Ric Dragon in Saugerties, NY

See our interview with Ric Dragon at the end of the article

Every once in a while you come across an anomaly. My latest anomaly was walking into the, one week only exhibition on Partition Street in Saugerties, NY of Ric Dragon. 

With monumental works that could easily hold their own on the walls of Cheim and Read or Berry Campbell galleries in Chelsea. It’s not the painting show you’d expect to see here in Saugerties.

The exhibit is a pop up, it was curated by the artist’s son and run in conjunction with Cross Contemporary who’s gallery across the street shows a surprising collection of better known artists and lesser knowns who shouldn’t be. They run a tight program with a singular vision. Not your typical regional gallery in the Catskills. 

While Ric Dragon studied art in New York during the early 80’s he left the city for the Hudson Valley while his contemporaries, some of who went on to international fame, stayed in the city.


I personally have always felt a kinship with the quiet ghosts of New York artists. I walk the streets and wonder sometimes who and what genius has walked these blocks and never been recognized for their hard work and the sacrifice that making art takes. I think of them as friends I’ve never had the chance to meet and most often never seen their work. 


In a way meeting Ric was like meeting a living entity that embodies these ghosts. But he’s been living and painting in the Hudson Valley and not New York City. His work has been overlooked, possibly because he left New York to have more space and quality of life. His paintings are as good as any major abstract artist of the last 30 years. His obscurity and his lack of careerism is, if anything a testament to the sincerity in his work. 


This exhibition is up for one week. At the end of that week he is packing these paintings to move them to Bogota, Columbia. Why? From what I can tell he’s worked all his life to make support his artwork. Now he’s going we’re he can paint full time, without working a job to go struggle in the studio. 


Maybe with a touch of luck Ric Dragon will find deserved appreciation in the country of Columbia. That country is about to inherit some pretty fantastic paintings!

Interview with Ric Dragon:

Have you had many solo exhibitions?

Not many – over the years I’ve had solo shows in the local arts organizations, at a gallery in Bushwick, and at the Munson Williams Proctor Institute. But as I mentioned in our conversation, I have not enjoyed a lot of success in that arena. 

Please tell us how this one is different for you. Obviously it’s a 33 year retrospective, can you also tell us about the evolution of the work in the exhibit?

This is the first time I’ve been able to see a lot of this work side-by-side; and that´s exciting. It´s really incredible to see work from different decades next to other work. It’s the opportunity to see the threads that exist between all the work; that thing i can point to and say, hey, that´s me! I get to see the obsessions that have persisted, and perhaps even my foibles. And it´s possible that we all have a tendency to think back on work we’ve done, and in our imagination think poorly of old work. Getting it up on the wall I can see, hey, it wasn’t that bad after all – it had a certain something!

Some of those obsessions have been about a feeling of embrace in the paintings; not as though you´re outside an embrace, but from within. How would you paint an embrace or a kiss from inside the embrace or kiss? And in doing that, the whole painting becomes the figure and wraps around you, the viewer. Even if other aspects of the paintings have changed, that´s been there from pretty early on. 

What do you enjoy most about it, dislike most about it,(the process and act of exhibiting?

There´s so much that is positive about exhibiting – that getting it up there on the wall and seeing these patterns that you might have missed. And because other people are coming in to see the work, you might make more of an effort to try to see it through other eyes, too. The author Ralph Ellison might have gotten it right, that one of the greatest horrors isn´t being treated poorly, it´s not being seen. So in an exhibition, we get as close to being seen as we can.

Of course, the obverse is true, too. A lot of people are bound to come in and look at the work, and not see it; and every time you experience that it can be a bit of a stab. 

How does exhibiting affect your work?

It´s funny – I haven´t thought about it too much – but once you’ve shown certain work, maybe you’ve laid something to rest and can move on. You know, most of the time while making this stuff, we’re alone in the studio. Exhibiting is that moment in which we’re not alone – we’re very much with others. There can be a nice rhythm to the process; going from being alone and working, to being with others in the exhibiting. There’s a point in each when you’ve had enough, and are more than ready to return to the other. But doubtless, the balance is in favor of spending the majority of time with painting! 

