by Frank Priscaro
Perspective has always been a sought after in the world of art. Whether by the Renaissance painter worrying over some detail of architecture, or the establishment of a personal point of view in a work of art, perspective is what makes art unique and at the same time, universal. It is in pursuit of perspective, and in its presentation, that the German-American Artists Group make their introduction.
What is ironic about the German American Artists Group is that its members will tell you they’re not “group” people, not “joiners” per se. As artists, they strive to develop their own perspective, and their particular expression of it. But where there is individuality, there is also room for commonality. For them, it is having a common heritage, and at the same time, living a life outside that heritage that they share. It is having the freedom to create something new, while making a specific connection to “home,” in the company of someone else who knows what the word means. Here, they share the indelible calling of their culture, while listening to its reverberations in a new life in a foreign country. Here, in this group, they have an identity that each participates in, yet is bigger than any one individual.
Perhaps the underlying idea for the Group is best explained through a German word and custom, called Stammtisch. There is no literal translation, but the closest idea in English is what we might refer to as a “regular’s table.” Like a group of friends who regularly sit down to share a meal, their stories, and themselves, so has this group of artists created the vernacular through which they have chosen to speak, create, and be represented. Gathered together, they share what it means to be German, what it is like being in America, what they miss and what they have left behind. In concert, their art is both an expression of this idea, and its vehicle.
The range of art, its styles and commentary on the state of human affairs are a varied as the individuals who created them. Here, you will see sculpture, assemblage, painting, collage and more, all of it evocative, insightful, engaging. Is there anything uniquely “German” about the artwork they’ve created? Or for that matter, anything particularly American? Such labels, the moment they are applied, conceal more than they reveal. And it would be a mistake to expect any. In a very real sense, we are all from somewhere else, each with a story and a history as backdrop to that story. Besides, these are not the right questions. For this group of artists, the questions aren’t so much about where they’ve come from, but rather, who we are, right here, right now.