physical and intellectual aspects of life, which together assure the continuation of the community.
The long, phallic beak touching the swollen belly suggestive of pregnancy alludes to the dual forces of male and female procreation. The yellow-casqued hornbill, one of the species found in the Senufo area, is considered the master among birds and a symbol of intellectual power. Its yellow head is equated with the red caps worn by Poro elders, who, like the bird, embody wisdom and authority.
The birds’ rectangular, outstretched wings are painted or carved in relief with geometric designs or images of snakes, lizards, other animals, or human figures. These motifs serve as didactic tools, referring the initiate to the wealth of knowledge embodied by Poro.

 

 

 

Griffin Gallery specializes in museum quality Ancient Art. Our holdings include over five hundred authentic artifacts that reflect a spectrum of the cultures of Antiquity in addition to Contemporary Fine Works of Art. Among our treasures are pieces from Greece, Rome, Egypt, the Far East, the Near East, the Holy Land, Pre-Columbian cultures, and pre-historic Native America.

SAVE THE DATE

Boca Raton Fine Jewelry, Art & Antique Show
February 07 – 09, 2015
Boca Raton Marriott
5150 Town Center Circle
Boca Raton, FL
Booth 13

Griffin Gallery Ancient Art
Gallery Center, 608 Banyan Trail
Boca Raton, FL 33431
561.994.0811, fax: 561.994.1855
www.griffingallery.net
griffingallery18@yahoo.com

Sponsored by: Beiner,Inkeles & Horvitz, P.A. 2000 Glades Road, Ste. 110, Boca Raton, FL, 33431, (561) 750-1800

 

For coverage of your events, to place an advertisement, or speak to Rickie about appearing in The Rickie Report, contact The Rickie Report at:

Rickie Leiter, Publisher

The Rickie Report

P.O.Box 33423

Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33420

Rickie@therickiereport.com

561-537-0291

OSGS Celebrates 1st Anniversary with Public Reception

It’s time to celebrate the 1st anniversary of OSGS Ortiz-Smykla|Gallery Studio! For this special milestone, The Rickie Report takes a close look at what makes this gallery such a beacon for art buyers, art lovers and artists alike. In this article we celebrate the artists and the initiatives of owners Evelyn and Jonathon Ortiz-Smykla.  Stop by during their Open House! Details and interview are here.

 

 

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OSGS

 

Ortiz Smykla Gallery Studio

 

Invites You to Celebrate

Friday, March 28th   6-9 pm

500 Northwood Road   W.Palm Beach, FL

 

 

OSGS_AnniversaryFlyer_Web

 

 

Currently on exhibit at OSGS are: Ilene Adams, Dianne Bernstein, Claudia Bloch, Sheree Blum, Marie-Claude Desorcy, Gail Erickson, Luke Gardner, Jeff Green, Henri Louis Hirschfeld, Irene Jalowayski, Helen Kagan, Robin Kimball, Ian Levinson, Lew Mayer, Jonathon Ortiz-Smykla, Molly Potter, John Rachell, Jim Rigg, Tim Rivers, Julie Roberts, Elayna Toby Singer, Ebba TinWin and Steve Wallace.

 

 

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TRR:   As OSGS celebrates its first anniversary opening in Northwood, can you take us through the process from your initial thoughts to actually opening?

Evelyn:

 

It comes as a surprise to both Jonathon and me that the year has sped by so quickly.  It seems like only yesterday we were contemplating the thought of a gallery and working together on the project.  Where to begin, cost, location, and business plan were all questions we posed to each other and our spouses.  This was, after all, a family affair and one that would impact us all.  Evelyn just hit retirement and Jonathon was at a crossroads with his professional outlook.  This new venture seemed to fit our paths.

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Months prior to my retirement from the 11th Circuit US Court of Appeals kept me very busy with the idea of a gallery.  With a masters degree in Library Science specializing in archives and conservation, I had already worked in a business library as well as corporate, special and university libraries.  I had researched the venture we would be undertaking and knew that selling art would not be easy.

