Saturday, June 3, 2006
Dabbert Gallery showing work of
local artist Ben Stahl
By: Mark Ormond
A selection of the work of Ben Stahl (1910-1987) can be seen at Dabbert
Gallery on Palm Avenue through June 15. It is a small group and worth a
visit to appreciate the facility Stahl had with the line, whether he
used charcoal or an intensely colored pastel. Stahl and his wife, Ella
first moved to Sarasota from Connecticut in 1953, and Stahl became one
of the best-known members of Sarasota’s Art Colony. For 30 years,
Stahl’s work was featured weekly in The Saturday Evening Post and other
“Flamenco Dancer” is a particularly compelling pastel on board. One has
to admire his courage to use an acid green on her face together with a
soft pink and a sapphire blue to establish a scene with a dancer
resting before a man seated in the shadows behind her. Neither can see
the face of the other, however, Stahl establishes their relationship
with the looks on their faces that only we can see.
In “Standing Woman,” a charcoal on paper from 1980, we appreciate the
presence of a woman by the outline of her body, which Stahl suggests
with a series of connected lines that move us swiftly from her toe to
the fingertips of her extended hand.
The gallery is also showing some accomplished pastels by William
Jerdon. The body of “Vanessa” – a work of 31-by-19 inches – seduces us
from behind. Jerdon establishes the point where her skin meets the air
with the most subtle marks of color that don’t seem so much blended as
microscopic flecks floating in the light.
Spend a few moments with photographer Allan Teger’s “Bodyscapes.” This
artist has fun with nudes and small-gauge figures. In one, a canoe is
sluicing up the spine of a figure. In another, a couple on bikes are
traveling down the spine of a body.