Previews of Exhibitions at the Gildea Gallery

by Kirby Congdon…….

The Gildea Gallery has been promoting solid work by experienced painters and sculptors. We have now three distinctive artists this season in a joint show opening on December 11th, 6 to 8 p.m.

Suzanne Donazetti works on copper, putting a subtle wave vertically on her sheet of metal juxtaposing her control over this shape with a vast checkerboard of small squares each one tinted in overall patterns of closely related tones. The three-dimensional effect not only gives depth to the surface but gives it the feeling of life, similar to a close-up of the surface of a living fish with the light glancing off its scales. The immediate reaction is that a machine has repeated a tiny still-life until a closer look pulls one unrelentingly into other dimensions beyond the viewer’s expectations. At the Waxlander Gallery in Santa Fe, a private room there honors her work.

Robert Baras, having enrolled in New York City’s School of Visual Art, was influenced by his peers, Jasper Johns, Robert Motherwell, Marsden Hartley and De Kooning. His work relies on a soft flat coloring that is balanced by economic silhouettes that exploit shapes from leaves to that of a woman, all in black, striding purposefully through a background consisting only of a deliberate shade of blue.

A tour de force is a pale blue stand of saplings behind which lies a female nude, prone, whose coloring reflects a pale, flesh-colored sky beyond her, interrupted by a jet black featureless lawn that has no horizon. One could say that the viewer of Mr. Baras‘ work is entrapped by the bizarre simplicity of his vision One almost has to make an effort to free oneself from the monumentality of its overall timelessness.

Referring earlier to painting on copper, aluminum also seems unusual. Does canvas wear out from people looking at it over the centuries? All right. Let this writer go on. Darren Jones’ show of his very latest work is in itself provocative, enhancing the familiar, renewing reality. Jones is a professional adviser and critic for universities, institutions and publications across the United States, promoting contemporary ideas in the art world. He is also an artist himself. His stunning show of real things removed from their normal environment also shows us an example of a new technology. This is the reproduction of an original drawing on a sheet of aluminum, in ink rather than dye. The result is an accurate copy of the original but the light on its surface becomes enhanced through an invisible film facing the viewer, giving an extra life to the painting itself as well. One wants to touch the picture. Let me close with the remark that Mr. Jones’ new show is already, as I say, a provocative one.

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Kirby Congdon
Kirby Congdon found his calling in the time of the Beat Movement, his poems being published by the New York Times, The New York Herald Tribune and the Christian Science Monitor as well as countless small-press outlets. While influenced by the assertive stance of a new generation in literature, he preferred to set aside the spontaneous approach of his friends and use his work as an exploratory tool in establishing the new identity of his times as well as that of his own maturation. This search was incorporated in 300 works which were compiled in a bibliography by a Dean of the English Department at Long Island University in his retirement and made available in hard-back with an extensive addenda by the literary activists of Presa Press through their skills achieved from the University of Michigan and their own experience which commands a movement in itself of contemporary literary action.

Congdon’s work in poetry covers innumerable treatments of countless subjects in single poems, long treatments on a subject, and many collections of both serious thought and imagination through not only the poetry but through essays, plays and ruminations. Named the first poet laureate of Key West, he received a standing ovation for his reading honoring this position and was the featured poet in a festival celebrating Frank O’Hara in the New York region. He was also asked to read his work as well as give a talk on the country’s national poet laureate, Richard Wilbur, at a seminar honoring that man. Currently, Congdon is working on an autobiography and a collection of complete poems.

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