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This article by Sam Hunter was published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on November 10, 1999. All rights reserved.
Abstract Meets Figurative — Mazilu & Hunter
An expatriate Romanian artist living in Paris and a
retired American art museum director living in Princeton come together
under the auspices of international art dealer Marsha Child in an
ambitious new catalog to promote the artist whose work is equally
popular with collectors in Europe and the United States.
At Marsha Child Contemporary, 220 Alexander Street, artist Georges
Mazilu and art critic Sam Hunter are featured guests at a publication
party for the newly published monograph, "Mazilu: Works from 1996
to 1999," that features a thoughtful, wide-ranging essay by Sam
Hunter and color reproductions of 36 recent works by Mazilu. The celebration
and booksigning takes place on Thursday, November 11, from 5 to 8:30
p.m. Mazilu’s work is also featured in "A Moment in Time,"
the gallery’s current international group exhibition that continues
to December 5.
Hunter is professor emeritus of the history of art at Princeton University
and former director of the Jewish Museum in New York City. During
his tenure at the Jewish Museum, he achieved international recognition
for his groundbreaking exhibitions in contemporary art. The author
of numerous essays, and reviews, Hunter’s books include "Modern
French Painting," "American Art of the 20th Century,"
and "An American Renaissance: Painting and Sculpture Since 1940."
His artist monographs include studies on Picasso, Hans Hofmann, Larry
Rivers, Tom Wesselman, and Francis Bacon.
Hunter’s new 10-page essay on Georges Mazilu was developed from his
interest in the artist’s work over a period of years, and during a
May meeting and interview with Mazilu at the invitation of Marsha
Child. Following are excerpts from Sam Hunter’s essay:
Georges Mazilu likes to describe his artistic process
in existential terms. Without elaborate preliminaries he begins working
directly on a blank drawing pad or canvas, a tabula rasa that
allows his imagination free rein, before arriving at his surreal and
gnome-like creatures and their mysteriously compelling rituals. In
this unconscious, improvisational phase Mazilu sets down abstract
or fantastic shapes freely. The purely imaginary shapes are then joined
with figures and images taken from the real world, the face of a friend
or a stranger on a bus. "It’s like trying to weave a graphic shape
to a biological feeling of movement, a dance or something like that,"
he says. "Little by little they evolve into some figurative form."
In this creative amalgam that readily combines abstract and figurative
elements, the art of the past has played a significant role. Mazilu
has absorbed a variety of artistic influences since he left his country
of origin, Romania, and took up residence in Paris in 1982: the historical
monuments and museum icons of Paris, now his permanent home, Carpathian
folklore, lingering on from childhood memory, and the strong formative
influences of Bruegel, Bosch, Velazquez and Goya, among others, whose
presence can be inferred from many of the magical figures that make
their brief, enigmatic appearances on his pictorial stage.
Mazilu’s unfashionable curiosity about the Old Masters in the 1980s,
as his confidence grew and his art matured in Paris, was also channeled
by an interest in myth and in a homely narrative as a way of ordering
experience. Given the unavoidable tensions of modernity, these complex
sources and personal interests led him to invent new forms and new
realities. The consequences were startling and entirely unforeseen:
a powerfully original and disturbing mix of animalistic and human
imagery, with their conflicted anatomies and odd mechanical attachments.
Equally extraordinary was the fact that these ambivalent figures flirt
with the grotesque yet manage to arouse our sympathies with their
His paradoxical creatures are almost invariably mutilated and only
partially humanized, as if they had survived some genetic disaster.