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We both knew that we had something special to contribute to the world of art.  Jonathon holds the masters degree in landscape architecture from Auburn and worked with firms in Montgomery, Atlanta and West Palm Beach.  He also created his own art (painting, rock posters, screen printing and photography), exhibited in several galleries, and accepted commissions (his art even appears on race cars!).   Before becoming a librarian I earned my undergraduate degree in art history from the University of Alabama.  I painted and created fiber arts.  My knowledge of modern art is so extensive that years ago on a visit to the Birmingham Museum of Art I even discovered that one of Rauschenberg’s works was hung the wrong way!

 

 

 

"Shape Shifter" mobile

 

 

Showing no fear and only enthusiasm we set forth the task of doing our research on what it takes to run a gallery in today’s market.  With tenacity, love of art, empathy, and courage mixed with fearless wonder we did our leg work.  We read such books as Making It in the Art World: New Approaches to Galleries, Shows, and Raising Money, by Brainard Carey.  We did our literature research by reading articles, looking at multiple business plans and contacting SCORE here in West Palm Beach.  We trained with a custom framer and attended workshops to learn and hone our skills in custom framing.  We visited several different locations, in particular, those that Jonathon felt had the most potential for creative arts and growth.  We joined the Chamber of Commerce and took advantage of the many workshops and lectures as well as opportunities for networking.

 

Dinner Set, handmade glass

 

Still, art is a hard sell, and takes a lot of creativity and working in tandem with artists and the art community.  So while we located our current location and went about the business of renovating the space, Jonathon went to work on our web page and social media.  I took on the arduous task of getting licenses, security, insurance and tax needs necessary to run a business, as well as teaching myself how to operate an online bookkeeping system.  We did our homework and researched different operating contracts for exhibiting artists before deciding on what we felt would be beneficial to both the artist and us.

 

Teacups by Robin Kimball

Art is not only a ‘hard sell’ but we opened our doors when the economy was (and is still is) suffering from the economic downturn.  The business model we developed has worked for us so far.  We are still a ‘new’ business and it will definitely take more time to establish our roots, but we are on the right path.

 

We started our space with an empty shell that needed a lot of work.  After making a number of renovations and improvements, we designed many floorplans before deciding on a one that worked best for our spatial experience.  Our end result matched our vision within the walls we had.

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Eventually we got to a point where we needed to send out ‘calls to artists’  that may want to exhibit with us.  We have been very fortunate in having talented artists approach us and allow us to exhibit incredibly excellent diverse art.

 

The Rickie Report was crucial in shining a light on our new venture with artists across the Palm Beaches.  That was really an early cornerstone of our success.  Without The Rickie Report we would not have been able to bring talented artists into our gallery in such a short period of time. Those artists provided a lot of feedback and insight that we took seriously and used to help build our vision as well.

 

 

"Irish Beauty" by Diane Bernstein

 

TRR:  How have you integrated into the community?

Jonathon:

The idea of giving back to others is not new to us because we are suddenly business owners.  Our family has always given back in many different ways.  The online art auction we sponsored in February with all proceeds benefitting Place of Hope is a recent example.  Our artists supported us and donated beautiful pieces to the auction.

 OSGS-Charity-Flyer

 

Last summer we initiated Bring Your Own Chair Lecture Series (BYOC).  This initiative offers free lectures by our exhibiting artists to the community in order to learn more about art, different mediums/techniques, and what it takes to create, experiment, and have fun with art, either through educational training or self training.  Through BYOC we’ve made art more approachable and not so far fetched to the community.

 synergy

 

 

ArtSynery was another way we integrated into the community in our first year of business.  Aside from our individual artists and exhibitions, ArtSynergy allowed us to reach beyond the Northwood Village corridor.  We cannot put into words how exciting it was for us to have been a direct part of ArtPalmBeach. That our gallery and our exhibited artists were awarded a prestigious opportunity to exhibit in that art fair!  That was followed by seeing more of our artists represented in the American International Fine Art Fair.

 

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We worked very hard with the other gallery owners in Northwood to reach new goals and to establish Northwood as an art destination for West Palm Beach.   We helped establish the Second Saturday Art Walks as well as our own gallery exhibitions.  Essentially we’re not just juggling our own business affairs but also helping to see that Northwood turns the corner and becomes something better as well.

 

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TRR:  What are the most important things we should know about OSGS?

