You don’t have to wait for “First Fridays” or “First Saturdays” to hit the galleries— indeed the best time to see art is on the days in between when you often have the galleries to yourself to really contemplate the art work on display. With a range of excellent group and solo shows going on in the Hudson Valley, summer is a particularly good time for trying out new towns and tripping around their galleries getting to know the work of the artists in the region — many of whom also exhibit far beyond the county lines, or the borders of the USA. Start this weekend — pick a town, any town, and spend a morning or an afternoon discovering the range of artists’ work on view. Become an art aficionado — maybe even a collector.
But even if you still feel mired in recession mode, and many of us do, this is a great way to spend time without spending more than the gas it takes you to get to the gallery and, often, you will find that the docent, might be the owner, will be delighted to talk to you about the work on exhibit — such was my experience when I visited the Imogen Holloway Gallery on Partition Street in Saugerties. Despite my down-at-heel attire (had just come from the studio) Gallery owner Diane Dwyer graciously gave me a tour of the work on exhibit and even offered to show me some additional pieces that were not in the exhibiton. There are 3 artists in the show. Joy Taylor in the main gallery space, Robert Otto Epstein in the project room and a Heather Hutchison installation in the window.
On the surface all three artists’ work is very different yet it feels all of a piece —it has a southern summery sensibility and hangs together perfectly.
Robert Otto Epstein covers paper in a fine and perfect grid which he likens to a pattern — perhaps for knitting or tapestry. He then painstakingly colors and recolors each square to create the pattern. The results are mesmerizing. Miami Inspired is gorgeous —the same shape repeated multiple times, nevertheless, absolutely feels like Miami, the vertical triangles are reminders of the art deco structures for which that city is so famous and the same design turned on its side suggests the coast.
Taylor’s paintings, whose collective title is, Leaf in a Landscape, hark to the southern States. The colors are those of the desert and the Pueblo — many of her pieces are small and have a jewel-like quality with the focus on the object. The first thing you encounter as you approach the gallery is Heather Hutchison’s window intervention/installation, Occupied Space. Hutchison’s medium is light — in this case, internal light — a tube set inside the window – and also the light that is brought to the window from the outside – sunlight, moonlight and streetlight. Utilizing common materials such as wax paper, tin foil, acetate, and tape, she attempts to cool the temperature of the mid-summer sun pouring through the gallery’s storefront windows. The result of these simple material’s interaction with the light, be it natural or not, is in constant flux depending on the time of day that Occupied Space is viewed and the angle it is viewed from, illustrating that the piece is about perception, not perfection.
Although this exhibition at Imogen Holloway Gallery opened on July 5, there will be a “Second Chance Opening” on Friday, August 2 which coincides with the Saugerties’ First Fridays event. The show runs through August 11.
Among the many offerings in Woodstock, there is the Catherine Murphy retrospective exhibition, Give and Take, curated by Portia Munson, at Byrdcliffe’s Kleinert /James Center for the Arts until August 11, 2013. The work traces forty years of work through portraits of Murphy’s husband Harry Roseman and also self-portraits, varying from direct portraiture and self-portraiture to symbolic or textual evocations of the sitter. Byrdcliffe is part of the Woodstock Guild – check out their website (links at the end of this article) for more information on this, their outdoor sculpture exhibition Gimme Shelter and also the open studio days for their Artist-in-Residence programs on Upper Byrdcliffe Rd – next one is on July 27 at 5:30 pm.
Across the road at Oriole 9 Café are pop-off-the-wall op art paintings by the artist Moneta and the surreal photo images of Annette Jaret, curated as always by the intrepid Lenny Kislin – Kislin, himself a creator of witty sculptures made from antique wood and found objects, also curates art work at New World Home Cooking Restaurant on Rte 212 between Woodstock & Saugerties.
