One of my heroes died this week. Joseph Raffael was an artist who spoke and will always speak to my soul. We lived in different places. Lived different lives. Worked in different mediums. He was famous but left the NY art scene to live quietly in the south of France. I never made it big enough in NYC to have to leave it. But I live in the quiet town of Northport on the north shore of Long Island. We have each experienced different successes in our lives. A man, a woman, so different but so the same.
I happily took the Long Island Railroad into Penn Station to then walk to Chelsea in NYC from my perch in Northport Long Island. This venture, on a cold winter day, was to gather in the brilliant colors and environments of the watercolor paintings created by the Artist, Joseph Raffael. These large-scale works envelop you into the tropical gardens and seaside shells which are the models and subjects of his work.
Some feature strongly defined focal points while other subjects are diffused, allowing you to meander through the tangles of flowers, leaves and stems. Koi provide the pivotal “Turning Point” between the water and air while leaving ripples which you know will be gone again in moments. Tibetan prayer flags flutter in the breeze sharing the brilliance of Koi colors. Time, movement and transience are significant subjects in these meditative paintings.
March 21-May 4, 2013
The Joseph Raffael show at the Nancy Hoffman Gallery at 520 West 27th St in Chelsea New York was a burst of color and soul. The show was there from November 2009 through January 10, 2010. For those of you who missed this wonderous presentation, I created a video of the show.
Visiting this show brought such a burst of the voluptuous joy of color and passion to an otherwise gray day that I was compelled to share it with others.
Joseph Raffael douses himself in his watercolors. His colors flood and pool in the most controlled display of virtuosity I’ve ever seen in this medium. Though in this show his subject matter seems to be primarily flowers, his style is the antithesis of botanical illustration.
As a matter of fact, Elisabeth, my fellow Artist friend and I gallery hopped to this show on the heels of a visit to the ASBA (American Society of Botanical Artists) show at The Horticultural Society of NY. The contrast of two exquisite art forms, both employing watercolor and using flowers as subject, was astounding.
For an extra treat, I would suggest visiting Joseph Raffael’s website and taking some time to view the meditative videos of him as he paints.
Take a moment to calm down and become immersed in the process of Art. It will make your day. It always does so for me.
Seven Days in the Art World
By Sarah Thornton
This enlightening and entertaining book offers a glimpse into the rarified atmosphere of the booming contemporary art world as it stood in the years 2004-07. Sarah Thornton, with her ethnographic perspective on seven diverse segments of this expensive and exclusive scene delivers a peek into a world which few artists and lovers of art will ever gain access.
Offering glimpses into the marketing and selling of art through the dealers and auction houses, the trade shows and publications, Thornton delivers a thoroughly researched and lively written peek behind the so called curtain of art commerce. With the dramatic economic downturn the world experienced in 2008 this may be a prescient view of a market at its climax.
The artists themselves are represented at they hone their craft at a legendary California critique session, we tag along with short listed artists awaiting news of the winner of a prize which will catapult the prices of their art into the stratosphere. We then travel with an artist at the top of his game on a tour of the international studios where his work is created by and for him.
Interestingly, the artwork itself is but a minor character in this impressive theatrical event of Seven Days in the Art World. The artists pour ideas into and onto the market, the press and critics push the market with fantabulous facts and figures and the dealers, auction houses and collectors play the market. One is reminded of the Wizard behind the green curtain in the land of Oz pumping away while trying to keep the illusion real.
Kudos to Sarah Thornton for pulling back the curtain on this endangered microcosmic world in such an accessible and informative style.
Review by Mary Ahern 1/4/2008
I was lucky this cold winter week in December. I went to the beach, hung out at the marina, and gazed at flower gardens in full bloom.
You think I’m kidding? Well, I’m not. I was lucky enough to visit the Jacqueline Penney Art Gallery & Studio in Cutchogue Long Island NY. Now this is an Artist who loves sunshine! Take a look at her work at her website http://www.jacquelinepenney.net and then make an appointment to go see and collect her work.
Jackie is a real renaissance woman. She paints, she teaches and she writes books helping others to enjoy the experience of creating Art. She is a sharing and giving human being and it shows in her work.
Her beautifully re-designed 1840’s barn is at once her home, her studio working space and the gallery where she sells her work to the public. This seamless breaking down of boundaries defines a truly creative person. There is no beginning, no end, just the all-encompassing act of creating.
The way she lives and the way she lives her life describes a true Artist.