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These article by Nicole Plett & Barbara Fox were prepared for the May 14, 2003 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
In the Galleries
The art we know as "still life," Parisians
call "nature morte." The term seems particularly apt for Vladimir
Grigorovich’s big paintings of deserted Parisian streetscapes currently
on exhibit at the Abud Family Foundation for the Arts in Lawrenceville.
In Grigorovich’s assembled series of images of doors and shop facades,
the whole gallery takes on an ambience of Old World Paris. Some subjects
make particular appeal to our creature comforts — "Boulangerie
12," "Patisserie," and "Pain d’Epices" among them.
The artist also tackles such "name-brand" subjects as "Laperouse,"
the restaurant renowned for its rooms decorated in the Baroque style
of Fragonard. His portrait of "Le Tour d’Argent," the Parisian
restaurant renowned for its signature pressed duck, features a charming
painted pair of Mozartean figures on its facade.
Grigorovich is a Russian-born artist now living and working in Port
Murray, New Jersey, near Hackettstown. His solo show is currently
installed at the Abud Foundation’s one-room gallery space at 3100
Princeton Pike (Building 4, third floor). The opening reception is
Friday, May 16, from 6 to 8 p.m. for the show that remains on view
to June 28.
At a preview showing of the work, Grigorovich expressed
his pleasure at exhibiting this work, most of it painted over the
course of the 1990s, so close to home. In fact he plans to play host
at the gallery every Saturday for the show’s duration. The Abud Foundation
was established last year by neurosurgeon Ariel Abud primarily to
promote the Ibero-American art that interests the much-traveled physician.
Originally from Nicaragua, Abud not only promotes the contemporary
arts of Spain, Latin America, and Central America, but also awards
stipends to artists, with an invitation to travel to the U.S. and
exhibit their work in the small Lawrenceville gallery. A chance meeting
between Abud and Grigorovich brought the New Jersey-based artist’s
show to the gallery.
Born in Moscow in 1939, Grigorovich settled in New Jersey in 1975.
Grigorovich, whose work has been exhibited in Chicago and New York,
as well as many international spots, studied art since childhood,
first attending the Moscow Secondary Art School, and later graduating
from the graphic arts department of the Moscow Pedagogical Institute.
In Russia, he had a successful career as illustrator and graphic designer,
working for several publishing houses. In 1972 he emigrated to Israel,
and then on to the U.S.
The artist’s interest in buildings and the picturesque dates back
early in his career when he began painting with watercolor. In the
1970s, his show in Israel of desolated and abandoned houses was described
by one critic as a "Russian melancholy landscape" rendered
"in dull and gloomy colors." Shortly after his arrival, when
he was living and working in Jersey City, he was recruited by Ivan
Karp to the OK Harris Gallery in Soho. A few years ago he and his
family bought and renovated a Victorian house in Port Murray where,
under a Second Empire mansard roof, he maintains a spacious upstairs
studio, lit by dormer windows.
All the paintings on exhibit take as their subject a representational
image — stores, doors, mirrors. Yet much of the appeal of these
strongly structured, almost grid-like compositions lies in the artist’s
abstract handling of flat textured surfaces. These are cool compositions
that rely for their appeal, not on sentimentality, but on close observation,
consummate draftsmanship, and a modern abstract sensibility.
While meticulous in every detail, and partly derived from photographs
of their subjects, these are not photo-realist works. They are, instead,
extremely painterly interpretations of the visual world. The rectangular
canvases assert their individuality with an overall patterning and
palette. These storefronts are congruent with the flat surface of
his canvas, reinforced, spatial illusion goes no deeper than the ornate
moldings on his antique paneled doors. Some of these compositions
in oil on canvas are heightened by certain tricks of three-dimensionality
created with built-up layers of modeling paste.
This Paris series strikes a comfortable balance between prosperity
and decay in these grand urban structures. Working with a surprisingly
limited palette, Grigorovich’s images take on a pervasive mood of
genteel decay and deterioration. Like fading memories, these weathered
exteriors have born witness to generations of devoted denizens of
the City of Light. Clearly the artist has spent a lot of time enjoying
The most impressive work in the show also dominates the space. "Antiques
at Versailles," painted in 1989, is 7-feet high by 12-feet wide,
constructed of three component pieces (necessary to get it out of
the artist’s upstairs studio). This expansive store front is rendered
in the subdued tones of dusky wood. Postcards and handbills, which
seem to have been posted around the entrance doorway, are rendered
with almost trompe l’oeil accuracy.
