Marilyn Weiss, an accomplished artist for more than 30 years, considers herself to be first and foremost a collagist.  The constant changing nature of this special medium always offers something new and allows her to work with an infinite variation of colors, textures and shapes.

A material world

While there is no specific material that is her favorite, Marilyn finds herself drawn to those that elicit history.  She uses “bits and pieces” from her life or the lives of family and friends.  Old papers, thread, strings, and buttons will often turn up in her work, as will fabric or yarn from a baby sweater or, possibly, a vintage dress.

The material is not used literally, rather it is melded into a piece so that it loses its original identity and takes on another.  But each collage piece chosen has to have meaning and be relevant to the specific work  – it is not just “stuck on”.

And yet, in the end, for Marilyn, collage is strictly an emotional process. She does not try to figure out why something works – she just feels it when it does.

Take “Cool Space” for example. The work is a hand-worked monotype, one of a series of three – this being the most colorful. It is a whimsical, bright and happy piece  inspired by children and one can easilyvisualize the play between the real and the artificial.

Cool Space

“Just Me,” is a sweet and sentimental mixed media, collage.  We witness a female figure sitting by herself, seemingly content and happy.

Just Me

A feminine touch

A self-proclaimed people person, Marilyn’s art usually includes human figures, and most often they are women.  Fascinated by relationships and the way forms and figures interact, there is a dominant feminine theme and form in much of her work.

“You can say that I’m a feminist,” she explains.  “Not in a beat- yourself-over-the-head kind of way, but in the fact that I always paint women.  I guess I’m saying that we’re here and we’re important.  It’s subtle, but it’s there.”

Some great examples of this genre of her work are “Studio View, Grays” and “Sister Act,” both intricate collages with a distinct feminine theme.

Studio Views, Grays

Sister Act

Weiss is quite clear that she loves what she does – creating art gives her great pleasure.  She believes that art is meant to be seen and enjoyed, and hopes that her work stirs sensibilities, provokes emotions and most importantly, brings joy to those who experience it.

After meeting her and studying the pieces offered in our upcoming December auction, we can say that her hopes have been achieved – we have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know both Marilyn Weiss and her wonderful body of work.

To view the ArtistsinAuction website click here.

To view more of  Marilyn Weiss’ work, click here.

IN and OUT

Sunday Morning


If you love color and abstraction, you won’t want to miss the Georgia O’Keefe exhibit currently on display at the Whitney Museum in NY.  By now you’ve read multiple reviews, but it can honestly be said that this is one show you have to see in order to “experience”.

While it is true that Georgia O’Keefe’s flowers and landscapes made her one of the most celebrated figures of twentieth-century art, the radical abstractions she created throughout her career are much less well known. Yet they are equally spectacular. In fact, it is her abstract work that ultimately led to her creation of landscapes and florals, and not the other way around.

For O’Keefe, abstraction offered a medium in which she could portray the “unknown” – the many intense thoughts and ideas she could not express in words. Her work conveys emotional response to people and places, as well as the rhythms of nature and the experience of being enveloped by its mystery and beauty.

The exhibit also chronicles the life saga of an extremely prolific artist, allowing us to feel her emotions as she went through different stages of elation and agony. At times her pieces explode with color, at other more distressful times, color becomes somewhat subdued.


In 1916, O’Keefe burst onto the New York scene with her charcoal abstracts –  some of the most radical works ever produced in the US in the twentieth century. Renowned photographer Alfred Steiglitz, who would shortly become her personal and professional partner, gave her a show in 1917, exhibiting her work for the first time at his “291” gallery.

Witness “Early Abstraction” from 1915 – a linear work that takes on the form of a piece of sculpture.


"Early Abstraction," 1915

Vibrant Oils

She first introduced oils at the Anderson Galleries in 1923, marking the public’s first view of her work since 1917 at “291.” It was a jubilant time for O’Keefe, both artistically and personally, and the vibrant colors she uses – fiery reds, lush greens, erotic greens and yellow – convey her exhilaration. Favorites of ours include “Pink and Green,” 1922, “Corn Dark,” 1924, “Red Canna,” 1925-1928, and “White Sweet Peas,” 1926 (you’ll have to see these for yourself in person).


"Abstraction," 1926


"Grey, Blue & Black-Pink Circle," 1929


"Flower Abstraction," 1924


"Abstraction White Rose," 1927

There is one particularly darker piece from this time period, a work that portrays her experience of undergoing anesthesia before an operation to remove a benign breast cyst – “Black Abstraction,” 1927.

O’Keefe married Steiglitz in 1924 and they spent winters in NYC and summers at his home on Lake George. Many of the colorful lake series were produced during the peaceful times spent there.

Darker times

O’Keefe first started to travel to New Mexico in 1929. Steiglitz was having an affair with a younger woman and she felt the need to escape. In 1932 she suffered a nervous breakdown and stopped painting altogether until 1934. For the next ten years abstraction figured very little into her work until the Black Place Series, which were based on an area in New Mexico 150 miles west of her home at Ghost Ranch.

Paving the way

After Steiglitz’s death in 1946, O’Keefe moved permanently to New Mexico, at which time she began to introduce flat geometric planes of color, a factor that would play a central role in the art of the 1960’s. A great example is “Black Door with Red” from 1954.

A personal favorite is the opening work to the exhibit – “Above the Clouds” – an absolute masterpiece, which was created in the early 1960’s.

Although the exhibit stops around this time period, O’Keefe would go on to expand and evolve through her painting. She died in 1986 – at the ripe old age of 98 – having left an indelible mark on the world of abstract art.

To view the ArtistsinAuction website click here.


