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Visual Arts

Cecily Barth Firestein: Art work

Firestein, Cecily Barth

Artist's statement: "Cecily Barth Firestein is a painter who combines methodologies of printmaking and collage while working within the framework of abstraction. Firestein studied with Hans Hofmann, Hale Woodruff and Yasuo Kuniyoshi, among others, leading her to embrace and question aspects of abstraction, expressionism and surrealism. Over the past six decades she bravely resisted joining any particular artistic movement, opting instead to synthesize, hence cultivating her own unique language. Her paintings arrest us with structured compositions, lush palettes and lyrical movements while surprising us with curious imagery and wit. Firestein initiates each painting as an abstract monotype using oil-based printing ink. Once the ink has dried, she addresses the paper covering the monotype with a wash of tempera paint in both opaque and transparent layers. Firestein’s source material archive is extensive, complete with Japanese color prints – Ukiyoye, early European and American printed ephemera and other themes that interest her. A penchant for surprising juxtapositions, a visual acumen of modern abstraction and a keen imagination fuse to determine both the selection and eventual position of images from the archive. The collage elements shape the narrative route of the painting. Constantly probing for and disseminating trans-historical narratives, Firestein draws from her wealth of experience, travels and multicultural studies. In addition to painting, she specialized in the ancient Chinese art and modern craft of “lifting rubbings”. Her engagement with materials is incredibly palpable and involves pressure and sensitivity lending itself to an intimacy that is unusual given the large size of the paintings. Cecily Barth Firestein creates evocative and highly distinctive tableaux that defy gravity."

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Research Center for Arts and Culture
Published Here
September 26, 2013

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