Tom Luciano, who lives outside Phoenicia and runs a top-shelf antiques shop in Hudson, came out of SUNY-Purchase’s Art program like a bolt a while back. I remember when he remade my garage into a studio for his work. Gradually, his paying work, marriage, parenthood and other matters crowded his attention – until he found a means of capturing the world around him digitally, on a daily basis, that combined meditation with creativity. Daily postings on Facebook reestablished a market for his work, which in turn prompted deeper explorations. Now, Luciano will be amongst a group of 15 Ulster County artists being brought together by regional gallery pioneer Albert Shahinian at his new pair of spaces in the middle of Rhinebeck.
Actually, “revived” is more the theme of this expansive exhibition, which first surfaced last May at the Brooklyn Artists’ Gym (BAG), when BAG founder and director Peter Wallace joined forces with Chichester-based painter Christie Scheele to create a New York City showcase for a cross-section of Ulster County’s mid- and late-career artists working in such diverse media as painting, printwork, photography, ceramics, assemblage and mixed media. Now, as Scheele brings her baby to her longstanding gallerist’s new haunts, with Kim Alderman, Leslie Bender, Yale Epstein, Bernard Gerson, Chris Hawkins, Heather Hutchison, Mark Kanter, Lenny Kislin, Polly M. Law, Tom Luciano, Kate McGloughlin, Meredith Rosier, Judy Sigunick and Anique Taylor in tow, along with Scheele’s singular work, it turns out that about half have shown with Shahinian before – either in Rhinebeck or at his earlier galleries in Poughkeepsie and Hudson.
“When we first invited artists to participate in our show last year, we were going for eclectic, and did not anticipate the complex connections that emerged between the artists. We found that we had uncovered a kind of Venn diagram of artistic endeavors in the Hudson Valley,” the curators have remarked on their creation and its new genesis. “15 looks to explore the layered relationships between the exhibit’s selections. How do the light-infused geometric abstractions of Heather Hutchison inhabit the same space with Lenny Kislin’s antique assemblages? How does Bernard Gerson’s mysterious photograph of two faces connect to Yale Epstein’s luminously rendered mixed-media paintings? From Polly M. Law’s edgy, doll-like figures to Chris Hawkins’ iconic children’s worlds, from Kim Alderman’s smoke-fired ceramic totems to Meredith Rosier’s densely atmospheric drawings, there is a journey to this show with a point of entry for any viewer.”
Me, I’m looking forward to seeing Kanter’s epic drawings in such a setting, as well as McGloughlin’s earthy prints and paintings and Sigunick’s witty, warm ceramics – and Luciano’s vividly thoughtful observations (and ruminations). Talk about that adage about getting away to appreciate what one has!
With an opening reception this Saturday evening, February 18 all over the center of Rhinebeck, we’re relishing the chance to catch up with so many favorite Ulster artists at once – and coming back while it all stays up past the Passover and Easter holidays, until April 22. The reception’s set to run from 5 to 7 p.m. at Albert Shahinian Fine Art’s Upstairs Galleries at 22 East Market Street, as well as the ASFA@ Prudential/Serls Prime Properties space at 6384 Mill Street (Route 9). Hours are Thursdays through Sundays. For further information, call (845) 876-7578 or visit www.shahinianfineart.com.