 

 

  • We are here to share the experience of beauty, creativity and wonder.
  • We hope to bring joy and pride to the community.
  • We are neighbors and friends to all that enter or pass our doors.
  • We want OSGS to be a venue where artists can exhibit their works to further their exposure.
  • We want the community to know that we Custom Frame for the Public!!!  Yes, this is a priority for us as a business because it brings in critical funding for OSGS to stay afloat.  Persons have come in for framing and walked out with art from our gallery.
  • We work hard to find new ways to bring exposure to both OSGS and Northwood Village.  We are a young business and we are trying new things, most of them for the first time.
  • We encourage any artist looking for gallery representation to contact us.  We consider every artist that approaches us.

 

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TRR: What are your goals for the coming year?

 

  •  Slow and steady is our mantra.  We know baby steps is the best way to move forward.
  •  We would like to offer more receptions, continue with our BYOC summer lecture series, continue to offer our assistance to non-profits, and expand our framing business.
  •  We want to continue to work on our gallery and be proud of what we have accomplished together as a team.  
  • We want to connect art with other businesses in Northwood.  Merging food, art, fashion and the like will be the best way to ensure positive growth — make each and every day the best day to shop and dine Northwood.

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TRR:  Is there anything else you want to share with our readers?

 

We come from a long line of service providers, dream makers, and putting others first, so keep an eye on us.

Something to keep an eye on – Our Website!  We are currently revamping our website and hope to launch the new version OSGS 2.0 within the next few weeks!  It will include all you need to know about OSGS and our exhibiting artists but we will also be offering purchasing options on all items currently on exhibit through the website.  www.OSGSart.com

 

 

As always, ‘Like’ us on Facebook and follow each and every step as we grow well into the future.  Stay up-to-date with all of OSGS events.
…And We Custom Frame for the Public!!

We are always looking for artists seeking representation.  Please email us if you are interested.  We have options for exhibition space and reception opportunities.

 

Evelyn Ortiz Smykla & Jonathon Ortiz-Smykla
OSGS Ortiz-Smykla|Gallery-Studio
p: 561-833-2223   e: OSGSart@hotmail.com    www.OSGSart.com
Find us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/OSGSart

 

For coverage of your events, to place an advertisement, or speak to Rickie about appearing in The Rickie Report, contact The Rickie Report at:

Rickie Leiter, Publisher

The Rickie Report

P.O.Box 33423

Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33420

Rickie@therickiereport.com

561-537-0291

The Importance of Art Work in Interior Design

Can anyone imagine decorating a room without art work?  Gary McBournie Inc. is a residential interior design firm which works with an exclusive clientele on design projects around the globe.  McBournie’s interiors are regularly featured in major design publications such as House Beautiful and Traditional Home.  The Rickie Report is pleased to invite you to a book signing at JF Gallery to celebrate his newest book and William Finlayson’s inclusion!

MEET

GARY McBOURNIE

“LIVING COLOR”

A Designer Works Magic with Traditional Interiors

Book Signing

Thursday, February 6th

5 – 7 pm

JF Gallery

3901 South Dixie Highway         West Palm Beach, FL 33405

Gary McBournie's "Living Color"

Gary McBournie’s “Living Color”

Gary McBournie Inc., is a residential, interior design firm with offices in Boston, Nantucket and Palm Beach working with an exclusive clientele on design projects around the globe. McBournie strategically employs a hand-selected cache of outside resources to provide site-appropriate architecture, inspired backgrounds and luxurious custom upholstery. Each project is finished with a final layer of art and unique decorative objects, which results in a home that is a personal reflection of the client.
McBournie’s study of design, painting and art history is clearly evident in his warm and elegant style. He strives to provide his clients with what can best be described as classic American design with a subtle twist on tradition.
Painting Local Artist, William Finlayson of JF Gallery

Painting by Local Artist, William Finlayson of JF Gallery

“In the salmon-colored twin-bedded guest room, the headboards have been covered in a blue grid pattern and paired with duvet covers in a floral chintz, both from Rose Tarlow Melrose House. The contemporary horizontal geometric painting by Florida artist William Finlayson provides a colorful contrast and a sense of youthfulness.”
McBournie’s interiors are regularly featured in major design publications such as House Beautiful and Traditional Home. A number of his projects, as well as several of his own homes have been featured in various design stylebooks. In 2009, he was inducted into the New England Design Hall of Fame.
To See more about this publication on Facebook:

