Arts

Delbar Shahbaz, an Iranian artist-in-residence at the Wassaic Project, says that her generation of Iranian women are caught in the in-between - “neither here nor there, neither traditional nor modern.” 

934 The Pregnant Carpet, an installation, "Heaven beneath her feet."

An installation exhibited at Pasadena’s Art College of Design is called “In Between.”  Sculptures of chickens with women’s faces are viewed through a door of the gallery that is semi-blocked by bricks. Her website says, “From the outside looking in, we catch glimpses of communing, of subjects gathering together in attempts to jump free – but they are mere chickens. They are literally and symbolically blocked from learning how to fly, let alone stepping off and flying out of their coop.”

Visiting the annual exhibition curated by the Millbrook School’s Advanced Art History Class makes me wish I could take their course. Every year 15 or 16 students choose the one particular artist. They study his life and his work; they curate the exhibition, often frame the pieces, and write the texts for the labels (otherwise known as didactics). Finally, in lieu of their final exam, they serve as docents, for visitors. Millbrook is the only school or college to offer a course of this sort.

This year guided by Bill Hardy, director of the Holbrook Art Center, and Walter Zeiser, advanced placement English instructor, the class studied the work of Magnum photographer, Alec Soth. The resulting exhibition “somewhere between polite society and the wilderness” can be seen in the Holbrook Center’s Warner Gallery until June 20. 

Exhibitions by Martine Vermeulen at the Stanford Grange are always of interest. “Stitch by Stitch: The Art of Needlework”, a collection of embroidery presented by the Skyllkill Chapter of the Embroiders Guild of America is no exception.

Who knew that embroidery could be so all encompassing. Among the 50 works on view are examples of a variety of stitches. Besides needle point and crewel work one can find thread painting, stump work, Hardanger and Brazilian embroidery. Materials ranging from cotton, linen, silk and canvas have been stitched with everything from thread and wool to beads, quills, and sequins. The subjects run the gamut from animals, flowers, fruit, abstract geometry to architecture. 

The Skyllkill Chapter of the Embroiders Guild of America, Inc. was founded in 1958 to increase the knowledge and appreciation of the heritage of embroidery. The group’s over 90 members, mostly from Dutchess County, meet the first Wednesday of every month at the St. James Church in Hyde Park, NY.

May 20- The White Galley in Lakeville opens the first public show of Robert Baras’ abstractions from nature on May 29 with an opening May 30 from 5 to 7 p.m. 

Baras typically creates large works on canvas that have a push-pull relation to natural subjects.  Trees, for instance, can look like a tree or not.  The show is called “The Realistic Tree.”   Color can enter into it. Gallery owner Tino Galluzo is enthusiastic in describing Baras as  a “humble, accomplished artist who paints for the love of painting with a colorful palette and thoughtful interpretation of the subject matter.”  Baras work can also be seen at http://www.rbaras.com

 

On the first of May The Whitney Museum opened in its new space at 99 Gansevoort Street in the old meatpacking district. Since then the Whitney has received well-deserved accolades both for the magnificent building designed by Renzo Piano as well as for it’s first exhibition, “America is Hard to See.”

895 Reno Piano speaks at the press opening - photo by Carola Lott

With 50,000 square feet of indoor exhibition space plus 13,000 square feet of outside terraces for sculpture, the Whitney now has almost double the room it had before. For the first time in years the staff is all together under one roof; moreover the museum now boasts a proper auditorium, conservation facilities, a study center as well as a café and a restaurant. 

896 Entrance on Gansevoort Street - photo by Nic Lehoux

Speaking at the press preview Renzo Piano said, “The art you see is about freedom. I hope you will feel the building is designed to make that freedom visible.”   Both the east and west walls are floor to ceiling glass. No matter where you stand in any of the spacious galleries you are always aware of the light streaming in from these windows. 

The quote I like about Christopher Wool is from an article by Richard Prince: 

“Christopher is one of the five or six every decade that got to the corner and painted himself in and stayed and thrived and managed to survive and tell the tale. The ‘corner’ is called the Promised Land.”

