Monday, March 30, 2009

A new acquistion of some exceptional pieces by LEVENT ISIK.

I just acquired a group of earlier LEVENT ISIK pieces... they date from 2004-2007. Call 614-291-1973 for sizes and prices!

Friday, March 13, 2009

a really nice article by LIZ JAMES on our current show.


Wearing elegant, yet simple, Africa-print dresses and matching head wraps, Vivian Pitman and her mother, the artist Barbara Thomas, welcomed guests to their Lindsay Gallery Opening on Friday, February 27. It was a gala evening. Guests and glasses sparkled. Vivian's unique and bright paintings almost jumped off the wall, and so did the more sedate renderings of her mother. All of the small, puppet-like dolls seemed to breathe, even though they are cartoon-ish and stout and dance without strings!

When I asked Pitman what her dolls were made of, she replied, "clay. And anything I need to use and find to use."

Pitman is a self taught artist. She seems to dance, like a break dancer, between colors, words, and "schools" of art. Her liveliness surpasses the terms "primitive" or "authentic." She is unafraid to use bright reds, greens, yellows, purples. She knows how to create textures and surfaces, and she will not reveal her secret: how she uses sand in her creations.

Her composition -- sometimes elementary, sometimes random -- is always effective. Expressive. As in Expressionist! In THE DEATH OF LINCOLN, Pitman, at her most elementary, has depicted the martyred President as resting, his corpse strangely tube-shaped, on bright grass surrounded by a color guard in bright yellow shirts! The crudely painted soldiers are firing a salute, "as they would for a President," Pitman said. An encirclement of creatures that resemble merry go round horses -- or reindeer -- surrounds the scene. And everything dances together. --As I recall, this is a scene in which a grotesque blood red Bird of Death is veering.-- A Pitman may be child-like, but it is rarely, or ever, "cute."

Vivian employs words; most of her paintings include titles or phrases. You'll find an ALPHABET OF SLAVERY: "A is for African, torn from his home. B is the bloodhound to catch all that roam. C is the cotton plant. . ."

One of the small stout three-D puppet-like dolls represents "Eta Moten, singer, actress, hailed as a pioneer for black actresses."--I had to look her up!-- Pitman "saw Moten once in a movie." And many remarkable personages will be seen at this Lindsay show. You will learn much. For example, Virgina Hamilton, who wrote books for young people, is represented.

The slogan,"Only Love Can Drive Out Hate" is visible. So is a heart wrenching Klan Whipping, and a Lynching, and the admonition "KKK. Leave the negro alone!" (in which blood drips from the white man's club!) Gazing at these grotesque depictions we are reminded of the ferocity of anarchist posters that blossomed before and between World War I and II. They said it like it was.

Pitman celebrates history and narrative in a unique way, and she is, indeed, worthy of the title, Griot. History bearer and tale teller. Lincoln, Martin Luther King, yes, and nearly life-sized President Barak Obama, are much in evidence. In one painting the wonderful young President, in profile, wearing a classy green sweater -- I just know it's cashmere -- looks admiringly at a recognizable, if stout, Martin Luther King. They are both happy because Barak Obama has fulfilled The Dream. A wide Stars and Stripes provides a background for the two gifted leaders. In one painting Obama-as-Hero seems to have morphed into Spider Man!

OOOPS! One of Pitman's most outre subjects, unique but not offensive, depicts women sitting at a long table, similar to that in the legendary Last Supper. However,Pitman's "supper" presents, not traditional disciples of Jesus, but women who are squirting breast milk at each other! Pitman said this painting was inspired by Women Who Earn Money by Selling Their Own Milk!

IN OUR TELEPHONE INTERVIEW Pitman revealed that she works part time, is a Christian who loves her church, and that her art career started when she began making ladies hats and selling them. Her mother, Barbara Thomas, a strong yet more conventional artist, has always encouraged Vivian.

About her own art Pitman said, "it's kind of a gift, like a talent for throwing a baseball. You're born with it, but you have to practice. I'm still learning."

She added, "I'm patient and strong, and I can work hard." Pitman likes to listen to jazz and all kinds of music. She is not immune to the power of dreams. And she is wonderfully proud of her sister, the novelist GWANDINE THURMAN who recently published ETHIOPIAN PRINCESS. (see

Pitman is "engaged" or engagee as the French used to say about socially concerned artists. She was definitely not born with a gold paint brush in her hand. In fact, Duff Lindsay, gallery owner and curator, first discovered Pitman through a contact at The Mid-Ohio Food Bank.

The current exhibition reveals a wide sweep of concerns and subjects, which, like the proverbial maiden in a fairy tale, Vivian Pitman has woven into a mythical assemblage of paintings, dolls, and sculptures.

Click on each image to see a larger version. Then click on the back arrow to return to this blog.

Lindsay Gallery is located at 986 North High in Columbus, Ohio. 614-291-1973. VIVIAN PITMAN will run thru March 21. See photos of the Pitman reception.
posted by Liz James