Unlike the quite flat store front paintings, "Venetian Antiques"
is a tour de force of draftsmanship in its rendering of an array of
crystal and porcelain that includes a mirror that casts a reflection
of a woman in sunglasses.
Thus Grigorovich pays tribute to the traditional Parisian decorative
arts with wonderful renderings of its elaborate gilded lettering,
painted floral swags, and fruit displays etched in glass. As the artist
notes, the artisans who once embellished the glass panels of Parisian
store fronts are fast disappearing. And today’s broken windows are
unlikely to be replaced with the traditional decorated panes. Nevertheless,
his painted "homage" in oils to the art and artisans of Paris
seems likely to endure.
— Nicole Plett
Arts , 3100 Princeton Pike, Building 4, Third Floor, Lawrenceville,
609-896-0732. The gallery is open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday,
3 to 6 p.m. The artist will be present at the gallery each Saturday
during the run of the show, which continues through Saturday, June
28. Opening reception Friday, May 16, 6 to 8 p.m.
"Past Made Present: Paintings of Ilona Zaremba," solo exhibit
by the Polish native now living in Canada. Her richly textured mixed-media
compositions are included in many corporate and private collections,
including that of actor Steve Martin. Open Tuesday to Saturday, 10:30
a.m. to 5:30 p.m. To May 26.
"Art First!" International juried exhibition and sale of art
and fine crafts by professional artists with physical and mental disabilities.
Over 300 pieces are mounted throughout the Medical Center. Show remains
on view through May 18.
Paintings, prints, and drawings by Jennifer Cadoff. The co-curator
of the Jewish Center Gallery is showing her work there for the first
time with a show whose connecting thread is nature, particularly flowers
and landscapes. Part of sales benefits the center. Open Monday to
Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Closed
Saturdays. To May 16.
J. Simchock’s exhibition of travel photography, "Vagabond Vistas."
The images were captured during the artist’s three-year journey through
five continents. To May 15.
"Chickens to Go," hand-made chickens by artist Maria del Fabro,
who awoke one morning and started making chickens. Her chickens come
out of handwork traditions passed down to her from her Italian ancestors;
they are made of wool, cotton and other natural fabrics. A portion
of show’s proceeds will be donated towards efforts for peace. Also
on exhibit, "Art from the Caribbean." Open Fridays and Saturdays,
1 to 6 p.m. To May 24.
"Princeton Impressions," an exhibition and sale of impressionist
oil paintings by Olga Holroyd. Images include Princeton University,
flower gardens, and the Delaware-Raritan Canal. To July 6. @HEAD 14
= Art in the Workplace
609-252-6275. "Outsider Art: The Inner Worlds of Self-Taught Artists,"
an exhibit of 75 works by 30 international artists referred to as
self-taught, visionary, and intuitive. Aloise Corbaz, Bill Traylor,
and Adolf Wolfli, historical figures whose works helped define the
category, are represented. Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; weekends
and holidays, 1 to 5 p.m. To June 15.
the Deck: The Collection Reconsidered," a show featuring new work
by artists Sanford Biggers, Anne Chu, Ellen Harvey, and Zhang Hongtu,
inspired by the museum collections, curated by Eugenie Tsai, to June
29. Also "The New Vulgarians: New York Pop," an exhibition
of 18 works that seeks to reposition pop in such away that its challenging
and discomforting aspects can be perceived again; to July 13. Also
"The Photographs of Edward Ranney: The John B. Elliott Collection,"
an overview of the artist’s career from 1970 and 1999; to June 7.
Open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday 1 to 5 p.m.
Highlights tours Saturdays at 2 p.m.
Also "The Art of Structural Design: A Swiss Legacy," celebrating
the contributions of Swiss engineers to structural design in the 20th
century; to June 15. "In Pursuit of the Past: Provenance Research
at the Princeton University Art Museum," a behind-the-scenes look
at the research methods used to trace the history of works of art
focusing on issues related to ownership and collecting; to August
School, 609-258-1651. "Ricanstructions," a selection of works
by Puerto Rican artist Juan Sanchez. Open Monday to Friday, 9 a.m.
to 5 p.m.. To June 7.
"Brave New World: 20th-Century Books from the Cotsen Children’s
Library," an exhibition that fills the library’s main gallery
and the Milberg Gallery upstairs.
