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Category: Barbara-Rosenthal – A Crack in the Sidewalk

A Crack in the Sidewalk/Barbara Rosenthal

Happy New Year! Don’t worry. I’m not going to write about the coming apocalypse. What is occasioning this month’s column is a recent email from Ripley Whiteside, a wonderful studio assistant I had last year, who left for a full-time job but offered to continue helping via the net. I have been putting off hiring his replacement because I knew I’d be away on tour soon, and didn’t want to cause a gap in a new-hire’s employment. But beyond that civic concern, internally, the requirements of my multiple projects have been growing so complex that just doing it all myself trumped the dread of explaining and overseeing, at least until I get back (more later). That led to thinking about the nature of the job itself and also to doing a little research in my Archives.

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Barbara Rosenthal/A Crack in the Sidewalk

For this month’s column, I’ll quote three people, Beatrice S. Madregiore, Linda Montano and Lawrence Weiner. All are artists but none are any I’ve conversed with lately, as inspired my last few columns, and the first person isn’t even real. Beatrice Stregasanta Madregiore, the artist character in my novel Wish for Amnesia, thinks “Nirvana” when something startling happens on pg. 219: “She stood still, eager to savor and monitor her first impressions and reactions…. Thus she could position her psyche aloof, blank enough to register as consciously as possible the sense of each sensation by itself…. In that way its natively abstract, descriptive power would flow through her nervous system directly into her creative subconscious. Nirvana, crossed the artist’s mind.”

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Barbara Rosenthal/Art Review

This is an understated series of stately whimsicality. It is beautiful to look at and fun to walk amidst. The pastel and royal colors, pinky coral, soft aqua, pale yellow, deep ultramarine, sometimes against black, sometimes with a subtle white-line texture, sometimes on a bit of cloth, are subtly mixed and matched, and the conceptual and visual delicacy of their combinations is supremely refreshing to the eye and mind in an age of so much harshness in painted forms.

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The name Ragazine was coined in the mid-’70s in Columbus, Ohio, as the title of an alternative newspaper/magazine put together by a group of friends. It was revived in 2004 as ragazine.cc, the on-line magazine of arts, information and entertainment, a collaboration of artists, writers, poets, photographers, travelers and interested others. And that’s what it still is.