CLIFFORD SINGER

 

                       Autobiographical Essay

Clifford Singer

Clifford Singer holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Alfred University and a Masters of Fine Arts degree from The City College of New York, CUNY. He has both taught art and mathematics in addition to being licensed at the secondary level. He has worked in a variety of media and has had several solo exhibitions of his work.  Mr. Singer spent twenty eight years in New York’s  Soho working and building his career.  Earlier in life Mr. Singer was strongly influenced by his second cousin -- the late Mortimer Leach, Professor, Art Center School, Los Angeles and author, Lettering For Advertising, 1956 who had had a significant impact and inspiration for him.

"In 1970, I knew that I should devote my life work to geometry in art. I have had an interest in geometric art that has led me through a progression of phases with my work beginning in 1972. Of course, I was quite young at the time but non-the-less Irene Rice Pereira's Oblique Progression at the Whitney Museum had a major influence for my work in 1968. Rudolf Arnheim's Entropy and Art was a great inspiration to me and in recent years I had had correspondence with Prof. Dr. Arnheim, where he had inscribed in my copy "To Clifford Singer and his inspired geometry - Rudolf Arnheim August 1999.

"The emphasis of the work has been within the range of purely geometrical thought and vision since about 1972-1973. Since my decision early on, to do geometric work, I found myself rooted in researching everything that I found to be mathematical in geometric measurability. These concerns brought me through studying Bauhaus exercises from teachers such as Kandinsky, Piet Mondrian, Michelle Seuphor, Max Bill, Andor Weininger, Naum Gabo and Josef Albers. In 1973 I saw an ad for Meibner Editions and mailed a request for a catalogue. Upon receiving Meibner's information, I was interested in the work of Karel Novosad, Max Bill, Francois Morellet, Ludwig Wilding, Attila Kovacs, and Verena Loewensberg.  I was particularly fond of the linear work of Karel Novosad, Czech artist.  From a post-colonial perspective of the world and art, I have recognized that as an American artist the variable levels of influence that shape an international and universal ideal for this art form is unquestionable."

"Prior to my university education, in 1968, I was introduced to B.H. Friedman where my aunt Claire Mozel worked as short hand dictation and typist secretary for Mr. Friedman's manuscripts.  B.H. Friedman was author of Energy Made Visible (biography on Jackson Pollack) and Trustee of the Whitney Museum.  I was immediately encouraged to pursue fine art as my mother was a talented artist who studies at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, B.F.A. as well as at Columbia University with Larry Rivers and The Cooper Union with Hans Hoffmann. Upon my early graduation from Great Neck South Senior High School (January '73) I was accepted to the Pre-Med Program at The City College and also Alfred University's art program. I didn't want to become a doctor and chose art.  I was accepted to Long Island University, C.W.Post campus for the Spring term of 73.  While at C.W. Post  I was invited to attend the senior class seminar chaired by Stephen Soreff which took me to Salvatore Romano and Billy Apple's studios in lower Manhattan.  This was quite an awakening as I was 17 years old.  During my university education, I found myself fortunate in be a student to students of Albers, David Smith and Al Held, that of Dan Davidson and Glenn Zweygardt while at Alfred University.  Dan Davidson had introduced me to Nicholas Krushenick who I had known for many years following. Later on, upon moving to New York City in January of 1977, I studied in the Empire State Program, SUNY with George McClancy, Ph.D. where I have had the privilege of meeting many interesting people in the art community that included Vito Acconci, William Conlon, Colette Lumiere, Paul Brach, Jud Nelson, Stephan Posen and Jennifer Bartlett. 
While having coffee with Jud at the Broome Street Bar in 1977, Jack Tworkov walked by saying hello,  as Jud Nelson was a prior student of Tworkov and Jud introduced me to Jack Tworkov.  I was already quite familiar with Tworkov's chess moves paintings.  I then started working on my M.A. degree at Hunter Graduate School in the Fall of 1977 where I studied with Robert Swain, Vincent Longo, Ralph Humphrey and Rosalind Krauss.  This was to much difficulty waiting tables and going to school at night, so I ventured out on my own professionally with my art.  After being laid off from serving cocktails on the sidewalk at the Cafe de la Paix, Hotel St. Moritz of the summer of 1979,  Robert Swain suggested that I contact Larry Aldrich of the Aldrich Museum at The Soho Center for Visual Artists.  I dropped off slides with an artist's statement that Fall being broke and on unemployment,  Larry Aldrich called me the next day wanting to visit my studio.  He was convinced of my geometric paintings and then brought over Ivan Chermayeff of Chermayeff and Geismar who was the buyer for the Mobil Oil Corporation collection.  This was January of 1980 and I had a $2500.00 sale.  Considering that I was broke and my unemployment benefits ran out weeks before this was quite substantial.  Finally, I applied to The City College, M.F.A. Program in 1988 after my exhibition at the Vasarely Center.  I had to present my drawings to the Graduate Faculty, Jacob Rothenberg, Jay Milder,
Al Loving, George Preston, amongst others.  I was left to wait outside the conference room for about an hour while the Staff deliberated on whether I would be accepted.  George Preston came out and shook my hand congratulating me, and stated that I was lucky to get in because it was a policy to not allow working professional artists into the M.F.A. Program. 

