Monday, November 16, 2015

WORK ART WORK: Paintings, Photographs and Drawings by JEFF WORK (my brother)

For months now (my husband begs to differ and says for the past two years) my focus and attention has been on creating an exhibit of my brother Jeff's artwork.  Well... its finally here!  We had the Opening Reception Saturday night and another reception honoring what would have been Jeff's 66th birthday will take place this Thursday night. 

Jeff passed away in Berlin Germany October 2 two years ago.  I was there for his passing and invited his friends to his flat where I spread out his many stretched canvases which he stored facing the wall throughout his flat.  It was if his spirit was there amongst all of us who loved him.  It was a very special night!

  diptych based on screen shots Jeff made from the movie the Artist

After that I spent many hours prying the staples out of the canvases.  I had vowed to take them home with me to Savannah, Georgia where I promised myself that I would have an exhibit of his work.  Jeff had been working so hard to amass a body of work that he wanted to exhibit in Berlin.  But that never happened because his health was failing and he ran out of time.  

 diptych based on screen shots Jeff made from the movie Drive
So... here we are.  I have finally unleashed his spirit again and it is soaring in its space in a funky gallery on Waters Street here in Savannah.  Over 70 people, many who had never heard of Jeff visited the gallery Saturday night to learn more about him.  Anne Bessac, my talented intelligent artistic friend became my curator.  Sure I could have done it.. but her vision created a cohesive exhibit that led the viewers from piece to piece... each time discovering something special.

 painting based from an old photograph of Jeff as a child - Tantrum/Weltscheltz

One of the visitors who I had never met is a collector here in Savannah with over 250 works of art.  He said Jeff's artwork was "the best he had seen in 15 years."  Others remarked "the lines of complimentary colors in the out edges of the figures is a fascinating style that captures the eye and draws us (the viewer) in and keeps us entranced."  Others said:
" His expressionist style, his ability to capture not only form and line but the feelings and expressions of the people he used for subject matter.  His self portraits, Greta and Walking are among my favorites."
" Wonderful sharing of Jeff's talent and gifts.  We enjoyed experiencing his life."
"Capturing feelings, a sense of place and wonderful glimpse of movement, these works bring a view of life that is so engaging."
"These paintings pull you in and color is amazing."
 "Love the colors and the feeling of intimacy of the subjects.  I appreciate your doing this for his memory  A fitting tribute."
"A true and sensitive artist."

Being his sister... of course, I love Jeff's artwork!  I always said "Jeff was the artist and I am the craftsperson."  To have so many people validate what I knew in my heart... that Jeff was a truly remarkable artist... his colors are rich and perfectly suited to create a dynamic energy in his work.  to unleash his spirit and let these amazing paintings, photographs and drawings stand in their much deserved spotlight, warmed my heart!

Anne and I shared our thought of Jeff's work... Anne placing it in an historical context referring to the ways Jeff studies other artists work and then digested it and came up with his own new vision.  Anne referenced artists like Manet and Diebenkorn and Bonnard when looking at Jeff's paintings.  My friend Wilma video taped the presentation, so I hope to put it up on YouTube sometime (once I have time to figure out how to do it!)

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