Contemporary, Drawing, Lithograph, Pencil Drawing, Prints, Uncategorized, Watercolor

Emilio Sanchez

La Casa Vivienda. By Emilio Sanchez. Color lithograph, undated.

La Casa Vivienda. By Emilio Sanchez. Color lithograph, undated.

Emilio Sanchez was born in Camagüey, Cuba in 1921. In 1944, he began his artistic training at the Art Students League in New York, where he lived until he died in 1999. However, it was in Cuba that he became fascinated with the play of light and shadow on colored forms, which became a dominant characteristic of his works. His early works of the 1950s are stylized and figurative, depicting themes such as portraits of friends and models, views of New York, and tropical landscapes.

La Ventanita. By Emilio Sanchez. Color lithograph, undated.

La Ventanita. By Emilio Sanchez. Color lithograph, undated.

In the 1960s, his works became significantly more abstract, though always maintaining a strong sense of naturalism. It is during this decade that his work matured and he began to develop his well-known paintings of houses and architectural themes. These architectural works stand out for their simplified forms and colors. Stripped down to interlocking blocks of color, these structures acquire universal meaning. With ease, he seemed to capture the effect of light on color, making it vibrant and visually clear. Despite the fact that his buildings are often devoid of visible inhabitants, they hold a strong living presence of their own.

Calle del Sol. By Emilio Sanchez. Lithograph, undated.

Calle del Sol. By Emilio Sanchez. Lithograph, undated.

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, he further explored architectural themes by traveling to countries around the Mediterranean. His travel experiences found their way into his art. For example, in Morocco he was impressed by the stark white vernacular buildings. His prints from this time use white buildings as a beautiful contrast to small pops of color or little details- he would emphasize the panes in a window or brightly colored awning.

He also printed architectural scenes of New York during the 70s and 80s. These prints exhibit a rare stillness, especially compared to scenes of this bustling metropolis by his artistic contemporaries.

New York Skies. By Emilio Sanchez. Watercolor and gouache, undated.

New York Skies. By Emilio Sanchez. Watercolor and gouache, undated.

Barcos de Vela. By Emilio Sanchez. Color lithograph, undated. Edition 100.

Barcos de Vela. By Emilio Sanchez. Color lithograph, undated. Edition 100.

In addition to his architectural works, Sanchez explored a variety of themes selected for their strong compositional value- such as still lifes of fruits and flowers, sailboats, clotheslines and sunsets over the Hudson River. Different from his linear renderings of buildings, these other works demonstrate his versatility in painting looser, amorphous forms. In the 1990s, Sanchez’s attention focused more on New York urban scenes of storefronts, garages and skyscrapers.

Auto Glass.  [Bronx Storefront.] By Emilio Sanchez. c.1988.

Auto Glass. [Bronx Storefront.] By Emilio Sanchez. Painting, c.1988.

An artist with an independent voice and international acclaim, Sanchez has had over sixty solo exhibitions and has been included in numerous group shows in museums and galleries in the United States, Latin America and Europe. His art is well represented in private and public collections, including over thirty museums like the New York Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. He has also received prestigious awards as first prize at the 1974 Biennial in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

[Untitled.] Washington Monument with Mall. By Emilio Sanchez. Pencil drawing, undated.

[Untitled.] Washington Monument with Mall. By Emilio Sanchez. Pencil drawing, undated.

*Biographical information from the Emilio Sanchez Foundation

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Contemporary, Drawing, Gallery Openings, Monotype, Oil Painting, printmaker Q&A, Prints, Watercolor

printmaker Q&A: Philip Bennet

We took the time to chat with local printmaker Philip Bennet, to find out more about his artistic process and inspiration. The Old Print Gallery has represented Bennet for over a year, and his prints have truly resonated with our clients and the OPG print community. His colorful monotypes have been included in many of our group shows, most recently in our summer show WATER, where his print Splash caught the eye of Washington Post art critic Mark Jenkins. (“Several of the other prints are dramatically more colorful. The blue, green and yellow of Philip Bennet’s “Splash,” an oil-based monotype, are so vivid they seem not to have dried fully.” )

Blur by Philip Bennet. Oil-based monotype, 2011.

Bennet has a one-man 70-year retrospective show this month at the Glenview Mansion Gallery in Rockville, MD. “Retrospective 1942- 2012” opens this Sunday, November 4 with a reception from 1:30-3:30pm. The show runs until November 27.  We urge all our blog readers to visit the show, to view over 25 works in pastel, acrylics, watercolor, and collage by this talented local artist.

