Abstract, Contemporary, Gallery Event, Gallery Opening Receptions, Gallery Openings, Gallery Updates, Landscapes, Lithograph, Mezzotint, Oil Painting, Pencil Drawing, Prints

Robert Kipniss. “Poetry of Art: Paintings, Drawings and Prints”

Forest murmurs. Robert Kipniss. Mezzotint, 2010. Image size 14 5/16 x 19 3/8" (363 x 493 mm). Edition 50.

Forest murmurs. Robert Kipniss. Mezzotint, 2010. Image size 14 5/16 x 19 3/8″ (363 x 493 mm). Edition 50.

Robert Kipniss.

Poetry of Art: Paintings, Drawings and Prints

Exhibition: October 18 through November 22, 2014.
Artist’s Reception: Thursday Night, October 23, 2014 4:30- 7pm

The Old Print Shop (our NYC partner gallery) is proud to present a new contemporary exhibit of over 30 recent works by Robert Kipniss. The exhibit opens today, and runs through late November. On view are paintings, prints, drawings, and poetry by this exceptional artist. Please make a point to stop by the NY gallery to see the show in person, or attend the Artist’s Reception next Thursday, October 23, from 4:30 to 7:00pm at the 152 Lexington Avenue gallery.

And on the Hill, Two Trees. Robert Kipniss. Oil on canvas, 2013. Canvas size 30 x 40" (76.2 x 101.6 cm).

And on the Hill, Two Trees. Robert Kipniss. Oil on canvas, 2013. Canvas size 30 x 40″ (76.2 x 101.6 cm).

Robert Kipniss – Painter, Printmaker, and Poet – was born in Brooklyn, NY, in 1931. In 1936, his family moved to Laurelton, New York, where he discovered the pleasure of being in the woods. His early love of the forest continues to this day in his images. He is often inviting the viewer into his private woods. In 1947, he took Saturday classes at the Art Students League and the next year he left for Wittenberg College (now University) in Springfield, Ohio. While at Wittenberg, he began to write poetry. By 1950, his passion was poetry, and he decided to major in literature and transferred to the University of Iowa. At the University of Iowa he took his first formal painting classes. In 1951 he entered a painting competition in New York City and was awarded his first one-artist show at the Joe Gans Gallery on 57th Street.  Kipniss has had over 180 one-artist shows since his first in 1951.

Window w/Curtain & Hill. Robert Kipniss. Oil on canvas, 2013. Canvas size 36 x 25" (91.5 x 63.5 cm).

Window w/Curtain & Hill. Robert Kipniss. Oil on canvas, 2013. Canvas size 36 x 25″ (91.5 x 63.5 cm).

In 1950, Kipniss made the decision that he was going to be a poet and a painter; however, life’s many turns often modify decisions made early in life. In 1961 he was working for the post office, painting, writing poetry, and supporting a family. Something had to give, so he made the decision to continue as a painter and support his family, which meant that he would stop writing poetry. The change was profound for his work to this day. His paintings and later his prints became poetic, mysterious, and inviting.

Trees, a composition. Robert Kipniss. Mezzotint, 2014. Image size 9 1/2 x 11 1/2" (235 x 295 mm). Edition 30.

Trees, a composition. Robert Kipniss. Mezzotint, 2014. Image size 9 1/2 x 11 1/2″ (235 x 295 mm). Edition 30.

He made his first prints, drypoints, in 1967. In 1968 he discovered lithography and connected to that form of printmaking for the next twenty-two years. Working with the master printers at George C. Miller in New York, he produced over 400 lithographic images. After Miller closed, he went back to intaglio, producing primarily mezzotints with an occasional drypoint.

Kipniss paintings and prints are in over seventy-five museums worldwide and many private collections. He is a member of the National Academy in New York, The Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers in London, The Society of American Graphic Artists, and the Century Association.

Eaves with Dark Window. Robert Kipniss. Pencil drawing on mylar, 1990. Image size 13 1/2 x 13 1/2" (343 x 343 mm).

Eaves with Dark Window. Robert Kipniss. Pencil drawing on mylar, 1990. Image size 13 1/2 x 13 1/2″ (343 x 343 mm).

Afternoon Breezes. Robert Kipniss. Pencil drawing, 2010. Image size 14 15/16 x 16 1/4" (380 x 420 mm).

Afternoon Breezes. Robert Kipniss. Pencil drawing, 2010. Image size 14 15/16 x 16 1/4″ (380 x 420 mm).

Contemporary, Gallery Updates, Monotype, Oil Painting, Prints

Philip Bennet Exhibit at Bethesda Library

Philip Bennet 2

Looking for something to do this weekend? Local DC artist and friend of the Old Print Gallery, Philip Bennet, has a one-person exhibit of paintings on view now at the Bethesda Library. Eight acrylic paintings on canvas and two monotypes by Bennet span across the library walls, while four glass cases hold two paintings each.  There are also two display cases that hold several plates he used to produce his monotypes (they show residue of colorful oil-based inks) as well as his sketch book, open to a beautiful abstract watercolor.

Philip BennetThis is really a great exhibit, which not only displays attractive paintings, but also explores the stages (sketches, plates, and the final artwork) of Philip Bennet’s creative process.

The exhibit is open 7 days a week, through the month of December, with the exception of December 25th.

Library Hours:  Monday-Thursday 9AM-9PM, Friday-Saturday 10AM-6PM, Sunday 12PM-5PM.

Library Address: 7400 Arlington Road, Bethesda, MD 20814

Website: http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/library/branches/bethesda.html

For more information on Philip Bennet, read his Printmaker Q&A featured on the OPG Blog last November!

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.


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!

Contemporary, Early 20th Century, Lithograph, Oil Painting, Past/Present, Prints

Past/Present: Cherry Blossoms

In honor of our new gallery show which opens today, BLOSSOM DC, we present a cherry-blossom themed Past/Present post. This year marks the 100-year anniversary of the gift of cherry trees from Japan to Washington, D.C. The first two cherry trees were planted by then-First Lady Helen Taft and Viscountess Chinda along the banks of the tidal basin, and have since flourished, drawing a huge crowd to the DC area every spring for the National Cherry Blossom Festival. In honor of the centennial, we planned a blossom-themed spring show, featuring 18 prints by contemporary printmakers and some early 20th century artists. Many of the prints selected are from our local DC printmaking community- Susan Goldman, Marti Patchell, Philip Bennet, Erwin Thamm, and Marian Osher ( to name just a few). The work featured below includes an oil painting by Su-Li Hung, a highlight from BLOSSOM DC, and an early 1829 lithograph from Nathaniel Wallich’s “Plantae Asiaticae Rariores.” Hope you enjoy!

Image on Left: Cerasus puddum. [Cherry]. Plate 143.  by Nathaniel  Wallich. Published by Englemann, Graf, Coindet & Co. From Nathaniel Wallich’s “Plantae Asiaticae Rariores.” Lithograph, 1829-32.

Image on Right: Taiwan Cherry Tree by Su-Li Hung. Oil on canvas, 2009-10.