Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Art Retreat In Asheville

So what happens when five artists (who are also friends) go away together for about a week, stay in a magnificent home nestled on the side of a mountain located about two miles from downtown Asheville's arts district, in October at the peak of Fall color in the Smoky Mountains, and study with their favorite art coach? The answer is sage guidance and advice, magical paintings, deepening friendships, loving support, great food, and memories that will last a lifetime.

The house that we rented was designed, reconstructed and owned by Richard Fort, a local architect.

These are some views of our kitchen, dining room, entertainment room and from our living room window. We had magnificent views of downtown Asheville, the turning leaf colors and spectacular sunsets.

The five artists were Fran Gardner, Melissa Mason, Toni Slick, Beau Wild and me. We traveled, from our respective home states, by car to our journey's end off Mountain View Road in Asheville. Steve Aimone was our instructor and coach, who along with his lovely and gracious wife, Katherine, hosted our art-making at their spacious studio, also in Asheville.

Katherine and Steve Aimone, in their studio loft

Steve probed our objectives, allowing us to modify these as we went through the week and as revelations occurred.

Throughout, he honed in on where we were going, offering challenges and helping us overcome obstacles by developing satisfactory solutions. Steve has a gift. He is not only clear and knowledgeable: he rapidly ascertains individual artist needs and talents. He nurtures those personal skills to help his students move forward and push their own boundaries.

The result is art that is personally gratifying, rich with a language that expresses the artist and yet ...

Paintings by Beau Wild

...speaks to all viewers in a powerful and enriching way. It wasn't all serious: we laughed and cracked each other up for days on end.

Pat and buddy, Fran

Fran's workstation and growing installation

Melissa's wall of art

Toni and some of her paintings

We all cranked out some terrific art, brought away wonderful discoveries, and returned home refreshed and elated.

Pat and some paintings

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Willem de Kooning Retrospective

The de Kooning Retrospective has opened at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC. I had an opportunity to see this exhibition with an artist pal, Annette Margulies.
Her observations and knowledge of the Dutch American abstract expressionist were impressive. It was fun to put our heads together to see what new things we could discover about his work & perhaps take away to our own. One thing was apparent throughout: we could all look at de Kooning's work in books and catalogs. However, the awesome power that each painting and sculpture holds can only be imparted and felt by seeing them and allowing yourself to be enveloped by their presence. You could spend days absorbing this exhibit, which comes down on January 9, 2012.

This show fills the entire sixth floor. The curatorial comments accompanying his work suggest that de Kooning prepared studies and drawings for his paintings, a surprise to me who thought that he had been a spontaneous action-painter very early on. He apparently was not until the last 10-15 years before he died! He was also known for burying words -- whether from his own writing into the canvas or from collage or transfers -- into his paintings, much like Twombly.

More than 200 paintings, sculpture and drawings were loaned or pulled from MoMA's own vast collection for this retrospective. Pieces came from many museums and private collections around the globe. We'll probably not see such an important collection of his work in one grand space like this for many decades to come.

The exhibit starts with some of de Kooning's earliest work. He was a photo-realist and successful commercial artist in the Netherlands. A few recovered drawings and paintings are shown. That early work is technically good, albeit boring by comparison to his later masterpieces. Then the show focuses on his drawings, early paintings (you can spot the influence of Picasso and Gorky here) and transition after Black Mtn., to the birth of the Woman series (I think that MoMA exhibits all of the Woman paintings and I had no idea how extensive or numerous these were before visiting the show). There are scores of Women paintings in this series.

One of the highlights of the show is an immense (about 17' wide) painting in charcoal and calcimine (?) that de Kooning prepared for a dancer friend for $50 (!) with the help of another artist (I think, Milton Resnick) for a theatrical stage set. He based this piece, it is believed, on Judgment Day. Right around this time, de Kooning was painting the large pink paintings, like Pink Angels, and about to move into his massive B&W work, like Excavation and Attic. This massive piece is hung apart from the other galleries displaying de Kooning's work: MoMA rightly gave the piece plenty of breathing room.

The exhibit leads you into his work during the '70's. You can see that he was experimenting with earlier collage techniques and discovered that "the landscape is in the woman", much as "the woman was in the landscape." He dabbled with sculpture and you can trace his fluidity in the three-dimensional work. Lastly, we are lead into paintings from the '80's. The curator cut off the show at 1987, when de Kooning's worsening dementia was believed to have affected his work. I'm not sure I agreed with this. Arguably, this last body of work was becoming less lush, dense: but the focus on line and mark making, filling the canvases with marvelous pure shapes and expressive lines are rich, dominating. Maybe, like Rothko, de Kooning was finally getting down to what it was all about, that elusive core.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Neo News: Falling Into Art

We have a new addition to Neo Stable Studios: our mascot, Tebow!

