Fujinami, Madden x 2, Rothholz and Winzig’s works on display
By Alison Rooney
When pulling together the multiple artists usually involved in the monthly shows at Gallery 66 NY, Gallery Director Barbara Galazzo seeks some kind of fusion, though the similarities between the works may be subtle. With the five artists showing in March, Rieko Fujinami, Bob and Karen Madden, Janet Rothholz and Maureen Winzig, the connective tissue is curves and marks. Both Fujinami and Rothholz evoke masks of a kind in their work, Rothholz literally, in her ceramic masks, and Fujinami, more obliquely, in the haunted portraits she creates by painting first on a film, which she then puts onto a mirror, painting that as well.
Fujinami, a Beacon resident who was born in Japan, was quoted by Gallery 66 NY as having “created a method of painting on mirrored surfaces, employing the use of black and white acrylic backgrounds — as she says, to “create the feeling of order evolving out of chaos” — upon which she then applies alcohol, glass primer, and gesso, before painting the image with acrylic paint and pastel. The result is an extraordinary and highly original work of art, with a depth that is at once realistic and otherworldly. It doesn’t take a belief in spiritualism or phantasms to be drawn into these remarkable portraits. A man’s face — eyes wide, mouth gaping — seems to emerge from its painted surface to utter a cry … or perhaps a warning. A pair of children, their eyes wide and haunting, stares back at the viewer with an aspect that is at once engaging and chilling.
“Although she also makes subjects of plant life and imaginary landscapes — “dreamscapes,” really — her first love is the painting of the human face and form. “We try too hard,” Fujinami explains, “to insist that everything be rationally understood, yet we avoid seeing the shadows inside our own minds. The faces in my work come from those shadows.”
In addition to the display of Fujinami’s portraits, Gallery 66 will be screening Arbor Vitae, her video work — never before viewed in this country — that features six segments, more abstract than her portrait work, each addressing a different aspect of the “birth of consciousness.”
A widely varied artist, Fujinami also excels at etching, copper tempura, encaustic, and digital imaging. She has been featured in more than 60 one-person exhibitions, and has received numerous prestigious awards, including Japan’s Best Artist of the Year prize and the New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship Award. In 2012, Fujinami’s work was exhibited in the Smithsonian’s world-renowned National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.
A Brooklyn College graduate, Rothholz has exhibited extensively in group shows in Brooklyn and beyond for the past two decades. In describing her work, she says, “My transmuted forms represent the confluence of vastly different aesthetics. They are born out of the merging of cultures and have found their expression in heads and masks. I enjoy the sense of timelessness and ambiguity of my pieces. They are at once old and new — just dug up or perhaps just made.” Galazzo describes them as being “all about identity.”
The curves found in Fujinami’s faces, and the circular nature of her pieces are expressed more literally in the works of Winzig, and Bob and Karen Madden, on view in the gallery’s front room in a multiple interpretation of the concept, Wandering Curves.
Gallery notes state: “Winzig paints in oil, combining studies of the human form with elements in nature. For Wandering Curves, she has employed richly colored oils in sensual bends and swirls that reveal ripples in a stream, the elegant twist of a wrist, the power of a mountain range in silhouette. Bob Madden sculpts in stone, while his wife, Karen expresses her art through the interweaving of soft fiber material with disparate but sympathetic elements. Both were trained in engineering, and their background is evident in the precise execution of their work, unique though each artist might be. Bob Madden’s stone carving is fluid, and invites caressing. If it were possible to carve stone in liquid form, he would claim mastery. His works bend, weave and fold on themselves, belying the rigid nature of his material.
Non-Verbal Communications and Wandering Curves will be on view from March 7 through 30, with an opening reception from 6 to 9 p.m. on March 7. The gallery’s winter hours are Thursday through Sunday, from noon to 5 p.m. For more information call 845-809-5838 or visit gallery66ny.com.
Images courtesy Gallery 66 NY