"Black Door with Red," 1954

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"Above the Clouds," 1962-63


Untitled (magician and cape)


The collages of Tom Smith are optically stimulating and complex – viewers are often hypnotized by his mesmerizing work. So, we were eager to learn more about our featured artist’s creativity and the ways in which he developed his unique craft.

It turns out that Smith has art in his blood – his mother is an accomplished decorative artist and his father has a deep appreciation of the arts. So it was no wonder that he followed in the same footsteps. In fact, never once did he entertain the notion of doing anything in life that was non-creative.

Smith studied art in Baltimore, close to his hometown in Maryland, and majored in illustration due to his strong interest in narrative work and storytelling. He went on to graduate school to further pursue his metier. Half-way through his studies a light bulb went off in his head as he realized he had something definitive he wanted and needed to share with others.

The turning point

Fine artist and printmaker, Carroll Dunham, whom Smith assisted when he first moved to New York, was the most influential person in his early career. Carroll stripped down all of Tom’s work and forced him to focus strictly on drawing (he spent an entire year devoted to this particular craft).

As a result, Smith became more introspective and was able to move into the subconscious, channeling human interest into his pieces versus the other way around. After that significant one year period, he finally understood his creative sensibilities.

To date, all of Smith’s work is drawing based, whether he is painting, sculpting, photographing or making collages. He expects that his drawing will evolve to other forms of new media in the not too distant future.


Superhero meditation

Smith’s collages emerged directly from his massive collection of superheroes – comic books, figurines, etc. The idea was to meld character images and witness the optical illusions he was able to produce. In fact, he discovered that a character could be completely transformed through the introduction of another image.

His process is equally transformative. The meticulous skill involved, although highly technical, is extremely repetitive and, therefore, exceedingly meditative. At first he is in control, but soon control flies out the window as he begins to manipulate images. A discovery element is always present as he never is quite sure what will emerge.

Color theory and the work of Josef Albers also play a large part in Smith’s collage work. All the pieces are based on the intermeshing of colors and the appearance of images as a consequence of color selection and interaction.

Take Untitled (red, yellow, blue), one of the first pieces he designed. Smith decided to create a collage based on the primary colors of red, yellow and blue – the three opposite sides of the color spectrum. Poring through the hundreds of images in his possession, he had to uncover three images that not only bore the requisite colors but were also standing upright. Combining them, he was able to create a figurative piece with the characters in the middle, successfully intersecting Minimalist art with Contemporary art.


Untitled (red, yellow, blue)

Untitled (magenta) is equally illusionary. In this work, we witness a woman with minimal clothing represented in a very special way as her image is placed among a field of pinks and magentas.


Untitled (magenta)

In Untitled (bird and gun) we see two women, one holding a bird, the other, a gun, both with identical background colors. The resulting image is the appearance of two individuals in one space, despite the fragmentation. The piece has been pushed into a very simplistic direction, yet can be very disorienting to the viewer.


Untitled (gun and bird)

Smith’s collage work has been very influential to his other work. For example, collage, which is two-dimensional, naturally transcended into sculpture, which is three-dimensional. He tells us that he is getting ready to produce an entirely new body of work, utilizing figurative aspects, yet in the realm of the landscape.

Tom currently lives and works in New York City and has the unique opportunity to be working full-time in a studio assisting a number of established artists. He admits his good fortune and loves that he is always learning new techniques and staying “au courant,” not to mention extremely motivated. Plus, he gets to feed on the creative energy when he uses the studio for his own work at night and on weekends.


We invite you to peer into the hypnotic and magnetic work of a very talented artist.

To view the ArtistsinAuction website click here.

To view more of Tom Smith’s work, click here.


Untitled (double vision)

Kandinsky 007


That is the question.

The work of Vasily Kandinsky, the Russian born pioneer of abstract painting, is overwhelming in and of itself. Put together 150+ pieces in one show and you have a dizzying uphill swirl that is the Guggenheim. There comes a point where you just need to sit and find your bearings…and wish it would end.

The dizzying and electrifying journey is somehow easier on the way down, maybe because breathing has finally kicked in.

Still, Kandinsky should be seen. His oeuvre clearly examines the capacity of color to communicate, and his experimentation with form and line ventures into a distinct realm of abstract expressionism.

The exhibit brings together the three largest holdings of the artist’s work, from the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, and the Stadtische Galerie im Lenbachaus in Munich, as well as private collections, and traces the artist’s life over three distinct periods:

Munich and Murnau 1908-1914

A highly creative, discovery period that is my personal favorite. The use of soft lines and a beautiful blend of color can be referred to as a controlled chaos. There is a sense of abstract with meaning and one feels that a story is being told. Two pieces “Black Lines” and “Light Picture,” both from 1913 and part of the Guggenheim collection, are fabulous. (Please note: the pieces below are works from 1914, not the works I just mentioned above. I was shortly banned from picture-taking after snapping these shots.)Kandinsky2 002

Kandinsky2 003

Bauhaus 1922-1933

The work from this period is exciting, yet rigid, utilizing bright primary colors and elementary forms with sharp lines. The triangle embodies active, aggressive sentiments the square evokes calm and peace, while the circle conveys the spiritual, cosmic realm.

Paris 1933-1944

During this time of political turmoil and later war Kandinsky experimented with material and a softer, subtler palette, often depicting biomorphism (free form or design suggestive in shape of a living organism) as well as scientific imagery.

In the last panel at the very top of the museum is a piece from 1942, a copy of which is in my parent’s kitchen.

All being said, do not skip the watercolor pieces, housed in a separate side room. These works on paper are as important as his canvases, demonstrating his experimentation with the transparency and opacity of watercolor paint. They chart the evolution of his oeuvre – from the landscapes and seascapes of the early years, to the geometric patterns of the 20s and 30s, through to his final biomorphic works in the 40s.

To view the ArtistsinAuction website click here.