 

 

For more information about William Finlayson’s art work, please contact JF Gallery at 3901 South Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach, FL  or call 561.478.8281 fax 561.478.7660 or email info@jfgallery.com

 

 

For coverage of your events, to place an advertisement, or speak to Rickie about appearing in The Rickie Report, contact The Rickie Report at:

Rickie Leiter, Publisher

The Rickie Report

P.O.Box 33423

Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33420

Rickie@therickiereport.com

561-537-0291

Norman Berman Shares His Life and His heART

The Rickie Report staff first met Norman and and his late wife, Ethel, at a reception for the Artists of Palm Beach County.  We were fascinated by his artwork and had numerous questions about his technique, which he was happy to share.  Recently, we had the opportunity to interview Norman for this Feature Story.  What struck us was not only the depth of his knowledge but the humble manner in which he shared his life experiences.  We are honored to share his story with you and look forward to seeing you at the opening of his SOLO Exhibit at the Armory Art Center in November!

 

 

 

Norman Berman:

 

Awe and Reverence

 

November 2- 30, 2013

 

Reception:

Friday, November 1, 2013 | 6-8pm

Armory Art Center

 

 1700 Parker Avenue

West Palm Beach, FL 33401

561.832.1776

 Exhibit continues through month of November

All exhibitions are free and open to the public.

Monday – Friday 9 AM – 4:30 PM  and Saturday – 9 AM – 2 PM

 

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Local artist, Norm Berman presents a survey of recent works. Berman’s subject matter ranges from Judaic themes to abstract works.   

This exhibit is dedicated to the memory of Norman’ s late wife, Ethel Berman who passed away on July 28, 2013.   She was Norman’s strength, staunchest supporter and “instant critic.”

 

 

 

Norman Berman has been creating art work professionally for over 50 years.  He tells us, “For me, creating artwork is a challenge.  As I look at a work surface, I begin my conversation with it.  The surface says to me ,’Create something, I dare you!’  Therefore, my adventure begins!”  

 

As one  listens to Norman Berman share some of his life-stories, you must pay attention to details.  Looking at his artwork, that should be no surprise.  It is these tidbits that makes the whole.

 

"The Interdicted Land"

“The Interdicted Land”

 

TRR:  What were your early artistic influences?

NB:

 

I came from a minimally educated family.  My mother drew a great teacup and saucer, because she learned how to draw an oval and a round shape in school. The only artwork on our walls at home was my Bar Mitzvah picture.  My first introduction to art was at age four, when I accompanied my father, a shipping clerk in a mens’ wear company, to work.  The women in the office gave me a piece of paper, a red pencil, a black pencil and plopped me in a chair with the instructions to ‘draw something’.  I drew the American flag to keep myself occupied.  Over the years, I started to copy and draw comic book characters (Disney, Terry and the Pirates, Dick Tracy). My father would take these drawings and hang them in his workplace and change them around – it was my first public gallery!

 

 

As the United States entered WWII, I was fascinated by US military aircraft, so I wrote to all of the aircraft companies for pictures.  They would send me these gorgeous lithographic prints!  My favorite was the P38, a double fuselage  plane and very impressive to look at.  Around the same time, there was a kid in our neighborhood who was already in high school and must have been an art major. I would show him my airplane drawings and he showed me how to create perspective images: not linear perspective images going to a vanishing point, but looking down at buildings as if you were in an airplane.

 

 

When I was 10 years old, I broke my elbow.  It was probably the beginning of my escapades with brittle bone disease, but we didn’t know about that until much much later. While at Beth El Hospital ( now Maimonides), I used to draw the nurses in profile, with their little hats.  In elementary school, my art was always hanging in the halls.

 

"Brothers Three"

“Brothers Three”

 As a Junior High School student, one of my teachers recommended that I attend the High School of Music & Art. We happened to live close to the neighborhood high school, Abraham Lincoln High School.  To go to Music and Art, would mean a long commute via subway, which my parents weren’t happy about.  As a result, I ended up in a local high school that by chance, had  a fabulous art department! That’s where I got my real strength in training, in my approach to art.  In 10th grade, Herbert W. Yates taught me graphic design, different mediums as well as the importance of art history.

