Renowned art critic Peter Frank provides insight into Sandy Bleifer’s various “series” as collections of thoughts about life, like the pensées… musings of a poet
The “River Rocks Series,” North Regional Art Sampler, Century Gallery, 1988
My work evolves from an inquiry into the nature of my materials, my working process, and the paper itself. What I learn from my media I use as a frame of reference for the real world. The pieces in the River Rocks series express some of the common ground shared by natural processes and my art-making methods.
Paper as a Metaphor for River Rocks
I have always tried to find ways in which the drawing or printing and construction of a piece expresses the process of nature at work when making a representation of that subject. Hand made paper and the paper making process itself suggested a strong connection between the paper and the process of the formation of rocks. The process of casting a representation of rocks is parallel to the way rocks are actually formed in nature: i.e. rocks are fragments of mountains or earth that are “torn away” in smaller pieces (just like I did with pages of silkscreens) and, likewise, the landscape is reformed by compression and the extraction of water (just as paper is formed). This insight led to much elaboration on the relationship of hand made paper and silkscreened and art papers with the subject of rocks.
In the River Rocks series, there is a thread of dialog about paper; its basic flat whiteness, the illusions it creates, its 3-dimensional presentation and its flat representation and its sculptural dimension against its negative impression. (More Sandy Bleifer at this link)
Renowned art critic Peter Frank had this to say about Sandy last February 2017, in a review called: SANDY BLEIFER: TEXTURALITY
…what has maintained steadily throughout Bleifer’s entire career has been her appreciation for and exploitation of material – principally, but not solely, paper. There is a strong imagistic bent to her visual sensibility, but it is outweighed, even as it is supported, by her sensitivity to texture and heft. In a sense, through paper, Bleifer is always balancing between the condition of painting and the condition of sculpture, fusing the facture of each into a hybrid that depends on its material to function both as support and as substance.
Sandy Bleifer’s signal contribution to contemporary artistic practice is her overall employment of paper towards a variety of subjects and effects. But over the years Bleifer has engaged this employment in the consideration of diverse subjects, and to regard her simply as an innovator in paper is to miss the deeply felt and conveyed meanings of her artworks, the worldly concerns that motivated their production in the first place. Her various series are in fact collections of thoughts about life, like the pensées of a memoirist, perhaps, or the musings of a poet. The only difference is, they are made of paper rather than written on it.
Other projects by Sandy Bleifer…