Friday, July 24, 2015



Sunday, July 12, was the last day of #ArtSantaFe2015. We loved being there and had many wonderful visitors. We were especially pleased that works by #WilliamBaziotes, #IsabelBishop, #HowardDaum, #PeterGrippe, #HughMesibov, and #AngeloPinto, (east-coasters all) were noticed and admired. Seated Woman Drawing by #PeggyBacon was one of the hits.

Peggy Bacon, Seated Woman Drawing, 1930
Monday, July 13, we drove to the Puye Cliff Dwellings, a National Historic Landmark and ancestral home of todays’ Santa Clara Pueblo Native Americans. The site is run by the Pueblo; the guides are members as well. The mesa is volcanic tuff, a light, easily cut material that was also used to filter water for drinking. The hollowed out cave homes at the side of the steep cliff were used in winter as the stone held the heat of the sun through the night. At the top of the mesa there were window-less homes, one, two, or even three stories, that were entered by climbing a ladder one flight up and then down into the rooms, each about nine by nine feet. These long skinny “town homes” with neighbors on either side were built of the volcanic tuff and occupied by extended families. From about 900 AD to 1580, when there was a severe draught, as many as 1500 people lived there at a time. They communicated with other mesas through runners, but in emergencies used color-coded smoke signals as well. The cliffs were clearly defensive housing. The hand and footholds on the face of the cliff were strategic: life-savers if you knew the correct pattern or route -- a death trap if you didn’t.

Puye Cliff Dwellings

On Tuesday, July 14, we walked two trails at the Petroglyph National Monument, Albuquerque, NM. There are more than 20,000 prehistoric and historic Native American and Hispanic petroglyphs (images carved into rock) and pictographs (images painted onto the rock) in a park with a huge variety of trails. The basalt boulders along Albuquerque’s West Mesa were formed by volcanic eruptions as long as 150,000 years ago. They are dark brown close up but black from a distance; their surfaces range from grainy or pitted to smoothly iridescent. Thanks to a rainy spring and frequent thunderstorms there were green plants among the giant boulders – much more greenery than we expected. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

READING EAGLE's review of Allentown's WILLIAM BAZIOTES show.


Tuesday, July 21, 2015 - 11:55 AM
Reading, PA

Art review: Reading son Baziotes' watercolors reflect an era
Sunday July 19, 2015 12:01 AM
By Ron Schira - Reading Eagle correspondent 
If you go
The Allentown Art Museum is at 31 N. Fifth St., Allentown. Call 610-432-4333 or visit for hours and additional information.

Baziotes, Yellow Creature on Tightrope, 1936-39

ALLENTOWN - "William Baziotes: Surrealist Watercolors," showing through Aug. 23 at the Allentown Art Museum Payne Hurd Gallery, is a collection of 24 small paintings discovered years after the artist's death in a box of his belongings. Dated between 1936 to 1939, they are reported to have rarely, if ever, been seen before.

Born in Pittsburgh and reared in Reading, Baziotes (1912-1963) moved to New York City in 1933, where he attended the National Academy of Design and then worked on the New Deal Projects sponsored by the Roosevelt administration during the Great Depression.

During the late 1930s he met a number of artists, most importantly the Chilean emigre Roberto Matta Echaurren, who had introduced him to Surrealism. Shortly thereafter he joined with Jackson Pollock, Robert Motherwell and other artists to found the emerging seminal movement of Abstract Expressionism. His first solo exhibition was, remarkably, in 1944 at Peggy Guggenheim's Art of This Century Gallery.

Although he did share the group's interest in primitive art and automatism, his work is associated more with European Surrealism, whose major proponents fled Europe to avoid the impending rise of Fascism and make New York City their new, albeit temporary, home. These paintings are expressive of that movement and plant the seeds for his later, more complex pieces.

Vertical, about 12 by 9 inches each, these dramatic images are spontaneous in their execution and elicit circus performers, figures on a beach, howling monsters and/or otherwise grotesque caricatures of inhumane existence.

The threat of war and the violence of the times found its release in these works and echo Picasso's screaming horse from Guernica and Miro's "Aid Spain" posters. Both of these artists have profoundly influenced these pieces, particularly his women on a beach from Picasso's Dinard period and two distorted bull heads.

For other examples, "Howling Creature" or "Yellow Creature" are screaming their hearts out at the sky, symbolically beseeching a higher power to intervene and stop the tyrannical cruelty of dictatorial regimes.

"Yellow Creature on a Tightrope" or "Dancing on a Ball" each express the state of precarious and dangerous balance the world was experiencing, just as "Funeral" evokes what become the true spoils of war.

I am impressed with how well these works held up against time, notably on paper, as the colors and surfaces appear next to unblemished. It also appears to me that they may have all been completed in one pass since they are so close in size, style and color scheme.

On loan from the Susan Teller Gallery in New York City, this impressive exhibition of Baziotes' early work offers insight toward understanding his enigmatic later work; the pieces are painted lightly but the subject matter is dark in a bold, tragicomic irony. Anybody interested in his art should see this show.

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Monday, July 20, 2015


Study for Self Portrait, 2005



KITTY LEECH  (1957-2015)

On return from Santa Fe and Chicago we learned the tragic news that Kitty Leech died on Wednesday, July 15th. Our relationship with Kitty (named for her grandmother, Katharine McCollum Gallagher) began in 1990 when we started to show the work of her grandfather, Michael J. Gallagher. Kitty and her sister Gwyneth were avid supporters of the work of their grandparents, their mother, Louise Leech, and each others work as well.

Costume design for Sapiens, 1991, for the Amazon Chorus in By Jupiter.


Leech was a draftsman, costume designer, illustrator, photographer, and teacher -- most recently at the New York University Tisch School of the Arts Drama Department. She designed the costumes for the original production of Gross Indecency, The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde, that debuted at the Minetta Lane Theater, NY, in 1997, and traveled to theaters in the USA and England, including the Gielgud Theatre in London's West End in 1999.

At the Gallery her work was featured in the exhibitions The Gallagher/Leech Family, 2001, the Family Business, 2005,  Day Job, 2009, and most recently Families/Cities SHIFT, 2013.

Costume design for Imprints on a Landscape, The Mining Project, 2008, a collaborative piece by the artist’s aunt, the choreographer Martha Wittman. The artist’s niece, Megan Wilson, is the female dancer in this drawing.

Our condolences to her family; we are saddened by her untimely death and will always miss her.