 

I started saving articles from “Life Magazine” that related to art and artists.  My father would pick up a copy at the newsstand every Saturday. I finally convinced him that it would be more convenient and less expensive to get a subscription!   After reading the entire magazine, I categorized the pictures into my own filing system in red envelopes.  My mother, who was also a voracious reader, would buy other magazines like ‘McCalls’ and ‘Ladies Home Journal’.  Those magazines happen to have some of the top-notched illustrators of our time.

 

 

"Chai Designs: Tallis 17, Heavenly Reverence"

“Chai Designs: Tallis 17, Heavenly Reverence”

TRR:  Norman shares his “beshert” (Yiddish for “meant to be”) moment.  He takes us back to 1950.  

 

Leon Friend was the Chairman of the Art Department and I was sitting in his Graphic Arts class – last row, second seat.  Leon says,’ DO YOU KNOW WHO SAT IN YOUR SEAT? ‘  I said, ‘No.’  Friend said, ‘Alex Steinweiss’.  This was like mentioning God!    Alex Steinweiss was in one of the early graduating classes at Lincoln.  After graduating from Parsons School of Design, he worked for Columbia Records. Steinweiss convinced his employers to change their marketing strategy to sell their long playing records.  Instead of wrapping the records in brown paper, they should create a book with the record inside.  Each book would have artwork on its cover.  Alex Steinweiss was responsible for the entire industry of record albums cover designs!

 

During my senior year, I prepared a portfolio and sent it out to various groups, including the School Art League.  It is now May, 1952.  Mr. Friend comes into class and asks who we think should be the happiest person in the room today.  And then he says, ‘Norman, it’s you!  You just won the scholarship to Parsons School of Design! ‘ I’m thinking that I’m following in the steps of Alex Steinweiss!

 

In those days, we didn’t have cell phones.  You couldn’t even go down to the office to call your mother!    When I finally got home and shared my good news, my mother thought it was very nice.  Then we waited until my father came home to tell him.  I had already been accepted to tuition-free Brooklyn College.    What to do…  My father, a practical man, didn’t want Norman to accept the scholarship.  (What if it wasn’t renewed after a year – they couldn’t afford tuition; what about the cost of supplies; they also wanted to send his brother to college in just more three years).

 

"Beyond Nightfall"

“Beyond Nightfall”

Norman had to go back to school and tell Mr. Friend the news. This dedicated teacher stayed until 7 pm the next evening to meet with Norman’s father in an attempt to convince him, even offering an extra $100. from the “Art Squad” to help defray costs. The answer was the same.  A product of the Depression, Norman’s father understood the need to be pragmatic. Norman would go to college, become a teacher and get a job.

 

That summer I didn’t have a job. I walked from Brighton Beach, where we lived and roamed the streets of Manhattan Beach.  It was an upper class community with street names in alphabetical order.  I would look at all of the nice houses, telling myself that I was going to Brooklyn College.  I psyched myself up about meeting new people and having new experiences.

 

TRR:  Norman graduated from Brooklyn College and went back to his alma mater, Abraham Lincoln High School to student teach.

 

"Sabbath Bride"

“Sabbath Bride”

 

In May, 1956, I am being supervised by my teacher from Brooklyn College.  I’m teaching an art class that I’ve been working with since February.  Everything is going well – the timing is perfect, the results are terrific. The bell rings and everyone leaves, but this one 15 year old perky blond student walks up the aisle to speak with me.  I’m expecting this great question about the art lesson and she says to me,’ Mr. Berman, do you  use Old Spice aftershave lotion?’   Yes, I do! (Her name was Susan Slater).

 

Susan Slater ended up dating my brother.  She had an aunt who lived in East New York in a two-family building that was owned by Ethel’s sister. She thought it would be nice to fix up Norman with Ethel…  In September , 1960, she set up Norman on a blind date with Ethel.  The rest is history!  As Norman points out, if he had gone to Parsons, he would not have ended up student teaching and being introduced to his “beshert”, Ethel.  Our first date was on Ethel’s birthday. We were married for 52 years.