609-586-4800, ext. 3589. Visual Arts Student Show, the annual show
highlighting work by MCCC visual arts students studying with faculty
that includes Mel Leipzig, Joan Needham, Frank Rivera, Yevgeniy Fiks,
Tina La Placa, Eric Kunsman, and Michael Welliver. Open Tuesday to
Thursday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Wednesday evenings 6 to 8 p.m.; Thursday
evenings 7 to 9 p.m. To May 15.
Library Place, 609-497-7990. "Drawn from Scripture: Woodcuts and
Sculpture," an exhibition of works by Margaret Adams Parker, an
instructor at Virginia Theological Seminary. Gallery hours are Monday
to Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Sunday 2 to 8 p.m. To June 27.
609-895-5589. Student art exhibition. Gallery hours are Tuesday through
Thursday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. To September
609-620-6026. "Seeing: Selections from Collection Dancing Bear"
featuring 70 works focusing on eyes from the collection of William
Hunt ’64. Hunt is a New York-based collection, curator, and champion
of photography. He is director of photography at the Ricco/Maresca
Gallery in Chelsea. Open Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to noon; and 1 to
4:30 p.m.; Wednesday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to noon. To June 7.
"Animism," an exhibit of sculptures of dancers by Philadelphia
artist by Clifford Ward. A Rider University graduate, Ward worked
in educational publishing before joining the Johnson Atelier Technical
Institute, beginning in 1997. Open Monday to Thursday, 10 a.m. to
4 p.m. To May 29.
Clifford says dancers Alvin Ailey, Judith Jamison, Twyla Tharp, Martha
Graham, and Rennie Harris, are among those who have inspired him to
create his own sculptures that "dance." His works originate
from mixed media such as steel, paper, newspaper, plaster bandages,
and cowrie shells; some are cast in bronze and aluminum, others remain
in the original form.
Ellarslie Open XXI, the annual juried show. Distinguished juror Robert
Sakson selected 85 works by 72 artists from the 310 entries submitted.
Awards for "Best in Show" in painting, sculpture, printmaking,
mixed-media, and photography. Open Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to
3 p.m.; Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m. To June 15.
A vital member of the Trenton art scene for over 40 years, juror Robert
Sakson is a member of almost every outstanding watercolor society
and painting group in the U.S. His work is in the permanent collections
of the Princeton University Art Museum, Ellarslie, Avon Corp, AT&T,
609-292-6464. "Taking It Personally: Selected Paintings 1962 to
2003" by Paul Matthews continues in the museum’s Cityside Gallery.
These large-scale figurative oils address issues of time and transience,
aging and mortality. Political messages, human vulnerability in the
form of nudity, and the natural process of childbearing are all depicted.
To July 27.
Baby boomers have long learned that it’s never too late to participate
in activities you love. "Got Dance?," the fifth annual sharing
of adult student work at Princeton Ballet School in the Princeton
Shopping Center, is set for Saturday, May 17, at 7 and 9 p.m., with
an "open dress rehearsal" on Friday, May 16, at 7 p.m. Audiences
should not expect to encounter future superstars here — just grownups
sharing the joy of dance.
Among the modern dance and ballet classes participating are those
of Kim Chandler Vaccaro, Helena Froelich, and Christine Humes. Alma
Concepcion will present her intermediate and advanced Spanish dancers,
and Ellen Yochelson’s beginning tap class will perform. Susan Tenney,
who organizes the evening, combines different class levels for this
occasion. "The beginners learn from the advanced dancers, and
the advanced dancers get to work with a larger group," she says.
Her three-movement Vivaldi concerto for guitar and orchestra has been
choreographed for the ballet students, and she has a work made to
Handel excerpts for the modern dancers.
In previous years, the Saturday showings were sell-outs, so the open
dress rehearsals were added to the schedule. "Though this annual
event is very informal — a studio showing, with people sitting
on folding chairs — it serves as a culmination of our year’s work,"
says Tenney. "Dance is a performance art, and to complete the
learning experience, students need a chance to show their work. We
emphasize the joy of performing."
— Barbara Fox
Center, North Harrison, 609-921-7758. Annual adult student performance
directed by Susan Tenney, with choreography by Tenney, Kim Chandler
Vaccaro, Helena Froelich, Alma Concepcion, Christine Humes, and Ellen
Yochelson. $10 donation. Saturday, May 17, 7 and 9 p.m.
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