Anne Crowley is showing work at the Woodstock Framing Gallery (WFG) on Mill Hill Road throughout the summer. Irish-born Crowley, best known locally for her dramatic landscapes, has turned her attention to the hurly burly of New York City, perhaps returning to her urban roots – she is originally a city girl, born and raised in Dublin. The paintings are large but not gigantic, yet they feel like painting on a grand scale as befits the subject, teeming with the colors of jewels, texture, and the buzz of the city. The exhibition runs through September 12.
On Saturday, July 13th, an exhibition featuring the work of the instructors opened at the Woodstock School of Art (WSA). The 29 artists comprising the 2013 staff of the WSA are some of the most well-known and highly respected in their fields, both nationally and locally. Several have been recipients of Pollack Krasner and other prestigious awards. Here you will experience a very diverse collection of work from representational landscape painting that includes Tor Gundrunson’s polished acrylics and Ron Netsky’s fine prints to the exuberant expressionism of Kate McGloughlin and the effervescent abstract works of Jenny Nelson. Nelson’s work is also on exhibit at the Tria Gallery in Chelsea at 531 W. 25th St.
Landscape is further represented by Joan Jardine’s impressionist Fort Hill, Christie Scheele’s soft focus Angle of Repose and Eric Angeloch’s haunting work in oil, Dryads. Lois Woolley, Keith Gunderson and Loel Barr are among those working with the figure – although Gunderson is showing his sensitive drawing and painting from the figure in this show, he also teaches classes in écorché at WSA. Loel Barr’s contribution includes In the Room, a collage of images that includes newspaper and a page from a book that contains a reference to the symbolist poet Paul Claudel. There is a strong echo of Vermeer in the figure and the effect of light from “the window.”
Mistresses of still life are Margarete de Soleil and Karen O’Neil – the former with her sensuous renderings of sea-washed stones in pastel, and the latter with her fresh light-infused compositions.
For people interested in taking art classes at the Woodstock School of Art, this is a great way to discover the art teachers and their particular interests. Whether attending a class or one of the twice weekly open studios in life drawing, as I do on Thursday mornings, see this as making a date with yourself. This exhibition runs through September 7.
Another related exhibition to catch is The Drawing Galaxy at BSP Lounge at Backstage Studio Productions at 323 Wall Street in Kingston, NY — across from Catskill Art Supply. Presented by WSA teacher Meredith Rosier (who also has work in the Instructors Exhibition), this is a show of Rosier’s students many of whom are themselves accomplished artists in their own right; this only goes to show that there is no limit to being a student and open to new ideas. Artists include Judith Jamison, Linda Miller, Michael Hopkins, Carol Pepper-Cooper and Trina Green. Exhibition runs through July 30.
Going north to the picturesque town of Athens you will find a particularly relevant exhibition with the environment at its center. In this era of melting glaciers and looming extinctions, the Athens Cultural Center presents a multi-media exploration of the many meanings of ice in history, popular culture and the artists’ imagination. Curated by Carrie Feder, the show is a visual examination of diverse artifacts and imagery relating to ice in all its forms: polar exploration, the ice industry, sports, utilitarian products, advertising, literature, decorative objects, the environment and art.
Thirteen artists, all with Hudson Valley and many with NYC connections, present their own interpretations of ice. Diverse mediums and styles include figurative and abstract paintings, sculpture, photography and video. Claudia McNulty’s painterly depiction of an iceberg inspired by a Frederic Church painting is overlaid by the ominous charting of HAARP, a weather controlling technology currently being researched. Also don’t miss Christy Rupp’s Walrus and Narwhal Tusks from her “Fake Ivory Series.” Decorated with hydrocarbon chains and greenhouse gases rather than the traditional scenes on scrimshaw, a pointed reference is made to the loss of habitat due to pollution and oil drilling. Both McNulty and Rupp were among those chosen for last year’s popular Hudson Valley Artists Dear Mother Nature exhibition at the Dorsky Museum at SUNY New Paltz. This exhibition runs through August 11.