 

 

"Blue Totem"

“Blue Totem”

After graduation with my BA and Ma from Brooklyn College, I taught Junior High and moved on to High School.  I concentrated on teaching painting as part of the curriculum, along with art history and color theory. From my own experiences, I encouraged my students to learn and research their subjects.  Research is an essential part of any good piece of artwork!   My favorite part of the curriculum was teaching painting.  I was privileged to have a number of students from the “Art Talent Classes”.  These were students who took art classes five days a week and showed promise.  I continued teaching and eventually became a supervisor (Assistant Principal) .  I taught in a few different schools and  in 1983 was awarded the ‘Art Educator Award’ from the New York City Art Teacher’s Association/UFT in recognition of my outstanding service and commitment to art education.  I also held the rank of Adjunct Assistant Professor of Art at Queensborough College where I taught painting, drawing, two-dimensional design, advertising design and art history.  I finally retired in January, 1991.

 

"Our Father, Our King: Aveenu Malkainu"

“Our Father, Our King: Aveenu Malkainu”

 

TRR:  Tell us more about your own artwork.  On your website, you differentiate between two different types of art.  One is the “Prayer Shawl Series” and then “the rest”.

NB:

 

Somewhere, there is a interrelationship.  Some of my larger paintings incorporate Hebrew words from Jewish prayers.  The ‘Lecha Dodi’ piece that is on the Armory Art Center invitation, is from the prayer service which welcomes the Sabbath.  It refers to the oncoming Sabbath as a bride.  In my living room, is a powerful piece of bright yellow hues titled ‘Aveenu Malkeinu’ (Our Father, Our King”, which comes from the High Holy Day liturgy.   I created the ‘Prayer Shawl (‘Tallis’) Series’, one for each year’s Jewish New Year’s card for my family.

 

"Miinyan"

“Minyan”

During my studies at Brooklyn College, three or four faculty members really influenced me: Jimmy Ernst (son of Max), Carl Robert Holty ( a disciple of Mondrian), and Harry Holtzman.  Stylistically, Jimmy showed me how calligraphy and linear work can influence a piece of artwork; how to allow just enough, without overpowering the piece.  Holty taught me to take Mondrian’s rectangles and squares and change their edges from white to various tints and shades of color, allowing work to “float” in one plane over the other.  He helped me capture my creative imagination through color relationships.  Holty subscribed to Hans Hoffman’s theory of “Push and Pull”.  Holtzman, who never taught studio, explained the theory of modern art, abstract theory and how to analyze what the creative process was all about.  He was one of the people who managed to help Mondrian get into this country.  The faculty of Brooklyn College in the 50’s and 60’s were influential artists, bringing new ideas and changes to the art world. They were the top names in the Abstract Expressionist Movement.   Having Mark Rothko as a teacher, certainly influenced me.  I subscribe to the Abstract Art Movement’s credo “The act of painting is more important than the product.  As Mark Rothko says, “My paintings are made to engulf you.”

 

"Lake of The Snow Moon"

“Lake of The Snow Moon”

At the same time as I was teaching, I was also creating and showing my own work.  I believe strongly that to be able to teach art, you must be involved in the creative process yourself!  You have to live through the agony of that blank canvas and the ecstasy of a finished piece of art.   

 

TRR:  Does your art tell a story?

NB:

 

Good question!    Usually, my art does not tell a story.   It suggests to the observer a set of images. My piece, ‘Lake of Snow Moon’ is unusual in that aspect, for me.  I normally don’t create narrative pieces of work like that.  When we lived in Queens, it was very different for people like my neighbor, Murray Tinkleman, who had to produce a spot drawing for ‘Field & Stream’ of a sailfish.  As an illustrator, he had to complete a considerable amount of research.  What does a kid from Brooklyn know about a sailfish?  Murray became Chairman of the Illustration Department at Parsons School of Design and then went on to Syracuse University.  The toughest part of being an abstract painter is when people ask me , ‘well, what is that supposed to be?’  If my response is that I cannot tell them and they have to determine for themselves, it sounds dismissive.  I don’t want to be that way.  If the spectator is not willing to engage and think and wonder ‘what does that look like?’, I cannot establish that for them.

