GCAC Displays Former Mayor’s Creations

Rosegarten and his friend, Regina Gil (center), founder and executive director of the GCAC, at the opening reception (Photos by Deborah Sable)

The Gold Coast Arts Center’s (GCAC) latest exhibition, Lost & Found: The Art of Assemblage, displays the works of RJ Rosegarten, who combines elements to create three-dimensional works of art. The show, which runs through March 12, is free and open to the public, and all artwork is for sale.

“Assemblage involves a thoughtful combination of elements to create something new and original,” said Gallery Director Jude Amsel. “Each process differs significantly when materials are chosen, collected and combined with one another. The thought process of Rosegarten’s techniques is to synthesize materials to produce a cohesive result. Lost and Found: The Art of Assemblage showcases three-dimensional assemblage pieces alongside one another to create a complex language.”

Curator Jude Amsel with artist RJ Rosegarten

In describing his artistic process, RJ Rosegarten explained, “Just as I have reinvented myself a number of times in the past 30 years, so too has my art undergone a metamorphosis. Flea markets, garage and barn sales are entertainment in the country and have become an essential part of my new work with found objects. One day I might find a rusted scythe with a broken wooden handle; the next day a box of glass dolls’ eyes or a red View-Master. I put the material in labeled boxes and store them to be rediscovered,” the artist continued.

“When I select objects for a new composition, I may sit with them for days, moving them around like pieces on a chessboard until they take shape. Placement and balance are key. I remove pieces; add others, balancing shadows, shapes, textures and color until I know instinctively that the work is completed: the new composition has taken on another dimension, a unity of its own and gained strength and character.”

Regina Gil, founder and executive director of the GCAC and friend of Rosegarten, expressed her thoughts about the artist and his exhibition: “In this latest chapter of his creative life, RJ Rosegarten draws upon the rich fabric of his imagination, strong art and design skills, and solid knowledge of carpentry that lets him execute what he already sees in his mind fully formed. And the results are impressive,” she said.

“When he left advertising, he became a beloved and respected mayor, bringing his love of the town and business acumen to the job. He demonstrated that the world of politics and government were new fields on which he could impose his creative eye. As a result, the town grew and he was elected and reelected time and again.

“It was only when he left the town again, retiring from public life, that he began to fully realize his longtime dream of being an artist in his own right. And he is an artist in the fullest sense of the word. Not only are his technical skills the very best, but his thoughts, ideas and vision are on display, inviting the viewer to enter his carefully constructed world; challenging the viewer to understand his point of view, to embrace it or to disagree. A lifetime of thinking and living, of humor and wit, of deep, serious emotion and also of playfulness; the full range of the human experience in a construction of wood and found objects.

The exhibition was well attended.

“As a longtime friend, I am delighted to see RJ ‘Bob’ Rosegarten come home to Great Neck. Without his friendship and assistance, mentoring another dreamer through the shoals of politics, fundraising and community engagement, it is doubtful that this Gold Coast Arts Center could have found its home here. It seems fitting that we honor him with this exhibit that introduces the people he served as mayor to the man he is now—the artist,” Gil said.

The Gold Coast Arts Center is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information on the exhibition or for artwork sales inquiries, contact Amsel at 516-829-2570. For more information on the GCAC, call 516-829-2570 or visit www.goldcoastarts.org.

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