Spontaneous might be the key word to describe an exciting art exhibition of acrylic-oils, pastels, graphics and drawings by internationally famous artist Noel Rockmore to be shown between the 4th and 27th of January 1985 at Chattahoochee Valley Art Association.
The here-and-now or perhaps-later circumstances of the CVAA-Rockmore get-together came about surprisingly when the writer dropped by the gallery to request professional opinion of the artist’s work relevant to a planned national tour of museums and universities. The director, Joseph B. Schnek, exhibited Rockmore earlier at Indianapolis.
Free of external restraints or long-term planning, the interview led to an invitation being extended by the museum director for a New Year show of available Rockmore work...some 40 pieces, including new directional ones.
The artist considers New York and New Orleans to be his dual-city career base, having placed some 4,000 national and international works of art from these areas. He is presently involved in a challenging series of Mill Valley, California work aimed at establishing a new direction for his painting career. The temporary Mill Valley atelier is situated in a picturesque bay setting which will, no doubt, exert considerable influence during his visit to the west coast. No less than five of this new series will be shipped from California and offered for sale.
The director will place seven pieces on loan from Atlanta private collections recently acquired from a series of Haitian canvasses, four from a La Grange collection, plus a group of California paintings never before displayed (completed in the past few months) and two pieces to be shipped from the artist’s studio in the French Quarter of New Orleans along with one from his New York headquarters.
The ratio of wall space to the 40 pieces assembled might at first glance seem disappropriate so vast an area is the entire lobby floor of the galley, however upon entering and mingling with the pictures, it becomes apparent that the otherwise dominating walls are effectively matched by the dynamic strength and character of the stimulating genre of two world cultures competing for the favor of serious art lovers. Indeed, the gallery is a challenging competitor for all productions that grace its walls.
Critics and reviewers hone their (academic) art-vocabulary tools to a fine edge when reporting on Rockmore creations. Staple but perhaps overly familiar terms crop up in print following his exhibits. Many artists today object to such narrow labels as: expressionistic, surrealistic, impressionistic, visionary, organic, depictive to list a few. In combination or somewhere else perhaps lies the acceptable word or phrase to describe the painter’s ouvre. Trompe-l’oeil, he contends, could never apply to a single piece.
An early review by a New York Times critic, Stewart Preston, wrote of his promise as a serious artist without resorting to current isms: “...a brooding air is exuded by Rockmore paintings at the Saltpeter gallery...he is a young artist of no little skill as a draughtsman, who observes human beings intently and interprets their moods with melancholy sensitivity.” One of America’s foremost artists, Raphael Soyer, warned early on: “Noel Rockmore must be accepted on this own terms.”
Although this La Grange selection of canvasses is meager for the exhibit, the random pieces contain a thread throughout that clearly stamps the central theme of his career undertaking. The new work provides a hint of his struggle to lean away from his (preffered) painting style without sacrificing an iota of his philosophical discipline.
- Wm. L. May - Artist Representative
Comments by Rockmore:
Bill’s intro for mus. show (which he fails to mention includes Voodoo Queen! 52x72" (with cat mummy)
And which I have no control over and doesn’t matter - it is all part of a sales pitch and hopefully success of that activity anyway
Also - I guess it is to his credit he at least, lacking real mailing list or clientele is trying to drum sales up via some sort of local museum-ish exposure rather than zero - no?