A remarkable alignment of circumstances occurred in 1961: Renowned metal sculptor David Smith was chosen to judge the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh’s annual exhibition, Aaronel was getting restless with flat canvases and Aaronel’s husband, Irv, happened to own a forging mill.
From the late 1990’s through 2010, Aaronel visited Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, Pittsburgh, Pa, numerous times to photograph the iconic 1893 Victorian structure and the plants housed inside. Having previously become a privately managed non-profit organization owned by the city of Pittsburgh, Phipps underwent substantial growth during this time. This post showcases selections of several galleries of Aaronel’s images created during her visits over this decade.
Aaronel’s mother, Bessie Leyser, was an accomplished seamstress who also studied etching at the University of Pittsburgh. Aaronel’s interest in fashion and art was most certainly influenced by her mother.
Silver Eye Center for Photography reOpening Celebration and champagne toast to the new Aaronel deRoy Gruber and Irving Gruber Gallery was held June 24.
The Aaronel deRoy Gruber & Irving Gruber Gallery was named at Silver Eye’s new location in the Penn Avenue Arts District with a generous donation from the Irving and Aaronel deRoy Gruber Foundation as part of Silver Eye’s New Vision Campaign. Aaronel has a rich exhibition history at Silver Eye and this post is a survey of the shows and especially the images she has exhibited there over the years.
At times Aaronel did remove the R-72 filter and photograph in straight color. This post takes a look at her Dance Series, a collection of abstract images made from digital captures with the 2 megapixel 2020 and enlarged to 30 x 40 inches.
The explosion of digital cameras and new technology in the late 90’s and early 2000’s was pure fuel for Aaronel’s pioneering spirit. After three decades of shooting with film cameras, Aaronel added an Olympus C2020Z to her palette as a fresh means of expressing herself, and made a seamless transition to the digital world – with one exception. Rather than use the LCD screen on the back of the 2020, she preferred to use the viewfinder to compose her shots. This post takes a look at some of the digital panoramas Aaronel created as a new way to continue her vision refined by the swing lens film cameras.
I have taken Aaronel out shooting on several occasions. We spent a lot of time at the Phipps Conservatory, on the site of the old Dixmont State Hospital and made several trips to the countryside around Pittsburgh. Aaronel had used several film cameras before I started working for her. The Widelux, a 35 mm with a swing lens, was her favorite. She also used a Fugi 6×9, Noblex Pro (large format swing lens), Holga and several Lecia models to name a few. So when we went out I made sure to take along a couple of these film cameras. However she would always wear the 2020 around her neck and it was her first go to camera.
Aaronel was a prolific note taker. She would write reminders, thoughts and ideas on whatever was at hand – notepads, used envelopes, old receipts, hotel stationery. Of course the artist in her compelled her to draw and sketch as well. So it is not surprising that many of her sculptures began as elementary sketches quickly drawn on scraps of paper. Here is a close look at some of her drawings, notes and plans that we can match with her sculptures.
Kristin Anderson writing for Vogue Magazine and Matthew Schneier from the New York Times comment on fashion designer Adam Selman’s inspiration based on Aaronel’s Plexiglas sculptures.