 

I like the subtlety of color relationships and that shows in a majority of my work.  Even after graduation from Brooklyn College, I would go to Carl Holty’s  studio and show him my work and talk about these theories.  Then I started to show my work in galleries in Greenwich Village, eventually moving to galleries uptown.

 

 

"Tekiyah"

“Tekiyah”

TRR:  What is your favorite part of being an artist?

NB:

 

When the piece is ready to sign!   I have exhibited widely in the New York metropolitan area and my work appears in numerous private collections across the country.  The Queensborough Community College Gallery has my work in its permanent collection.  My work has been displayed in libraries around Nassau and Suffolk Counties in New York as well as the Polish Consulate in Manhattan, the GE Gallery in Schenectady, NY and the SONY Gallery in New York City.

 

"Slowly Comes The Night"

“Slowly Comes The Night”

 

TRR:  What  tips would you give beginning artists?

NB:

 

Don’t be afraid to do what you want to do!  Your images will grow and your style will change.  That is OK.  For me, selling my work is a secondary thought.  I love what I do.  But, at the same time, don’t be afraid to market yourself.  I know this is difficult because one is fearful thinking about it.  Most artists aren’t trained to sell their work.

 

 

"Eclipse 2009"

“Eclipse 2009”

TRR:  Can you take us through the process of a painting?

NB:

 

When we relocated to Florida, I moved away from working with oils.  Fundamentally, I now use watercolor.  I start out with a blank sheet of paper.  I add floating colors next.  After that, I bring in wide calligraphic lines, getting thinner and thinner to create an intricate ‘lace-like’ network. The final effort is to come up with a title.  When I reread two of my favorite books, “My Name is Asher Lev” and “The Gift of Asher Lev”  by Chaim Potok, while I was not as prolific as Asher Lev, I had many of the same experiences as he did, growing up in Brooklyn.

 

I rarely work from sketches or small studies.  I put up a piece of illustration board, watercolor paper or canvas ( when I worked in oils). I don’t buy this notion that art is for self-enjoyment. Art is a challenge to let your mind and brain create images through your hand that I find pleasing, interesting and challenging.  The one thing  about the 1950’s and 1960’s about theories in art  in colleges was that the act of painting was more important than the product.  If you finish the product and you like it, sign and you’re done.  Fine.   If you finish a product that you don’t like, it is also fine to rip it up and throw it away.   In fact, in Mark Rothko’s class, he would have you create a piece of art, then tear it up and reconstruct it!

 

 

 

"Scylla and Charybdis"

“Scylla and Charybdis”

 

I have never created collage with my artwork.  When I am finished with a painting, I sign it and that’s it!  That’s not a “beshert” moment.  It is an “Aha” moment.   When you look at your piece and know that it is enough, you are done.    If you’re not sure, stop painting and turn the piece facing the wall.  Turn it around and look at it in another 6 weeks.  Look at it with fresh eyes.  My best best and most instant critic was Ethel…

 

TRR:  Norman is a visionary.  With all the hullaballoo about recycling and using “found objects” to make art in our current times, Norman and colleague Andrew Pinto co-wrote  “Art from Clutter” in 1976.  Why then?

NB:

 

We did all of the work ourselves.  We wrote it, made the objects and even took the photographs!   Robert Rauschenberg was beginning to explore these things, in the  early Pop Art Movement.  He used non-traditional materials and objects in innovative combinations. I  see it as an extension of the Abstract Expressionism Movement, expanding into another direction.  The book was to be the first in a series of using “found objects” to make collage, frottage ( rubbings) and assemblage.  We went to great lengths to get permission to use historic images and information as part of the book’s literature.  (Museum of Primitive Art, Museum of Contemporary Art, MOMA).  It was exciting when we took our kids to Washington, DC to the Library of Congress and found it in the card catalogue!  The owner of the publishing company unfortunately passed away and the company dissolved, so no further books were written in the series.

 

"Neilah"

“Neilah”

 

 

TRR:  How do you recharge your creativity?

BN:

 

I love photography.  If I am not doing that, I try to spend time at my easel every day.  I tend to like working on only one piece at a time.  I like the continuity from day to day, as my layers build up.

