This October, Galatea Fine Art presents three concurrent shows featuring members Philip Gerstein, Barry Margolin and Ronni Komarow.
Five-time Galatea exhibitor Gerstein will be showing a new series entitled “Sometimes There Is Bliss.” In a collection of minimal abstract paintings produced with an experimental medium — glass bead gel — Gerstein plays with the medium which lends texture, dances with ambient lighting, and produces visual change dependent on the viewing prospective of the audience. The end product results in rich, deep color and a textured finish which, the artist hopes, will be successful in provoking an emotional response to the work. According to the gallery’s press release, the sought-after response “is akin to the harmonious vibrational impact of music.”
It’s quite vogue to refer to a work of art as cross-disciplinary and there is always — always — the stated hope of reaching the viewing audience on some core emotional level. When I read these types of artistic statements, I tend to roll my eyes. Isn’t it the point of good art, indeed great art, usually to do that … without stated demands? The artist, of course, first creates for him or herself, and works with new processes and materials that will enhance the artist’s vision. But a work of art captures a viewer’s attention on its own, or not at all. The stated announcement of wishing to evoke emotion veers far to the left of allowing the work to speak for itself. And let’s remember, the medium is not the work.
But Gerstein’s work is not just about the medium, and while there is a good deal of hype about the new, cool, glass bed gel, Gerstein is also expressing, within his work, what he calls, “the spiritual legacy of abstract art.” This pursuit offers a nod to Wassily Kandinsky’s belief that color and form can express the inner life of the artist and can create an aesthetic experience for one’s audience. This is valid, and a worthy endeavor.
Margolin provides for us “Play of Wakefulness,” with 22 paintings on exhibit also exploring medium —the time-honored medium of encaustic. The gallery’s press release tells me all about the process of heating the material to 170 degrees and the resultant fluidity of the medium, but what about the work and vision of the artist?