Showing posts with label Susan Isaacs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Susan Isaacs. Show all posts

Friday, July 23, 2010

Family Members’ Evening at the DCCA

The Delaware Center for Contemporary Arts was buzzing with children creating art at work tables and touring the galleries trying to spot the art on their recognition sheet. Susan Isaacs, back to fill in the gaps left by staff reductions at the DCCA, gave a compelling gallery walk lecture.

Starting in the Elizabeth Dennison Hatch Gallery, the Julio da Cunha exhibit (yes, the former UD professor has a studio at the DCCA again), Isaacs talked about the contrasts of color da Cunha used in his tribute to Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal. Each of his works has striking color contrasts, but the combinations of color make a very carefully constructed effect. Having an artist with the experience and longevity of da Cunha gives a certain gravitas to the DCCA’s membership – and Dr. Isaacs’ knowledge and lecture and writing experience puts meat on this local art table.

The Carole Bieber and Marc Ham Gallery still has most of the exhibit chosen by Carina Evangelista for June (Spectrum: Contemporary color abstraction). Isaacs pointed out that Bill Scott’s A brief moment of titillation, an abstract with a bright pink/orange background was really influenced by Henri Matisse. Dr. Albert Barnes’ acquisition of Matisse in the early 1900s brought his influence to the United States. (The Cone sisters had begun collecting Matisse but kept them in their home until the 1950s). Isaacs has added works to the exhibit: Steven Baris’ abstracts on mylar and Emily Bowser’s Radiation, a sculpture of brightly colored beanbags.

The tiny E Avery Draper showcase was painted sea blue to show off Joseph Barbaccia’s Eight currents - fanciful sea creatures decorated with brightly colored sequins.

The Beckler Family Gallery housed the bright colors of Lawrence Cromwell’s Make it bigger. His cut paper mobiles, his videos and his vivid color oil and wax works were as refreshing and restorative as the summer evening.

Exhibits will be changed July 25 and August 1. The new works will be on display for the August 6 Wilmington Art Loop.


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Delaware by Hand

The Delaware Art Museum sponsored the first juried show by Delaware by Hand, an association of artists all over Delaware. The jurors and curators, Dr. Susan Isaacs of Towson University and Dr. Jacqueline Atkins of the Allentown Art Museum picked fifteen works, all of which were beautifully executed and a delight for the winter weary museum visitor.

The exhibit has a catalog. The photograph of the exquisite quilt by Virginia Abrams entitled Reflections 2 gives a one-dimensional impression of water, but seeing the piece in person shows how the watery reflection appears only as you back away.

Although the recent exhibit had a preponderance of New Castle County artists, the association has artists from all over the state. I went to their web site and picked one from each county.

New Castle County: Paula Camenzind. Camendzind’s work over the past decades and see a maturity of concept and development that stops me in my tracks. Her bulbous vase has a moon crater surface out of which a purple glazed neck peaks out as if the work were a natural geode.

Kent County: William Henry Smallwood. Smallwood’s woodwork began when he wanted to make models for his paintings and the models themselves became a passion for him. Pictured is a stark, simple duck.

Sussex County: Barbara Warden. Warden’s brilliant colored fiber quilts are more portraits than cloth. Her designs have wild colors which she melds into coherent design.

Bravi to the staff of the Delaware Art Museum and Dr. Mary F. Holahan for promoting local artists through their Outlooks program.


Sunday, August 16, 2009

August Art Loop at the DCCA

Entering the Dupont Gallery I at the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts on August 14 gave me a jolt. Having read the excellent notes written by Assistant Curator Susan Isaacs should have cushioned the shock but the seven stark graphite and gouache works of Zoë Charlton’s Imitation of a Life left me breathless.

Perhaps it is because Charlton has captured the good and enchained it in evil – as often happens in life. She has taken a loop from a 1934 film Imitation of Life directed by John M Stahl which is a scene in which a successful black businesswoman comes to find her daughter who has run away and is trying to pass as white. Charlton has put a Ku Klux Klan hood on the daughter’s head.

So is this an imitation of success? When the tearful mother tries to woo back her daughter to ‘black’ life, is it begging her to fail?

The seven works seem also quite stark – all on creamy white paper with no frames, the graphite figures of naked women seem indefensible – vulnerable – enslaved to the unseen evil powers that have made them toys of their masters. The occasional spots of color are mocking accessories to the crime.

If you need a lift when you leave the Dupont I, visit the Fractious Happy installation by Heather Harvey in the Constance S and Robert J. Hennessy Project Space or just wander the halls and acquaint yourself with works of the studio artists who are the mainstay of the DCCA – or come back on September 4 and see the brilliant colors of a Ken Mabrey or a fanciful construct by Jane Quattarone.

Read excellent curator notes by J Susan Isaacs and find out about future exhibits and dates :