Melissa's toy poodle puppy often comes into our studio. He's a cutey, barking while his mouth is stuffed with his favorite toy. Tebow has grown since this photo was taken, but a few weeks ago, he was small enough to fit into the pocket of my painting apron while I worked.
As the summer winds down, autumn returns and the weather cools off, the artists of Neo Stable Studios are back to work. The pasture that lies outside our stable is bright green thanks to the rain produced during Florida's hurricane season. Touches of gold creep into the landscape. Melissa's horses and those of boarders romp in the pasture. The lines, shapes and forms in and out of the studio provide constant inspiration. Forest From The Trees, below, is an example. I painted this piece on a canvas that Melissa was about to throw out: it bore one of her early equine paintings and had marvelous texture.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


There's a beautiful art center in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, called the Cultural Center. Located at 50 Executive Way in this quaint beachside town near Jacksonville, it boasts great golf and hosts greater golfers (like Graeme McDowell, K.J. Choi, David Toms, Steve Stiker, Luke Donald and Jason Dufner), some of northern Florida's best sights, and wonderful art.

The Cultural Center was founded in 1994, on the site of an old Post Office, in order to promote the arts in this community and surrounding areas. It has blossomed since then into an 8,000+ square foot gallery space, housing great exhibitions, classes and opportunities for artists and art-lovers alike. All things considered, this art center has been a 'win-win' for Ponte Vedra Beach. Here is a link to their website:

The curatorial committee of the Cultural Center has invited me and four other artists - one two-dimensional artist and three three-dimensional artists - to exhibit our work in a first-of-its-kind show that opens on June 3rd, 2011, at 5:30 p.m. The show is unique for us all: the curatorial committee selected each of us separately and brought us together for this exhibit. The exhibition, UNCOMMON GROUND, will run through July 11th. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Saturdays, 1:30 - 4:30 p.m.; and Sundays for special events only. Here's a small example of the work you may see in the exhibit:

Untitled (Grid) - 48X48, acrylic on canvas - copyright 2011 – patricia h.k. zalisko

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

hot from the studio - more heads

I am continuing to create new 'heads' in my studio. They remain an interesting theme and I enjoy exploring people as I paint. Perhaps, as Pierre Tristan of Flagler Live observed*, I've spent allot of time during my past life studying people and their facial expressions. I just think that I like and am fascinated by human faces, their endless ability to express so much, more by a certain look than any words that they can utter. I just returned from a visit to NYC. Sketching the people I encountered on the streets, on public transportation, sitting in a gallery or office, was refreshing. I had to work quickly and keep my work loose.

Here are a few new creations, entitled Natasha and The Head Guy, respectively :

This is not to say that I've abandoned non-objective composition. I like to divide my studio time between those two series and others. Using a method that I enjoy, I've created a few smaller works on heavy watercolor paper, like Circulating, below:

Before I forget, please save the date: on June 3, 2011, I am one of five featured artists invited to exhibit my work at the beautiful Cultural Center of Ponte Vedra Beach. This exhibit represents a first of its kind for the Cultural Center, which is located at 50 Executive Way, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. This time, the curatorial committee selected the artists without predetermining a theme. It will be wonderful. Here's a link to the website of this exciting art center located outside of Jacksonville, FL: More details will follow, promise!


Sunday, February 6, 2011

Head Games

I don't know why this happened, but it did. It started with an abstraction. I turned a large piece of unstretched canvas upside down, saw a head, and a series was born. The 'Heads' number 10, so far. Many will be premiered at Hollingsworth Gallery, 160 Cypress Point Pkwy, Suite 210B, Palm Coast, FL on the evening of Feb 12th. Join us for music, art and some nibbles. And check out a preview of a 'head' inspired by my husband, which I've entitled Zee, below.

My art is also featured at the Artists' Workshop of New Smyrna Beach's 53rd Annual Member's Show. Robert Sindelir was the judge. This jurist hails from Miami-Dade and is the former Director of Miami-Dade's renowned Art In Public Places program. The luncheon was held yesterday at Sugar Mill Country Club, New Smyrna Beach. I earned Best of Show. Stop by Atlantic Center for the Arts' gallery at Harris House, located at 214 South Riverside Dr., New Smyrna Beach, FL (386.423.1743) to see a really cool show. Sara Higgins, the Community Arts Manager for ACA, curated the gallery for this show and did a stellar job. My winning piece, Imminent Threat I, is depicted here.

This piece was influenced by the events of September 11, 2011, an event that led to the demise of eight friends, my husband (a now-retired Jersey City police officer) rummaging through the remains of the Twin Towers in Manhattan for evidence and survivors as a first responder, the scare of a lifetime; and that influenced (in my humble opinion as a political scientist) a shift in American politics. Although it wasn't intended to be a political statement, it has been construed that way. I'm curious to hear your interpretation. Here are a few more photos from the awards luncheon and opening at Harris House Gallery:

And if you're in Volusia County next weekend, stop by the Harris Gallery - Art League of Daytona Beach on February 13th at 1 p.m. for the opening of Nexus, a collaborative show into which I've been juried. The Art League is located at 433 S. Palmetto Ave., Daytona Beach, FL 32114.