Birthday of Larry Zox

May 31, 1937. Born in the heartland, Des Moines, Iowa, on May 31st, 1937, Larry Zox was a distinctly American artist whose exuberant geometric abstractions made a strong contribution to the Color Field movement of the 1960s and ’70s. In its heyday, Zox’s studio on 20th Street was known as a colorful gathering place for artists, jazz musicians, bikers and boxers. A powerful, muscular man Zox often trained with boxers to maintain the kind of energy he believed he needed for creating his large-scale works.

Larry Zox (1937-2006)
Series VI, 1970
Silkscreen, 66 x 57 cm.
Gift of William K. Weinstein ‘60
Collection of Hobart and William Smith Colleges

American abstract painter born at Des Moines, Iowa on May 31, 1937. Studied at the University of Oklahoma, Drake University and then the Des Moines Art Center under the mentorship of George Grosz, a figurative artist who nevertheless encouraged the young abstract painter. Zox moved to New York in 1958 and became part of the downtown art scene. His earliest works, completed in 1959-62, were painted collages consisting of painted pieces of paper stapled onto joined sheets of plywood. Afterwards, he made pictures similar in appearance to the collages, but entirely painted and with straight as well as ragged edges. Zox began his ‘Rotation’ series in 1963 to use a standardised geometrical compositional schema as the basis for a series of paintings each different in colour. Some of the compositions, suggesting overlapping, bending etc., were evolved with the aid of plywood and perspex reliefs. By the mid-60s, his large geometric paintings were appearing at prestigious galleries. Zox maintained a studio on 20th Street that became a gathering place for artists, jazz musicians, bikers, and boxers. A large man, Zox occasionally sparred with visiting fighters. Later, he had a studio in East Hampton, where he liked to fish and was even known to go fish spotting by helicopter. By 2005, when he had his first New York solo show in more than two decades, his style had mellowed from the hard-edged geometry of the 1960s and 70s. His lines had become more fluid and his surfaces more painterly, but his concern with color and shape remained unabated. Zox died of cancer on December 16, 2006.

Death of Marisol

Marisol died on Saturday morning, April 30, at the age of 85.

Marisol (1930-)
Untitled, 1978
Lithograph, 134 x 99 cm.
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. William E. Welsh, Jr. P’84

Marisol was born in Paris to Venezuelan parents Gustavo Escobar and Josefina Hernandez on May 22, 1930. Marisol has one brother; an economist is living in Venezuela. Financially comfortable, the family lived something of a nomadic existence in Europe, Venezuela and the United States. Marisol’s mother died in New York in 1941 when Marisol was eleven years old. Following the tragedy and for the duration of World War II, the family lived mainly in Caracas, with the children attending a series of local schools. Near the end of the war, Marisol’s father moved the family to Los Angeles, California where Marisol was enrolled in the Westlake School for Girls. With aspirations to become a painter, Marisol first studied art in evening drawing classes at the Jepson School in Los Angeles when she was sixteen. By this time, she was already proficient in representational drawing. Catholicism imbued Marisol with beliefs in mystery, miracles, intercession and awareness of a spiritual/supernatural aspect of life that permeated both her character and work as an artist. As a sculptor, Marisol has always followed her own path. Marisol passed through many art movements, but it is true that it is difficult to situate her within any one movement. She was close to Abstract Expressionism and was, without a doubt, an important figure of American Pop, producing her John Wayne in 1963, the same year that Andy Warhol created his first Marilyn. But she went her own way appropriating elements from varied sources ranging from American primitive art, the aestheticism of ancient Egyptian art, the legacy of the Italian Renaissance, contemporary social rites and conventions, as well as her own personal history and identity. Silence in Marisol’s work is very meaningful. She handles silence with mastery. It is thoroughly present in her work. She gives it form and weight. It is interesting that silence is also very much a part of her own personal world.

Marisol’s print is one in a series which shows process as the shapes and colors were gradually added. The figures in this print are shaped by lines and bold colors. The unidentified hands are reaching everywhere in this image, covering the body parts of the figures, creating ambiguity in gender identity. The colors might be outlines or might also be the shadows of the objects, indicating an uncertain space to the viewers. Tianchu Wu WS’15

Marisol, Innovative Pop Art Sculptor Written Out of History, Dies at 85

New Acquisition

Grace Bentley-Scheck (20th century)
Chelsea Rising – 10th Ave Curve, 2016
Collagraph, silk aquatint on Rives RFK paper, 38 x 35 cm.
Gift of the Print Club of Rochester

Chelsea Rising-10th Ave Curve is a collagraph with silk aquatint printed on Rives BFK paper on a Marteck etching press. The print began with a drawing on tracing paper which was flipped to allow for the reversal from print to plate. Shapes traced from the drawing were transferred to white paper and cut out. She collaged these on a museum board substrate creating a low bas relief. Next, she adhered silk organza to the surface of the plate and covered it with wide masking tape once it was dry. She painted areas of the plate with acrylic gloss medium numerous times, cutting shapes from the masking tape each time. In this way, she was able to develop values from black to white. Part of this process was creating the grout in the brick building and the lines in the top of the building. She cut thin lines in the tape and filled them with modelling paste. The result was a raised linear pattern that was easy to wipe and provided embossment. She intaglio inked the plate with umber ink at the top and in the windows and a red/brown color in the brick at the bottom part of the building. Then she relief inked the grout and the stucco strips at the top with tan ink. After the print was dry, she hand colored the blue windows and washed the brick strips at the top with the red/brown color.

Grace Bentley-Scheck lives in Narragansett, Rhode Island where she maintains her studio, Sassafras Press. She holds BFA and MFA degrees from the State University of New York at Alfred University. Her work has been exhibited in the United States, Poland, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Ireland and Australia and has been included in many private and public collections including The Portland Art Museum, Oregon, the Knoxville Museum of Art, Tennessee, and the Newport Art Museum, Rhode Island. She was featured in American Artist in June, 1987 and August, 1999 in an article titled “Urban Landscapes in Transition”. In April, 2008, she was a visiting artist at Colby College in Waterville, Maine. Her work has been reviewed by Journal of the Print World, The Wichita (Kansas) Eagle, The Boston Globe, The Syracuse Herald American, and the Providence Journal . She is represented in Secrets of Buying Art: Original Prints and Reproductions by Mary Ann Wenniger and Mace Wenniger, and in The Artists Illustrated Encyclopedia by Phil Metzger. For many years, her works have dealt with architecture as space humans enclose which becomes dynamic via its passage through time. The process of building a collagraph plate layer by layer, much as time and exposure to elements have created the subject, and the marks that result from the printing process provide an evocative medium through which structural changes, layers of paint, weathered surfaces, slight shifts in color, or play of light and shadow become visual symbols expressive of an intersection of time and space.

Her images begin with an instinctive perception of the geometry of the space, in this case, the curved form at the top relative to the rectangular prism at bottom with the added happy accident of the shapes reflected in the large window. She is also interested in architecture as space humans enclose which becomes dynamic via tis passage through time and relation to neighborhood. The Chelsea neighborhood of New York is currently of great interest to me because it is in such a state of flux.