In celebration of two artist exhibitions, Beck Center for the Arts hosted a gallery opening on Friday January 11th. The featured artists were local artist Mary Deutschman and artist/composer Jing Jing Luo. It was an evening of rich contrasts in art and music.
Upon entering the Beck’s viewing hall one is delighted by the phalanx of over twenty large brightly colored paintings created by Mary Deutschman. These are common scenes familiar to anyone who ventures into the city during the day. Farmers markets, street vendors, river scenes, bridges and industrial scenes along the Cuyahoga River. Still life’s and nature scenes also line the walls for our exploration. What sets Mary’s paintings apart is her use of vibrant colors. One does not stand toe to toe with her paintings. They are to be enjoyed from a viewing distance of some feet. This allows you to absorb the warmth and detail of the works in their best light.
Lining the walls of the far open area of the Beck Center begins Jing Jing Luo’s collection. Her exhibition of nearly thirty examples of calligraphy and scroll painting continues in the after hall and leads into the Gypsy Bean coffee shop. Painted on hand crafted rice paper that Luo manufactures using an ancient technique, her spartan use of ink portrays immense degrees of emotion and spirituality. Her style is reminiscence of this ancient craft where space is just as vital as content.
In celebration of Luo’s mastering of art and music, a musical performance was presented to the overflowing and very appreciative crowd. Initiating the performance was Heawon Song on piano and Paul Sykes on violin playing Sonata for piano and violin No. 7 C Minor by Ludwig van Beethoven. They were followed by Clara Shannon, violin; Danielle Wilson, violin; Batmyagmar Erdenebat, viola and Nikita Ammenkov, cello. They are members of the Oberlin String Quartet and did an excellent job of playing Bedřich Smetana’s String Quartet No. 1 in E minor (1876). The evening was rounded out by an avant guarde piece composed by Jing Jing Luo titled “Cercle de la Lune” or cycle of the moon with Clara Shannon on violin, Haewon Song on piano and Luo playing percussion on the open piano strings as well as gong ageng. Judging by the enthusiastic reaction of the audience the piece was well appreciated for its use of diametric rhythms and meters.
The paintings will be on exhibition through February 10, 2013 and all items are listed for sale on a first come first served basis. You owe it to yourself to see this melding of East and West in this truly unique gallery showcase. I suggest you make plans to stop by soon.
About the Artists
Mary Deutschman has been seriously painting for over twenty years. Born and raised in Cleveland, she became a fashion illustrator and designer and later art director while raising a family. She moved to Boston with her second husband and after a trip to Paris she became inspired to paint. She studied painting in Boston and later Pittsburgh before moving back to Cleveland. She has developed a technique where the color is amplified without becoming garish. Her use of proportion is spot on and one gets a feeling of comfort viewing her works.
She sites Andre Duraine (10 June 1880 – 8 September 1954) as one of her inspirations and admits that when perplexed with a painting she will go back and study works from “The Fauve” movement to jumpstart her creative spark. Using photographs to help plot the theme of the painting, she then works her magic with color, texture and blending until she is satisfied with the results.
Mary is the author of a number of book including “No Experience Required, Water Soluble Oils”, “Mary Deutschman Still Life Paintings” and “Art of Mary Deutschman”. She and her husband, Dan, divide their time between Cleveland and Naples, Florida with side trips to various places where she seeks inspiration for new works.
Jing Jing Luo grew up in Beijing, China and credits the strong spiritual nature of her work to her grandparents who were Buddhists which led Luo to explore the teachings of the Tao (or, The Way). Along with being a self taught calligrapher and artist, Luo also serves on the faculty of Oberlin’s Conservatory of Music as a composer and teaches art at a number of institutions.
A majority of her paintings are nature based with various scenes of mountains, landscapes and various plant forms using the eastern technique of spare ink use that allows the viewer to discover the true profoundness of the image while visually balancing the area of open space on the paper.
Luo’s Ink Brush Calligraphy Art Work uses mainly one stroke of ink or paint on her hand crafted Japanese Rice Paper. This centuries old technique of one stroke, “or “Zen Stroke” calligraphy and painting does have its disadvantages in that many attempts sometime need to be made in order to create a truly one of a kind piece of art. Her exhibition was coordinated by International Art Curator for Beck Center for the Arts, Paul Sykes, who also performed on violin during the musical portion of the evening.
Located at 17801 Detroit Avenue in Lakewood, Beck Center for the Arts (beckcenter.org) is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization that offers professional theater productions on two stages, arts education programming in dance, music, theater, visual arts, early childhood, and creative arts therapies for special needs students, and gallery exhibits featuring local and regional artists.