By Hannah Morris
The Seasons: Paintings,” a solo exhibition featuring recent works by fine art faculty member and artist Deborah Rosenthal, is now open to the public at the Rider Art Gallery. This exhibition marks Rosenthal’s retirement after 26 years of teaching fine art at Rider.
The opening reception was held on March 3 in the gallery, where students, colleagues and friends of the artist came together to celebrate her contributions to Rider. At the reception, guests enjoyed a special performance of French and German art songs, “Songs of the Seasons,” performed by graduate students from Westminster Choir College.
The title of the exhibition also refers to music.
“I’ve been interested in the well-known theme of the four seasons for a while — partly because I’ve been so much more sharply conscious of the seasons of the year since starting to live part of the time in the country,” said Rosenthal.
The exhibition features oil paintings and drawings. Rosenthal’s paintings, which are mostly landscapes, have bold, energetic color schemes with organic and geometric shapes. The exhibit catalog, which includes an essay by poet and art critic Peter Campion, will help visitors notice new details about each painting.
Though visitors will not have background music to enjoy, when they observe Rosenthal’s work, they can imagine melodies that would accompany each piece.
Inspired by music, Rosenthal said, “I think it’s impossible not to refer to music as part of this — we talk about intervals and rhythms, for instance, in painting, words that are in a sense ‘borrowed’ from musical terminology.”
Many of Rosenthal’s paintings use repeated images, and look like they are divided into mirrored halves.
“I have many doubled motifs in this show — my attempt to think of how paintings might express duration, dynamics as in music,” Rosenthal said. “The repeated part not simply repeated but perhaps amplified, softened, or otherwise transformed.”
There are other ways to interpret her work.
“The first thing in approaching any painting, mine included, is to look, take in all of it,” Rosenthal said. “Everyone can respond to a painting if they’ll only look closely.”
In her years at Rider, Rosenthal has taught painting, drawing, printmaking and design. She has curated many of the shows at the Art Gallery, including “Seasons.”
She has also shown her artwork in museums and galleries across the U.S. and has also written art criticism for major art publications.
Her impact on the Rider community can be seen through student and faculty support.
“I enjoyed getting out of the classroom to see artwork from someone else,” said senior arts administration major Savoia Buntin. “It was nice seeing the work that my professor created and I enjoyed the use of colors in her artwork. It was also great to see students, alumni and faculty come out to support one of their own.”
When asked what has stood out to her in her career at Rider, Rosenthal said, “It’s been memorable to have the extraordinary students I’ve had at Rider, and to watch them make discoveries in art. That’s been amazing.”
The Rider community is encouraged to attend the gallery talk on March 10 at 7 p.m. to ask questions and hear Rosenthal speak about her artwork. The gallery is open to the public from Tuesdays through Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. This exhibition will be on view until April 10.
Printed in the 3/9/16 edition.