Arthur Secunda was born in New Jersey where his Sephardic familysettled after suffering from pogroms and other persecution in their nativeRussia. Secunda’s abstract paintings, brightcollages and graphics, lush color and technical inventiveness belie a politicalconsciousness. While searching for hiscreative style, he worked in the American musical form, jazz, as a pianist. He is also one of the founders of Artforum magazine, has written extensivelyabout art in books and journals, and taught art at the university level.
The Italian born painter, Oscar DeMejo was also a jazz composer. A graduate in Law and Political Science, heput those degrees to work in
his colorful stylized paintings, which are often witty or ironic depictionsof the human condition or scenes which chronicle American history.
Often employing biblical references in his work,Theo Tobiasse even experimented with techniques and materials such as the useof sand from the Negev and Judean Deserts.While most of his work was done in the form of lithographs, he turned topainting full time in his later years. Underthe surface of each of his paintings is “a secret” written in Hebrew and gluedto the canvas. He and his family were in hiding for two years during the Germanoccupation of France.
A lifelong artist, Nissan Engel studied theBeaux Arts in Jerusalem and theater design in Strasbourg. His work demonstrates a complexbackground--the painterly French influence and the rich metallic substances andcalligraphy of the Middle East. Musicalthemes are often his subject, and his mixed media works and etchings use bitsof musical scores and abstractions of light, color, and texture.
Max Papart was said to compose rather than paint, since heunderstood the ideas that painting and music have in common: balance, form,harmony, dissonance, and tone. Hiscubistic paintings and prints are very structured, with overlapping planessuggesting depth. Bright colors reflecthumor and warmth, while some of his works achieve a “time window” through whicha pensive viewer might sense the past or future.
Bernard Berthois-Rigal beganpainting without any formal training.His imaginative world combines surrealism and fantastic realism toconjure up a make-believe world of Byzantine elegance. He developed a unique technique, employing foundobjects, tissue paper, watercolors, gouache, and inks to create his dreamy outcomes.
Self-taught artist, Mayeu Passa was very much influenced by Matisse’swork, while also inspired by hieroglyphics.He invented his own artistic language primarily working with shapes andcolors to depict “stories” crowded with people at work and play. He was also a big fan of jazz and loved themusic of New Orleans.
Matisse and a vibrant modernist palette influenced classicallytrained painter, printer, and sculptor, James Coignard. He was equally drawn to the Cubist techniquesof Braque and the fantasy of Chagall.His deeply textured paintings and prints often go from vast open areasof color to enclosed spaces, and from luminosity to duller tones. His use of letters, numbers, and lines suggestthe idea of symmetry as opposed to chaos.
French engraver and etcher, Gérard Fitremann's abstractmixed media composition calls attention to linearity along with geometric andcurvilinear forms. The youngest artist of this group seems unafraid tobreak rules, even extending the image onto the mat.
Although Walter Ropélé studiedart, his painting began as a spare time pursuit. Later in life it occupied all of his time ashe focused on the lush landscapes he loved--mountains, lakes, and floralgardens--with bright shimmering color.At times his subject matter focuses on details observed from vantagepoints which often expressed more than the whole.