We spoke earlier about your imminent move to Bogotá, can you tell us how and why you’re making such a big move? How did your painting come into play making the decision

So, I moved there two years back, and now am finalizing that move by shipping all of my paintings down, too. The story is a bit lengthy, but I’ll try to make it short. 20 years back, I had been doing everything under the sun to make a living while also being a painter. But at that point, the internet was becoming something, and I developed the ability to program websites. That, in turn, became a company, which became another company, which all resulted in my becoming an entrepreneur and marketer. I finally was able to sell my share of that endeavor, and get back to painting full time. But if I stayed in the US, it wouldn’t be possible, so I scouted out other places in the world.  

Bogotá has a gigantic and vibrant cultural community. It’s a bit rough around the edges, but the chaotic yet colorful environment is stimulating. Other artists have been moving down from the US, too. Currently, there´s two other large-scale painters with bodegas in my own neighborhood. We’re right on the border of the so-called Bogotá Art District which has been becoming more and more populated with galleries and artists. The Bogotá art world has an openness, too, which is really refreshing – an openness that might have existed in New York back before the 80s

The fundamental challenge I’ve had since leaving college has been how to live and just make art. It’s been a journey getting here that took a lot longer than I anticipated – but I’m able to do that now. So, exhibits or no exhibits, I’m out to make some paintings

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Why go to the art fairs?

There is a very good reason to visit the art fairs and the Armory Show in particular. I recently read an article written by an art dealer that basically said, artists are not welcome at fairs and should stay away. I couldn’t disagree more. There is a decorum that will benefit you, and it amounts to this. Do not even think about promoting your own work. If you follow that one rule, many of the dealers are willing to answer questions about the work shown and tend to be friendly.

 

The reason to go whether you’re an artist or not is this. There will be work, museum quality work for you to view and enjoy. The particular thing is, many of these works will be sold, and disappear. They’ll go into private collections and never see the light of day in public again. Oh, some will be eventually donated to museums and public collections but many will be gone for you or I to ever see again. This is a fact that doesn’t really have to do with how big your bank account is either. These are historical works that you have this one chance to see. Even the richest of us out there can’t buy everything. This was especially so on Pier 92 where the modern section was and will likely be next year. It’s a kind of pop up museum that will be there just for the weekend. So if you didn’t go this year and it’s within your reach, I recommend going next year.

 

Of course there are lots of fairs, with many good works there too. We here at AO try to promote living artists. The artists who had representation at the fairs, they’re getting good attention, and many are well deserving. Again, seeing the younger fairs is in many ways more interesting and highly recommended. Just this once, we’re going to do a rundown of a few and really just a few pieces of art history that were in the main fair this weekend. Works we may never get to stand if front of again.

 

JOSEF ALBERS Homage to the Square, 1970  Oil on masonite 31 1:2 × 31 1:2 in 80 × 80 cm
JOSEF ALBERS Homage to the Square, 1970 Oil on masonite 31 1:2 × 31 1:2 in 80 × 80 cm

 

MAX BECKMANN NACKTTANZ, 1922  Lithograph 26 3:5 × 21 in 67.6 × 53.3 cm
MAX BECKMANN NACKTTANZ, 1922 Lithograph 26 3:5 × 21 in 67.6 × 53.3 cm

 

 HELEN FRANKENTHALER Untitled, 1977 Acrylic on canvas 19 3/4 × 54 1/2 in 50.2 × 138.4 cm

HELEN FRANKENTHALER
Untitled, 1977
Acrylic on canvas
19 3/4 × 54 1/2 in
50.2 × 138.4 cm

 

Lucio Fontana Concetto spaziale, Attesa, 1966
Lucio Fontana Concetto spaziale, Attesa, 1966

 

