The Gershwin Gallery is one of the most distinctive and one of the least known art venues in the city. Housed in the legendary Gershwin Hotel, at 7 East 27th St. in Manhattan, it accepts no payment from artists except artworks to add to its own collection of unconventional contemporary art. The hotel is known for it's lively international spirit and has long served as a meeting place for youthful travelers; the purpose of its growing private collection, as the gallery owner and director explain, is to use "the ability of art to astonish, fascinate and delight," and it is quite in the exuberant spirit of the hotel that it presents its imaginatively conceived exhibitions of innovative art.
Its Summer Show, held from July 15 to the 28, featured recent examples as well as a selection of work from throughout the decade by the highly original artist Susan Fishgold, whose monotypes have been gaining a following since the 1970s for their powerful compositions, exuberant color, and glowing vibrancy. She uses a technique of her own devising which she calls "layered monotype," in which translucent glazes of color are hand-printed onto paper or canvas in multiple layers to achieve a luminous quality, and then the image is enhanced individually with brush, pencil, crayon and other media. The effect is one of extraordinary spontaneity and freedom that nonetheless retains a feeling of discipline and control, with a richly textured surface and an intensity of hue rare in her medium.
Fishgold's emotional involvement with her material -- both her medium and her subject matter -- is clearly apparent in her work. The monotype is a uniquely intimate and personal form of graphic art, each image the result of the artist's personal pressure of the ink-coated plate onto the paper or canvas. Fishgold uses no press, and after producing each image further personalizes it with crayon, ink, pencil, paint, or other materials. As she has written, the motion captured by her art expresses "the essence of life, the flowing of energy, the strength of these forms." Favoring floral imagery, she utilizes the chromatic range of nature, but she is primarily concerned with the rhythmic interaction of color and what she calls "the life under the skin of the image." The impact of her work is increased by the multiple variations of many of the pieces she produces in series.
Ms. Fishgold's work has been published in conjunction with a collection of poetry in a volume called Conversations with Dracaena (with Susan Chapman, Word Merchant Press,1982) and has been exhibited widely throughout the United States.
ARTiSspectrum Volume 1/3 1997