One of the most anticipated art events in the Hudson Valley region is the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art’s annual Hudson Valley Artists exhibition, now in existence for over twenty years. This year’s exhibition entitled, Worlds of Wonder: Hudson Valley Artists 2014, opens in the museum’s Alice & Horace Chandler and North Galleries on June 21 with a reception from 5:00 –7 pm, and will run through Nov. 9.
Worlds of Wonder is curated by Ian Berry, Dayton Director of the Tang Museum at Skidmore College, who will lead a tour of the exhibition at 4 pm on June 21, preceding the opening reception. Berry is a specialist in contemporary art and a leader in the field of college and university museums. He joined Skidmore as the Tang’s founding curator in 2000 and was named director in 2012.
The point of this annual exhibition is to highlight emerging and mid-career artists living and working in the Hudson Valley, and the artists are selected from an open call. The aim of Worlds of Wonder, according to Berry, is to focus on the laboratory-like environment of the artist studio, and to exemplify the exploration and curiosity that is at the heart of many artistic practices. In his call for submissions, Berry asked, “To what extent do science and nature, architecture, design, and history weave in and out of contemporary art making? How do artists bring together disparate elements into a singular work, or a cluster of related images or objects?”
Among the artists included is Fern T. Apfel who, in her artist’s statement, describes herself as a portraitist of things; one thread of her work is Still Life. Apfel combines collage elements, often text, with layers of water soluble lithographers ink or acrylic, and casein paints. An example in this exhibition, a small piece entitled Division, employs numbers (math division problems) in rows and columns of small rectangles that also includes a column of darkly rendered numbers and some text whose purpose appears to be purely compositional. The composition appears to be a nod to the Golden Ratio. The image is punctuated at the edges by Mondrian-like colored squares and rectangles so, cognizant of Mondrian’s interest in mathematics and the Golden Ratio, this piece suggests a dialog ―even homage ― to that early master of reductive abstraction.
Loren Eiferman’s wood sculpture is also coming from a mathematical base. His diverse influences range from 13th century carpets from Iran to the crop circles that appear in U.K. fields every spring and summer, the metaphysical works of Buddhist mandalas, sacred geometry found in nature, the chemical structure of wood and the celestial images viewed from the Hubble Telescope. In his artist’s statement Eiferman said, “Each sculpture is a new geometry that works on many different levels where numbers and numerology, interconnections, science and color all have a place and relate together in a new pattern and dimension.” The piece in this show is entitled Galaxy.
Possibly the pièce de résistance of the show is Judy Thomas’s Expansion ― a curvilinear exuberance of tubing wrapped in orange, purple, blue and green with clear tubing pole-dancing around it, the whole held together by various materials including a favorite of Thomas’s: colored pantyhose. The piece also includes another signature element of hers: handmade soft balls. Among the events planned during the course of the exhibition is Senses of Wonder on June 29th during which Thomas will lead people through the sculpture allowing them to touch the parts. Afterwards, the Laura Ward and Octavia Cup Dance Theatre will perform a dance movement piece in and around the installation on the theme of human curiosity. Bring the kids.
All of the artists in the exhibition are noteworthy, but don’t miss Mison Kim’s beautiful study in ink of St. Paul’s Cathedral, and Caitlin Parker’s gorgeous transparent Ghost House (the image for this piece is featured at the top of the page).
Ghost House is a scale (1”: 1’) model of the artist’s home, built out of double layers of plexiglas, with native plants from around her property sealed within its walls. The piece explores our conflicted relationship with the natural environment.
How the works fulfill the brief is, in some cases, unambiguous ― some works have clear allusions to architecture and science for example ― and in other cases, ambiguous. The brief itself was broad and open-ended, possibly to the point of confusion. Perhaps one day, the brief will simply be the “Just do what you like to do” brief.
In addition to those mentioned above, the other artists showing work are Gabe Brown, Adriana Farmiga, Holly Hughes, Mike McGregor, Reuben Moore, Douglas Navarra, Stephen Niccolls, Sean Sullivan, Linda Stillman, Kay Kenny and Angela Voulgarelis.
There are events scheduled during the run of the exhibition beginning with Senses of Wonder, described above, on Sunday June 29, at 1 pm. On Sunday July 20th there will be a Flower Stain demonstration with artist Linda Stillman. On Saturday October 18, at 2 pm there will be artist gallery talks with Adriana Farmiga, Holly Hughes, and Mike McGregor. Roll magazine plans to revisit the exhibition to report on some of these exciting programs in the coming months either here in the magazine and/or on Roll On The Radio*, so stay tuned. All programs are free and are held at The Dorsky Museum on the SUNY New Paltz campus – see below for further information.
Featured Image: Caitlin Parker, Ghost House (detail) 2012, Plexiglas and pressed plants. 18 x 32 x 36 in. Courtesy the artist.
Museum Hours: Wednesday-Sunday, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Closed Mondays, Tuesdays, Holidays, and Intersessions.
For more information about The Dorsky Museum and its programs, visit www.newpaltz.edu/museum, or call (845) 257‑3844.
*Roll On The Radio airs locally on Saturday evenings from 5 – 6 pm on WHVW 950 AM. It is also live-streamed to your computer or iPhone anywhere in the world by clicking here: http://www.splatterbox.us:6950/listen.pls
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.