The work of Bill Rabsey and Liza J Smith-Simpson
Wine and cheese reception: Saturday, June 9, 6 – 9 pm
Both Bill and Liza grew up with artist’s in their families. Bill recalls time spent with his grandfather, William Bertkau. One of the intriguing stories he told was the time he painted a life size locomotive for the 1939 World’s Fair. Liza recalls time spent with her artist mother, Janet E. Smith. “We would travel the beautiful country roads of the tri-state area together looking for a road or barn that inspired us.” Liza also recalls that the connection to constructing a “great” abstract like she does comes from watching her Dad fixing something from repurposed parts.
The mystery of Bill Rabsey’s work continues with the “Lost and Found” series, in which old objects find new life and meaning as art pieces. In his studio he uses a collection of unusual objects as his medium to create thought provoking and clever sculptures. He doesn’t limit any objects from being used in his work. Subtle Earth tones, textures and random shapes supplied by rusting metal, colorful copper and brass, wood objects, antique toys and tools become the palette from which he works to create his sculpture and wall pieces. He attaches the sculptures to exotic bases of Mahogany, Teak and Rosewood. Many of the objects he finds are found along the shores of the Hudson River where past industries once stood. He also has found interesting objects from his travels and visits to antique stores.
He received his B.S. in social studies from SUNY New Paltz and a M.S. from Teachers College Columbia University. It was at Columbia where he became a supervisor, overseeing the graduate students who were employed in the media lab doing photography, film and television production. Then he was employed by the Middletown School District in the Media Center. Since retiring he has been able to focus his attention on creating art from his vast collection of objects.
Liza J Smith-Simpson
Her saying has been “Every Path Leads to a Journey.” Her journey has nurtured diversity in her work. Just as America is diverse, her journey has nurtured diversity in her work, which is reflected with a variety of mediums, substrates and styles she uses interchangeably. She derives most of her subject matter from nature, finding the country roads, rivers, lakes and even NY City scenes of great inspiration.
If she isn’t sitting outside painting and sketching she will use her camera as a record of the view that has inspired her. It’s not just about putting on canvas what she loves. It is also about capturing the viewer’s interest by using a compositional formula and providing focal points. This is seen in her painting “The Calm Before the Storm”, in an area where her Dad worked in Sparta Township. This acrylic painting shows the movement of the clouds and how calm the water is before the storm. The white light and reflection in the water tells you there is a storm approaching.
Her natural curiosity to discover what’s going on behind the scenes has lead her to develop her successful abstract series. “Flight Paths”, “The Future is a Portal” and “Coming in for a Landing” are constructed using rich color palettes and handmade collage pieces.
Liza received a Bachelor of Art with a major in Psychology from Caldwell University. Her paintings have been purchased for private collections in the U.S. and Canada. She has also taken many place awards.