Click to view the Nahum Tschacbasov Retrospective Catalogue


National Arts Club, Nahum Tschacbasov Retrospective

June 1-16, 2013

The National Arts Club














Join us this Thursday, August 23rd at 6pm for the opening reception of 

The Artist Series Featuring Toby Haynes Invitation

The Artist Series Featuring Rolph Scarlett

On Display August 14th through the 20th

The Artist Series Featuring Nahum Tschacbasov

On Display July 31st through August 13th

The Artist Series Featuring Joe Chierchio

On Display July 24th through the 30th 

The Artist Series Featuring Paton Miller

On Display July 17th through the 23rd

Adler | Beegan Artistic “Montage” Brings Abstract Expressionism into the 21st Century
By Lisette Ruch


Art Bytes

  • Celebrated artists, Andrew Hart Adler and Carolyn Beegan, have created a true artistic “montage,” melding a collage of digital photographs and abstract expressionist painting into a cohesive, contemporary whole.


  • Their work is relevant in the 21st century because it reflects the continued infusion of technology and digital media into our every day lives to the point where the lines between it and physical reality are blurred, just as in their pieces.


  • Consistent with 21st century reality, while it is ubiquitous, digital/computer-driven information is nothing without the creative genius, emotion, and interpretation behind it (reflected by the enhancement both digitally and by hand of the digital images).


  • For those of you who can’t get enough of the Abstract Expressionists despite the monumental ABEX Show earlier this year and the current de Kooning retrospective at the MOMA, you will appreciate this duo’s work.  The Adler/Beegan combined works reflect consistent Abstract Expressionist themes, while at the same time interpreting them through a 21st century lens.  Among those themes:  Interest in the process of creating (action) as much as the composition itself, playing with biomorphic abstraction, and figure-ground ambiguity.


  • These works are hot!  Teasing you between figure and abstraction, the vivid color and emotion evoked will keep enlightened collectors admiring their works well into the future.


  • Their unique concept will continue to speak to viewers as technology extends out into more aspects of our lives.  Their artistic representation of this societal shift makes these works timeless and characteristic examples of early 21st century art and thus very collectible.


The artistic montage of East End Long Island artists, Andrew Hart Adler and Carolyn Beegan, is monumental.  By melding a collage of digital photographic images and physically tangible brush strokes in a repetitive process of creation, they have delivered us a form of contemporary abstract expressionism that highlights not only the technological aspects that suffuse our daily lives, but an actively emotionally riveting experience.  They meld together forms of digital media and physical paint-work to create a comprehensive whole, that is much more than either method could have produced on its own.  This parallels how technology is increasingly infusing itself into every aspect of our lives so that it is becoming a virtual extension of us.  Our accomplishments, as individuals and as a society, have been enhanced through this collaboration.  Moreover, their work is relevant to current generations in the 21st century because it reflects an existing, profound transformation in our society and yet highlights the concept that digital/computer-driven information is nothing without creative genius, emotion, and interpretation behind it.  Today’s enlightened art collector embraces the use of technology in an effort to create new mediums and extend the artistic experience.  At the rate technology is progressing, this unique concept will continue to become more relevant and speak to an increasing number of viewers.  Their artistic representation of this societal shift makes these works timeless and characteristic examples of early 21st century art and thus very collectible.        

The Artists

Andrew AdlerBorn to an artistically talented family in New York, Andrew Hart Adler, on his own, is already a world-renowned artist.  While mentored by Willem de Kooning in the mid-1970s, Adler developed his artistic talent largely on his own in Europe.   His solo paintings grace the esteemed collections of the Center Georges Pompidou, Paris’ center for modern and contemporary art, the Ackland Art Center in Chapel Hill NC, the Parrish Art Museum in Southampton NY, the Nasher Museum at Duke University NC, and the Musee d’Art Moderne in Ceret France.  His works are also held in prominent private collections including:  The Albert D. Lasker Collection, The Carnegie Group, Dresden Bank, Bayer Chemical, Mittel Milano, American Ultramar, and Wagner College, NY.   Over the years, he has exhibited his works in numerous galleries throughout Europe and the US in many solo exhibitions.  His works have been included in group exhibitions along side such greats as de Kooning, Pollack, Chagall, and Picasso.     