Essentially, they are engaged in theatrical morality tales, represented
obliquely by a pantomime of delicate, attenuated gestures and body
language that seems to arise from repressed memories of some extreme,
transforming experience. His enchanted visual dramas almost perversely
defy the laws of nature and all reasonable expectations. They are
peopled with marginally human creatures that seem simultaneously familiar
and entirely novel, both sympathetic and in some ways repugnant in
their disfigured anatomies. They shock and then appease us, yet unquestionably
delight the eye with their delicate and skillful handling, and tonal
refinement. His dramatic scenarios of action and non-action are couched
in a rather terse language of realism, and generate almost inexhaustible
variations of structural arrangements on canvas. Mazilu’s paintings
thereby bridge, with power and vivacity, purely formal concerns and
the exigent demands of an intense world of fantasy that flirts with,
and yet defies, representational reality.
— Sam Hunter
220 Alexander Street, 609-497-7330. Publication party for the new
Georges Mazilu monograph with introduction by Sam Hunter. Free. Tuesday
to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, November 11, 5 to 8:30
"Children’s Illustrators," a show featuring several national
children’s reading events, original illustrations, and prints by seven
children’s book illustrators. Artists represented are Dyanne Di Salvo
Ryan, Caldecott Medalist John Shoenherr, Thomas Sperling, Karel Hayes,
Ponder Goembel, Charles Santore, and Michael Dooling. To November 11.
609-497-7330. "A Moment in Time," an international group exhibition of
new works by gallery artists includes Georges Mazilu. To December 5.
Gallery hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Plainsboro, 609-799-6706. Group show featuring Inga Shteinberg, David
Thurlow, Maina Kalinovsky, Apo Torosyan, and Sydney Neuwirth. Gallery
hours are Tuesday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to
7 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
watercolors by the Russian-born illustrator Gennady Spirin from his
new picture book, "Jack and the Beanstalk," re-told by Princeton
author Ann Beneduce. To November 30. Gallery hours are Tuesday to
Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and by appointment.
609-497-4192. Pastels art show by Kathy Shumway-Tunney, to November
18. In the Merwick Unit Library, landscapes and house portraits by
Betty Hirschmann, to December 9. Part of proceeds benefit the medical
center. Open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.
609-683-8092. Showing works by area artists Patrice Sprovieri, Wayne
Mathisen, Annelies van Dommelen, and Susan Setteducato. Also
exhibiting Hsu Dan, Tom Chesar, Larry Chestnut, Calvin Hart, Clem
Fiori, Leslie Neumeyer, Leyla Spencer, Janet Landau, Jacob Landau,
Ellyn Gerberding, and Marge Levine. Also posters and limited edition
etchings, lithographs, and serigraphs. Hours are Monday through
Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Thursday to 9 p.m.; and Saturday, 9:30 a.m.
to 5 p.m.
Road, 609-924-6700. Lore Lindenfeld’s, "A Journey in Fiber Art: Design
at Black Mountain College and Beyond." A small retrospective that
spans four phases of the fiber artist’s career: from design
and color studies for courses taught by Josef and Anni Albers at Black
Mountain College to Lindenfeld’s work in the fashion industry. More
recent works include woven wall pieces and multimedia fiber
compositions. To November 19.
"In Ascension," a show of recent paintings by Kevin Patrick Kelly, to
"Art is the work of human hands. It shows us what we see and do not
see as well as what we dream," says Kelly. "Art reveals what is
hidden, sheds light on what can be overlooked or taken for granted."
Stuart Road, 609-921-2330. "Mysteries," an exhibition of sculpture by
Peter E. Smith tracing his artistic odyssey through the Mediterranean
world. As part of the gallery theme of the millennium, Smith’s
sculptures in marble, limestone, wood, gold, and terra cotta evoke the
distant past. To November 12.
Thomas George, a recent series of abstactions in oil and watercolor.
Show runs to November 20. Gallery hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 11
a.m. to 5 p.m. Website at http://www.wmgallery.com.
609-989-3632. "Partners," an exhibition of paintings and sculptures by
Chrisa Craig and Charles Kumnick, partners and members of the College
of New Jersey art faculty. In the upstairs galleries, a juried show,
"The Best of Mercer County High Schools." Both shows continue to
January 2. Museum hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3
p.m.; Sunday 2 to 4 p.m.
