Montecito artist deals with ‘new reality’ in virtual show
Joan Rosenberg-Dent is a visual artist who has been forced to adapt to a new reality of finding ways to share her work with the public because of the pandemic.
“Traditionally, art galleries have provided this venue. However, this is no longer a viable option as galleries have either closed or have limited hours. Despite this, very few people will consider going indoors, even where galleries extended their hours,” the Montecito resident told the News-Press.
“Since we have all had to shelter in place since March, it has allowed me a greater amount of time to create a massive amount of new work, yet I was unable to share it. This stimulated me to search for new technology to reach my audience.”
In her research, Mrs. Rosenberg-Dent discovered an online gallery that allows her work to be “present in the absent.”
Artavita, which is based in Santa Barbara, was created by a team of international gallery owners and artists to design a space where artists can come together and display their work in a way it was meant to be seen on screen.
This is where she has curated and installed her new abstract pieces in a solo show with the intriguing title of “Naked Porcelain . . . Splat on the Wall!”
“My exhibition involves abstract, conceptual, translucent porcelain sculpture on and off the wall. The pieces are conceived as concepts and presented as abstract sculptures,” explains the artist in the introductory text for her show. “My work is inspired by music, dance, architecture and nature. I work mostly in unglazed porcelain, allowing for translucency and whiteness.
“Tension between forms, line, color and materials amplify the work while shadows create depth and become part of the piece. I enjoy the repetition and variations of creating multiple, similar forms in a piece. My background in dance allows awareness of the space around each element and the patterns created.
“I become the choreographer, and the forms are the dancers. I work intuitively, allowing the clay to fall off my fingers while my subconscious forms the piece, when listening to music. The tempo of the music influences each piece, as a new form is discovered. This discovery is the excitement I love about creating.”
Mrs. Rosenberg-Dent, who received her master of fine arts degree at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., has taught at Pennsylvania State University, the University of Michigan and was chair of ceramics and glass at Ohio University. Her work is in several permanent museum collections including The Detroit Institute of Art, University of Michigan Museum of Art, Canton Art Institute and the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution and Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art.
Her show, which can be viewed at www.artavita.com, is scheduled to close Nov. 13 but may be extended.
“I had the hands-on task of deciding where my 30 pieces should be hung as well as labeling, pricing, writing descriptions, etc. in creating my vision of the show,” said Mrs. Rosenberg-Dent. “This is one way I have adapted to this unprecedented situation to keep engaging others with the aesthetic and energy of my work.”
According to the artist, the viewer “enters the gallery and walks on a virtual tour, almost as if one were in a physical gallery. You have the option of pausing in front of a piece, going back to a previous work and reading the labels as you pass through the gallery.”
On the labels are the names of each piece with a brief explanation about the title. For example, “There’s Always One,” a 24-by-24 inch piece with all white porcelain cones, except for one black one. The description reads: “This piece is based on the saying: There’s always one in every crowd.”
Other titles include “Treehouse,” “Hugs & a Kiss,” “Soft Whispers,” “Finding Beauty in the Wind,” “Wholly Cats” and “Second Balcony Jump.”
Prices range from $500 to $9,000 and range in size from 12-by-12 inches to 30-by-40 inches.
“Two of the pieces that were $20,000 each have been sold,” said Mrs. Rosenberg-Dent, whose work has been published, exhibited and collected in private and public collections in the United States, Germany and France.
“My newest commission includes the Regent Cruise Line ship, Splendor, where my pieces will be traveling the world.”