DICK DE GROOT SHOWS NEW PAINTINGS AT 95. Join us for an opening reception for the artist on Saturday, July 30 from 5-7PM. Light refreshments will be served.
Dick De Groot at SFA Gallery
Dutch/American painter and sculptor Theodore “Dick” De Groot will display fourteen new paintings in his second one-person show at SFA Gallery. The exhibit runs from July 30 through September 17, with an opening reception on Saturday, July 30 from 5-7PM. This exhibit is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.
Despite having invented the highly popular form of decorative art known as Lath Art, Dick’s own paintings remain barely known beyond Hunterdon County.
Example of Lath Art produced by Austin Productions
A handful of exhibits, all in New Jersey, are the sum of his exposure over the past twenty-five years. Yet during that time period his work has undergone an impressive progression in style and execution, culminating in these most recent works. They are at first glance vivid, blunt, seemingly naïve or primitive. But a longer look reveals nuance, exquisite composition, balance and depth—from the hand of a confident and decisive master, directing his viewer’s gaze across his canvases at will. While many of the elements that populate Dick’s paintings have the feel of real places, people and things, they are actually “taken apart and put back together” as Dick says, meaning they are “invented things and only exist for the artist to play with.”
“Barns and Birds” 2015, Acrylic on Panel
The paintings also reveal a very long and gradual distillation process wherein De Groot has eliminated every extraneous element, leaving only the bare essentials necessary to illustrate his ideas. Since he has been dealing with the same themes from the very beginning (the urban scene, humor, loneliness) and applying rigorous self-criticism (painting over pictures he is dissatisfied with) he is now producing work remarkable for its purity, intensity and power.
“Still-Life with Shells” 2016, Acrylic on Canvas
De Groot has been an artist all his life. Born in 1920, in Scheveningen, a beach suburb of The Hague in the Netherlands, he trained at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts during the war years and then took post-graduate classes in sculpture. Several of his teachers were Bauhaus-trained or influenced and their philosophy clearly shows in his work. Of this post-war period Dick recently recalled: “After the war I worked for newspapers, did political cartoons, and a daily cartoon for the children. The pressure of deadlines made me quit so I could spend more time with my girlfriend. I enjoyed her beauty and sharp wit. She became my redhead wife who gave me five talented children.” Cold War fears of Russian aggression in Europe prompted De Groot to emigrate first to Canada and then the United States, along with his wife, Hans, and their five children. He immediately found work painting gigantic faces and glasses of beer for the advertising industry. A year of this was enough and he began painting murals and sculpting portraits, always on commission. One such project is the huge gilded sculptural relief on the façade of the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland.
Bas-Relief Sculpture by Dick De Groot, Baltimore, Maryland
In the late 60’s Dick made the first prototypes of “Lath Art” pictures, and with the help of his son, Will, set up a factory near Frenchtown, NJ to produce them. The company he founded, Austin Productions, was a success, and attending to it took up much of Dick’s energy during these years. Still, his time to paint was now wholly his own, and he made good use of it. Then, when De Groot retired from business, he returned to painting full-time. The death of his beloved wife eight years ago came as a severe blow and he stopped painting for a time, but eventually went back to it.
“Mandolin and Apple” 2016, Acrylic on Canvas
The fourteen new paintings in this exhibit are the fruit of a lifetime of disciplined work combined with vivid imagination and take-no-prisoners attitude that any young artist would surely envy. There is a great deal young painters could learn from Dick, especially about being true to your vision and process, no matter what, and working for the sheer joy of it, and not for some other purpose.
“Capri” 2015, acrylic on panel
Dick describes his process: “I refuse to paint ‘sure-sellers’ such as the cute, the corny, the romantic, the sentimental, the narrative. My favorite subject is the contemporary American urban scene, which I find exciting and uniquely suited to my taste. I like to use clues that give an illusion of space, or only a suggestion of it around the corner or beyond the hill. The opposites of mass and space, of volumes and voids intrigue me. They are the basis of my compositions. The urban landscape is rich in geometric planes that can be arranged in expressive combinations of color and light-dark values. I want to see each element in my work in harmony with the total. That includes clouds, traffic signs, telephone poles etc. I will change the subject to suit my purpose. Things are moved, added or left out in a process of translating reality into a painted and new reality, that may be subjectively interpreted.”
Dick De Groot at work
Gallery hours are Wednesday-Sunday 11-5, and by appointment.
Short Video of Dick De Groot discussing his work:
Dick De Groot paintings:
Ellen Sapienza is a painter and printmaker from Upper Black Eddy, PA. She is exhibiting recent small plein-air pastels of river scenes and intimate landscapes along with more studied oils. The pastels are her spontaneous reaction to changing seasons and weather in an environment she has observed for decades. The oils, painted in her rustic studio by the Delaware River are more thoughtful, more contemplative. A common thread of color investigation runs through all her work.
