Ed Ferszt Ed’s adult life (but for a brief hiatuses in the mid-west) has been spent on the eastern seaboard of the United States , generally within a 30 mile radius of the north/south Interstate (95.) Within this radius he was schooled in Philadelphia at the Tyler School of Art (BFA) and New York City’s Bank Street Teachers College, Parsons School of Design (MsED) and Columbia University’s Teachers College (EdD.) with an additional stint in Wisconsin at The University of Wisconsin( MA). He currently lives in New England (with family) and maintains a lovely studio in an old mill building. Travel (Europe and China) has been (and when possible will continue to be) very important. His paintings have been described as “particular, ambitious, complex and evocative,” terms that are applicable to the painter as well. He is particular about the choice of materials and methods for painting; primarily transparent watercolor on large stretched paper surfaces; ambitious about the size and complexity of the work; themes embedded in the work and the use of historical material in the articulation of contemporary issues.
My work is abstract and has a formal visual vocabulary that uses rhythmic gradations of color and value to create contrast. How I feel about the relationship of these elements and the transitions that flow from them ultimately dictates the organization of the painting.
Because the work is abstract, and as humans we frequently look for meaning, viewers often say “I can see a face in there” or “that looks just like (whatever)”. At a certain point in time I decided to engage this human characteristic and began to literally insert faces and figures that were meaningful for me. This breadcrumb trail for viewers as a means of engagement evolved during an exploration of themes into the research and use of narratives.
The use of a narrative to drive imagery helps me avoid painting the same picture over and over. A narrative is always transformed in the process of painting and while themes or narratives are meaningful to me it’s not relevant if the viewer understands all of the personal meaning in my work. That meaning, however, informs how a piece evolves and in effect creates what is meaningful about it.
I work on large 56” square (and sometimes less large 40” or 28” square) paintings with water-based media (primarily transparent watercolor) on stretched paper. Watercolor is a peculiar genre that frequently emphasizes a specific skill set and presents somewhat bland and innocuous content in an intimate (small)) format. My current use of watercolor to explore complex and difficult ideas, in a large format is intended to exploit the potential of this underutilized and somewhat marginalized medium. Watercolor, like traditional printmaking, requires one to expose what is there by articulating what is not there. A complicated, sometimes painstaking and indirect way of working that sometimes seems a very radical idea in our current digitized world.
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Penn Federal Bank, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Numerous Private Collections in the Greater Philadelphia Area; Aspen, Colorado; Boca Raton, Fla.Providence, Rhode Island; San Diego, California
One Person Shows:
Janet Fleisher's Gallery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania ,1971
Rosenfeld Gallery, Philadelphia Pennsylvania, 1977
Third Street Gallery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1985
Two Person Shows:
Philadelphia Art Alliance, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1970
Arcadia University, Glenside, Pennsylvania, 1973
Hera Gallery, Wakefield, Rhode Island 2018
Wright Art Center, Beloit, Wisconsin,1969
Alma Perlis Gallery, Allentown, Pennsylvania,1971
Philadelphia Art Alliance Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,1971
Moravian College Bethlehem, Pennsylvania,1971
International Art Exposition, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,1971
Langman Gallery, Jenkintown, Pennsylvania,1973,1974
Cheltenham Art Center, Cheltenham, Pennsylvania,1970,72,74,75,76, 81
Moore College of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1975
Allentown Art Museum, Allentown, Pennsylvania, 1976
Rosenfeld Gallery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1979
Putney Gallery, Aspen, Colorado, 1979
Federal Courthouse, Philadelphia, “Current Abstract Painting”1981
Phoenix Gallery, New York, New York,1983
Third Street Gallery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,1985
Tan Jin Exchange Exhibit, Tan Jin, China,1985
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,1986
Vera Redmond Gallery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,1992
South County Art Association, Kingston, Rhode Island,2014,15
Warwick Center for the Arts, Warwick, Rhode Island, Annual Open,2017
Newport Art Museum, Newport, Rhode Island, Members Juried Open,2016,17,18,19
Bristol Art Museum, Bristol, Rhode Island,2018
Invitational “A Kaleidoscope: Harbor/ Bay/Ocean: A Focus on Conservancy”
Art League Rhode Island, Providence Rhode Island 2019
Art League Rhode Island, Providence Rhode Island, Open Juried Show 2019
“Present from The Past”
Pawtucket Arts Collaborative, Rhode Island, Open Juried Show, 2018, 2019
Barrett Arts Center, Poughkeepsie N.Y, Open Juried show, 2019
“New Directions 2019”
Pence Gallery, Sacramento, California. Open Juried show, 2020
“Water + Color”
Art Space Connect Gallery, Toronto, Canada, Open Juried Show 2020
“Overzealous, Re Imagined"
Cheltenham Art Center Tobeleah Weschler Annual Awards Show, PA 1970
1st Prize, Juror, Robert M. Doty, curator, Whitney Museum ofAmerican Art, New York City
Cheltenham Art Center Tobeleah Weschler, Annual Awards Show, PA 1974
Purchase Prize selected by Anne d’Harnoncourt, curator of 20th centuryart, for the Philadelphia Museum of Art, permanent collection
South County Art Association Kingston, Rhode Island 2014 Open Juried
South County Art Association, Kingston, Rhode Island 2015 Open Juried
Newport Art Museum. Newport, Rhode Island, 2016 Members, Juried,
First prize Water Color
Newport Art Museum. Newport, Rhode Island, 2017 Members, Juried,
First prize Water Color
Warwick Center for the Arts, Warwick, Rhode Island, 2017 0pen Juried
Art League Rhode Island, Providence, 2019 “Habits of the Heart for 2.4 Million Years” Best in Show
” Present from the Past” Juror, Mary Dondero, Curator for the Bristol ArtMuseum
Newport Art Museum, Juried Annual Members Show, 2019 “Habits of the Heart: The Odyssey “Best inShow
Jurors: Dr. Helen Burnham is the Pamela and Peter Voss Curator of Prints and Drawings at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Dr. Leora Maltz-Leca is Associate Professor of Global Contemporary Art and Chair of the Department of Theory & History of Art & Design at the Rhode Island School of Design.
Pawtucket Arts Collaborative Rhode Island, Open Juried Show,2019 “Habits of the Heart: The Odyssey”Best in Show
Juror :Dominic Molon, the Richard Brown Baker Curator of Contemporary Art at the RISD Museum(Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design).
Barrett Arts Center, Poughkeepsie N.Y. “New Directions 2019”, “Habits of the Heart: The Odyssey “Best inShow
Juror: Akili Tommasino, Associate Curator, Modern & Contemporary Art, Museum of Fine ArtsBoston
Bachelor of Fine Arts, Tyler School of Art, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, 1968Master of Arts, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, 1970
Master of Science in Education, specialization in Art Administration and Supervision, BankStreet College of Education, and Parsons School of Design, New York, NY, 1980
Doctor of Education, Adult and Continuing Education, Teachers College, ColumbiaUniversity, New York, NY, 1995
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