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[BKARTS] Invitation

The Trustees of the Estate of the artist, Stella Waitzkin, have asked me
to invite people in the book arts to attend an opening of "Stella
Waitzkin: A Retrospective," on October 20th at the Robert Steele Gallery
in New York (511 West 25th Street, suite 101), at 6:00-8:00.

Stella Waitzkin: A Retrospective
October 21 - Nov 19, 2005
Stella Waitzkin  1920-2003

"All visual works of art are silent. But Stella Waitzkin's closed,
impenetrable books impose a heavy silence upon us. Humanity's cumulative
knowledge--our ceaseless effort to make sense of existence through our
words--seems trapped within her sumptuous, emotional libraries. But
perhaps it's merely suspended, a latent wisdom speaking to us in another
voice--the voice of art.

Waitzkin began as an abstract expressionist. She studied painting with
Hans Hofmann and life drawing with Willem de Kooning. In the 1960s and
early 1970s, she expanded beyond painting to work first in sculpture, then
performance art and film. Her early sculptures were made out of melted
glass, but soon she discovered her signature medium, polyester resin.

After the sixties, her primary subject was the book. She cast old,
leather-bound books as single objects and as elements of larger
installations, including as free-standing shelves, small book cases, or
entire "library" walls. These constructions are composed almost entirely
of cast resin tomes yet, on occasion, she included actual books. Often,
she inserted other cast objects within her libraries: clocks, birds,
fruit, human faces.

These are beautiful art works, colorful, translucent, luminous. The artist
would suspend color within the resin and was especially sensitive to the
visual play of hue, light, and shadow within each sculpture and
installation. In them, we realize that Waitzkin has never strayed far from
her origins as an expressionist painter. Indeed, throughout her life, she
continued to paint, creating intensely expressive works on paper that
extended the themes and imagery of her sculpture.

Stella Waitzkin's sculpted libraries and individual books are powerful art
works, both spiritually and emotionally affecting. There is an
over-arching aura of mystery about them; yet they assert an intense
physicality. Her use of leather-bound books for her molds calls up a
distant past; her cast faces resemble cameos of another era. But we feel
most immediately the embodied passion of the artist's life, her deep
understanding of human longing and loss, of personal desire and

Stella Waitzkin exhibited widely in Europe and America and received a
Lifetime Achievement Award from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation. Her works
are in many public and private collections, including the Museum of Modern
Art, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the National Museum of American Art,
Smithsonian, the Walker Art Center, the Jewish Museum, the Everson Museum,
and the Newark Museum, as well as the collections of Phillip Morris,
Becton Dickinson, Dow Jones, and J.P. Morgan Chase."

For pictures of her work and more info., see



Michael Joseph
Rutgers University Libraries
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
169 College Avenue
New Brunswick, NJ 08901

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