RICHARD POUSETTE-DART Small Dark Room, 1943  Oil on linen
RICHARD POUSETTE-DART Small Dark Room, 1943 Oil on linen

 

OTTO DIX Die Schwangere, 1931  Oil on canvas 32 5:8 × 24 3:8 in 82.9 × 61.9 cm
OTTO DIX Die Schwangere, 1931 Oil on canvas 32 5:8 × 24 3:8 in 82.9 × 61.9 cm

 

MILTON RESNICK Cargo, 1957  Oil on canvas 47 3:4 × 47 3:4 in 121.3 × 121.3 cm
MILTON RESNICK Cargo, 1957 Oil on canvas 47 3:4 × 47 3:4 in 121.3 × 121.3 cm

 

AGNES MARTIN Untitled, 1978  Watercolor and pencil on rice paper 11 × 11 in 27.9 × 27.9 cm
AGNES MARTIN Untitled, 1978 Watercolor and pencil on rice paper 11 × 11 in 27.9 × 27.9 cm

 

ALFRED LESLIE Ornette Coleman, 1956  Oil on canvas 84 × 108 in 213.4 × 274.3 cm
ALFRED LESLIE Ornette Coleman, 1956 Oil on canvas 84 × 108 in 213.4 × 274.3 cm

 

JAMES BROOKS Y, 1952  Oil on canvas 23 1:4 × 18 1:4 in 59.1 × 46.4 cm
JAMES BROOKS Y, 1952 Oil on canvas 23 1:4 × 18 1:4 in 59.1 × 46.4 cm

 

LOUISE BOURGEOIS House Struck by a Lightning Bolt, 1998 Ink and graphite on paper 12 × 9 in 30.5 × 22.9 cm
LOUISE BOURGEOIS
House Struck by a Lightning Bolt, 1998
Ink and graphite on paper
12 × 9 in
30.5 × 22.9 cm

 

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A follow up with some excellent work.

I use the information available when I find the image. Some of these have notations that the copyright is with the artist. Artists maintain copyright of their work unless they give it or sell it off. So all the work on this blog is copyright of the respective artists. More info here.

Enjoy!

 

Camilla West

Camilla West

 

 

Cyndy Goldman, Increments of Work Acrylic & Oil on Canvas, 80 x 47 x 2 Inches

Cyndy Goldman, Increments of Work Acrylic & Oil on Canvas, 80 x 47 x 2 Inches

 

Diane Scott, Breaking Ground 2014 Acrylic, enamel, aluminium 600 x 600 mm

Diane Scott, Breaking Ground 2014 Acrylic, enamel, aluminium 600 x 600 mm

 

Emily Berger

Emily Berger

 

 

Erika Diehl, 820 PM, Sudden Summer Flas

Erika Diehl, 820 PM, Sudden Summer Flas

 

Erin Lawlor

Erin Lawlor

 

Harriet Bellows, Black and White 1, 9x12 in, Copyright Harriet Bellows

Harriet Bellows, Black and White 1, 9×12 in, Copyright Harriet Bellows

 

Laura Hamje

Laura Hamje

 

Louise Blyton

Louise Blyton

 

Natalia Fabia, Super Kool, oil on panel,  30 x 20 inches, 76 x 51 cm

Natalia Fabia, Super Kool, oil on panel,  30 x 20 inches, 76 x 51 cm

 

Susan Carr

Susan Carr

 

Susan Scott, Hollow Bunny

Susan Scott, Hollow Bunny

 

Untitled (Image 3924), 2012 Water and Sumi ink on paper, 9 in x 12 in © Sky Pape, all rights reserved

Sky Pape, Untitled (Image 3924), 2012 Water and Sumi ink on paper, 9 in x 12 in © Sky Pape, all rights reserved

 

Valerie Brennan

 

Valerie Brennan

 

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Georg Baselitz: YOU ARE WRONG!!!

