Exhibition opens the Eye & Mind

By Megan Pendagast

Geoffrey Dorfman fields questions from fellow art aficionados during his artist talk on Feb. 14.

The first gallery exhibit of the spring semester addresses and examines the relationship between the physical act of seeing and the subjective process of interpreting art with Geoffrey Dorfman’s “Eye & Mind.”

This exhibit of abstract paintings has been on display in the Art Gallery in the Bart Luedeke Center since Feb. 7 and will continue to be showcased until March 3. Dorfman has been painting for 45 years but has also made his mark in other fields.

Throughout the course of his career, Dorfman has had the opportunity to teach painting, drawing and modern culture at The College of Staten Island (CUNY) since 1978. He has also taught at New York’s prestigious Parsons School of Design graduate program and was invited as a professor of art at Dartmouth College in 2000 and 2001.

Dorfman is also an accomplished pianist, having played at venues including Weill Hall in New York and performing as the opening act at a classical music festival in Great Britain. He also performed two concerts at Westminster Choir College and released a three CD album on 19th century masters.

According to Dorfman, the title of the exhibit is very important to take into consideration as a viewer. He asserts that while everyone sees the same thing, the distinction lies in the method of interpretation.

“I’m not an avant-garde painter,” he said. “It’s not what you do to a picture, it’s what the picture does to you. When you get to the point where the painting is telling you what to do, you feel like an artist.”

Director of the Art Gallery and Professor of Fine Arts Dr. Harry Naar introduced and interviewed Dorfman during the artist’s talk on Feb. 14 at 7 p.m.

“It is a spectacular exhibition,” Naar said.

Color was an element that Naar and Dorfman discussed at length.

“The color is very explosive and dynamic,” Naar said.

Despite the importance of this, Dorfman admits that the concept of structure in regards to color is somewhat baffling to him.

Dorfman’s painting Nectar was completed in 2012 and crafted with oil paint on a canvas.

“When I was a student back when the dinosaurs were around, people always talked about structure in regards to color, which was confusing to hear the word ‘color’ applied to structure,” Dorfman said. “Color is no longer restricted and you can both expand and organize at the same time. As it expands it becomes sentient and conscious.”

When asked where his ideas for color come from, Dorfman acknowledged that it was more unplanned than purposeful.

“There is no idea; whatever happens to be around it is what I start with,” he said. “The whole point when you start a picture is to start with a beautiful, clean white canvas and you’ve got to dirty it up.”

He said that art brings people closer to each other in a wordless, yet magnetic way. He hopes that his artwork has the power to let his viewers take a journey through his mind.

“My paintings don’t go anywhere or do anything,” Dorfman said. “They say, ‘Wait a minute. Take a load off; stay a while. See what I see.’”

Dorfman offered words of advice to other artists based off of his extensive experience.

“Don’t try to perfect any part of your picture before you move on,” he said. Dorfman advocates for viewing the painting as a whole, proceeding accordingly and not getting hung up on details.

He also suggests working without having any absolutes in mind and asserts that there is little point in executing a work of art when one knows exactly how it should turn out.

“You could just hire someone to do it for you,” Dorfman said. “I wouldn’t want someone to make my art anymore than I’d want someone to make love in my place.”

The gallery’s hours are Tuesday to Thursday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.. Get more information at rider.edu/artgallery or call (609) 896-5158.

Contact this writer at pendagastm@theridernews.com

Additional reporting by J’na Jefferson.

Printed in the 2/15/13 edition

2012’s Laboratory is an oil painting which implements a variety of colors while focusing on red.
2009’s Distant Mirror is an abstract oil piece that illustrates Dorfman’s use of color.
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