And finally, those of you who find yourselves in or around Rhinebeck on Saturday, July 20, may want to drop in to the very excellent Atwater Gallery located above the Rhinebeck Artists Shop at 56 East Market St. in the heart of town. An opening reception for the new Rudy Vavra exhibition will take place between 5-8pm. The exhibition runs through August 15.
Rudy Vavra is a purist whose work is reverential and non referential. One is alternately dazzled by the audacity and looseness of the brushwork and transported by the calmness of the whole. Vavra consistently succeeds in creating a credible abstract world which pulsates with life and color. His black and white drawings are equally vivid and realized. Whether you expect paintings to celebrate higher meaning and spirituality or you just love the physical beauty of painting, or both, you will love this show.
This is, of course, just a soupçon of what is on offer in the towns mentioned let alone those not mentioned: Catskill, Red Hook, Rosendale, New Paltz (where the Dorsky is currently hosting Screen Play: Hudson Valley Artists 2013), Stone Ridge and the many other gorgeous towns in the Hudson Valley, not to mention the studio tours that are coming up. The Shandaken Art Studio Tour is July 20 – 21 and the Saugerties Art Studio Tour is August 9, 10 and 11 and just thinking about them is tempting me to go off on another paragraph odyssey but exploring galleries and following the studio tour maps is a treasure hunt and I wouldn’t want to give you all the clues – well, maybe just two: on the Saugerties Tour, don’t miss visiting Carol Zaloom and Mik Horowitz and their enchanting cottage on High Falls Rd, and also this is a chance to see the amazing and often practical sculpture of Jesse Reimer, a recent and sad loss to our art community – his family plan to open his studio on Rte 212 for this 2013 tour. Again, information and links to the galleries are below and information on local art studio tours can be Googled, or Binged…
The author is grateful for information supplied by the galleries.
All photographs are courtesy of the artists.
Featured image: Work in Progress — Heather Hutchinson courtesy of the artist.
Following is more information about the galleries and venues mentioned in the article.
Imogen Holloway Gallery, 81 Partition St, SAUGERTIES, NY 12477
Thursday 5 – 8, Fri/Sat/Sun 12 – 5 or by appointment
BYRDCLIFFE Kleinert/James Center for the Arts,
36 Tinker Street, Woodstock, NY. Gallery Hours: Wednesday through Sunday,
12:00 — 6:00 pm
WFG Gallery, 31 Mill Hill Road • Woodstock.
Gallery hours: Monday thru Saturday from 11 to 5 • Sundays from 12 to 5.
Oriole 9 Café is located at 17 Tinker Street, Woodstock.
Art is viewable during restaurant opening hours:
8:30 am – 4:30 pm every day. For info call (845) 679‑8117.
Woodstock School of Art; The Instructors Show will run through Saturday, September 7. Gallery hours through Sept. 1 are Monday — Saturday, 9 a.m. til 3 p.m.
After September 1, gallery will be closed on Mondays.
BSP Lounge (The Drawing Galaxy) The Gallery is open 7 pm to close (1 am weekdays,
2 am weekends) Wednesday to Saturday
Athens Cultural Center, 24 Second St, Athens, NY – exhibition runs through August 11th. Hours are Saturdays and Sundays, 1:00 to 4:00PM or by appointment.
The Atwater Gallery, 56 E. Market St., Rhinebeck, NY 845 876 4922
Rudy Vavra opening reception, July 20 5-8pm. Exhibition runs through 8/15
Claire Lambe is an Irish born painter whose works have been exhibited on both sides of the Atlantic; she is a graduate of the National College of Art and Design in Dublin and holds an MFA in painting from the City University of New York. In addition to her art-making, she is also the company manager and designer for The Woodstock Players Theater Company —as the company designer she is responsible for everything from the website to the set design. Writing credits include contributing author to Teen Life in Europe (part of the Teen Life Around The World series), and articles and reviews for this publication. Claire Lambe Art Journal