In 1983, I was in Kovesdy Gallery in New York where I saw a drawing using the circle, square, and triangle. I enquired with the gallery owner, Paul Kovesdy, about the work and I was informed that the artist Andor Weininger was alive and living in New York. Andor Weininger visited my studio the next day viewing a 32-foot mural that I had just completed as a commission for the Mobil Oil headquarters in New York.  Mr. Weininger had also read a paper that I had written at the time and remarked, "you will be one of the great ones. You should have your retrospective at the Guggenheim." Weininger throughout our meeting constantly complained that Kandinsky stole his stage designs while he was his student at the Bauhaus.  Before leaving he suggested that I look up a German computer artist by the name of Manfred Mohr who was new to the neighborhood with his (rectilinear work), eventually a lesser student of mine.  In 1984, upon renewal of my Artist Certification, Pursuant to the provisions of the New York City Zoning Resolution, Bess Myerson, Commissioner of Cultural Affairs, City of New York approved and signed my Artist Certification.  In 1986, Denise Rene visited my studio [after written correspondence with her in Paris] viewing my Portals Series dealing with Reimannian space. Denise Rene with Wen-YingTsai invited me that evening to dinner at his old studio on Broadway, and Pol Bury who was also in New York at that time. I received a solo exhibition at the Vasarely Center in 1988 upon the recommendation from Richard Anuskiewicz to Emilio Steinberger, Director in 1987. The summer of 1991 was perhaps one of the most special times for me in my life. The Mostly Mozart Festival in Tokyo poster that I designed for Lincoln Center in 1991 was exhibited in New York and Tokyo simultaneously. As a teacher of art, mathematics, computers and UAPC programming Chair for the Board of Education lead me to my post-doctoral work in philosophy and mathematics. In addition, I have a Master of Fine Arts degree. From 1991 to the present I have been a licensed teacher of mathematics and art. I served 10 years with The City of New York as Program Chairman and Teacher. Currently, I teach mathematics for the Clark County School District in Nevada. During my visit to Paris in 1997 Michel Seuphor invited me to his studio. We traded a drawing for a drawing and I signed some of my printed matter in trade for an exhibition announcement of his. His exhibition announcement was for a retrospective exhibition to be held that August in Germany and he signed it to me "To Clifford Singer, That he may sing for a very long time Michel Seuphor." Michel Seuphor mentioned while looking at photographs of my artworks that Kandinsky would have liked my work. Early in 1998, I met Francois Morellet in New York after receiving an invitation to the reception of his exhibition of light sculpture. The next day Francois and his wife visited my studio and we had a brief but enriching conversation. The Morellets were on a speedy schedule and we had an enjoyable visit.

"Time and work since 1998 after my lecture at U. of C., Berkeley in the Art & Mathematics conference and at Oxford in 2000 has taken a special place. I have published papers and lectured on my artworks at Bridges Kansas, A&M 98 Berkeley, ISAMA 1999 Spain, and QRM Oxford. My production of many new paintings, publishing numerous papers on geometrical art and my theories on it is now continuing along with my teaching work. Whereby, in 1999, I received an invitation to participate in an international exhibition of abstract geometric art at the Mondriaanhaus 2000-2001 in Holland. For the Art & Mathematics 2000 exhibition at The Cooper Union in New York I was Curator and Editor. Ivars Peterson wrote an article for FOCUS, December 2000 on Art & Mathematics 2000 and featured my painting entitled Quartic on the front cover.   I published a recent paper with Mathematics and Design in Argentina entitled, Geometrical Art as an Applied Science. Recent paintings in progress are from my series of drawings and paintings entitled, Cut Space Series."  Since relocation to Las Vegas after 9/11 Mr. Singer has been working from newly created pieces – first as drawings and gradually developing them into paintings and prints.  Mr. Singer’s work has been widely exhibited and in recent years can be found online represented by the American Mathematical Association and the Mathematical Association of America.  Through these organizations the Exhibitions of Mathematical Art have been presented by the Joint Mathematics Meetings held in January of each year and provided a webpage with inclusion in a printed catalogue.  Mr. Singer has recently exhibited with his first solo exhibition since 2000 at The Foley Federal Building, GSA, Las Vegas, Nevada October to December 2010, Whitney Library Gallery, Las Vegas, 2013.  Clifford Singer
was administered a Comprehensive Cognitive Analysis Test and has a General Intelligence Quotient of 138.

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