BBAC Santlofer Beyond the Forest
Jonathan Santlofer's “Beyond the Forest” (Courtesy of BBAC)

The exhibit is on view through June 4 at the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center.

Jonathan Santlofer established a successful career as a painter before two tragedies impacted his professional instincts. After the death of his wife (food writer Joy Santlofer) and a fire that destroyed 10 years of work, he began writing projects and altered his artistry.

Santlofer revealed his experiences and Jewish outlook in The Widower’s Notebook: A Memoir (Penguin Books, 2018) and moved into fiction with detective novels. Leaving behind the abstract, he experimented with merging realistic images through printmaking.

Santlofer’s 13-color screenprint “Beyond the Forest” and pieces by two other well-regarded Jewish artists, Sidney Hurwitz and Hugh Kepets, are among the works of 35 artists from around the country in the exhibit Glimpse: Fine Print Selections from Stewart & Stewart 1980-2020.

The exhibit is on view through June 4 (by appointment because of social distancing) at the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center. It also is available through an online catalog at stewartstewart.com.

The exhibit honors the 40th anniversary of husband-and-wife team Norman and Susan Stewart, who print, publish and collaborate with artists in their Bloomfield Hills studio-residence. Santlofer is one of many printmakers who have stayed at the Stewart facility to transfer matrix images and color to other surfaces.

“They were open to letting me do what I wanted to do in what is a collaborative art,” said the New York-based Santlofer.

In “Beyond the Forest,” Santlofer started with his own handprints, drew on top of them and developed a landscape.

“I had been visiting the cave paintings in France, and the handprint, which you see so often in Paleolithic art … was in my mind,” he said.

Santlofer’s works have been in more than 200 exhibitions worldwide and are in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Art Institute of Chicago and others.

Norman Stewart, a master printer, helps artists create imagery using traditional and digital fine art printing techniques. Susan Stewart, a graphic designer, is instrumental in placing the original editions in worldwide museums, galleries, corporations and residences.

“In choosing the pieces for the BBAC exhibit, I wanted a range of artists and techniques,” Norman Stewart said.

BBAC Hurwitz Gas Works
Sidney Hurwitz, “Gas Works” (Courtesy of BBAC)

Artist Sidney Hurwitz, who focuses on industrial sites, is represented in the show by “Gas Works,” an etching/aquatint commissioned by the Flint Institute of Arts.

“I was intrigued by the structure of the abandoned gas installation just outside of Seattle,” said Hurwitz, Boston University professor emeritus. “I’m interested in the way forms and structures go together. It’s like looking at sculpture.”

Hurwitz, whose prints have been collected and displayed internationally from New York to London, holds recognition through a Fulbright Fellowship, Louis Comfort Tiffany Award and National Institute of Arts and Letters Prize.

Hugh Kepets also displays an interest in architectural images, but his concentration stays fixed on details. In his work “Astor,” a 32-color screenprint, he has abstracted a segment of a cathedral in New York.

“All my work is Jewish because I am Jewish,” said Kepets.

Kepets became interested in his environment simply by looking out windows. He started with the natural environment before moving into the built environment, using highlighting and shadow effects to create feelings of 3D space.

His work is included in MoMA, Cleveland Museum of Art and major corporate collections.

“In the last dozen years, I have been working on the computer to make prints,” he said. “I am living out my fantasy. Art is the only thing I ever wanted to do. I wanted to live in New York and make a living as an artist.” .

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