Saturday, May 19, 2007

Realism/Abstraction and Lisa

I thought I'd give myself a mini-exhibit called Realism/Abstraction. Is Gerhard Richter the only artist who can get away with this? Because I really had fun doing the abstract.
I had my dealer over for dinner last night. I suppose she isn't technically my dealer because she doesn't own the gallery, but she is the Gallery Director and, next to Tom, one of the most important people in my life. We met ten years ago when I first took my work into the gallery. I had been in a few times and had an impression of her as a very tough, intense, somewhat scary person. At that time the gallery was a couple of notches above the places I had been showing, but I thought I would give it a shot. The owner wasn't very excited about me or my work (he has since changed that view) but Lisa seemed to connect with my work immediately and morphed into the picture of gentleness and sweetness as we sat and talked and looked over the paintings I had brought with me. That was a whole decade ago. Since then she has sold more work for me than I would have thought possible and tripled my prices along the way. And we have formed a very deep bond - the more unusual because although we are women of almost the same age (I am a year or two older) we are almost complete opposites. Had we gone to the same high school we would never have met: I was an artistic intellectual, she was a super jock; if we had somehow become acquainted I am sure we would have found each other utterly baffling. When we were both young women living in New York City we actually lived within blocks of each other in alphabet city, we probably passed each other on the street. I was going to the Art Students League: drawing my skeleton in the morning, painting in the afternoon, working in the Carnegie Hall coatroom at night (I still shudder to think how many expensive hats and coats I ruined...) thinking and dreaming about painting all day and all night. Lisa was working in the fashion industry setting sales records and dancing at Studio 54 'til the sun came up (she is a fabulous dancer). We live near each other again here in Vermont. I live with Tom and our dog and a lot of quiet; I think and dream about painting all day and all night. Lisa lives with her husband, three teenage boys (her son and two stepsons), lots of animals and lots of noise. And she gets my work like no one but Tom and makes a place for it in the world.
I really wondered what she would think of the abstract. The gallery is very, very conservative and shows nothing but realism - tight realism. I set it out casually in the living room, leaning against a bookshelf, and waited to see if she would notice. She did. She loved it, loved it, loved it, wants it in the gallery, wants to sell it. Thanks Lisa.


painterdog said...

Hello Elizabeth
I just read your comments on Ed Winkleman's blog.

Good point about the cost and affect of the art auction world on an artist such as yourself.

Being that your a realist figurative painter and not really part of the world that Mr. Winkleman is involved in, don't you think that what goes on in New York art auctions has no baring what so ever on how artists sell there work or the prices that they get?

I would also think that the gallery that Winkleman runs is not raising the prices just yet.

Winkleman's gallery is very post-modern in what they sell, he seems like a nice chap, very approachable and all. But don't you think the kind of painting you, Tom or anyone who studied with Frank does is very much in a different camp to the kind of 'art' on sees in a gallery such as Winkleman's?

I am interested in your thoughts on another interesting aspect of the current realist movement.

I am sure you have noticed that there is this new interest in realist painting and that there is a lot of attention being given to people who have studied with Jacob Collins or have gone to the Florance Academy of Art.

If you look at a gallery such a John Pence almost all the artist he is dealing with now have studied with Collins of have been to the Florance Academy or both.

On another note the work looks great. The seascape is so simple and has a lot of real depth to it.

Elizabeth Torak said...

Yes, absolutely, I just don't think there is any connection between what goes on in the New York auctions and what goes on in my corner of the art world. I'd like to think that there is spill over or trickle-down, or something, but I just don't see it. It is far more likely that someone like Mr. Winkleman would see some effect because he could make the argument that his artists are the next Big Thing. As you says, he seems like a very nice chap; I enjoy his blog and wish him well - but I certainly do not harbor any illusions that my work is even remotely on the same artistic ground as the artists he represents.