The Berkshires of Western Massachusetts has become world-renowned for its inspiring landscape and cultural attractions, including such performing arts centers as Tanglewood, Shakespeare & Company, Berkshire Theatre Festival, Jacobs Pillow, and Barrington Stage Company. Look around the audience of any of these venues this summer, and you might spot Sol Schwartz, a local artist who documents the creative action onstage through his own pencil, pen and brushstroke. A new exhibition looks at the artists vibrant, spontaneous drawings, that have captured the beauty and excitement of music, theater and dance for more than a decade; Sol Schwartz: Drawing in the Dark is on view at Norman Rockwell Museum
from July 9 through October 23, 2011.
It happened by accident, says Sol Schwartz. I used to make little sketches in the corners of my programs when I attended concerts. Eventually the artist began bringing a sketchbook along to work in, and over the years has completed thousands of studies, including likenesses of such musical, dance and theater superstars as André Previn, Itzhak Perlman, Emanuel Ax, Seiji Ozawa, Yo-Yo Ma, Katherine Dunham, Savion Glover, Mark Morris, and many others. The novelty of my work is that I do it while a performance is underway, sometimes in the pitch dark, Schwartz notes. He prefers not to adjust or complete an artwork after the fact, and enjoys the sense of immediacy that is conveyed by drawing on site. Working in pencil, ball point pen, and Japanese sumi brush, he tries to convey the spirit of the concert... that ineffable nature of a great performance.
Sol Schwartz: Drawing in the Dark looks at the artists original drawings and sketchbooks, along with the creatively-designed large scale prints that reflect his enthusiastic love of color, graphic art, and digital technology. A video interview with the artist offers personal commentary on the unique, creative environment of the Berkshires; There is nothing to equal this area, says the artist. Just like Tanglewood, Shakespeare & Company, Berkshire Theatre, or Barrington Stage, The Norman Rockwell Museum is another great asset--it's one of the pillars of the Berkshires, no question about it. I am very pleased to have the opportunity to be a part of it."