February 5-March 1
These two concurrent exhibits showcase Alain Huin’s bold portrait assemblages and Mike Solomon’s luminous, two-dimensional constructions. Mike Solomon, the son of the renowned abstract expressionist, Syd Solomon, is an intuitive, color-driven painter whose works in this exhibit celebrate, “the gaze of the heart.” Alan Huin, famous for his furniture design, shows works that reflect his fascination with the human face.
(Sarasota, FL) Allyn Gallup Contemporary Art gallery presents “Field of the Heart,” featuring Mike Solomon’s luminous constructions, and “Face to Face,” showcasing Alain Huin’s acrylic and gouache portrait assemblages. These shows run concurrently from February 5 through March 1. A reception, with the artists, is Friday, February 5, 6-8 p.m., with artist remarks and a Q&A at 7 p.m. For more information about this exhibit, call 941-366-2454 or visit www.allyngallup.com. The gallery is at 1288 N. Palm Ave., in Sarasota.
“Field of the Heart” invites viewers into Mike Solomon’s floating world of color and form. Water is a recurrent theme in Solomon’s work. According to Allyn Gallup, the gallery’s director, the artist’s liquid imagery evokes the flow of time. “Water is ever changing,” he says. “Mike’s work has the same mutability. He captures the translucent, reflective quality of light on water in a way that speaks to our experience of time; it’s quite literally dazzling. His overlapping color fields evoke the persistence of vision, where an image lingers in the eye after the reality is gone.”
The source of Solomon’s vision? According to Gallup, it’s both nature and nurture. The artist is the son of the celebrated abstract expressionist, Syd Solomon (1917-2004), and was raised in the art world of the 1960s. The younger Solomon launched his own artistic career at the age of 15, after winning a national printmaking award. “Whether it’s genes or environment no one can say,” notes Gallup. “But he’s definitely got it in him.”
Solomon’s fascination with the life aquatic is not surprising; he’s been a surfer since he was a child. In addition to riding the waves, he mastered the painstaking art of crafting surfboards. As an artist, he applies the same attention to detail creating his abstract constructions. Such works comprise many layers of transparent tints; each layer remains visible as he adds more layers on top. Solomon created the series of constructions showcased in this exhibit in 2012. Some works employ multiple layers of rice paper imbued with watercolor and embedded in epoxy; others feature layers of acrylic on wood panel.
“Field of the Heart,” the show’s evocative title, refers to two works that Solomon took to heart: Stephan Harrod Buher’s essay, The Heart as an Organ of Perception, and Nader Saiedi’s book, Gate of the Heart, which explores the writings of the Báb, the founder of the Bahá’í faith. Both writers deal with the heart’s cognitive functions.
The heart thinks?
“Yes,” says Solomon. “The heart thinks. It’s not just an expression of speech. About 60 percent of the heart’s cells are neural cells, which function similarly to those in the brain.” The artist says his work obeys the Báb’s admonition to honor the gaze of the heart and not that of the intellect.
“Speak from the heart and speak truth,” he says. “It boils down to that. It’s why I became an intuitive, color-driven painter in the first place. There’s a splendor and divine effulgence in creation. When I succeed with a piece, it tells the truth about that splendor. My heart is in synch with the pulse of the universe, and it’s a true celebration.”
“Face to Face,” showcasing Alain Huin’s graphically bold portrait assemblages, runs concurrently with Solomon’s exhibit and features hundreds of individual portraits assembled to create mosaics of color and strong graphic images.
Huin works in differing mediums—gouache or acrylic—on cardboard and fiberboard, but they all reflect his fascination with the human face.
“I was recently in Miami for Art Basel,” says Huin. “While I was there, I looked at as many faces as I did paintings. I’ve always loved observing and sketching people at random. In doing so, I’ve developed my own ‘people vocabulary.’ My last exhibit was called ‘In Your Face.’ This exhibit is really a continuity of my obsession with facial characters.”
Area art lovers may be more familiar with Huin’s work as a furniture designer. According to Gallup, Huin’s fine art flows from the same well of creativity.
“Alain Huin’s prolific design career was driven by a passion for the creative process,” says Gallup. “Painting, drawing and sculpture has always been part of his life, and we see that in this show.”
About Allyn Gallup Contemporary Art
Allyn Gallup Contemporary Art was established in 1991. Since the beginning, its founder, Allyn Gallup, has been committed to providing serious art to the community. Through this commitment, the gallery has earned the reputation as the leading place in southwest Florida to view contemporary art. The gallery’s collection includes paintings, sculptures, mixed-media assemblages, works on paper and prints by mid-career artists with well-established exhibition records. The gallery also occasionally showcases works by promising emerging artists. Visit www.allyngallup.com.
About Mike Solomon
Mike Solomon’s work can be seen in many notable collections. He is represented by Salomon Contemporary, New York, NY (no relation); Kathryn Markel, New York, NY; Sarah Nightingale in Water Mill, NY; and Allyn Gallup Contemporary in Sarasota. Solomon writes art commentary and serves on the editorial board for Hamptons Art Hub, a provider of art content to Google. He has contributed essays for shows organized by Beth Rudin DeWoody, and for Whitehot Magazine.com. Solomon has also written and lectured extensively on Alfonso Ossorio.
About Alain Huin
Huin has degrees from l’Ecole des Beaux Arts de Tours and l’Ecole National Superieure des Arts Decoratifs (ENSAD) Paris. In Paris, Huin collaborated with noted designer Raymond Loewy on designs for the Concorde, Holland Railways, Shell International, Saint Gobain and Paris/ Charles de Gaulle airport. In 1973, Huin was selected as designer of the year by France’s Mobilier National; his designs are in their permanent collection. After moving to the United States, Huin collaborated on furniture design with Charles Eames for Herman Miller. He launched his own practice in 1985, designing furniture and accessories for major furniture manufacturers. Many of his designs were sold by Ethan Allen, Crate and Barrel, Bloomindales’s and Restoration Hardware, among others. Huin’s design work is part of the permanent collection of the University of Florida, Gainesville.