I just got home from my studio, where I spent a long day. In the old days I used to smoke a cigarette or two and ponder the work on the wall. Now, I look at Facebook on my phone. Not sure which is worse for my health, but at least FB isn’t proven to cause Cancer (yet).

Someone had posted the article, www.independent.co.uk. I spent another two hours there, got some work done, but was stewing. Baselitz has never been one of my favorites but I do respect his work. You don’t have to read more than the first few paragraphs to get the gist of his misogynistic rant. Reading it, my mind went immediately to those artists who happen to be female, that I’ve come across online.

george-baselitz-epa

It made me think about the history of art in the last 20 or 30 years while I have been a struggling participant. So recently as when I was in school, there was scant representation of women in SoHo, (that’s where most of the galleries were at the time.) It was also incredibly difficult to get your work in front of people at the time. If you weren’t in an exhibition you weren’t seen. It was like you were invisible.

Well Georg, you’re a product of your time! You can’t see past your own success and the galleries that represent you. You don’t have enough imagination to realize that if it’s not in a blue chip gallery it might “still” be worth seeing! You’re ego and hubris is your shame, your misogyny might be part of your generation but it’s not forgivable. Your lack of curiosity is evident! If you, like I have and many others too, had taken the time to look up working artists on Facebook, or Pinterest, or Google+, or TheArtStack (to name a few). You might have come to the conclusion that there are not just a few women who “can paint,” but there are many, and in fact there might just be more women working that “can paint” than men. Really Georg, how lazy are you?

Georg Baselitz, back when you were coming up as an artist, the gallery system was skewed. You probably never even gave it a thought. Just so you know, it might be why you had success at all. I’m pretty sure there were artists that were much better than you who didn’t get a chance at having that first gallery show. The sad thing is that some were relegated to the dust bin of the art world for the singular reason of not being male!

I have a soft spot in my heart for any artist who has spent their life in obscurity and continued to make work for an entire life. There are many reasons an artist who truly deserves to be recognized might not have been. But being female as a reason is just repugnant.

Georg, do yourself a favor and take the time to look up some of the unknown masters who are working today, many of them women. In fact the social media has changed things up to such a degree that you no longer need representation to have people see your work.

You don’t have to be in a major city. You don’t have to be physically attractive. You don’t have to be well connected. You certainly don’t have to be “a man.” Things have changed, you could call it a Sea-change, and maybe you missed it. You can get on Facebook and friend artists, if you do you will find artists who post their work. When they do, you see their work! Get it, you don’t see who is a man or woman, white, black, brown, gay, straight, pretty or not so much. You see the work! Yes the work is what matters more today than ever before! In fact your work Mr. Baselitz, might not get that much attention if you weren’t already famous. It’s not that great. It’s competent, not more.

So here are just a few artists who happen to be women. I would never have seen their work had it not be for the internet. Oh, and by the way, I think each of these artists are as good and many better than you are Mr. Georg Baselitz!

Susan Carr

Valerie Brennan

Diane Scott

Susan Scott

Erin Lawlor

Erika Diehl

Natalia Fabia

Cyndy Goldman

Camilla West

Louise Blyton

Laura Hamje

Sky Pape

Harriet Bellows

Emily Berger

I recommend you look them up, because you clearly aren’t looking!

Disclaimer, I’m a white man who paints. Hate me for that and you’re no better than Baselitz. Hate me because I’m a bad writer or you think my paintings suck, then I’ll at least respect you in your poor judgement!

Disclaimer #2, this is by no means a complete list of artists I enjoy, these are names that came to mind who’s work I might never have seen, if not online. 

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Format change

Dear Art Appreciators,

After a couple of years of posting regularity we’re set for some changes. Partially because of time constraints and partially because the goal was always to build community. We’re looking for artists who are interested in occasionally contributing. Have you seen a show you feel inspired by? Are you interested in sharing work you found online? Let us know. We are also going to start a few new pages, some may fail but hopefully some will become very useful resources for working artists. We artists don’t do this work for the money. If we did none of us would ever have had to work second and third jobs just to eek out enough time and space to create.

