Last Update June 22, 2007
Arts Sear Family Festival of the Arts by Sten Grynir March 24, 2007 In what has become an eagerly awaited annual event, the Sear Family Festival of the Arts played to a packed audience at Great Neck House Sunday, March 18. Charlotte Sear displayed her paintings in a pre-concert art exhibition, and David Sear performed with banjo and twelve-string guitar, and talked about the influences on his 60 year folk music career.
Ms. Sear continues to develop her unique, flat-perspective style. About half of the paintings were exhibited for the first time at this Festival, and some of these works are outstanding. A departure from her usual technique was “Woman in White” a large portrait of a woman in a white dress with white accessories, set against a lavender and rosy wine background. This portrait is the most fully realized human figure in her entire opus. Built up from layers of charcoal and acrylic, this is a strikingly beautiful painting.
Another new work is “Swinging”, a picture of four children's swings, one of them occupied by a small child, all moving in the same direction against a background in shades of grey, and counterbalanced by large narrow, colorful triangles pointing in the opposite direction of the swings' motion. This small picture conveys a sense of freedom and joy.
Many of her pictures are Columbia County scenes, an area in upstate New York, where the Sear's have a summer home. “I may be more relaxed there, and it's easier to get ideas when you are relaxed,” she said. “The Llama Farm” and “Chatham Fair”, part of Ms. Sear's Columbia County series, were also popular with the Festival attendees.
The paintings will remain on exhibition until April 15.
Following the reception and art show, Dave Sear presented his 50 (actually 60) Years of Folk Music concert. Mr. Sear, who has performed in venues all across the country, and has appeared with artists such as Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie and Tom Paxton, to name a few, described how he became a folk singer and how his musical focus changed with the times. Mixing narration and song, he discussed his early exposure to socially-conscious music at the Little Red School House in New York's Greenwich Village, and how that led him to sing at civil rights rallies, union picket lines, and anti-war protests in order to make a contribution to our country and its citizens.
Tracing the history of our country from the 1930s to the present, he sang songs from each era (the Depression, World War II, the time of Jim Crow and the Civil Rights movement, the McCarthy era, the Viet Nam war, and 9/11 and its aftermath). Many of the songs written for earlier times remain fresh and relevant today, especially such numbers as “A Dollar Ain't a Dollar Anymore”, commenting on the cost of living, “The Hammer Song”, calling for freedom, justice and love, and “Waist Deep in the Big Muddy”, originally written for the Viet Nam war, but an accurate metaphor for our involvement in Iraq. A Tom Paxton song praising the “firemen pounding up the stairs while we were running down” was an emotional tribute to those brave people who lost their lives in the World Trade Center. The music and autobiographical comments were supplemented with readings and remembrances of Great Neck people who gave their lives at 9/11 and Iraq.
Mr. Sear has rarely been in finer voice, and his performance on the banjo and 12 string guitar approached virtuosity. We look forward to his concerts in the Great Neck area this summer.
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