"As partners, we enjoy sharing many things," write artists Craig and
Kumnick, "a barn building that houses each of our studios, a
comfortable if slightly eccentric living space, a love of animals, of
food, teaching art, and each other."
Gallery , 60 Ward Avenue, Mercerville, 609-890-7777. Opening
reception for "Recent Work," an exhibition of sculpture and jewelry by
Dana Stewart and jewelry objects in gold, silver, and precious gems by
Jacqueline ter Kuile. Show runs to December 9. Gallery hours are
Monday to Thursday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
609-586-0616. Fall-Winter Exhibition. In the Museum and Domestic Arts
Building, "Beverly Pepper," one-artist show. On the mezzanine, a
thematic photography show, "Focus on Sculpture." Shows continue to
April 16, 2000. Gallery hours are Friday through Sunday, 10
a.m. to 4 p.m.
New additions to the 22-acre landscaped sculpture park include works
by Michele Oka Doner, David Hostetler, J. Seward Johnson Jr.,
Francisco Leiro, John Martini, and Joseph Menna. The park is on the
former state fairgrounds site, with indoor exhibitions in the
glass-walled, 10,000 square foot museum, and the newly-renovated
Domestic Arts Building.
609-292-6464. "New Jersey, A Sense of Place," the 30th anniversary
Garden State Watercolor Society show, juried by Leah Sloshberg,
director of New Jersey State Museum, and Margaret O’Reilly, assistant
curator of fine arts. The Dagmar Trebble Memorial Award goes to
Elizabeth Lombardi for her painting, "Cecelia: Telling the Story." To
January 2. Museum hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.;
Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.
Also, "The Modernists," an exhibition of gems from the permanent
collection by Charles Demuth, Arthur Dove, Marsden Harley, Georgia
O’Keeffe, Alfred Stieglitz, Helen Torr, and others, to January 23.
"The Regionalists and Precisionists," with works by Thomas Hart
Benton, Charles Burchfield, Stuart Davis, Francis Picabia, and George
Ault, to January 30.
On extended view: "Dinosaur Turnpike: Treks through New Jersey’s
Piedmont"; "Amber: The Legendary Resin"; "The Moon: Fact & Fiction."
609-989-7777. Alan Taback’s "Dance Rhythms," a series of paintings
based on music and dance. The Trenton-based artist has been painting
and exhibiting for the past 20 years. Writes Vivian Raynor of the New
York Times, "Taback’s paintings have a great deal of integrity."
Lear’s Greece," an exhibition of watercolors, sketchings, and letters
from the Gennadius Library of the American School of Classical Studies
in Athens, Greece. Also "The Trappings of Gentility: 19th-Century
British Art at Princeton." Both shows to January 2. "What Photographs
Look Like," to November 14. The museum is open Tuesday through
Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday 1 to 5 p.m. Free tours of the
collection are every Saturday at 2 p.m.
The permanent collection features a strong representation of Western
European paintings, old master prints, and original photographs.
Collections of Chinese, Pre-Columbian Mayan, and African art are
considered among the museum’s most impressive. Not housed in the
museum but part of the collection is the John B. Putnam Jr. Memorial
Collection of 20th-century outdoor sculpture, with works by such
modern masters as Henry Moore, Alexander Calder, Pablo Picasso, and
George Segal located throughout the campus.
609-497-7990. Philadelphia sculptor Nena Bryans, an inaugural show in
the remodeled art gallery at the Erdman Hall Conference Center. Titled
"Giving Shape to Faith," her exhibit of 14 works continues to December
6. Exhibit hours are Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.,
Saturdays to 5:30 p.m., and Sundays 2 to 9:30 p.m.
"Louis Finkelstein, Paintings 1971 to 1999," a retrospective show by
the veteran artist and art educator. To December 12. Gallery hours are
Monday to Thursday, 2 to 8 p.m.; Friday to Sunday, 2 to 5 p.m.
