Thursday, March 10, 2011
In Memoriam: Ellsworth Ausby...
It's with great sadness that I write that artist and instructor, Ellsworth Ausby has passed away. He died on March 6th, 2011. He was my first painting teacher at The School of Visual Arts. I spent many hours in the studio under his instruction, learning about cast shadows, mixing paint, and "Ausby's Black" (a rich shade of black made with alizarin crimson and phthalo green). Even after our class ended, we still kept in contact. He wrote countless recommendation letters for me; finally he gave me a stack of twenty signed letters with the recipient line left blank. He said, "Thornton, don't use 'em all up in a week."
Professor Ausby, a talented man of vision, always went above and beyond the call of duty. I remember the last time I saw him in person. He had surprised me before the opening of my senior thesis show. He came to personally congratulate me and tell me that he had been keeping tabs on my work and that he was proud of what I had accomplished. He was that kind of man.
Days before I was scheduled to leave New York, an errand had taken me to Williamsburg. I remember climbing the stairs to the raised platform of the Marcy stop on the JMZ line and seeing a group of tourists admiring the stained glass pieces. While we waited for the train, they took pictures in front of the colorful, geometric cosmologies called, "A Space Odyssey". When the train finally arrived and we were boarding, I said to them, "I know that man – the man who made the art!"