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Saturday, June 10, 2023

Armory Art Center: New Shows and New Salons

The Armory Art Center in West Palm Beach will Feature New Shows and New Salons in 2016 with Major National Exhibition of Contemporary Clay and Ceramic Works - by Sandra Schulman arts writer, music and film producer.

The Armory Art Center in West Palm has a new ceramic show and recently held an Art Salon Talk with the artists involved. Art dynamo Elle Schorr plans the talks, and has a full slate already scheduled for next year.

The current show, “Ceramic Mind Field: Contemporary Clay & Ceramics”, is a major national exhibition of contemporary clay and ceramic works, three contemporary artists  – Muriel Kaplan, Mark Walnock, and Stephen Futej – discussed their ways of working and their influences.

Kaplan began to teach sculpture at the Armory Art Center in 1978, when it was first starting out, and later served on the board of directors and initiated the Master Artists program at the school. The Armory Art Center named their sculpture / ceramics building after her to thank her for her many contributions.

She studied mythology with Joseph Campbell and also welding at Cornell University, where she received a BA in Psychology in 1946. She earned her Master’s degree in Sculpture and Mythology at Sarah Lawrence College in 1961. She creates drawings and paintings, in many mediums, and sculptures, both reliefs and in the round, mostly in terra-cotta and then cast in bronze. She works both on commission and “for my own pleasure when inspired by personal, philosophical or political subjects”.

[su_pullquote align=”right”]”The Armory Art Center is a high-quality visual art school and exhibition center, housed in an historic Art Deco building.”[/su_pullquote]

Walnock is the Director of Ceramics at the Armory Art Center. He states “My work is based on different growth processes in nature. The pieces depict imagined developing scenarios in which extensions are formed, or are in the process of being formed off of a stationary host. These living hosts can be protected by spikes or scales. Some hosts take shape as root systems or animal parts from land or the sea. The idea of protection through clustering and the persistence for survival in nature are my main themes. I admire nature’s ability to grow under any harsh conditions and to rarely be held back. My pieces begin to reflect a self portrait as the growth inside them is silent, subtle, and ongoing. I attempt to direct the viewer to focus on these generally unnoticed events in order for them to contemplate their own personal growth scenarios. Metal or bronze as an outer layer places a protective “shell” over the piece and avoids a too immediate recognition.”

He graduated from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA earning a BA, with honors, in ceramics. He has worked as an instructor and studio manager for various arts organizations, and has been an artist in residence at the Long Beach Island Foundation and the Vermont Studio Center. He has exhibited his work nationwide and at invitational shows in London and Japan.

Futej’s work combines discarded clay and degraded construction materials, he says, ” to devise a role reversal of space and form, giving a visual accounting of temporary spaces defined by curved planes. These spatial records are regarded as temporal, and can be interpreted as snapshots or fossils that allude to cycles of disintegration and reconfiguration occurring on varied scales. Ultimately they refer to the quest for understanding of the Higgs boson and dark matter, which comprises as much as eighty percent of the universe. There is also a philosophical parallel at work; the concepts of yin and yang relate directly to the mold/positive relationship, and are essential to experiencing Tao, the all-pervading, eternally nameless underlying order.”

Futej is the former Sculpture Department Director of the Armory Art Center, where he developed curriculum in clay sculpture, welding and metals, stone carving, and glass and bronze casting and was an Armory Artist in Residence. He is now an adjunct professor at Florida Atlantic University.

On January 5th, 2016, Schorr presented the Third Annual “Basel Through Our Eyes”, where myself, Schorr and Terre Rybovich talked about our adventures during Art Fair Week in Miami.

She says in her press release: “We came, we looked, we each curated our own personal collection of favorite Miami Art Week / Art Basel / Art Fair works of art. Each of us was drawn to different locations and to different works. We found connections to the kinds of work we do, or inspirations for new directions, new techniques, new materials, new ideas. One thing is for sure – no one saw it all.  Terre Rybovich, Sandra Schulman and Elle Schorr are joining together to share the work that was most meaningful to each of us.”

Rybovich has drawn all her life. After a career in social activism, she returned to charcoal and paper with a new way of working, drawing “backward”, removing charcoal from paper with her body. The initial imprints were so dense with stories that she let them guide the drawings’ completion. That openness, plus years of figure drawing, generated a new art practice of subtlety. Her new work often incorporates nature and embodies her view that separation is an illusion. She says, “Prizing our individuality, we too often overlook our interconnectedness. My activism forged an enduring commitment to this world. It also instilled a courageous drive that I’m now channeling into art-making. I’m a daughter of Tommie Rybovich, noted boat designer and builder, and an heir to his self-guided vision and ambition for the work. It has been gratifying to have my work in the Drawing Center’s slide registry in New York since 2004.”

This year during Miami Art Week, Terre was an artist on a mission, looking at works on paper and galleries that seem like a good home for her work. Despite the traffic, she made it to Miami Project/Works on Paper, Pulse and Art Basel, and will share some of what she found.

Walter Robinson 1984 by Peter Bellamy
Walter Robinson 1984 by Peter Bellamy

I’ll be speaking about the book signing I did with NY artist Walter Robinson who exhibited at Larry Gagosian’s Unrealism show in the Design District and contributed to my new book “Spiritual America The Catalog 1983 – 1984″, the story about the gallery I co-directed at 5 Rivington Street, NY. That gallery first exhibited Richard Prince’s controversial Spiritual America photo along with early work by Jeff Koons, Cindy Sherman, Louise Lawler, Walter Robinson, Sarah Charlesworth, and others.

I’ve currently been working as gallery director for the largest of the 9 venues for “100 + Degrees In The Shade”, a definitive survey exhibition of South Florida Art curated by Jane Hart, with over 170 participants, which taking place in Miami and Broward Counties. I wrote one of the three texts for the full color, hardcover 220 page book of that exhibition.  I’ll share my experiences at 3900 N Miami Avenue, the exhibition space I am managing, as well as other spaces for 100+ in the Shade and other Art Galleries and shows I found most interesting.

Elle Schorr has been exploring the world through a camera all of her adult life and has always been excited by contemporary art, architecture and the power of photography. She is now working to capture the transitory energy of the urban environment and shows her work widely. Her work was chosen in 2009 and 2013 for the “Annual Juried All Florida Exhibition” at the Boca Raton Museum, and can be seen in the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood Juried Biennial, at ARTHouse 429 in Northwood, and Project Fine Art in Fort Lauderdale.

Elle created and leads the Art Salons at the Armory Art Center. She recently curated “Artists of Art Salon: A Collective Dialogue”, which showed the work of 57 South Florida artists who have given presentations at Art Salons over the past three years. She stays in Miami every year for Art Basel, and this year decided to focus on respected South Florida artists who are showing their work, and the galleries, studios and special exhibition spaces where their work is being shown.

The talk will be held at The Armory Art Center, 1700 Parker Avenue in West Palm Beach. More information here: www.armoryart.org.

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