No we haven't fallen off the perch, just flew the coop for a couple of months to visit friends and family located along the East Coast of the good ol' U.S. of A. We enjoyed long, leisurely hours reminiscing about days gone by and had plenty of time to peruse the fine art displayed in museums and commercial galleries located in Boston, New York City, Washington D.C., Charleston, Atlanta, Palm Beach and towns in-between.
At the Axelle Fine Arts Galerie in Boston we enjoyed oil paintings by French artist Philippe Charles Jacquet. These mysterious images of a small boat drifting towards different surreal headlands changed their mood and meanings when the gallery attendant dimmed or brightened the lights aimed at each exhibit. Then, in the Pucker Gallery, we fell in love with the stone carvings of walrus, seal, bear and bird by contemporary Inuit artists.
The neon City of New York offered the Guggenheim, a spiral building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright that displays the best of contemporary work, while the Met provided galleries filled with prints, paintings, working drawings, collages and film clips representative of modern art's journey from Monet to Miro. We tipped our caps to Rodin's Balzac but it was the room full of Brancusi sculptures that had me holding my breath.
The National Art Museum in Washington DC provided a happy history tour of works from the Renaissance to the Romantics and more. Then, in an area south of the capital, we ambled through an old warehouse that hosted a gaggle of small artists' studios, each offering a variety of exciting examples of contemporary practice. It was hard to choose which structure housed the most interesting exhibits!
A friend who publishes an art magazine in South Carolina was our tour guide through Charleston, the cradle of the Civil War, so we got to see the best of the best. I found the staff in most galleries welcoming and prepared to assist the viewer's experience, rather then just look up from their 'work' to coolly assess a potential client. It may only be an example of 'Southern Hospitality' but it's good for business. Having seen her work in The Sylvan Gallery, we were delighted to met the nationally acclaimed painter, Rhett Thurman, an artist who captures her subject's light and colour, in both oil and watercolour, with an alacrity that reflects her own inner spirit. Beautiful work by a beautiful person.
Atlanta burned bright with its fantastic Art & Craft Fair that hosted local and interstate practitioners offering all kinds of wonderful temptations ranging from small silver pendants to life-size bronze sculptures. Four city blocks hosted stalls displaying creative glasswork, jewelry, wood carving, photography, drawings, paintings, prints, textiles and ceramic ware. It was heaven in the streets. But it was the figurative sculptures by Nnamdi Okonkwo that stopped us in our tracks. He has exhibited around the US and in Japan, and we sincerely hope one day he will bring his work to Western Australia.
Gallery Biba and Habitat Galleries, both located in southern Florida, offered a range of works by Dale Chihuly. We would have purchased at least a dozen but they wouldn't fit in our luggage!!! Thankfully the memory of their beauty and wonder lingers in the eye and mind.
We did bring home three small original works to frame and hang in our own home, all were gifts. One is a pen and ink sketch of a charming seascape executed while the artist and I we were talking in his studio/gallery on the Florida coast. Another ink drawing was done by a friend in Virginia, who once lived in Africa. It depicts a seated woman wearing a wrap of the most intricate pattern of black and white. The third, and most precious, is a pencil and ink wash sketch of an elegant lady with hands on hip, wearing a sleek yet feminine evening dress. It was drawn, and signed with her maiden name, by my mother when she was a young woman studying fashion design in New York in the late 1920's.
It was a trip to remember as it rekindled old memories and created new ones. It also confirmed my opinion that the art scene in Western Australia is in good health and can hold his own in any State of the U.S.
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