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Influence and Inspiration: Opening Art Reception on 4/26

Have you noticed the vibrant and new art pieces on display throughout the Plaza buildings? The Influence & Inspiration opening reception will be held this Thursday, 4/26 from 5:30-7:30pm! Please join us for a wonderful evening centered around this beautiful installation! Read below for a message from the exhibition’s curator, and check out the artist biographies to learn more about who created the incredible pieces which will be on display until November 2018.

Barbara J. Sussman, Curator for the Blue Hill Art & Cultural Center reflects on Influence and Inspiration:
“It is no surprise to recognize that nothing is truly new. With spring arriving after a long winter, we are reminded of the continual cycle of seasons. Life is continual movement. With each new season, we are reminded of the last and welcome nature’s repeat performance, always bringing something which makes the present unique. Freezing rain and sleet on April 15th is a perfect example. The exhibition Influence and Inspiration is not unlike the new season. It is in flux, some parts dormant, emerging, and other parts are experienced in the present. The concept of the exhibition also sprang forth and emerged. Peter Homitzky asked me about the possibility of showing his students works alongside his own at the Blue Hill Art & Cultural Center in Pearl River, NY, two years ago. Proud of their diversified works, Peter did not teach his students to imitate his own style. Instead, he engaged his students to approach painting from a personal yet formal perspective. For those who knew Peter, you recognize this conversation did not end quickly. In considering the exhibition, I thought of Peter, his forthright and generous manner, and began thinking about the relationships he forged with his students. I started to think of other artists who forged close relationships with their students inspiring them and encouraging them to continue with their pursuit of making art with the benefit of a trusted, and accomplished, artist’s eye. Hans Witschi, is a painter and musician, who approaches painting from, a totally different perspective. He is a self taught artist and musician, who improvises both his music and art. Hans brings a different kind of gift to those who work with him. He seems to paint from the inside out, which encourages his students to explore painting from a personal center. Instead of looking outward, I perceive he encourages his students to look inward. Mark Safan is also musician, singer song-writer and painter. He is a friend of Hans. They both juggle their musical and artistic talents with ease. His abstractions are ephemeral, based upon the subliminal, effects of light and atmosphere reminding us of various skies seen and experienced. Both Hans and Mark critiqued many of the artist’s work in this exhibition. They both helped their students search for meaning. Who worked with whom, becomes unimportant. The influence and inspiration overlaps and the distinction is insignificant. The influence of one artist upon another artist is not always recognized. Forever in flux, influence and inspiration are fluid. The outcome is timeless and will continue to form and define itself as it unfolds and reveals itself. For Peter, whose life ended on April 2, 2018, this exhibition, springs forth, just as he always envisioned.

Artist Bios

PETER HOMITZKY
Mr. Homitzky studied with Jean Liberte, Joseph Hirsch and Dan Rice at the Art Students League of New York, and at the San Francisco Art Institute. He has exhibited at DFN Gallery, Reese Gallery, Frank Caro Gallery, G. Lawrence Hubert Gallery, G. W. Einstein Gallery, Sid Deutsch Gallery, A. M. Sachs Gallery, Alonzo Gallery, Roko Gallery and Halpert Gallery, all in New York City. He has also exhibited at the Jersey City Museum, Aljira Center for Contemporary Art, New Jersey State Museum, Newark Museum, Montclair Museum, Morris Museum, New Jersey Center for the Visual Arts, Art Awareness, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Noyes Museum, Wichita Museum of Art, Gardner Gallery at the Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, Hunterdon Museum of Art, The Robeson and Stedman Galleries at Rutgers University, the Jane Voorhees Zimmerlie Museum and The Butler Institute of American Art, among others. He was twice awarded the New Jersey Council on the Arts Fellowship and was named New Jersey’s Distinguished Artist from 1981‐1982. Retrospectives of Mr. Homitzky’s work were presented with full catalogs at the new building of The Jersey City Museum from September 2002 through January 2003 and at the Freedman Gallery, Albright Center for the Arts, Reading, Pennsylvania during 2006.

