A Luminous Halo

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." --Virginia Woolf

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Location: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Smith ’69, Purdue ’75. Anarchist; agnostic. Writer. Steward of the Pascal Emory house, an 1871 Second-Empire Victorian; of Sylvie, a 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SL; and of Taz, a purebred Cockador who sets the standard for her breed. Happy enough for the present in Massachusetts, but always looking East.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition

I went down to New York City yesterday to attend an art show. A friend of a friend, the multi-talented Emma Trincal, was exhibiting several pieces in the show, and I was invited.

Emma is a member of the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition. Started twenty-five years ago, BWAC has grown to become the largest artist-run, not-for-profit fine arts organization in all of New York City. Which is saying a lot, when you think of the cultural powerhouse which is the five-borough Big Apple.

The "artist-run" part is not a gimmick. Members have to put in time--setting up and running the three art shows put on each year, for example. And they get to keep only 25% of their profits from the "affordable auctions" held after each show. The other 75% goes straight to BWAC to fund programs for its own artists, and for outreach to all five boroughs.

BWAC shows are held in a very cool pre-Civil War warehouse right on the pier in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn. Very arty, very diverse, and the Statue of Liberty waving at you from across the bay is a nice touch. The streets are cobblestone, the warehouses brick with huge arched windows covered by black metal shutters. A terrific setting, just waiting for a brilliantly sunny day, a jazz combo, plenty of wine, and 300 artists showing off their best stuff.

Emma is a French-born financial journalist with impeccable credentials from the Sorbonne and the Institut d'Etudes Politiques in Paris. She's recently moved from The Street.com to HedgeWorld.com, where she's Senior Financial Correspondent. But Emma's a painter, too.

Emma Trincal considers herself an abstract expressionist. Her canvases are large, bright, and non-representational. She's not rendering anything from nature; she's not making a political statement. "It's all about the color," says Emma.

25,000 square feet is a lot of space, and I was a little dizzy after wandering through the whole exhibit. One artist had fashioned a volcano of steel wool which rose from a crumpled map of the United States and reached to the rafters. Another had mounted a photograph of the ocean behind a window. Yet another had painted portraits on a row of metal spice tins.

Lots of interesting stuff, but in the end I found myself drawn to the abstract pieces. Non-representational art is personal; it's not "about" anything besides what's in the artist's head.

Emma says abstract expressionism is making a comeback. If so, she's definitely in the right place at the right time. Abstract expressionism began in New York City in the 1940's. And it's got the perfect vibe for Brooklyn today. Bold colors say, look at me. Big canvases say, size matters. And the Lady with the Lamp is raising her torch to all of it.

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