Au revoir, Paris

Tour Eiffel

Before saying au revoir to the City of Lights on a stormy summer’s day, I would like to mention three exhibitions that range from the grand to the understated.

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1. Impressionist Works from Private Collections

Musée Marmottan Monet, until July 6th, 2014.

To mark the 80th anniversary of its opening to the public, the Musée Marmottan pays homage to fifty private collectors who have amassed a stunning pool of Impressionist works never before exhibited in public. The Impressionists created some of the most popular artwork in the history of art. Exhibited along with the usual suspects – Corot, Boudin, Manet, Monet, Degas, Morisot, Cassatt – I discovered Jongkind and Guillaumin. It was a particular treat to see the esquisse (preliminary sketch) of one of the most iconic Impressionist works – Edouard Manet’s A Bar at the Folies Bergères. See the sketch and the more familiar finished painting below.

Degas

 

Edouard Manet, A Bar at the Folies-Bergère.jpg

For an overview of images from the exhibition here is the French link.

2. Dans l’air mûr: Paintings and Sculptures by Rosy Lamb

Galerie Joseph, Marais district. Closed.

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By far my favorite gallery show, Rosy Lamb is an artist’s artist. Her world is her studio, her paintings are gloriously painterly and her sculptures translate the immediacy of her hand. Her medium of choice is plaster – she paints with oils on plaster ‘canvases’, and sculpts in plaster. The grouping of sculptural work brings to mind the sculpture courts of the Louvre, but Lamb plays up the fragility of the plaster with an air of insouciance.

rosy lamb III

I feel very fortunate to have caught this show, as US-born, Paris-based Lamb has not exhibited for years and this exhibition was only up for four days. Wonderful little video of the artist at work here.

3. Micro exhibitions by Cirrus.

Streets of Paris, 2014.

I almost walked straight past Cirrus standing modestly on a Paris sidewalk behind what  looked like an architect’s scaled-down model of a small apartment.

cirrus I

These model constructions are actually self-portraits. Cirrus has asked the people in his life to provide him with personal photographs or artworks of their choice. He then makes mini paintings of these collections and curates an imaginary art exhibition on a micro scale. These open-air works represent those closest to the artist and thereby present a slice of his intimate world.

Cirrus II

I was fascinated by this totally unique perspective, and was completely awed by his dedication when I happened to pass by four hours later and saw him patiently explaining his work to other passersby. He can be reached at cirrus.j@free.fr.

Paris revealed its creative soul to me in so many ways. As I take my leave I think about all the wonderful art I was not able to see, but just like the cherries I had to leave behind on my friend’s cherry tree outside of Lyon, I will leave some art for others to discover. One can’t be too greedy…

Visit to lyon Cherry pickin (64) - Copy

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Paris exhibitions: one down, one more to go!

A picture says a thousand words and these shoes I spotted in a Paris boutique spell French chic, style, ambiance and flair – qualities which are ostentatiously present in copious amounts in the City of Lights. I just spent the last three days on the outskirts of Paris in Ivry sur Seine taking part in this artist commune’s annual Portes Ouvertes (Open House). Over 200 artists opened their studios up to hundreds of visitors keen to take a peek at the behind-the-scenes process of creative output. The sun was shining down upon an untold number of paintings, etchings, sculptures, ceramics, and framed graffiti – all to the accompaniment of Brazilian guitars, Japanese drums and the strains of Vivaldi. It was quite a show. I have included a very few examples:

I was hosted in the atelier of textile artist Aurelia Bernard who was exhibiting the results of natural fabric tinting using avocado peels (which surprisingly gives a dusky rose color), carrot leaves  and coffee grounds. I exhibited some of my newer mini Paris portraits which generated a lot of interest due to the epoxy varnish over my photorealist style. The result is jewel-like and at first glance gives the impression of glass or ceramic tile or enamel work. so I had to quickly brush up on some technical phrases in French! But all in all an exciting and worthwhile experience and I even got some commissions out of it!