The paradox is that Prince sees Wool’s corner as an enviable place. As a viewer, I see it as a place I find far from a promised land, despite the attention it gets and the prices it brings.

I saw a show of recent paintings by Christopher Wool at the Luhring-Augustine Gallery in Bushwick, Brooklyn.  More Wool paintings and sculptures are in the gallery’s Chelsea location until June 2.  

Twenty two botanical photographs by Lori Adams comprise the latest exhibition at the Millbrook Library’s gallery. According to her artist’s statement, Adams’s images “are a merge of fine art photography and scientific explorations. Like all good images, these tell a story as well as being a portrait of the plant or object.”

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Adams has been taking photographs since she was 13 with 35mm, medium format and large format film and, more recently, digital photography. She has worked with both black and white as well as color darkroom printing as well as digital printing. 

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In some cases it is hard to tell that her images are really archival ink jet prints rather than paintings. Her flowers are lovely – both as photographs in their own right as well as meticulously detailed observations. Her gooseneck loosestrife, her lily of the valley and her larger than life size phalenopsis orchid have all of the grace of the blossom, which can sometimes be lacking in detailed botanical illustrations.

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A show layered with meanings, connections and bold conceptions opened at two historic houses on Saturday, May 2 - Olana and the Thomas Cole house.  First is the idea that American art essentially began with Thomas Cole who saw the American landscape disappearing before his eyes in the 1820’s as population brought change.  He was conscious that he wanted to capture that landscape for an historical record and to elevate it as an expression of something uniquely American.  His charming house on the Hudson with its two studios was where the Hudson River School had its beginnings.  

 It is now where 32 works by living artists are displayed.  Kiki Smith, Stephen Hannock, Cindy Sherman, Angie Keefer, Thomas Nozowski and Stephen Petegorsky are some of the artists you will meet in the rooms of Thomas Cole’s restored house in Catskill, just over the Rip van Winkle Bridge.  They are a good cross-section of working, but established artists, most having connections to the Hudson River Valley.  Outside, in the grounds, two sculptures by Don Gummer look as natural in their surroundings as the trees that shade them. 

Throughout May, paintings in the style of Andy Warhol by students in the third grade at Dutchess Day School can be seen at the Berkshire Hathaway Home Services gallery space in Rhinebeck. At the same time the Starr Library is exhibiting 21 paintings by DDS seventh graders in a show called “Peace and Love—Work Inspired by Peter Max.”

882 coke bottle by Bryce Hatfield, third grade

The third graders were inspired by Warhol’s subject matter as well as by his use of bright and bold colors. They used acrylics to paint on canvases of different sizes, often in the square format Warhol preferred. They learned to use masking tape to create clean edges. Some students even learned how to use paint to create Warhol’s photo-silk-screen effect– a very advanced process for such young artists.

880 Hotdog in the style of Andy Warhol by 3rd grader Emmeline Heaney

Students in the seventh grade studied Peter Max’s work, including his advertisements, posters, painted textiles, as well as other imagery from the period. According to art teacher, Alison Roland, “They were drawn to Max’s psychedelically colorful, bold, iconic work which captures the essence of 1960s color and design.”

881 painting in the style of Peter Max by Savilla kent

The first show of the Re Institute’s 2015 season opened with an exhibition of “Reverse Engineer,” an installation and videos by Lindsay Packer, and “Stairs Revisited,” a series of paintings on paper by Joel Foster.

Packer, who has had two previous exhibitions at the Re Institute, creates amazing videos and site specific installations using found objects, colored lights and the walls of the gallery.  By precisely arranging such commonplace objects as a window screen or an energy saving fluorescent light bulb, Packer draws attention to the inherent beauty of everyday objects we often overlook. 

874 Lindsay Packer installs "Square Dance" at the Re Institute

After receiving her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design, Packer earned her masters degree at the Art Institute of Chicago. The recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship to India in Installation Art, Packer has twice been artist in residence at the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation. She was also an artist in residence at the Wassaic Project. Packer currently lives in Red Hook, Brooklyn.

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