Read on below for our interview with Bennet. We hope you enjoy! And feel free to ask more questions in our comments section- we will forward them along to Bennet to answer for you.

OPG: When did you first make the switch from pastels to printmaking?

PB:  In 2005 when a friend who is an excellent printmaker encouraged me to try it. When I lifted my first monotype print off the press I was hooked. There is an excitement you get from the surprise of not knowing what you have until the moment of truth- when you lift the print off the plate and turn it face up. I knew then I wanted to explore this magical medium in depth and it became my favorite medium. However, I still do some pastels, particularly on beeswax, acrylics on paper and canvas, as well as watercolors when I travel.

Flower Power by Philip Bennet. Oil-based Monotype, 11 x 15″.

OPG: Why use monotype (over other printmaking mediums)? What draws you to the medium? 

PB: My printmaking is influenced by my early years as a painter. Making a monotype allows me to use a plate much the way you would paint a canvas or apply pastel to paper. You don’t have to cut into the plate to produce shapes or lines. You merely have to use a brush, pallete knife or brayer (a roller) to apply the paint. Also, I can work much faster and more loosely by not having to cut into a plate. I have done a few linocuts which are more labor intensive and often don’t produce the results I am looking for. I prefer intense color and interesting shapes to line work and monotypes allow me the freedom to do this.

OPG: Compared to other printmaking styles, monotypes can be very loose and organic. Explain to our readers your process for monotypes. Why do you choose to switch between oil-based inks and watercolors? How much of a print’s composition is planned before you begin?

PB: I never do an advance sketch. My only planning is choosing my basic color palette. Then I work intuitively. I mix a color and then paint a shape, look at it and decide what the next color shape should be. I add and subtract as I go, using my knowledge of what a good composition should be. At some point the plate may look like total chaos but, over time, I am able to restore structure and compositional interest to the abstract, usually with a focal point and color balance.

Creatures by Philip Bennet. Water-based Monotype, 2005.

I like oil based inks because the colors are very intense and you can print a ghost (second) image over which you can use a second plate to do some overprinting on the same paper. Using lots of water when painting watercolor on Plexiglas or Mylar allows the colors to run and bleed together which often creates unexpected effects that I can exploit further. With watercolor it is easy to create organic (curved) shapes and soft effects by using more or less water.

Sometimes I do a watercolor first printing and then apply oil-based inks in selective spots on an aluminum plate. I print over parts of the watercolor to create lights and darks. I often have printed on the same paper five or six times with oil-based inks to get different effects, but only in selective areas so that the print doesn’t turn to mud.  Professor John Carr, head of the Montgomery College, Rockville campus, printmaking department said in the November 17 issue of the Bethesda Gazette that my “work is very abstract expressionist, a kind of genre of painting or art making that obviously requires a lot of spontaneity, and that so much of printmaking requires just the opposite. I think he’s been very innovative in finding ways to sort of bring that approach back.”

Nebula by Philip Bennet. Water-based Monotype, 2011.

OPG: Although the majority of your prints are abstract, their titles suggest a link to the natural world- Splash, Nebula, Creatures. Is this where you derive your inspiration from? 

PB:  No, because I have no idea what I am going to title my abstracts when I start since I have no idea what they will turn out to look like when I begin. However, I think titles, especially for abstracts, are important in order to give the viewer some frame of reference or context to what he or she is looking at. Consequently, I look at a finished abstract and decide what a viewer might see in it and then think of several possible titles before choosing one. “Splash” and “Creatures” were easy since from the former you could see a descending column of water and from the latter two animals. I titled “Nebula” to create a little mystery and force the viewer to see the cosmos in a different way.

OPG: What artists (past and current) influence your work and artistic aesthetic?

PB: For past abstract artists they would be Sam Francis, Jackson Pollock, and Richard Diebenkorn and for living artists they would be Gerhard Richter and Charlotte Foust.

OPG:  Your retrospective at Glenview Mansion opens this month. In your preparation and planning of the show, did any of your earlier work reignite a desire to print in your former styles/mediums?

PB: Yes. I did use some of my earlier watercolor and acrylic abstracts as ideas for creating some organic, as well as geometric, monotypes for the show. Some of my earlier color combinations also influenced a few of my show abstracts.

OPG: Creativity can be like a river-fast flowing at points, extremely slow at others. How do you combat the constant ebb and flow of creativity-do you have any tricks for creative blocks? How do you stay productive and purposeful in the studio?

