On Saturday, a standing room-only crowd of more than 60 artists and art enthusiasts gathered in the ESKFF 6th Floor gallery at Mana Contemporary for a lively panel discussion moderated by Eileen S. Kaminsky in conjunction with the current Photorealism exhibition, “Our Own Directions: Works from the Louis K. and Susan P. Meisel Collection.” The panelists included author and gallerist Louis K. Meisel, Hyperrealist sculptor Carole Feuerman, and Photorealist painters Yigal Ozeri and Ben Schonzeit. The discussion lasted nearly three hours and focused on different movements within Photorealism and how each artist personally arrived at their method of producing work.
Mana Contemporary artist-in-residence Ozeri talked about his experiences growing up in Israel and serving in the Israeli Defense Force in the ’60s and ’70s before moving to the United States in 1989. His exposure to American hippie culture through the media influenced the themes and subjects of his paintings as he attempted to recreate the spirit of a movement that he was unable to participate in directly. Schonzeit, whose Photorealist painting of apples (“Winter Apples,” 2009) is included in the exhibition, described his process of painting in which he makes the detail of his surfaces clear and vivid from a distance. Feuerman also spoke in depth about her process including traditional body casting methods, her attention to fine detail and realness, and the unifying water theme present in her work. Meisel – who has known the primary Photorealist artists as a friend, collector and dealer — contributed to the panel by offering his perspective on what he looks for when acquiring work and how he particularly values under-recognized artists. The panel was followed by a wine reception in the gallery, offering viewers the chance to speak with the artists. The welcoming atmosphere was felt throughout the room as this inspiring afternoon came to an end.