(HUDSON, N.Y.) – Solo exhibitions of lithographs by Theodore Roszak and sculptures by Bruce Gagnier go on view at John Davis Gallery (362½ Warren St.) on Thursday, November 6, 2014, and will remain on view through November 30. There will be a reception for the shows on Saturday, November 15, from 6 to 8pm. Anne MacDougall, curator of the solo exhibition of lithographs from the estate of Theodore Roszak in the Main Galleries, will be in attendance.
According to an informal biography written by Theodore Roszak’s daughter, Sara Jane Roszak, her father, who was born in 1907 and died in 1981, drew every day of his life. “As a young child in Chicago he drew at the kitchen table. When he was ten he won a citywide competition for his drawing of a fire engine. It was pair of ice skates. This was a very big deal for a poor kid who was already working to make money for the family. By the time he was fourteen he was drawing after school at the Art Institute of Chicago and by the time he was sixteen he was a full time student there majoring in painting.”
Sara Jane continues, “The lithographs were done during two different specific time frames. The early lithos date from 1928 to 1934. The ones from the 1920s were while he was in school. Black litho pencil portraits or scenes that tell a story, somewhat symbolic, romantic, polish peasant types, a painter, a musician, the botanist, his sister. Character and personality acutely observed and defined. Then there were three years of traveling scholarships from the Art Institute, one year traveling in America and then two years traveling and painting in Europe.
“Upon returning to New York he set up his studio in Staten Island. He had his own press and continued making prints for the next few years. Europe changed him. The work was now more cubist and experimental. The figures are geometric, the landscape abstract, reflecting his exposure to the modernist ideas that were the rage in Paris and Prague. As always, he drew constantly.
“By 1934 his visual vocabulary had expanded to include photograms, abstract paintings, constructions made from machined wood, metal and plastic and wire. Lithography was left behind. He learned to weld making planes for the war effort. By the mid 1940s he was committed to making welded sculpture. He still drew 4 hours a day.
“It was not until the early 1970s that he resumed doing lithographs. Diminished by having suffered several heart attacks, he could no longer sustain the physical demands of the welding process. He now drew full time. He did a series of lithos to complement the visionary ideas he was preoccupied with: political satire, surrealistic outer space fantasies, lyric heads, erotic adventures, romantic landscapes. Whatever he thought about he drew. Some are seductively beautiful others are simply disturbing. They are the brackets that enclose the work of an artist with an extraordinary imagination whose life was characterized by his passion for drawing.”
Of his works going on display in the Sculpture Garden, Bruce Gagnier writes, “I look at the clay, yes, but more through it toward a possible image of a figure; one that is a variant and not me. The material, a necessity, must fuse with the person it describes. The tools and my hands leave traces, and even more so the moving around and re-arranging of pieces of the material (many of which contain the details) leave the remains of a story about work. This record; of my looking for – on the skin of what appears as another human should be seen as part of the particular terms of the culture of modeling, and in my case a hybrid: collage/modeling. The arrangement of material exceeds and sometimes only approximates. What is left over – the shaping that is outside the normative figure is not a form of style but the remains of many changes marking a movement toward the emergence of the other person.”
Gallery hours are Thursday through Monday, 10am till 5pm.