Andrew Saftel is an absolutely astounding (and remarkably prolific) artist. His new show, Where Water Meets Land, currently on view at Bennett Galleries, is comprised of several new paintings, created in his now-recognizable style. Saftel works on large pieces of wood, carving text and images into the surface of each piece, embedding found objects, affixing pieces of ephemera and covering the surface in layer after colorful layer of acrylic paint. His paintings are like visual treasure troves; bursting with warmth and life, these pieces tell stories that are both personal and universal.
Saftel is an artistic Renaissance man. In addition to his paintings he also creates sculptures and prints (and examples of each are also on view in this show). The most exciting additions to this particular exhibit, however, are the large digital photographs that are on display. The images for these pieces were collected on a visit to Bangladesh and they are the most straightforward, journalistic work that the artist has produced. Saftel layers images together, blending his subjects with their surroundings in unexpected and aesthetically pleasing ways. They remind me very much of Dan Eldon's work, which detailed the lives of his subjects but was always filtered through his own artistic vision.
I have had the pleasure of participating in two workshops taught by Andrew Saftel and he is as generous and kind-hearted as he is talented. His desire to collaborate and his genuine enthusiasm for other people's work is heartening. He is a great artist and a great man.
If you are free this Saturday (November 16) please consider attending his artist lecture at Bennett at 3:00 PM. It is sure to be a blast.