Sociopolitical oil paintings on display in local art gallery

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Bert Winsberg sitting beneath one of the paintings from his collection (Photo by Rob Pelaez)

Great Neck resident Bert Winsberg’s oil paintings are “beyond what meets the eye,” he said. His combining of social and political factors mixed with personal representations from his life resulted in Avital Gallery 336 have a line of people out the door waiting to view his works.

“This exhibit presents events I experienced throughout my life, influenced by being a child of European immigrants,” Winsberg said.

The paintings range from depictions of Winberg’s personal life to the protests held in response to the United States invading Iraq in 2003.  Winsberg, born in 1936, explained the process of ensuring that his paintings were not only accurately depicted in his eyes but to the eyes of the world as well. 

From the flesh of then-Vice President George H.W. Bush during the Iran-contra scandal to the emotional expression of a New York City subway dweller in the 1980s, each detail took a considerable amount of time to paint.

“Each painting seen here represents easily four to six months of work, both mental and physical,” Winsberg said. “It’s like writing a book. There are sentences that you have and want to go back and change to make it sound better, and to satisfy yourself.”

After showing talent and interest in art at a young age, Winsberg attended programs at the Chicago Art Institute and won a competitive scholarship to the art institute and the University of Chicago.

“As a child of poverty, the emphasis was for me to be a physician,” Winsberg said. “It would provide me with opportunities to develop my art at a later time.”

After receiving his medical degree from the University of Michigan, Winsberg was able to find time for his passion for art, with some of the paintings in the collection on display being painted almost 20 years ago.

The owner of the gallery, Avital Kornblum, had the opening reception for Winsberg’s art on Sept. 8 and said she was very pleased with the turnout.

“It was so great, so many people came,” she said. “Honestly, I was getting a bit worried that there were too many people, and it could have been a fire hazard.”

Whether it is a crowd bunched in the gallery or just one patron strolling around, intently looking at each piece, Winsberg appreciates all who come to view past events through his brushstrokes.

“I would say to anyone that comes in and views my work or anyone’s work,” Winsberg said, “to know their universe so that they can understand mine.  Things are not, nor will they ever be, what they first appear to be.”

“Bert’s artwork is some that I admire greatly,” Avital said. “I love hearing about and meeting these local artists because I get the chance to show their work to the community, and that gives me a lot of satisfaction.”

Winsberg’s art will be on display at Avital Gallery 336 on Middle Neck Road in Great Neck until Oct. 8.

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