March 11, 2014

41 E. 57th St., (212) 755-2828

Through March 1

Lois Dodd (b. 1927) has been painting compositionally idiosyncratic views of the architecture, vegetation, landscape and traces of human presence in rural Maine for six decades. During 2012-13, "Catching the Light," an overdue museum retrospective of Ms. Dodd's art, appeared at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Mo., and, appropriately enough, at the Portland Museum of Art in Maine. That the exhibition never made it to New York—where Ms. Dodd was the only woman among the founders of the important abstract expressionist venue, the Tanager Gallery; had her first solo show there in 1954; and bucked the tide by staying resolutely figurative—only adds to her status as a quiet heroine of stick-to-your-guns, painterly painting.

This show of almost 30 pictures, including a dozen portraits, as it were, of flowers, is Ms. Dodd's first gallery outing since her retrospective. It's honest, unflashy, done the hard way (Ms. Dodd's thin oil paint on Masonite technique doesn't permit second chances) and charming.

Her small renderings of a house in the snow, or the moon over a mud flat at 4 a.m., are masterly without preening as such. So it might seem picky and ungrateful to write so much as a word of mild doubt about an exhibition by this venerated plein-air painter. Sometimes, though, as when a vermilion shirt flutters too brightly on a clothesline that's set against a delicately painted drab olive house and a green bush, or a flower is blown up to fit a format nearly 5 feet tall, Ms. Dodd reaches for obvious attention-getters. She's had great shows. This is simply a good one.

—Mr. Plagens is an artist and a writer in New York.

March 11, 2014

Cicely Aikman Scherer died at Valley Cares in Townshend, Vermont, on December 6, 2013, eleven days after her husband Fred F. Scherer passed away. Born on June 4, 1923 in El Paso, TX, she was the oldest of three children of Duncan and Helen (Wyman) Aikman.

She attended the University of Chicago, but left in her sophomore year and went to New York City to study under Morris Kantor at the Art Students League, between 1942-1946.  Aikman reflects; “This was a serious art education -our only regret as students was that due to World War II, we could not go to Europe, in particular to Paris to see firsthand the works of Picasso and Matisse.” At the League she met her first husband, painter Paul Breslin.   

Cicely was an avid traveler. She went to Florence, Italy by boat with her two-year-old son, Paul Breslin Jr., and lived the bohemian life with her many friends. She lived in Peru from 1956-1957, traveling all over the region, Ecuador, Chile, Cuzco and Lima, Peru, where she taught English.  Other trips included the Greek Isles and Turkey and countless journeys to France to visit her son Paul, who has made Paris his home.

Cicely worked as a librarian at the Hayden Planetarium of the American Museum of Natural History. There she met Fred Scherer, fellow artist, they married in 1969. In 1972 they moved to Friendship, where they lived there for 32 years and adopted and raised Fred's grandchild, Kim Scherer. In 2005, Cicely moved to Brattleboro, Vermont with her husband to be nearer to daughter Deidre Scherer and her husband Steve Levine.

Cicely showed her work in galleries in New York City including The Artists’ Gallery, Green Mountain Gallery, Pyramid Gallery, and Westbeth Gallery. She painted winters in NYC and Vero Beach, FL, and summers in Provincetown and Maine.  In 1972 she helped form a cooperative, the Waldoboro Gallery. Her work has been shown outside of NYC in numerous galleries and museums including the Maine Coast Artists, Round Top Center for the Arts, The Portland Museum, and The Farnsworth Museum. Since 2006, she has shown at the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center and Robert Crowell Gallery, Newfane, VT. From 1990 to the present, the Caldbeck Gallery in Rockland, ME has represented Cicely’s work.

Among her many interests, Cicely loved classical music, reading and writing poetry, literature and the writing of her memoirs.  She also participated in numerous peace demonstrations during the 60’s and 70’s. Cicely will be remembered for her generosity, her love of animals, her liberal politics, and her poetic sense of form and color that made her such a unique and talented sculptor and painter.

Cicely is predeceased by first husband Paul Breslin; by second husband Fred F. Scherer and by brother Edward Aikman; she is survived by her sister Ann McQuade of Port Washington, NY; son Paul Breslin Jr. and his wife Catherine of Paris, France: daughter Kim Scherer and her husband, Paul Young of Seattle, WA; and four step-children; Janice-Ellen Scherer-Dufner and her husband, Frank Dufner, of Lyman, ME; William Scherer and his wife, Sitora, of Cold Spring, NY; Deidre Scherer and her husband, Steve Levine, of Williamsville, VT; and Gregory Scherer and his wife, Makhiruy, of Cold Spring, NY; 5 nieces and nephews; 14 grandchildren, and 8 great-grandchildren.