Born in New York in 1923, Finkelstein studied at Cooper Union, the Art
Students’ League, and Brooklyn Museum Art School. An instructor at
Yale University, Philadelphia School of Art, and Queens College, he
has also had his writings published in Artforum, Art News, and the
Magazine of Art.
"My involvement in painting is in the exploration of painting
language, not simply in making products," says Finkelstein. "I think
the whole question of what painting is and can be is a very open one,
and more than anything else, that’s what I would like the viewer to
Swamp Road, Newtown, 215-968-8432. A group show featuring the works of
26 faculty artists. Media include painting, drawing, photography,
sculpture, glass, wood, and electronic imaging. To December 14.
Gallery is open Monday and Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Tuesday through
Thursday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m. to noon.
show featuring Tim Trelease and his Weird Mole series; Deirdre McGrail
and her film "Rabbitman"; mixed-media works by Catherine Robohm
Watkins; and paintings by gallery curator Ken Weathersby. Show runs to
December 3. The gallery is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Gallery at Bristol-Myers Squibb, Route 206, Lawrenceville,
609-252-6275. An exhibition marking the centenary of the publication
of Freud’s "The Interpretation of Dreams," featuring stills from dream
sequences in 20th-century films and an hour-long video of the film
clips. The show links the 1899 Freud publication with another key
event of the 1890s, the invention of movies. To December 12.
Throughout the 20th century, filmmakers have claimed that their medium
is best able to present the symbolic distortions and displacements of
time and place that characterize dreams. Viewed in darkness, both film
and dreams appear in the "theater of the night." Highlighted films
include Buster Keaton’s "Sherlock Jr.," Bunel’s "Un Chien Andalou,"
and Hitchcock’s "Spellbound." Gallery hours are Monday to Friday, 9
a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday to 7 p.m.; weekends, 1 to 5 p.m.
Avenue, Trenton, 609-394-4095. Physicians’ exhibition features works
by CHS physicians Anthony Chiurco, Joseph Eberhart, Leon Fraser, Jay
Goodkind, Robert Gould, Alfred Monkowski, Horace Shaffer, Iradj
Sharim, Richard Siderits, Joseph Wood, and Lee Yazujian. Lobby gallery
is always open. To November 12.
609-921-9000. In the Conant Gallery Lounge B: Gary Peterson and Roger
LaPelle, oil paintings, to November 19. In the Brodsky Gallery of the
Chauncey Conference Center, charcoal drawings by Alexandra Sax, to
November 29. Exhibits are open Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Brunswick, 732-524-3698. "Work from the Art Centre of New Jersey," a
group show of oils, watercolors, pastels and acrylics, to November 30.
In the New Jersey Artist Series, "Post-Industrial Paintings" by Tim
Gaydos depicting abandoned factories and other once-vibrant symbols of
human endeavor. To December 14. Free by appointment.
609-987-3200. "The American Indian Artists’ Exhibition," a group show
that continues to November 29. Exhibition is open daily, 9 a.m. to 6
Street, New Brunswick, 732-846-5777. "The Hungarian Spark in America,"
an exhibit highlighting Hungarian contributions to the arts, sciences,
humanities, commerce, religious and civic life in America. To January
31. Museum hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday, 1
to 4 p.m. $3 donation. Museum hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m.
to 4 p.m.; Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m. $3 donation.
Brunswick, 732-932-7237. "A Sense of Wonder: African Art from the
Faletti Family Collection." Show features 80 works, dating from the
15th to early 20th century, presenting an overview of the variety of
style and sensibility in African art. To November 24. Museum hours are
Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday,
noon to 5 p.m.
Also on exhibit: "Sources of Japonism: Japanese Woodblock Prints from
the David and Ruth Eisenberg Collection"; and "Let’s Go: On the Move
with Children’s Book Illustration." Both shows to November 24.
609-259-3234. "Cats," a group exhibition with works by artists
including Bill Giacalone, Hanneke DeNeve, Elizabeth Lombardi. Gallery
is open Tuesday through Sunday (call for hours) and by appointment. To
609-452-7800. "Fabrications," an exhibition of fabric art by Carol
Sara Schepps. To January 3.
