Proof of Concept

Philip Gerstein


If I get another chance at love

If I get another chance


If I have a chance to give

I'm not holding back, not holding back

~My Brightest Diamond, song: "Another Chance"


How to bridge a difference between a design and its actual realization in the world?

You've seen it many a time, I'm sure, the slow wreckage of some grand aspiration sinking under its own weight, or sputtering to a decidedly mixed outcome... .

Sometimes though, sometimes overcoming the odds and showering unequalled pleasure on all involved, one hits that fine mark, pushes that Sisyphean stone over the top, vanquishes the listless pull of gravity and explodes into the stratosphere in the most satisfying spectacular display of what's possible.


This happy result, without false modesty, is what happened with our latest Boston-area painting exhibition this February.


Proof of Concept | Phillip Gerstein | Scene4 Magazine | March 2022 | www.scene4.co

One of my recent paintings in the Brickbottom Gallery exhibition:
Philip Gerstein, "Trying to Look Casual", 18 x 18 in. (42 x 42 cm),
Oil stick, acrylic, lacquer, glitter, & mixed textural media on wood panel,  2021


It all started with an unorthodox concept:

(TITLE:)  Space <--> Color <--> Movement:  Lyrical Realism
into Poetic Abstraction.

Three dedicated painters -- a lyrical realist and two color abstractionists, friends and allies in real life -- were to inter-hang their work in trios. The intricately designed proposal envisioned the paintings in each trio enmeshing and flowing into each other, or sparking on contact in unexpected contrast -- and in the process revealing hidden facets, the nuances of construction, of color, texture, composition, mood -- emitting their inner vibration.


However good the design (and the design was most unusual), it hardly guaranteed an equally good execution. My previous Scene4 feature, for February 2022  described at length my initial Proposal for this show. Now that the show was up, it was time for Proof of Concept:



At exhibition's entrance, l-r, Philip Gerstein: "Metamorphoses", 40 x 30 in. (102 x 76 cm);  
Jo Ann Rothschild: "8-19-2020", 30 x 24 in. (76 x 61 cm); 
Alexandra Rozenman: "Diving into Modernism (from a Russian Village)", 40 x 60 in. (102 x 152 cm)


What's the word for exceeding expectations? Ahh, how about: it worked spectacularly well!


The actual show features, to borrow musical notation, 7 trios, 1 duet, and 4 solos. It is fresh, sparkling, humorous and serious at the same time, and it blooms with enough color to wake up Boston from its two-year slumber long before the coming of the New England Spring. The exhibition is accompanied by Zooms, sales, and an improvisational jazz performance of the highest caliber (a trio, naturally) at the closing reception, as February itself comes to a close.



Installation shot. (Near right:) Jo Ann Rothschild:
"Then This", 84 x 66 in. (213 x 168 cm)



Installation shot, l.-to-r.: Philip Gerstein: "Find Your Passion", 30 x 40 in. (76 x 102 cm);  
Jo Ann Rothschild: "When My Parents Were Alive", 25 x 30 in. (64 x 76 cm);  
Alexandra Rozenman: "Meeting Frida at the Mexican Border", 24 x 36 in. (61 x 91



 At the Opening Reception. On wall l-r:
 Alexandra Rozenman: "Frying Eggs for Francis Bacon", 50 x 52 in. (127 x 132 cm)
 Jo Ann Rothschild: "The Trip", 94 x 112 in. (239 x 284 cm);
 Philip Gerstein: "Extreme Butoh", 36 x 36 in. (91 x 91 cm)



At exhibition's entrance.
Alexandra Rozenman: "Two Beasts", 58 x 60 in. (147 x 132 cm)


For all who witnessed it, this exhibition will leave a bright contrail across the snowy Boston skies, for a long time to come.


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Born and raised in Moscow, Russia, Philip Gerstein began exhibiting his work in the 1980's, while pursuing a PhD in Art History at Harvard University. He studied painting at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and Japanese calligraphy with Toshu Ogawa. Gerstein exhibits in NYC, Provincetown MA, and extensively in the Boston area, as well as organizing and curating painting and photography shows. His work has been reviewed, reproduced and praised in many publications, including The Boston Globe, ArtScope Magazine, and Art New England. For his other work in Scene4, check the Archives

©2022 Philip Gerstein
©2022 Publication Scene4 Magazine





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