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Echo Sonata Series

"Engelman, who holds a Masters Degree in Asian and Japanese Art… expresses her kinship with [17th Century Japanese painter and calligrapher Honami] Koetsu, in fourteen monumental canvases that wed the exquisiteness of classical Asian calligraphy to the scale and impact of contemporary mainstream painting. Just as Koetsu harked back to… ancient Chinese painting for inspiration, Engelman takes the next quantum leap in this exhilarating aesthetic relay race across the centuries, interpreting Koetsu’s calligraphy and poetry on a physical scale and with a gestural dynamism akin to Abstract Expressionism.

… Standing before Engelman’s huge canvases… their opalescent white, silver and gold hues… shimmer iridescently as the eye moves over the composition, the brushstrokes seeming to flicker and change color and value in a manner that conjures up an ethereal sense of mystery."
    - Gallery & Studio

VIew Paintings from the Echo Sonata Series >


Crescendo Suite(Walsh Gallery paintings)

“Engelman does not set out to paint a specific scene; rather, through an uncanny understanding of the essential features of a given place, such as the quality of light or the predominance of a particular color, she confronts us with the visualization of the precise effect of that place. It is not surprising that the artists admires the work of French masters of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Eduard Vuillard and Pierre Bonnard. Their masterful compositions employ an abundance of shimmering patterns that inspire Engelman’s own use of steady repetition of elements when constructing her own paintings…

One can derive almost sensual delight from observing Engelman’s paintings. The rhythmic movement of her dense brushstrokes across the pictorial field expresses her command of the medium. She has not chosen to give us the representation of a scene. Rather she leads us to create our own perception of a selected theme. Her works contain enough oppositional color to seemingly generate light from within the painting… For Engelman the act of painting is to reveal hidden mysteries and delights present in our surroundings, waiting to be discovered. She has dedicated herself to make us better understand the strength of our own perception while considering the everlasting magic of painting."

    - Charlotta Kotik, Curator of Contemporary Art, Brooklyn Museum of Art

View Paintings from the Crescendo Suite >


Mishkin Gallery exhibition

“One of the true highlights of the past few months was the showcase exhibition of new paintings by Rosalyn A. Engelman at the Sidney Mishkin Gallery… What made this solo show immediately remarkable was the brilliant coloristic flowering of an artist who in two previous exhibitions at Adelphi University Center Gallery and the National Arts Club, showed black-on-black paintings…. The sonorous coloristic richness reaches its apex in the large canvas named for a quote from Siegfried Sasson ‘And beauty came like the setting sun.’ In this composition, as in other recent paintings, vibrant red, yellow and orange hues are employed in concert with deeper blues and other darker colors, layered with the feathery cursive strokes that lend Engelman’s canvases much of their energy and depth… Engelman combines a linear fluidity akin to Mark Tobey’s “white writing” with a succulent tactility and a painterly intensity that can only be compared to Jackson Pollack…”
   - Gallery & Studio


Nocturnes of the Soul Series

“Like traditional Chinese painters, Engelman sees black as equivalent to all other colors, although her own work is anything but traditional. Engelman works the surfaces of her canvases with a wide variety of strokes to achieve a textural richness and a gestural vigor to rival that of Milton Resnick’s well known overall compositions, layering a densely woven network of strokes that absorb and reflect light with great subtlety of effect. She likens her rhythmic brushwork to musical compositions, and succeeds splendidly in achieving what she calls “grace notes and staccato in between.” All painted on large canvases that confront and envelop the viewer with their physical immediacy and impact, Engelman’s “Nocturnes of the Soul” hark back to the heroic period of Abstract Expressionism…”
     - Gallery & Studio


“Rosalyn Engelman removes obvious color from her paintings in favor of meditative shades of black. The viewer’s retina receives the shimmering light from the layered brushstrokes and in turn fills the mind’s eye with the hues of personal experience and memory. While inspired by recent world tragedy, the paintings communicate in a language that is universal and timeless. These are pictures that are meant to be read with the eyes, but can only be digested by the soul.”
    - Christopher D’Amelio, New York gallery owner


“Upon first seeing Rosalyn Engelman’s large black and white paintings, I felt an immediate attraction. I went to the studio and saw many more, some serial, all dealing with difficult global social issues. Her two-color treatment is surprisingly varied and evocative of the emotions she feels for her subjects. Light, depth, and movement are elicited through her dynamic brushwork. In these paintings, the viewer can feel the artist’s anguish but can also impose his or her own visceral and visual reaction.”
    - Annette Blaugrund, PhD, art historian and author


Echo Sonata Series

"Rosalyn A. Engelman is a painter's painter. Those who practice this immortal medium themselves, appreciate her expert handling of the basic properties of pain, the juxtaposition of various hues, the manipulation of the physical surface of painting and the artist's feeling for a compositional balance. However, the gentle subtlety of Rosalyn Engelman's work affects everyone fortunate enough to get to know her paintings. The general visitor derives pleasure from all her expert professional endeavors as well as from the artist's ability to express personal experiences and the wide range of the attendant's feeling. Ms. Engelman herself is a discerning observer of her own work and her words best illuminate her artistic intentions. In a recent statement, she explained:


'The dramatic range of my abstract paintings from the 90's to the twenty-first century echoes and reflects my reactions to particular times and places. These are timely themes that will have lost none of their relevance in the intervening years. The dulcet tones of a balmy walk in a sun-drenched Italy, juxtaposed against work derived from an emotional response to the news clipping showing a cowering child amid the ruins of his war-torn home... these images continue to server as an intense reminder of things that patter, both to the artist and the viewer, yesterday and today. In my work, I reach out and hope that the viewer will meet me half way, bringing other experiences, memories and emotions to interpreting and enjoying each piece in a distinctive meld of expressions.'


Dichotomy is an important element in my painting. There is a push and pull of the painted space, as color and stroke combine to create a sense of depth on a flat canvas. Like sheer silk caught in a breeze, diaphanous layers create a visual evanescence with allusions to Japanese are and calligraphy.


The beauty of Asian calligraphy and subtlety of ancient poetic thought provide the impetus for the work in the present exhibition. In these efforts, I am able to apply visual impressions from my frequent journeys to Japan, along with artistic insights from my exposure to the Asian aesthetic in general and Japanese are and in particular during my master's degree program at the University of Rochester.


Recent paintings are based upon the seventeenth century painting / calligraphy of Hon'Ami Koetsu (1558-1637). His reverence for the Heian period (794-1192 AD) and ancient China imbues his work with a sense of purity and reverence that I hope to capture in my paintings. The title of the exhibit is "Echo Sonata". Typically, a sonata is a musical piece in three or four movements. I work to music and feel my work flows in time and space like music. Through the addition of gold or silver or sheen, the paintings change with light and the viewer's position . This also refers to the mica incorporated in Koetsu's work. I try to have the colors vibrate and dance, as stasis and motion co-exist between iridescent brush strokes, changing hue and tone as the viewer moves. Echoes resonate from the present (which immediately becomes past and then returns amplified by space and light in the future).


The calligraphy of Koetsu and references to his past have become my present. They inspire me in the 21st century and are expressed through my paintings. I hope they resonate in the future as they are viewed."


The figure and ground in Engelman's painting are intricately intertwined. The swirling calligraphy grows from the depth of the pictorial field never quite assuming definite shape. The work is poetic, recalling ancient scrolls and their timeless albeit fading beauty. The Western and Eastern traditions of painting meet in the work of this remarkably sensitive painter to fuse into the lyrical abstraction of unique transcendence."


Charlotta Kotik,
Brooklyn, New York

See the Paintings from the Echo Sonata series >


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