All are welcome to a memorial service that will be held on Sunday, December 15th, at 2:30 pm at Valley Cares, 461 Grafton Road, Townshend, VT, with a reception to follow.

The family expresses their heartfelt thanks to the amazing staff of Valley Cares for their professional, unending care and compassion; to Susan Nelson and her wonderful group of caregivers; the hospice staff of Bayada Services for their sensitive support and Dr. Timothy Shafer for his compassion and understanding.

Gifts may be made in Cicely’s name to Valley Cares, 461 Grafton Road, Townshend, VT 05353.

 

March 11, 2014

Fred F. Scherer

1915-2013

 

Fred Frank Scherer died at Valley Cares in Townshend, Vermont, on November 25, 2013, surrounded by family and friends. Born on March 1, 1915 in Queens, NY, he was eighth of nine children of William and Mary Ellen (Gerken) Scherer, and the last remaining of his siblings.

In 1930, while in an apprenticeship program of The School Art League of New York City, Fred was awarded their Saint Gaudens Medal for Fine Draughtsmanship and the Haney Medal for Fine Craftsmanship.

Fred spent the majority of his working life, 1934 through 1972, in the Exhibition Department of the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH). He learned the techniques of painting dioramas from his mentor, artist James Perry Wilson.  Fred created and collaborated on numerous dioramas that are still on display at the AMNH, including fifteen that he personally painted in the Chapman Memorial Bird Hall, The African Hall and the North American Mammal Hall. Millions have seen his work and the dioramas are recognized worldwide.

“His passing ends an era for AMNH, as he was the last surviving background artist who made great contributions to the museum's finest diorama halls and his work will stand for all time as a most significant contribution to the finest natural history diorama work in the world.”        -Stephen Quinn

In 1967, Fred produced a Peruvian desert mural at the World’s Fair in New York. After retiring from the AMNH, Fred and his wife, artist, Cicely Aikman, lived for 32 years in Friendship, ME. He worked for twenty years as art consultant for the Maine State Museum in Augusta, ME, where he also painted dioramas.

A tireless and energetic spirit, he turned his attention to other pursuits including designing and building the family home. An intrepid inventor, he made an endless stream of practical devices, some specializing in successfully deterring squirrels from bird feeders. An early supporter of the “modern organic gardening movement,” he cultivated blueberry bushes and loved harvesting vegetables from his and Cicely’s large garden. While in Maine, he enjoyed going out to fish the waters in and around Friendship Harbor with his lobstermen friends.

Growing up in a house filled with music, Fred loved music of all types and was a wonderful self-taught pianist who played by ear. He continued to paint and draw up to his final days.  Fred Scherer attended the Advent Christian Church of Friendship, ME, for many years, and more recently, the Calvary Chapel in West Townshend, VT.  Fred is survived by his second wife of 44 years, Cicely Aikman Scherer, of Valley Cares, Townshend, VT; and by his four children with his first wife, Marguerite Scherer, deceased: Janice-Ellen Scherer-Dufner and her husband, Frank Dufner, of Lyman, ME; William Scherer and his wife, Sitora, of Cold Spring, NY; Deidre Scherer and her husband, Steve Levine, of Williamsville, VT; and Gregory Scherer and his wife, Makhiruy, of Cold Spring, NY; adopted daughter, Kim Scherer and her husband, Paul Young, of Seattle, WA; and stepson, Paul Breslin and his wife, Catherine, of Paris, France; 14 grandchildren, 8 great-grandchildren and a large extended family. Fred made many friends during his life who will all miss him. 

All are welcome to memorial services that will be held on Wednesday, December 4th, at 3 pm at Valley Cares, 461 Grafton Road, Townshend, VT; and on Sunday, December 8th, at 2 pm at the Calvary Chapel, Route 30, West Townshend, VT. Receptions will follow both events.

The family expresses their heartfelt thanks to Dr. Tim Shafer; to the amazing staff of Valley Cares for their professional, unending care and compassion that they gave to Fred and continue to give to Cicely; and to Susan Nelson and her wonderful group of caregivers, as well as the hospice staff of Bayada Services for their sensitive support.

Donations can be made in Fred’s name to Valley Cares, 461 Grafton Road, Townshend, VT 05353; or to the Calvary Chapel, Rte 30, West Townshend, VT 05359.

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