Ellen Studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia and under painter and master frame-maker Robert Kulicke. She earned her Bachelors of Arts Degree from The University of St. Louis, St. Louis, MO in 1980. She has exhibited widely, including group exhibits in Paris, France and San Francisco, CA., The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, The Peggy Lewis Gallery in Lambertville, the Sommerville-Manning Gallery in Greenville, DE, and many others. Ellen is represented in the permanent collection of the Woodmere Art Museum in Philadelphia.
Emily Steinberg is a painter and graphic novelist from Philadelphia, PA. Born in 1964, She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a BFA and BA in 1987 and an MFA in painting in 1992. Emily works in an expressionist-realist style, combining an innate awkwardness with superior painting and drawing technique. She is currently working on very large-scale narrative paintings in oil inspired by autobiographical events, history, current events and the swirling zeitgeist. Color and humor both play an important part in her work. Readers may recall the monumental “Boxing with Hitler” painting from her previous solo exhibit at SFA, wherein Emily attempted to process her traumatic exposure to holocaust films at an early age by depicting herself locked in physical combat with Hitler.
Frenchtown’s favorite local holiday, Bastille Day is just around the corner, which means it’s time for our second annual Paint-Out! The event will be held Saturday, July 16th (during Bastille Day) from noon until night, in Frenchtown, NJ. Painters can bring up to 3 small finished paintings, along with cards and brochures. When choosing a location, use common sense… Do not block sidewalks! The day’s festivities are for everyone, not just the painters :). Closed streets are also available locations, except where events are being held.
Unfortunately there is no exhibition following the event this year, due to scheduling conflicts. However, this is still a great opportunity to be seen and have fun! Selling off the easel IS permitted.
The event is free, but registration is required. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a spot! Here is a map noting the recommended and not recommended locations:
Not Recommended locations (locations in red are especially not recommended, either due to overcrowding or requests from landlords/shopowners):
Designs for Tranquility
Judy Serbinski Massage Therapy
The Wildflower Café
Decoys and Wildlife
Maria’s Coffee Shop
Olive with a Twist (and the two adjacent empty stores)
Dalla Terra Boutique
Yellow Dog Pet Supply
29 Race Street (next to courtyard)
Freedom Art and Music (courtyard)
Artful Collector (courtyard)
SFA Gallery in Frenchtown, NJ will present a two-person show featuring new paintings and prints by Bovina, NY artist Richard Kirk Mills and gallery founder John Schmidtberger. The show runs from April 30th through June 3rd, with an opening reception on Saturday, April 30th from 4-8pm. Light refreshments will be served. This event is free and open to the public.
New to SFA Gallery, Richard “Rick” Kirk Mills is a painter, printmaker, educator and environmental artist from northern New Jersey and the western Catskills. Rick will be showing recent oil paintings and prints, while John shows recent oil paintings. “Common Ground” refers to both artists’ love of the “familiar” landscape, which encompasses the Delaware River Watershed from north to south, as well as their mutual admiration and respect for each other’s work.
Richard Kirk Mills was born in NYC and raised in NY and Long Island. He currently divides his time between studios in New Jersey and the Catskills. A Graduate of City College of New York, it was while driving a cab in NYC that he began to draw, paint, and make prints, culminating in several print editions co-published with Orion Editions. He became a master printer, taught at the Pratt Graphics Center and helped found the Manhattan Graphics Center. Frequent trips to Maine led to a poetry print collaboration with Frenchtown poet Fred Lowe. Rick taught at Long Island University, where he directed the printmaking program for 28 years.
From 1996 to 2010 Mills collaborated with artists, scientists, historians, and educators on diverse eco-art and public art projects such as community gardens, wetlands rehabilitation, etc. He received grants from numerous arts foundations and State and Federal agencies for his environmental work. Mills has been artist in residence at the Teaneck Creek Conservancy and a visiting Fellow at the Jentel Foundation, Ucross Foundation and the Virginia Center for Creative Arts. He has exhibited in New York and internationally.
Today, Mills’ primary focus is painting. His subjects include the landscapes, gardens, buildings and interiors that surround him. He finds inspiration in the work of preceding painterly realists (Fairfield Porter, Lois Dodd, Jane Freilicher) seeking to extend the possibilities they explored. His years of eco-art work add another layer of feeling for our landscapes, our “Common Ground”.
John Schmidtberger was selected as one of only 10 artists representing Bucks County in a national juried plein-air painting competition, to be held in and around Doylestown, PA during the first week of June! 40 other acclaimed artists from across the country were also invited to participate.
Please take a moment to listen to Jill Horner speak with Alan Fetterman, Co-Founder of the Bucks County Plein Air Festival, about this year’s festival, June 6-11, at Bucks County Community College.