Carolyn BeeganCarolyn Beegan is also a celebrated, accomplished artist.  Although she originally studied computer science and was a systems analyst for an oil company, she later threw off the rationalism of software code, and followed her passion into art.  Also a native New Yorker, Beegan studied at the Art Students League in New York, but considers herself “self-taught,” because her classical education is in an entirely different discipline.  But her computer-savvy training and skills have turned out to be key in her current collaboration with Adler.  Her artistic eye allows her to frame just the right shot and then to use complicated photographic editing software to manipulate the images and create a basis for the final work.  Her paintings are part of numerous well-respected private collections including:  rarified art collector/dealer Larry Gagosian, business magnate Ron Perelman, celebrity entertainers Billy Joel and Elton John, and CNBC Mad Money’s Jim Cramer.  She has also exhibited her solo works in numerous single-artist and group shows at prestigious galleries in and around New York City.

This is more than collaboration; it is synergy.  When two awe-inspiring talents like this merge in love and respect, it is easy to see how they can create art of such deep emotional impact and precise technique.   It is also easy to see how their uniquely iterative process genuinely melds both sets of their artistic skills so well.  This synergistic combination is complete, creating a final work that is truly a unification of digital-paint.

The Creative Process

How are digital photographic images and paint blended together in such a seamless way that even the trained eye can barely tell where one ends and the other begins?  The pair start with compelling photographs they have taken of themselves, of far off places, or of interesting architectural details; pieces of art in their own right.  They select two or more photographic images and download them to a computer.  Then Beegan takes the reins and collages, manipulates, blends, and transforms the images into one striking composition using photo editing software.  The working composition is printed out on fine art paper in a small format.  Then it is Adler’s turn.  He uses this as a “primed” canvas, adding expression employing any combination of oil and acrylic paint, charcoal, siliconed wax, ink, dry pigments, etc.  Once the work-in-process is sufficiently dry, it is scanned into a digital format again.  Beegan then takes the enhanced digital image and, using the software, blows it up into a larger format, distorting the image in the very process of enlarging it.  She will then continue to alter it digitally.  This part of the process (small-format painting and digital manipulation) may be repeated indefinitely until the artists are satisfied with their creation.  Once they have a composite work that appeals to them, the work is then printed out once again, this time in its final, larger size.  Again, Adler picks up the brush and emotively adds any combination of mediums to create the finished work.  The duo’s process involves iteration after iteration of novel creation, with initial images and concepts sometimes completely altered in the final product.  This is reminiscent of de Kooning’s creative process in many of his works as illustrated by the successive stages of his iconic painting Woman I, on display in the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA).   In fact, despite the integration of technology, the pair remains true to many of the basic concepts and methods of the Abstract Expressionists. 

Abstract Expressionism Through a 21st Century Lens

For those of you who can’t get enough of the Abstract Expressionists despite the monumental ABEX Show earlier this year and the current de Kooning retrospective at the MOMA, you will appreciate this duo’s work.  The Adler/Beegan combined works reflect consistent Abstract Expressionist themes, while at the same time interpreting them through a 21st century lens. 

The complexity and repetitive nature of the duo’s process for creating their collaborative works has undertones of the Abstract Expressionist idea that the creative process or action of creating is just as important as the composition itself.  However, in contemporary translation of this idea, the pair has focused more on the action and less on spontaneity.  They have taken the “gesture” of creating far beyond Jackson Pollack’s dribbling and splashing.  While part of their process is intellectual and calculated, they have also stayed true to the concept of emotional intensity and spiritual reaction, both in the computer-driven and painting steps.

FidelisWe can see the influence of Adler’s mentor, Willem de Kooning, in the way that they have played with biomorphic abstraction, switching between both figurative and abstract modes.  However, it is not the same theme employed almost 70 years ago by one of the czars of Abstract Expressionism.  Instead, they have evolved it through the use of 21st century digital media so that the line between shapes and figures is blurred - abstract shapes transform into figures and anatomical fragments morph into abstraction.   What is fantastic about their pieces is that as you view them, you can switch between figure and abstraction, seeing both very clearly.  And while in some works, abstraction is clearly dominant, it never reaches the pinnacle of non-objectivity, allowing the viewer to still dazzle at the work and attempt to discover some form in the composition.  For example, in the work entitled Fidelis, what appears to be a tangle of arms and branches, if viewed one step up as whole, transmutes into what appears to be a Star of David.  While distorted in abstraction, it is reminiscent and uses the same technique (while directly opposed) to the distorted, Cubi-sized swastika hidden in Picasso’s Guernica.   While not an Abstract Expressionist, Picasso’s work as representative of 20th century Modernism, did influence the ABEXers and all subsequent forms of art well into our 21st century.