Portrait by Lilianne Milgrom

I am sure I am not alone in struggling with the PR/selling/mouthpiece part of making art. It just doesn’t come naturally and I was decidedly out of my comfort zone having to spend 18 hours over three days shmoozing about my work while jet lagged and speaking French. But by the last day I was more confident and more motivated, perhaps as a result of the continuous refilling of my wine glass and the heady atmosphere of being immersed in such a vibrant artistic environment 🙂

This morning I moved to Paris proper, settled into a teeny tiny Paris studio and began installing my painting and documentary video in the next show (see previous post) opening on Wednesday October 3 at Galerie Rivoli 59.

It really sunk in that I was in Paris when my conversation with the exhibition’s organizer and artist extraordinaire Sebastien Lecca veered off into his latest venture producing Eiffel tower-shaped dildos…I think its going to be a huge hit! And I couldn’t take my eyes off graffiti artist BAUBO‘s finger armour rings. Check it out:

More details and images from the exhibition after Wednesday’s grand opening where they are expecting over 150 guests. For right now I have to sign out because I am ravenous and dying to dig into my crunchy warm baguette, creamy goat cheese, fresh strawberry jam and salad, to be followed by an individual tarte aux pommes. Chin!

Time flies…

Time flies when you’re having fun both in the studio and out. I was in Paris again in June for a brief visit, this time concentrating on connecting with local galleries and interviewing artists for my Great Nude.tv article entitled The Nude in Paris. I revisited a famous installation by Daniel Buren, one of France’s most renowned contemporary artists. His art pays particular attention to the structures and environments in which they exist, and his signature stripes are magnificent in his Columns installation in the Palais-Royal (below left). I appreciate his work so much more after attending a lecture and slide show he gave at the American University in Paris. A lot of art created today is more than 50 percent about concept and therefore understanding the cerebral inspiration for contemporary work is vital to its understanding.

Since returning from Paris, I have been concentrating on some painting backlog. I completed my colored pencil piece for Women of the Book. The Torah section which was my task to illustrate and personally interpret was Ki Tavo which deals with various polarities – the balance between giving and receiving, between reward and punishment etc. My final illustration (below) hopefully invokes an ambiguity as to whether the hands are in the process of giving or receiving. The dramatic backdrop conjures the beginning of time when I believe our connection to the earth and the spiritual world was clearer. The pomegranate is a common Jewish symbol and also happens to be the meaning of my family name – Milgrom – in Polish. Working on tradtional klaf, or animal hide parchment, was a real challenge and also confirmed that colored pencil is a very difficult medium when working on a large scale. I look forward to seeing the completed artists’ Torah and its eventual travelling exhibition.

Last Friday night (9/9/11) I participated in a group exhibition Political Potpourri which was the result of a call for entry for political works which individual artists are passionate about. I was thrilled to be able to exhibit my video A Winter’s Tale with its new soundtrack provided by composer Gina Bever. My video was originally shot in Israel in 2002 during the height of the Second Intifada (Palestinian Uprising) when suicide bombings became a deadly part of everyday life. I am eternally confounded by the potential for Man’s cruelty to Man and suicide bombing is a most heinous, senseless and merciless act of cowardice. Apart from my video, I also exhibited several sculptures, and my Israeli flag painting trilogy at MOCA DC in Washington DC’s Georgetown district.

I also recently completed a very challenging painting set to be exhibited at The Great Nude’s booth at the November Contemporary Art Fair in New York City. It felt wonderful to get back to the challenge of photorealistic painting, but after spending three days on one finger, I do ask myself why I subject myself to this type of work. The result is usually my greatest gratification.

Finally, as an antidote for this type of meticulous painting, I am thoroughly enjoying creating primitive and whimsical illustrations for a possible French cook book collaboration with chef and recipe tester Fiona Reed who is based in Maisons Lafitte outside of Paris. What better combination than food and art??

B is for baguette