Go Figure

Marcy Lansman

Many of these paintings express my nostalgia for a kind of childhood play that seems rare today, nostalgia for a time when children ran around outdoors uncoached and unscheduled. I’m intrigued by the excitement and collaboration that emerges from that kind of play. Below is a painting of one young boy pouring water on another. I love the combination of concentration and curiosity on the pourer’s face


This and several other paintings are based on fifty-year old photos of my sons. I’ve solicited candid photos from friends and family, but often what I get back are smiling faces looking straight into the camera. So I’ve taken to lurking around public playgrounds with my camera, concerned that some parent will suspect I’m up to no good. My friends assure me that at my age I don’t need to worry, but I keep a “bio-card” in my pocket just to prove I’m a legitimate artist.

For the painting below, I photographed a group of girls cooking up a witches brew of moss and leaves at the bottom of a slide. (I’ve transformed the slide into a kettle.) No one was urging them on or encouraging them to be creative. I watched them for fifteen minutes charmed by their obliviousness and intensity.



Many of my paintings are labeled “ mixed media” because of a technique I use to create the surface. I put down layers of various kinds of rice paper and gesso, producing a random pattern. Then I use layers of watery acrylic paint to create the image. Since paper and gesso take the paint differently, the surface varies in texture and color. This technique is one way of avoiding the “plasticky” look of acrylic paint, making acrylic paint look a little like watercolor.

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Dreaming in Color

Sky is Bluer Thank the SeaAlice Levinson

TEXTILE can be a confusing label for a piece of artwork. It truly is an umbrella term which encompasses a wide range of work from quilts to weavings, from fashion to tapestries. Each of these categories of textile is identified by the manner in which the cloth and/or fiber is assembled (e.g., sewn, woven, or quilted). When I started work with textiles,I was drawn to the texture, handof cloth. I worked with cloth I sourced from stores, scrap, or vintage collections. My interest was to use it to assemble visually interesting compositions.

Most often these compositions also had a thread of narrative at their core.

The more I worked, the more I encountered a variety of fabrics, the more I came to appreciate the role pattern and color played as I assembled my compositions.

Alice'e Stash

My stash of acquired fabric grew. My facility with needle and thread increased. All was good. Then one day I watched a demonstration of cloth dying and a new door opened for me, I was entering the world of surface design, yet another sub-category that falls within the rubric of textile. The hallmark of surface design is the manipulation of the surface of cloth through the application of techniques and substances to create a unique textile.

My facination with the process led, to the first of several workshops to learn

to dye cloth. I learned to prepare carefully the dye concentrates and then begin the magic of turning white cloth to any and every hue. Initially I was limited by my lack of experience and expertise in managing the dying process. As someone once said, practice makes perfect.Well, in my case, practice has made good enough!It was a heady experience to create my own rainbow stash of fabric. From early efforts with muslin and cotton sheeting, I progressed to working with embossed and textured cotton,linen, wool, velvet and silk. Each particular fabric takes the dye in its own way and each has its own particular texture. More learning,hs led to more variety with which to work. In the time to follow I have learned to use the dyes to paint and screenprint my fabrics adding pattern to the elements of color and texture. The cloth that emerges from my wet (dye) studio has become the primary inspiration for my current work which are featured in the exhibit, DREAMING IN COLOR. The use of surface design techniques leads my work to be process driven. This encourages experimentation and sponteneity in my working and results in a liveliness and sense of organic movement in the resulting works. I hope you will visit the exhibit and consider the many steps that have resulted in the works you see.




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