Edel Stuehmke has had a tough couple of years; she lost her husband, and broke two of her limbs. She is ninety years old. It didn’t deter Tad Sudol from continuing to remind her “the exhibition is in four weeks, and it doesn’t matter how big, but you have to do something.”
Stuehmke was later heard saying that it is because of Sudol that she is still painting. Thanks to Sudol’s haranguing, she had a solo exhibition at the Octagon recently with family from all over the country arriving to celebrate her art. If you want to catch a glimpse of her work, she is also a part of the new group exhibition of the Roosevelt Island Visual Arts Association at Gallery RIVAA at 527 Main St.
RIVAA’s Transitions exhibit is one of the annual group shows the organization holds in their gallery. It incorporates works from most of their members and the occasional non-member, as in the case of outside artist Dinu Mitroiu, who uses pieces of wood for his Dali-esque paintings adding to the extreme detailing in his work.
This year, the show features works by 39 artists, from large works like that of Laura Hussey who paints with Greek motifs and palette after spending several years in Greece, to various small works including photography, sculptures, and installations.
One of the interesting works is a photography-installation piece by Piotr Olszewski who frames photographs with various materials to bring the viewer into his artistic world.
Other artists include: Rachel Garrick with oil paintings; Toshiko Kitano Groner, who has been a member of RIVAA from its inception in 2001, and her modern art works; Georgette Sinclair and her wonderful, high quality landscapes; Alex Movshovich’s photographs; Eunkyoung Park who works with Korean traditional paper and natural pigment ink; Ioan Popoiu, a long time member who usually brings large works, but this time concentrated on photography; Esther Piaskowski, who is the Vice President of RIVAA and both a photographer and painter; as well as a Victoria Thorson sculpture.
One of the interesting stories embodied in the show is that of Anthony Moran. Moran, who is in a wheelchair and taught himself to paint with his left hand after losing the ability to use his right, recently began to paint from his photographs. After traditionally painting women, several landscapes painted from his photographs have been purchased by loyal followers, one of whom is an eight-year-old boy.
During last summer’s group exhibit, a young boy who had been following Moran’s works and had already started a collection of them by purchasing two of them earlier that year, bargained for the third. The artist agreed to cut the price of his work by half to allow this young collector to purchase his favorite piece.
It is these stories that allow RIVAA not only to promote the expansiveness of art, but also the expression of heart and soul.