Birthday celebrations being always in order, Sidetracks Art Gallery is pleased to begin its 10th year by saluting the 80th Birthday of Resident Gallery Artist Selina Trieff. An exhibition of five of Selina’s new paintings will open on Friday, December 5th from 5-9 PM as part of a town-wide First Friday holiday celebration and on Saturday, St. Nicholas Day, also from 5-9 PM; and will then continue throughout the months of December and January. Eggnog and Christmas cookies will be served on the opening weekend.
Co-owners Ricky Godinez and Paul Murphy say they have felt greatly privileged to share Selina’s art with the New Hope-Lambertville community since August of 2006. On their last summer’s visit to her studio in Wellfleet on Cape Cod, they selected these five examples to give something of the flavor of her powerful and emotional new work.
Called an “American original” by New York Times critic John Russell, Selina Trieff has forged her own highly individual style for 60 years. A student of American masters Morris Kantor, Ad Reinhardt, Mark Rothko and Hans Hofmann, she is truly an abstract artist—with each painting’s compositional elements (especially spatial relations) and color of paramount importance.
Yet her chosen imagery has always had strong links to the western artistic canon—from Byzantine icons to the clowns and harlequins of Picasso. Masks, costumes, faces that both conceal and reveal, expressions that confront yet invite—all these are the stuff of her richly colored and patterned art. Her work is often enhanced with gold leaf in the manner of wall frescos, resulting in a heightened spiritual intensity.
All her figures, whether human or animal, seem on stage. They have the presence of a mime, placid and poised, inviting us forward yet warning us to stay right where we are. No words exchanged, just a mirror held up for us to try on our own peculiar faces. Everyman or Everywoman is present in each searing gaze.
Selina Trieff has been exhibited from coast to coast in the United States, with her artistic home remaining Berta Walker Gallery in Provincetown. In 2012, the Provincetown Art Association and Museum honored her with a retrospective exhibition entitled “Master of the Look.” One has only to see her work once to know exactly what that title means.