MARK SAFAN
The paintings of Mark Safan represent the fortuitous mingling and occasional accord between the ephemeral and the material. Blue atmospheric skeins stand in sharp contrast to shards of distressed cardboard; while the one offers solace in a blue dream of illusion, the other insists on the fact, remaining, however, abstract and mute. Born in Los Angeles in 1951, Mr. Safan studied painting at the University of California at Santa Barbara and Vancouver School of Art in the 1970’s under Gary Bowden. He continued his studies at the San Francisco Art Institute under the painter Sam Tchakalian. In the 1970’s he began his professional career as a musician in Los Angeles recording for Warner Bros. Records and Elektra/Asylum/Planet Records. He also wrote songs popularized by various recording artists and sang on film soundtracks. After moving to New York City in 1986 his work was introduced to the Galeriebrockstedt where he began exhibiting. Exhibitions included one person shows at Galeriebrockstedt, Hamburg (1993) and Berlin (1993, 2003), as well as one person shows at Köln Messe and Messe Düsseldorf (1993) and Galerie Kolon (1993). In 1995 he received a grant as artist-in-residence at Atelierhaus Pankow, Pankow, Berlin, including a one man show “Die Wolkin Hängen Schwer am Himmel: Mark Safan’s Clouds”, 1995. Exhibitions in New York include: “Abstract Eight”, 55 Mercer Gallery, 1995; “This Mess We’re In: Reflections on the Metropolis”, Pelavin Gallery, 2010, “A Field Guide to Getting Lost”, Pelavin Gallery, 2011, and “In Sight: Bruce Edelstein, Mark Safan, Fulvio Testa”, Terrazzo Art Projects, 2014. Exhibitions which included musical performance as well as painting are: “On the Wall/Off the Wall”, Elizabeth V. Sullivan Gallery, Art Students League, Vytlacil, 2012, and “Music Seen: Visual Artists Who Make Music”, LABspace Gallery, Hillsdale, NY 2017. Mr. Safan’s work is represented in numerous private collections in Germany and the United States. From 2009 – 2016 he taught painting at The Art Students League, Vytlacil Campus, and The Residency at the Art Students League, Vytlacil Campus, Sparkill, New York.

HANS WITSCHI
Hans Witschi’s paintings range from funny and humorous to the abysmally painful. Strong in psychological impact and stylistically heterogeneous, the work conveys a message from a world of collapsed time. Born 1954, Mr.Witschi studied painting in Zurich under Gustav Guldener in the 1970s. He moved to New York City in 1989, after receiving the prestigious Studio Grant by the City of Zurich. Mr. Witschi’s works have been shown at the Shedhalle, Zurich; Kunsthalle Palazzo, Basel; Kunsthistorisches Museum Schloss Ambras, Innsbruck; Ursus Books, On Stellar Rays and the “VOLTA NY 2014”. His work is in numerous collections including JP Morgan Chase Art Collection; the Rockefeller University; the Graphic Collection of the National Library, Bern, Switzerland; and the Musée d’art et d’histoire de la Ville de Neuchatel. He is the recipient of the Federal Visual Art Fellowship of Switzerland, 1992. Paolo Poloni’s documentary on Mr. Witschi’s life, “Witschi geht”, was shown at the Locarno Film Festival in 1992. In 2010, Mr. Witschi had a solo show at the Andrea Robbi Museum in Sils-Maria, as part of the annual St. Moritz Art Masters (SAM). 2011 he was invited to a symposium at the Sitterwerk Library St.Gallen, to speak about his archive “OEUVRETOTAL” and new orders of archiving digital data. Mr.Witschi’s collaboration with other artists include his piano music, spanning from the 2014 performance with Bruno Jakob at the Kolumba Cologne and 2012 at Kunstmuseum Lucerne, to Noritoshi Hirakawa’s video “A Destination of Ego” 1994 shown at P.S.1 in Queens. The Glassfarm Ensemble premiered Witschi’s OCULUS at the Stone in 2011. Mr.Witschi also acted as the german philosopher Georg Christoph Lichtenberg for Matthew Buckingham’s film installation “Subcutaneous” 2001 and wrote “The Architecture of the Ego”, about the drawings of Rita Ackermann, Kunsthalle Basel catalog 2002. 2012 a comprehensive monograph about Mr.Witschi’s work was published and December 2013 a lenghty in dept interview conducted by Zipora Fried appeared in the “BOMB Magazine”. To learn more about Mr. Witschi, please visit his website.