A graduate of Pratt Institute, Schepps has been working with fabric
art since 1996. "With textiles and thread as my medium, I have merged
my love of fabric, color, and graphic design," says Schepps. "My
artwork examines the lights, reflection, and complex elements that
comprise otherwise common objects." Her subjects include "59 Caddy,"
which features the back end of the popular car, and "Circles."
Schepps’ work has been shown in Philadelphia, San Diego, and Houston,
as was featured in the recent book, "Visions: Quilt Expressions."
609-298-3742. The gallery celebrates its fourth year and a new
exhibition season featuring 12 gallery co-op members presenting shows
that change monthly. Working with owner Eric Gibbons are curators and
artists Beverly Fredericks and Lana Bernard-Toniolio.
Other co-op members are Maura Carey, Sarah Bernotas, Richard
Gerster, Robert Sinkus, Mike Pacitti, Michael Bergman, Jane Lawrence,
Charlotte Jacks, Dorothy Amsden, Carmen Johnson, John Wilson, and Bob
Gherardi. Gallery hours are Wednesday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Thursday to
Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Drive, Jamesburg, 732-521-0070. "Favorite Things," an exhibition of
watercolors by Joanne Augustine and Barbara G. Watts, both of whom
work with subjects from nature. To January 4.
Road, 609-921-3272. "Iron and Ink," an exhibit and sale of
contemporary art from Africa by Kwela Crafts, to December 31. In the
Upstairs Gallery, "Impressions of Nature," new works in watercolor by
Elizabeth Roedell and Gloria Wiernik, to November 30. Public reception
for both shows is Sunday, November 14, noon to 3 p.m. Gallery hours
are Tuesdays to Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
609-737-9313. "American West," an exhibition of 36 new oil paintings
by Robert Beck chronicling his recent journey from Colorado to Canada,
and from the Western Range to the Rockies. To November 20. Gallery
hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, non to 3
Beck, who lives in Lumberville, was recently recognized by the
Michener Museum in Doylestown where he was one of four contemporary
artists of the region featured in the "1999 Bucks County
Avenue, Pennington, 609-730-0746. "Ten Styles," a multi-media art show
by the Art Group. Artists include Adams, Berkowsky, Betz, Stang Harr,
Kaplan, Kogan, Koppel, Mandelbaum, Post, and Wiernik. Reception is
Wednesday, November 17, for the show runs to December 15. Visitor
hours are Monday to Friday, 4 to 9 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.,
and Sunday, 2 to 5 p.m.
Somerville, 908-725-2110. "Viewing Contemporary Culture," a national
juried exhibition of prints and photographs. In the library gallery,
works by Philadelphia artist Kelli Costa. Both shows to November 30.
Gallery hours are Wednesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.;
Saturday, 1 to 4 p.m.
Pennington, 609-737-7592. "Vanishing Landscape," an exhibit of oil
pastel and watercolor studies of the region’s fast-disappearing
natural landscape by Dorothy Bissell. To January 8.
A world traveler, Bissell has captured a variety of landscapes
around the globe, but continues to find inspiration in the landscape
closest to home. Her semi-abstract, sweeping renditions of the natural
world are widely shown and collected. She is represented by Jack
Koeppel of the Queenstown Gallery, Pennington.
Junction, 609-799-0462. In the Lobby gallery, an exhibition of recent
paintings by Zakia Aziz Sayed, one of Bangladesh’s best-known artists.
Show continues to November 30.
609-397-0275. "Molecular Art II: Acrylics on Canvas by Max Epstein." a
To November 13. Gallery hours are Monday to Thursday, 1 to 9 p.m.;
Friday 1 to 5 p.m.; and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
609-397-4588. A shared exhibition of representational riverscapes and
still life in oils by Leonard Restivo, and impressionist oils, or
"cerebral mosaics," by Don Jordan. To December 5. Gallery hours are
Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Lambertville, 609-397-2226. "Painterly Impressions," an exhibition of
watercolors by Chinese-American artist Oliver Tang, inspired by recent
visits to Venice, Alaska, and the Jersey shore. To December 3.
