May 31, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 56°F


Painter captures life in still subjects

Meyer Stolov was comfortable staring at black ink on paper, miraculously translating the curving lines forming notes into the sounds of beautiful music. Now, Stolov is comfortable staring at a blank white canvas, skillfully bringing the images locked inside his mind to life with the brush in his hand.

Karen Melamed Smith, program director at the Community School of Music and Arts, admires a painting made by Meyer Stolov called “The Mathematician,” currently part of the exhibition “Musician to Painter.” Andrew Buraczenski/The Ithacan

Stolov’s exhibition currently on display at the Community School of Music and Arts called “Musician to Painter” showcases his ability to capture life in an intimate moment using his simplistic and realistic style.

Once a concertmaster at multiple venues in Britain, including the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden, and the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, 83-year-old Stolov has now committed his creativity to painting.

Stolov dabbles in many styles of oil painting: portraiture, landscape and still life. The exhibit covers works from the beginnings of Meyers’ career in 2002 to his present works.

The earliest painting on display is of two children playing in the sand. It isn’t nearly as polished as his later works, making it a less realistic depiction of the children. Stolov developed a more controlled painting style later. Refined brush strokes and clean lines become important elements in his pieces, displaying the evolution Stolov has experienced as an artist.

Hanging below one of the exhibit’s paintings is a brief history of the artist’s life, but it doesn’t contain any information on what prompted him to create the works in this exhibit. What’s clear, however, is how connected Stolov is to his subjects, whether it is of a family member or a pineapple. These paintings elicit an intense emotional response from the onlooker as they exploit the realistic characteristics of the subject. Warmth, comfort and joy come from gazing at the pieces in this exhibit.

Each portrait is realistically crafted, bringing the images to life by capturing the subject in a singe moment in time like a photograph.

The image “The Mathematician” depicts a pensive aging man sitting at his desk. The warm hue of light being cast from a lamp not depicted in the painting makes the man appear wise, just like a mathematician should be.

Stolov’s musical background shows in several paintings, like “The Pianist.” In this work, the piano dominates the image. The female pianist is intently focused and has a special connection to her instrument, almost as if it is an extension of her. Using his background in music, Stolov effectively invokes passion in the painting and enhances the emotion of the image.

This feeling of serenity doesn’t exist in “Caught in the Act,” a grotesque depiction of a cat bidding farewell to its prey, a single dead mouse lying on the floor. The cat’s fierce eyes attack the viewer, forcing them to see the intensity in the painting.

The piece “Young Woman” effectively transports its onlookers to a surreal place — not of this world or heaven. The woman looks hopeful and also in deep thought or prayer, and the image inspires a welcoming spiritual vibe.

Meyer’s still-life paintings are just as captivating as his portraits. His painting of a pineapple looks good enough to eat because each brush stroke is lead by a controlled hand.

A hallmark of the exhibit is the realism brought to every subject. Even when dealing with less important elements of the painting, such as the background that surrounds the subject, Stolov does not cheat or create a shabby environment. Some pictures are blurry so as to lead the eye to the work’s main focus or clear to complement the subject.

Meyer showcases his talent for using inspiration from music to intensify images of life. He creates stark images of reality enhanced with an element of whimsy that can only be found in the soft cool beats of music.

“Musician to Painter” will be on display at the Community School of Music and Arts until Feb. 26.