NEW YORK.- The Reading Room at the Hudson Park Library presents Claudia Schwalb and Dick Sebastian, on view through February 28, 2009. Animation in contemporary cartooning as well as in its theory behind Renaissance painting place the audience in an advantageous position. Whereas Minimalism is more about the worship of icons, a very good tool in teaching beginners, those who learn from a collectors point of view need a less tactile and plastic method of absorbing information, thus, the invention of the cartoon.
In this exhibition, two artists, Claudia Schwalb and Dick Sebastian are looking at our contemporary existence from two different angles. Dick Sebastian, whose cartoons of the Washington Square Dog Run as well as his monthly cartoons for Westview, a popular Greenwich Village publication, approach our lives humorously. Claudia Schwalb, on the other hand, tries to solve sociological problems by looking to the past, through old paintings, and accidentally divulged secrets about the past which explain the present.
Whereas Sebastian examines the humor of our obsessions with our pets and day to day existences as a positive and funny experience, Schwalb looks beyond the surface and tries to uncover, art historically, how people functioned pre-electricity, pre-television, pre-antibiotics, etc. In that realm, when the life span was much shorter, our artists were much more likely as to be studying the beauty of youth in the morgues, the musculature of Madonna, the Resurrection of Christ, the Gates of Heaven and Hell, and transcendent, funereal subject matter. It was part of teenage life in the same way that Goth and Punk are now. Similarly, hunting grounds, war and ancient ruins in your backyard linked the past with the present.
Learning from these animated documents of lives, past and present helps us to place a value upon our experiences and also allows us to see through the automatic so that our valuable time on this earth is not wasted. Schwalb places you and your dog at the scene of these fascinating times, either as human incarnations, half dog, half man and Henry VIIIs wives. Or, possibly as yourself as a Renaissance maiden as in Giovanni Battista Tiepolos paintings, but with President of Andrea Rosen Gallery, the dealer, herself dancing as sovereign.