In the meantime, we’d like to post a repository of Artist Statements. If you’d like to share your statement on ArtOrbiter.com we’ll post it in alphabetical order on a statements page. With your statement we’ll post a single image and a link to your website. The purpose of doing this, to share our thoughts, to help us all improve our own statements, and to be able to see how others pose their own questions and answers. Once we have half dozen or so artist statements, we’ll start the page. We expect this to be an ongoing project. The only requirement is that you are indeed a working artist. You know what that is, and if you are one. Please also have a website of your artwork.

Cheers,

AO

 

To share a please email: statement,  jpg image (no larger than 1000 pixels wide), and a link to your website. To: artorbiter@gmail.com

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We’ll leave you today with this link to the blog by Tracy Adams,

Tracey Adams, Radicle 14

Tracey Adams, Radicle 14

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Contemporary Artists Studios from around the world.

Thank you to all 24 working artists who shared with us the space they make art in. It’s great to see the differences and the similarities the world over. We’ll be doing this again in the spring. Looking forward to see new studios and changes to familiar ones.

~Cheers

 

Ben Young, Brooklyn NY
Ben Young, Brooklyn NY

 

brenda hope zappitell studio, delray beach, fl
Brenda Hope Zappitell, Del Ray Beach, FL

 

Mark Brown, Chapel Hill, NC
Mark Brown, Chapel Hill, NC

 

studio while a 4heads - Governors Island Art Fair Artist in Residence
Ed Grant, studio while at 4heads – Governors Island Artist in Residence, NY

 

Jonathan Waters  Stony Creek,CT
Jonathan Waters, Stony Creek, CT

 

Brigid Watson6 Boston MA

Brigid Watson5

Brigid Watson4

Brigid Watson3

Brigid Watson2

Brigid Watson
Brigid Watson, Boston MA

 

Diane Englander, NY, NY October 2013
Diane Englander, NY, NY October 2013

 

Tamar Zinn, 10.4.2013, NYC
Tamar Zinn, 10.4.2013, NYC

 

Liz Davidson's studio, Sutton, Quebec. Liz Davidson’s studio, Sutton, Quebec.

 

Yoella Razili, Los Angeles, CA
Yoella Razili, Los Angeles, CA

 

Bernadette Jiyong Frank, San Fransisco
Bernadette Jiyong Frank, San Fransisco

 

Danielle Borremans, Brussels
Danielle Borremans, Brussels

 

Christopher Rico Studio transmission- June 11, 2013
Christopher Rico, Clinton SC, June 11, 2013

 

Helen O Leary, Sydney, Australia
Helen O Leary, Sydney,  Australia

 

James Austin Murray, NYC
James Austin Murray, New York City

 

Valerie Brennan, Madrid
Valerie Brennan, Madrid

Valerie Brennan, Lefkosia (Nicosia) Cyprus
Valerie Brennan, Lefkosia (Nicosia) Cyprus

 

Steve Metzger,  Fullerton, California
Steve Metzger,  Fullerton, California

 

Francis Bacon
Francis Bacon, Dublin City Gallery, relocated from London after his death

 

Mark Zimmermann, Brooklyn NY
Mark Zimmermann, Brooklyn NY

 

Milica Reinhart, Solingen Germany
Milica Reinhart, Solingen, Germany

 

Paul Behnke, Brooklyn NY
Paul Behnke, Brooklyn NY

 

Kevin Finklea, Philadelphia  Pennsylvania
Kevin Finklea, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

 

Henri Matisse, Nice France
Henri Matisse, Nice, France, 1950’s

 

Karl Bielik's studio in Hackney, London
Karl Bielik’s studio in Hackney, London

 

Matthew Dibble, Studio View,  Cleveland, Ohio ~October 3rd,2013
Matthew Dibble, Cleveland, Ohio ~October 3rd,2013

 

Lorna Crane,  Pambula, New South Wales
Lorna Crane,  Pambula, New South Wales

 

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