Erik Laffer

February 26, 2014 § 1 Comment

“Far from holding up a simple mirror of nature that is true or false, maps redescribe the world—like any other document—in terms of relations of power and of cultural practices, preferences, and priorities.”

J.B. Harley, The New Nature of Maps

I was born in Smithtown, New York, in 1982, and was the seventh of eight children. At the age of three, my family moved to a small town in upstate New York, where I lived until I was 14. Then we moved again, to Delmar, a suburb of Albany, New York. I have been moving ever since.

Given my nomadic background, it’s almost natural that I’ve come to express myself—rather look to shape my identity and better understand myself—in maps. While my early landscapes and figurative works were influenced by the rural environment I grew up in, as well as the feelings of isolation I felt as a child with a learning disability, the representational abstracts that make up my current Cartography Series are not so much a study of emotion, as my earliest works were, but more of a logical and experimental exploration of where I’ve been, where I am now, and where I hope to be tomorrow.

My goal with the Cartography paintings is to, as J.B. Harley writes, “redescribe the world,” or at least the small world of Erik Laffer. And just as there is a language of mapmaking, there is style and body of symbols in my paintings that define the landscape of each work and identify my struggle to understand self, family, home, and culture: boats, clocks, buildings, bridges, anatomy, arrows, and, among many others, lines, color, and texture.

There’s a popular expression: “you’ll learn more about a road by traveling it than by consulting all the maps in the world.”  While I recognize the truth in this, I also believe there is great value in history and charting where we have been and where we are going. And this is what my Cartography Series represents. After all, some roads—racism, sexism, classism, poverty, and all other forms of oppression and discrimination—are better to understand than experience.

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Stu Eichel

December 4, 2013 § Leave a comment

SpaCityMansionCurrently residing in Saratoga Springs, Eichel graduated from Pratt Institute with a degree in graphic Arts, becoming a Madison Avenue art director for ten years.For seventeen more years, he worked in advertising as a “creative director”.

Finally dropping out of advertising, he spent five years doing pencil sketches of local scenes. Prints of those sketches wound up in more than 350 galleries and frame shops across the country. Encouraged by their success, Eichel entered the University of Tennessee fine arts program. While a Tennessee resident, he was chosen as Tennessee Artist of the Month.

Eichel paints on site. Many have seen him standing on a street corner painting a local scene that interests him and he actually enjoys answering questions and chatting with passers by. His work has been featured in many area galleries.

www.stueichelart.com

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George Dirolf

September 25, 2013 § Leave a comment

DirolfBioPhotoI am a painter, printmaker, and graphic artist.

My paintings range from plein-aire oils to larger scale studio work. Subjects are the landscape, snowplows, and trains. I often incorporate relief text or images into these paintings.

As a printmaker I work in relief prints: woodcuts, wood engravings, and linocuts. Images again derive from the landscape; birds, plants and insects round out my interests, a recent series of engravings are entitled “A Suite for St. Francis”.

I also work in large scale charcoal drawings on mylar, most of these begin with photographic resources I shoot while hiking in the Adirondacks, Catskills, Colorado, and California.

www.georgedirolf.com
georgedirolf@gmail.com

Gary Shankman

September 12, 2013 § Leave a comment

ShankmanBioPhotoAt the age of nine, Gary Shankman began his studies of art at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington D.C. He earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting degree from Boston University and his Masters of Fine Arts in Painting degree from American University. Gary received an ITT International Fellowship Grant to Belgium where he studied at the Academie voor Schone Kunsten in Antwerp. He was awarded a scholarship to Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine. He lives in Albany, New York and is a full professor at Sage College of Albany. Gary has taught for the Smithsonian Institution, the University of D.C., Maryland College of Art and Design, and Northern Virginia Community College. He was also an Artist-in-Residence for the State of Oklahoma and the City of Rockville, Maryland.

Gary’s oil paintings of landscapes and still life have been displayed in solo exhibitions in Antwerp, Belgium, London, England, Washington D.C., and Albany, New York. His artwork has been shown in group exhibitions and national competitions throughout the United States. Reviews have been published in the Washington Post, New York Times, Cincinnati Post, Schenectady Gazette, The Field (London, England), and Metroland (Albany, New York). Gary’s paintings are in the Watkins Collection, American University Museum, the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Shawnee, Oklahoma, the Superior Court Art Trust of Washington D.C., and the National Home Furnishings Association of Chicago, Illinois. He is listed in several publications of Who’s Who Among American Teachers, Who’s Who, in American Education, Who’s Who in the East, Who’s Who in America, and Who’s Who in the World. In 2005, Gary was named teacher of the year by the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society of Sage College of Albany.

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