 

"Job"

“Job”

TRR:  Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

NB:

 

I do have a physical limitation, which prevents me from working on large canvases, which I used to do in oils and in acrylics. I was diagnosed with ‘brittle bone disease’ (osteogenesis imperfecta). Because of my disability, I limit myself to working on full sheet or a double elephant size Arches’ Bright White 300 lb. Cold Press paper or 140 lb. Arches Bright White paper.  In reading a research paper about OI, it stated that those with the disease tend to be very optimistic people, with strong motivations.  We get up.  We do.  We are positive.  I hope more people find out about the OI Foundation.wwwOIF.org   My granddaughter, Mira, uses art as an outlet because she cannot run around like other kids, due to this brittle bone issue.

 

Norman at his Easel

Norman at his easel

 

In 2012, Norman served as Coordinator for the Artists of Palm Beach County’s exhibit at the Armory Art Center.  He had no idea how complex this administrative job would become.  He comments, “Being an educator gives you a multiplicity of skills”.  Two Armory Art Center Faculty members judged the show. I met Talya Lerman and established a relationship with the Armory Art Center.

 

Norman has dedicated this exhibit to his late wife and life-partner, Ethel.  He will show 20-25 pieces at the Armory Art Center.  “Awe and Reverence”  will show some of his abstract paintings as well a images of the journey through his Jewish heritage.  The “Awe” bridges the gap between some of the abstractions and the reverential images of Berman’s heritage.

 

 

 

For more information about this exhibit, please visit   www.armoryart.org  or contact Norman Berman : www.normanberman.com

 

 

For coverage of your events, to place an advertisement, or speak to Rickie about appearing in The Rickie Report, contact The Rickie Report at:

Rickie Leiter, Publisher

The Rickie Report

P.O.Box 33423

Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33420

Rickie@therickiereport.com

561-537-0291

 

Mark Cohen Offers Free Lectures about Jewish Art

The Rickie Report is pleased to announce two lectures by local artist and art maven, Mark Cohen.  The lectures will take place at Temple Judea on Hood Road in Palm Beach Gardens in October.  There is more information about the lectures as well as Mark’s upcoming SOLO show at the Armory Art Center in this article!

 

 

Temple Judea’s  Art Committee

Presents

A Two-Lecture Series with Mark Cohen

“What is Jewish Art?”

Tuesday October 15th  and 22nd

7:00- 8:30 pm

4311 Hood Road

Palm Beach Gardens, FL

For more information: 561-624-4633  or

info@gotj.org

Mark Cohen is a graduate of Florida State University with BA and MFA degrees.  After graduation, he built a marketing communications firm that specializes in health care marketing. Clients included the University of Florida Physicians, Shands Hospital at the University of Florida, Duke University Medical Center, West Virginia University Hospitals, Scott & White in central Texas and many regional and community hospitals from Chicago to Miami. The firm earned hundreds of awards for creative excellence.

 

Artwork by Mark Cohen

Artwork by Mark Cohen

For the past three years, Mark has been splitting his time between health care marketing and painting. On September 20, his work will be shown in a one-man show at the Armory Art Center in West Palm Beach.  He’ll be teaching an Art History course at the Armory Art Center about how American artists made New York City the art capitol of the world, taking the mantel from Paris at mid- 2oth Century.  The exhibit, “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” presents a recent series of large scale portraits of prominent contemporary and historical figures.  The exhibit runs from September 13 through October 19th.

 

Artwork by Mark Cohen

Artwork by Mark Cohen

At Temple Judea, Mark will speak about the contribution by Jewish artists to the development of art in the 19th and 20th Century, with the common thread of tikkun olam-repairing the world. Like other fields, including medicine, music, literature, banking, Jews have led the way in fine art.  

Artwork by Mark Cohen

Artwork by Mark Cohen

Mark paints with acrylics, charcoal and oil sticks.  His style is unique abstract.  For more information about Mark’s lectures please contact him at 561-379-7779  or email him at:  mark@4cohen.com

For coverage of your events, to place an advertisement, or speak to Rickie about appearing in The Rickie Report, contact The Rickie Report at:

Rickie Leiter, Publisher

The Rickie Report

P.O.Box 33423

Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33420

Rickie@therickiereport.com

561-537-0291