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The Suburbanite
  • On the Beat: Richly visual exhibit opens tonight

  • Martin Bertman’s paintings are expressionistic, sometimes surrealistic and stylistically reminiscent of Picasso, Matisse, Chagall and Munch.

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  • There was a poignancy to Martin Bertman’s superb retrospective exhibit of paintings at the Canton Museum of Art in late 2011. His close friends knew that the 74-year-old artist was suffering from an inoperable brain tumor. He died in July.
    “There’s an intimacy with painting and how I understand philosophy. They’re not visual only, they’re also emotional,” Bertman, a philosophy professor and author who lived in North Canton, told me just before the opening.
    His paintings are expressionistic, sometimes surrealistic and stylistically reminiscent of Picasso, Matisse, Chagall and Munch.
    Opening tonight at downtown Canton’s Translations Art Gallery is a second exhibit of Bertman’s work, titled “Kings, Prophets, Angels and Poets,” which “views Judaism through many different lenses,” gallery director Craig Joseph said, noting Bertman was Jewish.
    The show includes 35 works in various media, chosen by Joseph and Bertman’s widow, Marilena, from upward of 400 pieces stored in the artist’s studio.
    “We went through the work with a fine-toothed comb for four or five hours,” Joseph said. “There are Old Testament kind of scenes and characters, images of Jewish families and some modern-day Holocaust images as well.”
    “When I first saw Martin’s paintings, I was stunned,” wrote Rochelle Haas, a friend of the artist, for a panel accompanying the Translations exhibit. “They were images of amazing power and spirit, colorful dreamscapes that evoked every emotion you could imagine. It was obvious that painting to him was as natural as breathing.”
    Bertman’s work, all of which is for sale, is on view through Feb. 23 at 331 Cleveland Ave. NW. Gallery hours are noon to 9 p.m. Wednesday, and noon to 5 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.
    NEW RECORD SHOP
    Frankenstein Records is the name of a cool new music shop at 221 Fifth St. NW in downtown Canton that officially opens today. (Look for the red sign under the eye-catching three faces wall sculpture.)
    Co-owners Chris Bentley and Derek Murphy, both members of local garage-rock band The Most Beautiful Losers, decided to go into the retail record business after downtown’s Buzzbin turned into a full-tilt music venue and stopped carrying vinyl.
    The guys bought out Buzzbin’s large inventory of records, posters and Canton-related T-shirts, and have expanded their shop’s offerings with books, magazines, band shirts, and newly released vinyl by the Black Keys, Nirvana, and “a lot of underground heavy bands,” Murphy said.
    “We’re going to start carrying vintage pop-culture stuff. We’re still a work in progress,” he said, adding that Frankenstein will purchase used vinyl records of, “predominantly rock, punk and heavy stuff.”
    Murphy and Bentley are big fans of listening to music on vinyl.
    “There’s no substitute for that visceral experience when the needle hits the record,” Murphy said. “It’s like Neil Young said, listening to music digitally is like watching a sunset through a screen door.”
    Page 2 of 2 - For tonight’s opening celebration, timed to coincide with First Friday, rockabilly one-man-band Steve Trent will entertain starting at 7. Live music will be offered on Saturday nights at the shop starting in March.
    Hours for Frankenstein Records are noon to 11 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday; noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, and noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday.