Written by Chris Boyle, firstname.lastname@example.org Friday, 03 January 2014 00:00
There’s one thing about art that sets it apart from most other forms of communication — the ability to express the inexpressible and reflect the very spirit of an age gone by for future generations to savor and experience.
Evelyn Silver, a docent at the Nassau County Museum of Art and Adjunct Professor at Queens College, professes to have had a lifelong passion for art. At a recent presentation she held at the Plainview-Old Bethpage Library entitled “Food In Art,” she showed and discussed the many ways in which more than 25 major artists have used food in their works to depict celebrations, class distinctions and humor.
“Food is an essential, and artists have used food in art since the beginning of time,” she said. “The caveman carved images into walls to pray for a good hunt so that hey would have food, and moving along, food has become an important aspect of celebrations, religion, politics and propaganda, from all classes of life, rich to poor. The images in today’s presentation span seven centuries, and how all these artists have used it to express themselves.”
Silver said that she hopes that people attending her art lectures will walk out having experienced two important things — things, she hopes, that will allow them to see life from a slightly different perspective.
“First, they will have enjoyed it,” she said. “Second, they will become familiar with pieces of art that they may not have seen before...for example, looking at a piece of work by Chaim Soutine or Jack Levine may be very different from what they may have experienced before. And how the image came to be, the brushstrokes, the feelings that are imparted by the artist through their work...perhaps people can come away with a slightly different viewpoint on art and want to learn more.”
Beth Saltalamacchio, head of adult programming for the library, said that they asked Silver to return based on the strength of her last art lecture there, entitled “Children At Play As Seen By Artists.”
“I did not realize that the culture of a piece of art could reflect the feeling of the time period in which is was created so brilliantly,” Saltalamacchio said. “Evelyn really zeroed in on those aspects, and I saw things in art that I had never seen before. That’s the mark of a really good art lecturer...she’s really quite the expert.”
Silver said that her specialty is doing outreach; she often does presentations at libraries and community centers under the auspices of the Nassau County Museum of Art.
“We have this facility in Nassau County that is really quite remarkable, and the perfect way to introduce people these great works of art is come out and do these presentations,” she said. “It’s a way of informing them of the museum and what it has to offer. So, it serves two purposes...it’s educational and informative.”
Silver, a Great Neck resident, is also a lecturer for University Without Walls, a organization that assists those with an appreciation for art but are homeward bound and unable to get out to a museum.
“We send them the material in advance, and because they’re housebound, we do the presentation by phone,” she said. “Everyone gets a packet containing duplications of the artwork, and I call them up and narrate the presentation of them.”
Burt Radish of Plainview, a big art fan, is a regular at the library, and said he enjoys their many public events that they offer local residents.
“I’m very curious...I come to these presentations a lot and this one is unusual,” he said. “I decided to come down and find out what it was all about, and I really have to say, Ms. Silver’s presentation and her take on these artists was fascinating. I’m really enticed to go down and visit that Nassau Art Museum in-person now to see what else they have to offer.”
Another Plainview resident, Linda Watkin, praised the Plianview-Old Bethpage Library for its steadfast support of the arts over the years.
“As a retired woman, I go to all of the lectures that are given by the library, and they’re wonderful,” she said. “I’m interested in art, and I’ve been to many museums around the world, and the talks given at the library are so great...just as good as New York City.”