609-397-0804. Annual Fall Exhibition features paintings by Albert L.
Bross Jr., watercolors by Harriet Ermentrout, and pastels by Mike
Filipiak. To November 14. Gallery hours are Wednesday to Sunday, 11
a.m. to 5 p.m.
Lambertville, 609-397-2300. Charles Fazzino, whimsical
three-dimensional paper constructions on subjects that include New
York, Philadelphia, sports, and the law. Through December 26. Gallery
hours are Wednesday through Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.
215-862-8242. Figurative and landscape paintings in oil by Helen
Meyers and David J. Dincher. To December 30.
609-397-4978. "Safety in Numbers," Malcolm Bray’s fifth annual
eclectic group show of innovative painting and sculpture that includes
works by Myles Cavanaugh, Annelies van Dommelen, Gareth Evans, Chad
Cortez Everett, Diane Levell, Virgil Sova, Alan Taback, Stacie
Speer-Scott, and Ron Wyffels. To December 31. Hung upstairs above the
antique furniture showroom, the show is open every day, 10 a.m. to 6
Burlington, 609-386-4773. "Wildfowl Decoy Exhibit" by master
Burlington carver Jess Heisler (1891-1943), whose best work
ranks among the finest of the Delaware River school of carving, and
works by his friend and pupil John Marinkos (1915-1999). To January 9.
Hours are Monday to Thursday, 1 to 4 p.m.; and Sunday, 2 to 4 p.m.
Pennsylvania, 215-345-0210. "Edward Hicks Country," a companion
to the Philadelphia Museum of Art comprehensive exhibit on Edward
Hicks, an exhibit on the professional and spiritual environment in
which the lifelong Bucks County artist worked. Three related displays
explore the 19th-century craft of ornamental painting, the Quaker
meetinghouse environment, and the iconography of William Penn and the
Society of Friends. $5 adult; $1.50 youth. Museum hours are Monday to
Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.; and Tuesday
evening to 9 p.m.
Doylestown, 215-340-9800. Celebration of American Art features "An
Edward Hicks Sampler," featuring an 1837 version of "Peaceable
Kingdom" and "The Landing of Columbus." Also an exhibition, "Picturing
Washington: Icons and Images of America’s Founding Father." $5 adults;
$1.50 students; children free. Museum hours are Tuesday to Friday, 10
a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Wednesday evenings to 9 p.m.; Saturday & Sunday, 10
a.m. to 5 p.m.
"Intimate Vistas: The Poetic Landscapes of William Langson Lathrop," a
major retrospective of more than 50 works spanning a 50-year career,
from 1884 to 1939. Curated by Brian Peterson, it is one of the
Michener’s ambitious scholarly undertakings to date. To January 9.
For a 30-year period, from the late 1890s through the 1920s, Lathrop
was known as one of the nation’s premier landscape painters,
prominently association with the Tonalist movement. Essaying to convey
the many and varied moods of nature, the Tonalists often employed a
darker palette than their Impressionist colleagues, and painting in
A native of Illinois and raised on a farm in Painesville, Ohio,
Lathrop studied in New York and in 1899 moved his family to Phillips
Mill near New Hope, providing the hub of the growing art colony that
became known as the New Hope School or the Pennsylvania
Impressionists. Henry Snell and Daniel Garber were among the painters
who relocated to Bucks County because of Lathrop.
Also "From Soup Cans to Nuts," an exhibition of prints by Andy Warhol,
on loan from the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. The artist, who died in
1987, is best known for his flamboyant, multiple silkscreen prints
that explore icons of popular culture from the famous soup to Marilyn
Monroe and Jackie Kennedy. To November 21.
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