PS209, The Artist as Maker

by Donna Calcavecchio

The Hudson Valley attracts a great many people, many of them are artists, many are talented and some are internationally-​​renown. This weekend at Stone Ridge’s relatively new and very upscale gallery PS209, opening attendees are in for a rare and what promises to be an inspiring exhibition. Three contemporary artists who live in the Hudson Valley and who work in traditional mediums using traditional tools and techniques will be showcased.

Christopher Kurtz    |    Martin Puryear    |   Jeff Shapiro
Opening Reception: October 11, 5-​​7pm
Exhibition runs from October 11 through November 16, 2014

PS209   |   3670 Main Street  |  Stone Ridge NY
Hours: Fridays 2 – 5 pm, Saturdays 12 – 5 pm, Sundays 12 – 4 pm,
and by appointment.

Christopher Kurtz (born 1975) grew up in Excelsior Springs, Missouri. He studied sculpture at the Kansas City Art Institute, Landscape Architecture at The GSD at Harvard University (Career Discovery Program) and received a BFA in sculpture from The New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University in Alfred, New York. After college, he went on to work as the studio assistant to artist Martin Puryear where he refined his wood working skills and began maturing as an artist. Kurtz has gained national attention with his sculpture and is in several public and private collections. Christopher has received numerous grants and awards, including the prestigious Louis Comfort Tiffany Award in ‘05. In ‘07, he received a New York Foundation For the Arts (NYFA) Award (Lily Auchincloss fellow).

Christopher Kurtz

Christopher Kurtz, “Black Kite,” 2013, hand carved basswood with burnished graphite, 18” x 24” x 13”, photo credit: Lauren Coleman

For more information about Christopher Kurtz go to the artist’s website.

Martin Puryear was born in 1941 in Washington, D.C., and was educated at Catholic University, the Royal Swedish Academy of Arts in Stockholm, and Yale University. His first one-​​person exhibition was in 1977 and since that time he has exhibited his work through-​​out the world, with public commissions in Europe, Japan, and the United States. He represented the United States at the 1989 São Paulo Biennial, where he was awarded the festival’s Grand Prize, and his work was included in the 1992 Documenta. In 2007 The Museum of Modern Art, New York, organized a retrospective exhibition of his work which traveled to the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. He received a MacArthur Foundation award in 1989, and has recently been awarded the Gold Medal in Sculpture by the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

For more on Martin Puryear’s printmaking watch the video below.

Filmed in 2002, Martin Puryear discusses his interest in printmaking and how the directness of the process contrasts with the accretive approach he takes with sculpture.

Jeff Shapiro was born in the Bronx, NY in 1949. He presently works and lives in the Hudson Valley with his wife Hinako. He studied ceramic arts while living in Japan for 9 years from 1973 – 1981. His work has been exhibited internationally in Germany, France, Italy, Australia, Canada, and Japan. His work can be found in numerous museum collections including: The Sevre Museum, Paris, France; The Carlo Zauli Museum, Faenza, Italy; The Massachusetts Museum of Fine Art, Boston MA; The Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY; The Everson Museum, Syracuse, NY and The Fuller Museum, Brockton, MA. He has given workshops and seminars in many countries around the world, and has built 2 wood fire kilns in Italy.

Jeff Shapiro

Jeff Shapiro, Untitled, 2014, Multiple wood firings, ash deposit and abstract glazing, 21″ X 20.5″ X 6,” photo credit: Jeff Shapiro

For more information on Jeff Shapiro go to the artist’s website.

All three of these artists are singular, yet all are well-​​schooled in traditional “maker” techniques. This combination of work — prints, sculpture and ceramics — creates an elegant conversation, an interaction of clean, organic, and sometimes functional form. The use of subtly muted earth tones predominates along side seemingly simple shapes. There is an authenticity here — a clarity of purpose, or rather non-​​purpose, that is remarkably beautiful. This is elegantly stunning work made by artist/​makers who are deeply concerned with the process of the making, perhaps even more so than the result.


Featured image; Martin Puryear, Bona (from Toomer’s Cane), 2000, woodcut framed: 19″ x 20 1/​2,” photo courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery

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