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Driven to Abstraction: Group Exhibition

September 23rd - November 12th, 2023

Activate a collaboration painting by Mikel Frank and Gerard Amsellem


Activate (detail)

112 x 80 in

collaboration painting by Mikel Frank and Gerard Amsellem

Guild Hall

Driven to Abstraction:
Group Exhibition

Reception: September 30, 2023, 1:00-5:00pm

Driven to Abstraction showcases the broad range of styles artists use to express their visions and views without illustration. This exhibition, which is curated by Lisa Breznak, highlights the unique working methods of nine artists by choosing multiple works by each to give visitors an in-depth view of the many varied materials, aesthetics, approaches, and versatility included under the umbrella term “abstraction”.


Each group of artist’s works presents the opportunity to see into the thought processes, emotions, scale, and techniques that individual artists use to viscerally communicate ideas and experiences when language is inadequate. By including contemporary abstract painting, drawing, photography, and sculpture, this exhibit demonstrates how far and wide the roots of this distinctive mid-20th century movement in American painting have spread and expanded the concepts and acceptance of non-objective imagery.


Artists: Gerard Amsellem, Sam Bartman, Ivy Dachman, Mikel Frank, Nils Hill, David Link, Rita Maas, Erna Marcus, and Kurt Steger.

Accompanying Program
Gerard Amsellem, Copenhague (Copenhagen)


Copenhague (Copenhagen)

Gerard Amsellem

Gerard Amsellem was born in Morocco and lived the first 25 years of his life in Paris. In 1982, he moved to the U.S. Amsellem has been painting for most of his life and studied at the University of Paris, where he earned his M.A. in French literature and art history. His work has been exhibited in Paris and locally at GAS Gallery and Studio, South Orange Performing Art Center, and other notable galleries. Amsellem is also a filmmaker and in 2013 produced and directed a short film called Bartleby. He has created a successful film club called La Cinematheque, which meets at South Orange Performing Arts Center. He currently teaches French and World Film Classes at Livingston High School in Livingston, NJ.

Sam Bartman, Northern Lights


Northern Lights

Sam Bartman

Sam Bartman described himself as an outsider and self-taught experimentalist. His keen observations and fearless manipulation of materials and imagery resulted in engaging and beautiful expressionistic paintings that are bold, skillful and exuberant. Mixing resins, varnishes, automotive paints, and artist oils with water-based materials, Bartman practiced a visual and technical alchemy with his "special sauce" that enhanced drying and made reproducible chemical reactions that inspired his visual experiments. During his 60-year long career, he created over 2,000 works and exhibited frequently in the greater metropolitan area.

Ivy Dachman, Mother's Yellow #7


Mother's Yellow #7

Ivy Dachman

Ivy Dachman is a Manhattan native and received her BFA in Painting from Cooper Union, and her MFA from Queens College, CUNY. Dachman’s paintings walk the line between deliberation and spontaneity. She develops her compositions with pentimenti, as she first paints the canvas with a brightly colored wash of oil and wax and then “draws” on the surface and “washes” it again. In this way, she builds and rebuilds the composition. Dachman has been in numerous group shows, including at The Drawing Center, the Katonah Museum of Art, and the Hudson River Museum, and solo exhibits at the Garrison Art Center and AIR Gallery in Brooklyn. In 1998 Dachman was awarded a NYFA Fellowship in Painting. She has work in several public and private collections, including the Nevada Museum of Art, Price Waterhouse Coopers, and Metro Media.

Mikel Frank, Looking for Love in the 80's


Looking for Love in the 80's

Mikel Frank

Mikel Frank is an experienced artist professional, who has dedicated his life to studying, teaching, and working in the arts. His passion for art was compounded by his 29-year tenure at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. He moved to Charlotte, NC in 2015, taught art at two local colleges, was in the class of 2021 ArtPop Street Gallery, and is a member of Global Art Project. He is a board member of the Guild of Charlotte Artists and has exhibited both nationally and internationally. This exhibition, along with Frank’s solo works, displays his love of collaboration, as several were done with Gerard Amsellem or with “frags.” Frank does not make sketches before starting a work but makes a mark or glues something down, then responds to it with another mark or addition in a dialogue that is emotionally and intellectually responsive to the act of creating.

Nils Hill, NAO III



Nils Hill

Nils Hill was born in New York and received a BFA in Sculpture from Philadelphia College of Art and an MFA in Sculpture from Indiana University. Commenting on his paintings, Hill stated that they “do not represent anything other than what they are: paint on a rigid support. The paintings do not signify anything other than how they work in the world. They do have an evocative power, which can evoke a spiritual or emotive response.” His work has been exhibited in solo and group shows in spaces including The Berkshire Art Museum, The Katonah Museum of Art, Pace University, and The Arts Exchange, and elsewhere in the United States.

David Link, Sunrise



David Link

David Link studied painting, drawing, and sculpture at SUNY Purchase. He was greatly inspired by artists such as Frank Stella, Ellsworth Kelly, Donald Judd, Tony Smith, and Sol LeWitt, and the Minimalist Movement in Sculpture. Link’s work is about form, space, and color, as he explores subtle differences in angles and proportions. His goals are elegance and the simple harmony in form.

Rita Maas, Dublin, Ireland April 23, 2023


Dublin, Ireland April 23, 2023

Rita Maas

Rita Maas is a visual artist who works with photography, drawing, and printmaking to playfully construct conceptual based imagery. Working within predetermined systems she embraces elements of chance and disorder, often adapting reductive forms. How information is received, filtered and retained are persistent themes of her practice, as she examines the spaces where slippage and illegibility occur. Born in New York, Maas received her BFA in Photographic Studies from the School of Visual Arts. She later earned her MFA in Visual Arts at Lesley University College of Art and Design. Her work has been widely exhibited and has won several awards, including a 2023 NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellow in Printmaking/Drawing/Book Arts.

Erna Marcus, Spring, Trees Reflection


Spring, Trees Reflection

Erna Marcus

Erna Marcus was born and raised in Amsterdam. At Leyden University she pursued a BA in Sinology. During her year as an exchange student at Nanjing University, Marcus documented her experiences with her first camera, a Canon AE1. Her years as an early childhood educator in a public school in Washington DC helped hone her skills in observational photography, as she learned to see anew the commonplace and everyday with the eyes of a child.

Kurt Steger, Plumb No. 4


Plumb No. 4

Kurt Steger

Kurt Steger, a native of Southern California, began working in construction in his early 20s. His passion for woodworking led him to sculpture and design, and he has crafted a life and career centered around art, design, and community. His distinctive style is a fusion of many interests, including shamanism, Western psychology, and environmental issues. His sculptures often incorporate performances of rituals and rites of passage, always with the intention of healing and the release of burdens. Steger’s work is in private, public, and museum collections, and in 2017 he received a NYFA Sculpture Grant.

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