Because they are playing with abstraction and figure/form (not just human figure, as nature is also included) the figure-ground relationship becomes tremendously important in their work.  A figure or form is, to a degree, defined by what surrounds it, known as the “ground.”  People are generally used to a background taking on less importance, thus the saying “disappearing into the background.”  But when artists create figure-ground ambiguity, where you cannot tell what is figure and what is background, they displace attention from a central image or focus the viewers attention on looking at and appreciating a piece in its entirety.  It’s like stepping back and calling attention to the entire work, but simultaneously also inviting the viewer to vigorously engage in the piece and cull out the figure/form from the ground.  This is active, intelligent art.  Just how do they create this beguiling ambiguity?  By overlapping different seemingly incongruous digital images, the figures or forms in a background can appear to be in the foreground and then by applying paint over these synergized images, positions change again swapping back to the background.  The end work is visually stimulating and results in works that can be cherished over time because you are constantly seeing new angles and perspectives within the same piece.

The Works

The pair gleam inspiration not only from their obviously amorous relationship, but like most artists, from the places they have visited.  Instead of setting up plein aire to interpret and then sketch nature, they capture the reality of it in the moment using a digital camera.  Unfiltered through human perception and brought to vivid life by a computer, the fact that they use digital images as the spring board for their creative process ensures that the real beauty of the human body, the scenery and/or the wildlife are the basis of their pieces.  Even though they have been successively altered and enhanced using hand and mouse, nature is still the focal point of their works.  

Abstract Figurations

Quatre ManisA Quatre Manis (For Four Hands)
We can see Adler’s musical family heritage peaking out in the title of this piece which references a duet played on one keyboard.  Drawing any parallels besides the obvious four hands in the work itself?  What makes this work phenomenal besides the brilliant color is the balanced approach to biomorphic abstraction.  Now you see the figure, now you don’t.  It can be viewed as a pure abstraction, or it can be viewed as a repetition of figure.  And of course you cannot ignore the erotic overtones, a la Georgia O’Keefe!  The cherry on top? - the characteristic Abstract Expressionist’s paint drips.





Bi PolarBi-Polar
As a diptych, Bi-Polar depicts exactly what it is, two conflicting sides of the same image.  What is so startling about this piece is the transformation it underwent during the creative process…unrecognizable!  Again a fantastic example of biomorphic abstraction where your mind is continually tricked back and forth between figure and abstraction to the point where it becomes elated, paralleling the erotic position of the figure.




Costa Rican Heat and African Safari

Se AlejanSe Alejan (They Drift Away)
Figure-ground ambiguity keeps the viewer’s mind active and racing trying to make representational sense of the composition.  This racing parallels the passion and intensity we will feel when we finally make out the central figures locked in ardent embrace.  Irony in the title?  Doesn’t look like anything is “drifting away” here!  While they embrace, they are drifting away together from the elements of the world.  Set against a jumble of branches and vegetation, the steamy scene feels natural and romantic.  This definitely evokes the acute ardor of the Abstract Expressionist.       




Another magical interpretation of biomorphic abstraction.  A hoof here, a leg there.  In a raw and naturalistic manner, the compositional jumble becomes a giant figure of power rearing a horned head, but yet wait, is there not an amorous embrace in there as well?  What do the artists intend by juxtaposing the symbol of a Minotaur and a loving entwinement?






Rhythms of the VeldtRhythems of the Veldt (dusk)
Adler is fond of the use of asymmetrical diptychs or triptychs in a corner of a room to create depth and uniqueness in a space.  It makes the design of a space very contemporary and interesting, but it also gives the work a three-dimensional perspective it otherwise would not have.  African zebras are majestic and here the artists have created abstraction by focusing on the line in their fur and melding different bodies together, without losing their spirit and cohesive form or descending down into an amorphous blob of line.  A perfect blur of digital and paint!




Adler’s and Beegan’s latest exhibition at the Arthur T. Kalaher Fine Art Gallery in Southampton, NY encompasses all of these spectacular works.  The exhibition will run from November 26th to December 17th, with the Opening held on Saturday, November 26, from 4pm to 8pm. 

Arthur T. Kalaher Fine Art Gallery
28E Jobs Ln
Southampton, NY 11968