PB: Looking at other artists’ art by going to galleries and museums gets my creative juices going. I also collect art books in all mediums and from all parts of the world, which I refer to from time to time to study how paint is applied and texture created. Often I can remember not having enough time to paint because of my love for sports, particularly tennis and hiking, paper work to do, and 7 grandchildren to do things with, but never creative blocks where I say nothing comes to me to paint or print. I think an abstract artist has it easier in dealing with the possibility of an artist’s block because shapes, lines, color, and texture are limitless.

Shells by Philip Bennet. Water-based Monotype.

OPG: What ideas/mediums/themes/projects do you hope to tackle next?

PB: What excites me most about painting is the chance to experiment with different mediums, the combination of mediums, and finding new process directions to pursue. Recently, I have begun to work with black ink only or sepia ink only, which allows me to achieve sharp value changes when using a lot or a little mineral spirits or turpenoid. I can get some effects that look much like an etching or lithograph. There will be two black ink monotypes in my November retrospective. I also intend to integrate collage into my work. Lastly- I intend to do some large acrylic abstracts on canvas using 3” and 4” brushes.

OPG: Complete this sentence: When I’m printing, I feel ______.

PB: When I’m printing, I feel lost in another world. The cares of life recede, time seems to move so fast, and I am totally happy for the experience, even if the painting or print is not as successful as I would like. There is always the challenge to fix what is not working and in the process discover a previously untried solution. Moving in new directions and leaning more as my work evolves is the joy of creating art.

 

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Aquatint, Contemporary, Etching, Gallery Event, Prints, Watercolor, Woodcut

40 Years Together

In honor of our upcoming show, Su-Li Hung and Richard Sloat: 40 Years Together in Art, we asked Richard Sloat to write about his time with Su-Li, and how their partnership has influenced his printmaking. Below, you will find his thoughts- a very personal account of their life together.

A special thanks to Richard for composing and sharing this beautiful and interesting account for our OPG blog and readers! 


“Su-Li Hung & Richard Sloat: 40 Years Together in Art”
by Richard Sloat

Su-Li and I met at the Art Students League in 1971. We were both studying printmaking at the time. I studied basically etching, with Roberto De Lamonica, while Su-Li studied woodcut with Seong Moy. We lived together on the upper West Side near Columbia University. In 1972, we married and spent a year, 1972-73, in Taiwan, Su-Li’s homeland. At the time Taiwan was a beautiful semi-tropical agrarian land with golden rice fields and mist-enwrapped high mountains. Our year was spent traveling the island, painting, for the most part watercolor, landscapes. Su-Li, in later years, developed a wonderful group of Taiwan woodcuts which was published as a book in the 1980’s.

Water Tower World. Cityscape by Richard Sloat, clouds by Su-Li Hung. Woodcut, 1977.

On our return to the United States we actively sought to find a place to live in the Northern Catskill Mountains so we could continue our landscapes. But after a series of misadventures  we tried New York City and immediately found a downtown loft with a fantastic view of the city. From that moment onward citiscape has become one of our major motifs. Su-Li did woodcuts of Taiwan and New York, while I did etchings, mainly of the city. In 1977, inspired by Su-Li’s work, I cut my first woodcut, a citiscape. After cutting an image of the city I became stuck on how to cut a sky in wood. Su-Li, using both the knots and grain of the wood, cut a moving sky to complete the work.

Passion Fruits, Little Boy, and Geese. By Su-Li Hung. Color woodcut, undated.

In 1977, our son Benjamin was born. When he was only eight months old we returned to Taiwan. This time we spent over a year and a half living in a mountain area that bordered Taipei. We literally lived in and with the clouds. It was three months before I could clearly see the top of the mountain we lived on. I started a series of Taiwan mountain woodcuts. Su-Li continued her Taiwan woodcuts, even while mothering Ben. As a matter of fact, Ben became a frequent subject for her woodcuts.

Spring Birds. By Su-Li Hung. Color woodcut, 1981.

Returning to the United States we somehow landed in a brownstone apartment just a few doors down from our old loft building. This area was the old Jewish Lower East Side. Over the years we lived there, this section became the easternmost part of Chinatown. It has changed now to the LES, with galleries and wine bars.  In the 1980’s we became active bird watchers. New York City and environs is a surprisingly good area to see birds. Su-Li did a large number of naturalist bird woodcuts that she also used to illustrate her articles for Taiwanese newspapers and magazines. Su-Li is a prolific and well-known essayist, poet, and writer in Taiwan. My prints in the 1980’s were largely geometrically abstracted citiscapes. In the late 1980’s I continued the Taiwan mountain woodcut series. This time, after short visits to the island, the images were cut from memory.

