Art Educator, Linda Sirow, Exhibits in Hamptons
Linda Sirow Koplewicz, an artist who teaches at the Dalton School and who has a house and studio in Easthampton, couldn’t ask for a more appropriate venue for her lovely new abstracts —the Silas Marder Gallery in Bridgehampton, off Snake Hollow Road, arguably one of the most beautiful and imaginative exhibition spaces on The East End. Actually, Sirow has been given two exhibition areas: five of her oils on board are mounted on a wall of the gallery’s huge barn main room, and four, on canvas, hang in one of the wooden sheds Silas Marder has set up on his nursery grounds for additional showcasing. Though Sirow’s work, part of a group show, will not have an official opening until Thanksgiving, her paintings are already on view, along with work by other artists, semi-abstract and edgy, many of whom have exhibited at Marder’s before. Sirow can lay claim to distinctive subject matter and style: muted, pastel-colored, subtle, small sunburst designs, numerous small circles gently brushed out against a delicate backdrop of complementary color, compositions that convey a sense of wispy fluidity and grace. Ironically, to judge from passing comments on the day Education Update came by, visitors were speculating on the kinds of flowers Sirow might have had in mind. “Flowers?” she laughs, “when I look out my window and all I see is green—the deer took care of the rest.”
Ms. Sirow, who has a BFA in a joint program run by Tufts University and The Boston Museum School, also has a Masters in Art Therapy and Creativity Development. She speaks of her paintings as prompting an “understanding” of herself. The phrase resonates as an expression of her professional life at Dalton, where she tries to encourage youngsters to find themselves, and of her personal life as a child diagnosed with dyslexia. “Always a lover of art,” she was drawn first to sculpture and to doing series, repeating forms. Feeling the great “emotional” attraction of an “organic” medium such as clay, she confesses that she did not then appreciate the possibilities of working on a flat surface, but eventually, for reasons of space and time, as well as of curiosity and growing confidence, she moved into painting. She used to love bold color, she says, but when she began working in oil, she found herself experimenting with circular brush daubs, rather than rectangular applications, and increasingly to a restricted palette that favored mauves, muted blues and greens and leached out creamy whites and beige—every hue inflected with gray. She finds her new style and medium intellectually and aesthetically challenging.
No doubt Linda Sirow’s middle school students at Dalton have been the beneficiaries of her new-found love of working in two dimensions, though she continues to teach drawing, sculpture and mixed media. At Dalton, she points out, all students must take some courses in art. Although there are no data to indicate how many Dalton grads have gone on to pursue study or careers in art, Sirow imagines that many do so, either directly or in related fields, such as film. She believes that “art is integral to education” and she seems particularly eager to promote that belief for women. She cites, among her artistic mentors, the American abstract expressionist Helen Frankenthaler, who studied at Dalton (and married Robert Motherwell), and the feminist, minimalist Eva Hesse. Closer to home, Sirow mentions that her father, a retired dentist has taken up art—not a mentor but, she smiles, but perhaps a mentee? And her children have proved creative, as well.
Sirow is in fine company at Silas Marder Gallery and in the hands of a gracious, supportive and informed young owner. Other artists on exhibit include Aesthetic Apparatus, Chrissy Baucom, Lautaro Cutica, Jameson Ellis, Ann Fristoe, Grant Haffner, Jocelyn Hobbie, Bryn McConnell and Mica Invisible Marder.#