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Ellen Steinfeld (b. 1945), Dancer 4, 2012; steel, pigment, 39 x 17 x 12 inches; Courtesy of the Artist

Suspended Motion: Sculptures and Watercolors by Ellen Steinfeld

On View Friday, February 8–Sunday, July 28, 2013

Charles Cary Rumsey Gallery   Sylvia L. Rosen Gallery for Fine Art in Craft Media  

Fascinated with dance and motion, Ellen Steinfeld, over the course of her career, has created dramatic works in different media to reflect life at its most stirring and capricious moments. This exhibition presents Steinfeld’s recent sculptures in concert with her watercolor paintings. Music and movement inform her sense of rhythm and balance in 3-dimensional compositions, whether they are subtly monochromatic or bright with color. These vertical constructions of disks, spirals, hemispheres, and other forms chart the arabesques, pirouettes and grand leaps as abstract gestures in an artist’s form of choreography. Reminiscent of art history’s dancers and acrobats by Edgar Degas, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso and Alexander Calder, Steinfeld’s conceptual figures suggest movement through space accompanied by music—tracing time metaphorically.

Many of Steinfeld’s large paintings are comprised of several sheets of paper over which patterns advance. While some watercolors exploit the white of the paper as light-filled space for floating organic and geometric shapes, others are densely filled with saturated hues and black forms that suggest a humid, pungent and mysterious evening landscape.

The exhibition is curated by Nancy Weekly, Head of Collections and the Charles Cary Rumsey Curator, Burchfield Penney Art Center, and Burchfield Penney Instructor in Museum Studies, SUNY Buffalo State.

Ellen Steinfeld can be found at http://www.ellensteinfeld.com.

 

Ellen Steinfeld has had a long presence in Western New York, and through exhibitions, public installations, and commissions her work has become known throughout North America. Her monumental sculpture, Hope, in the grand foyer of Roswell Park Cancer Institute inspires patients, visitors and medical staff every day. Sculpture exhibitions in public spaces, such as the Buffalo Niagara International Airport, greeted thousands of residents and travelers. Selected by Absolut Vodka to represent New York State, she produced a design that reached a global market through prominent publications in a campaign that raised money for AIDS research. She has always demonstrated an ability to tackle different media with verve.

Fascinated with dance and motion, Ellen Steinfeld, over the course of her career, has created, dramatic works to reflect life at its most stirring and capricious moments. With this theme, the exhibition features prime examples of the artist’s sculptures in concert with her watercolor paintings that break from the tradition of realism so often associated with the medium.

Music and movement inform Steinfeld’s sense of rhythm and balance in 3-dimensional steel compositions, whether they are subtly monochromatic or bright with color. These vertical constructions of disks, spirals, hemispheres, and other forms chart the arabesques, pirouettes and grand leaps as abstract gestures in an artist’s form of choreography. Her conceptual figures suggest movement through space accompanied by music—tracing time metaphorically—reminiscent of art history’s dancers and acrobats by Edgar Degas, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso and Alexander Calder.

Steinfeld takes a bold approach to watercolor painting. In many of her large works, abstract patterns advance over several sheets of paper. While some watercolors exploit the white of the paper as light-filled space for floating organic and geometric shapes, others are densely filled with saturated hues and black forms that suggest a humid, pungent and mysterious evening landscape.

This unusual combination of media in an exhibition represents the variety in Steinfeld’s aesthetic repertoire—each medium relates to the other through a language of form, gesture and color, melding beauty and drama. While her artwork has been presented in thematic exhibitions at the Center since 1981, this is her first solo exhibition in our museum. As curator, I also relate Steinfeld’s compositional design to ideas put forth in educator Howard Gardner’s concept of kinesthetic intelligence, as well as choreographer Rudolf Laban’s system for diagramming movement, which provide alternative access points to appreciating the artwork for its aesthetic merits. - Nancy Weekly, head of collections/the Charles Cary Rumsey Curator at the Burchfield Penney and curator of Suspended Motion.