Robert Rosegarten, who received widespread acclaim for his tenure as mayor of the Village of Great Neck Plaza, has devoted himself to a new career as a professional artist, where his work is also receiving widespread acclaim.
Former Mayor Robert Rosegarten and one of his works of art, which will be on display at The Great Neck Arts Center Art Gallery through December.
His artwork is noted for turning ordinary and obsolete objects into works of art. He frequently transforms antique type, mannequins, rusted pitchforks, marbles, cigar boxes and other unrelated objects. The result? Mixed media sculptures which possess provocative beauty.
His current exhibit, "Rosegarten Reconstructed: Mixed Media Sculptures of R.J. Rosegarten," is now being featured at The Great Neck Arts Center Art Gallery, located at The Arts Center, 113 Middle Neck Road, above the Squire Theatre. The one-man show, free and open to the public, presents more than 50 of his intriguing sculptures.
He was invited to exhibit his work by Arts Center Executive Director Regina Gil. "I have always admired the energy, talent and focus that Bob Rosegarten brings to every project," she said. "When he was mayor of the Village of Great Neck Plaza, he brought the village to a new level. When he retired, he devoted the same attention to his new career as an artist. And, what an artist he is!"
She said Mr. Rosegarten had an exhibit at The Arts Center several years ago, when he retired as mayor. "This show will give us a chance to revisit the work and see the direction it has taken." She called the work "whimsical, philosophical, serious, fun, mysterious and open-all at the same time."
Since his early days, when he used his own kitchen as his studio, Mr. Rosegarten's style has evolved into what it is today: a completely eclectic set of mixed media assemblages and sculptures that he prefers not to label under one specific genre. The most striking change in his style occurred during his physical relocation from the hustle and bustle of Great Neck to the serenity and tranquility of upstate New York.
Among the flea markets, garage and barn sales-primary sources of entertainment in the country-the artist found new inspiration. His most recent "reconstruction" came initially from old wooden patterns used to make sand casting for metal machine parts. He purchases on a whim, hoping to one day put to use objects such as a rusted scythe with a broken wooden handle and a box of glass doll's eyes. The objects are placed in boxes, marked by content and stored on shelves to be rediscovered sometime in the future.
The show displays the artist's range of artistic ability. "Frank O'Hare, The Has-Been-Who-Never-Was," one of the former mayor's works, for example, has a wooden-patterned face and box torso, glass eyes and retro tie, and projects the humor of Mr. Rosegarten's previous work. In contrast, "Crimson Warning," another of his works, has mannequin hands, one holding a red reflector, which provocatively juts out from a stark white frame, commanding the viewer to stop. In "The Horns of a Dilemma," three wooden rings seem to rest precariously on one point of a hand forged pitchfork. "Is it a game or does it represent life's choices," the artist says.
Mr. Rosegarten says he is delighted to share his talent with the Great Neck community. "This show is especially meaningful to me because I am able to share my love for art with the community in which I lived for more than 40 years. During my tenure as mayor, I worked tirelessly for the establishment of The Great Neck Arts Center. To now be able to bring my own art show to The Arts Center is truly rewarding."
The works by Mr. Rosegarten will be on exhibit through the end of December. All of his work is for sale and a portion of proceeds will be donated to The Arts Center.
For gallery hours, call The Great Neck Arts Center at 829-2570.