Mountain Light. Richard Sloat. Watercolor, 1990.

In the 1990’s our work further evolved. I returned to etching, and with a conscious effort was able to recapture and develop my citiscape aquatint style of the 1970’s. Su-Li has developed an abstract design style of woodcut that uses repeating patterns of building windows. Our son studied at Berkeley and now teaches at The Art Institute of Boston. In 1993, it was he who encouraged us to move uptown to the East Village. As we had in our loft of the 1970’s, our new apartment has a fascinating panoramic view of the city.

Round Midnight. By Richard Sloat. Etching, 2004.

In reflecting back on our forty years together as artists it would seem that the main benefit has been one of mutual support. It has been very worthwhile to have a practiced eye and knowledgeable opinion to turn to when stuck or doubtful on a piece of artwork or just to reflect where things are going. When putting together a group of images for presentation a second opinion has been valuable. In addition we’ve helped each other, so many times, in getting venues to show our work. Though our bios are diverse, there are numerous points of commonality. We’ve been in dozens of two-person and group shows together, and we are in many of the same public collections. There have been times, even years, when one of us has gone off in an artistic direction not appreciated or understood by the other. This can be trying but also can be lived with, for underneath lies a mutual respect. Living with someone who knows and loves art, and can show you the world through their artistic eyes, this everyday living is of the deepest essence.

To see the prints selected for the show 40 Years Together in Art, click here.

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Contemporary, Early 20th Century, Etching, Lithograph, Oil Painting, Serigraph, Silver Gelatin Print, Watercolor, Woodcut

Online Summer Shows at the Old Print Shop- Pt. 2

Our NYC sister shop, the Old Print Shop, has three fantastic summer shows going on right now. We encourage all New York City residents to stop by their shop and view these impressive shows. For those living outside the 10016 zip code, you can view all three summer shows  online, through their exhibition tab on their website.  Below is a preview of one of their shows, City Heat.

Sunset Whispers. By Richard Sloat. Watercolor, 2005-6.

City Heat:

New York City is a fascinating place to be, especially in the summer. The bitter cold of winter has passed, the plant life has returned and the concrete jungle is transformed once more into the hot, sticky, tourist-filled place it’s known to be. Sites are seen, rides are ridden and gridlock fills the air with noise. Explore New York like you never have before – through the eyes of its artists.

Welcome to the City Heat exhibition. Welcome to New York in the summer.

Bowery. By Su-Li Hung. Woodcut, 1997.

Summer Night. By Harry Brodsky. Lithograph, c.1950.

City Children, The Drum. By Rae Russel. Vintage silver gelatin print, 1950.

Metropolis. By Richard Florsheim. Serigraph, 1979.

Central Park Summer. By Clare Romano. Color woodcut, 1957.

The Heart of Coney Island. By Alan Petrulis. Etching, 2005.

Metro. By Michael DiCerbo. Acrylic and watercolor on canvas, 1999.

To view City Heat online, click here. We blogged about The Art of Sporting exhibit yesterday, and it can be viewed here. Make sure to tune in later in the week for information about their third summer exhibit!

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Contemporary, Early 20th Century, Gallery Event, Linocut, Lithograph, Prints, Watercolor, Woodcut

Online Summer Shows at the Old Print Shop- Pt. 1

Our summer show, Water, is currently on view on the Old Print Gallery walls. But for those out-of-town readers and vacation travellers, our NYC sister shop, the Old Print Shop, has three fantastic summer shows going on right now. Better yet, you can view them all online, through their online exhibition tab on their website.  Below is a preview of one of their shows, The Art of Sporting.

Fast Start. By Emily Trueblood. Linocut, 2001.

The Art of Sporting:

Ready. Set. Go! Sports have been an important part of society for countless centuries. Some were created simply for fun while others evolved out of necessity, such was the nature of archery, for example. And with the Olympics now upon us, we are reminded of the many sports our world enjoys. From swimming to skiing and horse racing to boxing, there is a bit of everything for everyone. So get yourself ready, gear up for the gold and race out to meet your destiny… or at least our web show.

Tennis. By George Bellows. Lithograph, 1920.

Baseball. By John Ross. Two color woodcut, 1960.

Polo Players. By Louis Schanker. Woodcut, 1940.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dribbling. By Joseph Golinkin. Watercolor, c.1960.

 

To view the exhibit online, click here. We will reveal their other two summer shows later in the week, so check back soon!

 

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