Untold Stories: Anita Loomis and Alexandra Rozenman
This fall in the main gallery, we are exhibiting the work of core artists Anita Loomis and Alexandra Rozenman. Their show, Untold Stories, runs from August 29th through September 30th. There will be an opening reception on Friday, September 7th from 6-8 p.m., an artists talk Saturday, September 15th from 2-3 p.m., and a closing reception on Sunday, September 30th from 4-6 p.m. In this post, the artists share a bit about the theme of the show and their work.
The theme for Untold Stories began with my admiration of Alexandra Rozenman's work. The paintings from her "Blind Date" series are some of the most creative, devilishly humorous, and thought provoking paintings I’ve seen. My past paintings are mostly playful and decidedly abstract, but I had recently taken to the idea of painting in a more representational manner. I wanted to push myself to work outside my normal comfort zone. At first, it was difficult to find a common thread between our painting styles and subject matter; the only thing we seemed to have in common was that we both represented interior spaces and furniture in many of our works. From there, we noticed that we both had our own way of expressing narratives about life, and so came to agree that the title of Untold Stories was very fitting for the work we intended to exhibit.
The theme offered me a chance to share a view of the challenges and situations that cross my path daily. On reflection, I cannot be the only 50-something who wrestles with technology on a daily basis. Specifically, in the painting "Sophisticated" I show how clumsy I feel trying to bumble my way around a smart phone. Continuing on, being middle-aged, I notice things about my behavior and the behavior of others that I find interesting and amusing. Life throws some serious stuff our way, and I think it’s important to remember to take ourselves a little less seriously now and then.
I am a narrative artist and often use historical references in my work. I am especially interested in people’s lives within a frame of time, and enjoy shifting things around in my visual stories. I also often paint funny paintings.
In planning this show, one of Anita's paintings caught my eye. It was a painting of a playful interior with a dog, a bright couch and a pair of legs, and we were not supposed to know whose legs. I realized that we both work with the idea of the interiors and exteriors, places with open or closed doors, open or closed windows, and furniture. At that time I just finished my painting “Before Bella’s Birthday.” It is a painting referencing Marc Chagall’s famous painting “Bella’s Birthday.” It is funny, colorful and has doors, windows, and furniture.
Since I had worked with a theme of specific objects before, I knew that once Anita and I started looking together there would be a lot to discover. I found the following quote about furniture (or is it about people?) in “Living with a Wild God” book by Barbara Ehrenreich:
“Without people around, furniture has nothing to do but bear witness to the structural inadequacies of the human body: How much padding, cushioning, embracing, enfolding, and supporting we had needed just to stumble about through our days!”
In other words, furniture took us out of the door into some dark places which we both have never been before, and by working an on-going painting we ended up with a much more open theme: Stories. But which stories? Who’s stories?
In Untold Stories, we hope viewers read into the paintings. Look carefully, ask questions, notice details, and read the titles of the paintings. It will be fun!