What to see in village galleries

“Flora Jungle” by Helen Kaufman

Earlier this year (just a few months ago, in fact), two new art galleries opened in the village of Saugerties, just a few doors away from each other. Both feature contemporary art, and both are open Thursday through Sunday. The Marleau Gallery at 99 Partition St. is a good-sized space, with high ceilings and plenty of room to show oversized works. The Imogen Holloway Gallery at 81 Partition St. is more modest in scale, but has a palpable positive energy in the space that bodes well for its future.

The Imogen Holloway will change its exhibit every month on “First Friday,” the newly-instituted community event in Saugerties that takes place on the first Friday of every month, when shops, galleries and restaurants in the village stay open late to welcome visitors and host special events. The Marleau also plans to mount its new exhibits on First Fridays, but each exhibit at the Marleau remains on view for two months.


The Marleau Gallery

“Sensual Modesty,” the current exhibit at the Marleau Gallery, will run through Sunday, Sept. 2. Curated by Nicolette Cook, the executive director of the gallery, the exhibit is a group show of one sculptor and two painters. The decision to display the work of these three artists collectively was made, says Cook, because their individual styles all fit together as a group, particularly in the color choices made and the flowing movement that each artist incorporates within their work.


The sculptor in the show is Alex Kveton, exhibiting abstracted figurative works in patinated bronze and aluminum. “Joshua” (2012) is an armor-like figure, almost-full-length, portrayed from shoulders to knees, standing 46” high. It’s made of polished aluminum, the muscles highlighted with a deep blue patina. Kveton’s “Cleo” (2010) is an abstracted bronze bust gazing upward, formed from overlapping sections of smoothly burnished patinated metal; rippling shapes that trace the contours of the figure while allowing pockets of light to enter the density of the form, giving an airiness to the solidity of the metal along with a sense of movement to the figure.

That movement is echoed in the work of the painters here; Isaac Abrams on one wall and Helen Kaufman opposite, a face-off of large canvases depicting swirling movement and organic forms clearly inspired by nature. According to gallery director Cook, Abrams is inspired by the interconnected forms of the sea, but it’s just as easy to read the works as explosions in the cosmos, especially “The Entropic Dragon” (2008), a 48” x 48” acrylic and oil on canvas. His “Red One” (2007) is a 48” x 63” oil on canvas of spinning and churning overlapping amorphous forms, psychedelic and paisley-like shapes painted in deeply saturated hues of red and blue. The paint is applied in such a way that the brushstrokes disappear into the surface, unlike the pointillism and more thickly-applied paint of Kaufman’s “Flora Jungle” (2007), a 66” x 54” oil on canvas of swirling curvilinear lines emanating out from a central leaf-like motif. Her palette is similar in vibrancy and color saturation to Abrams, and the sense of movement is very like his, but her canvases are less densely packed with shapes and forms; equally inspired by the forms of nature, but perhaps the difference between mother earth and outer space.

Helen Kaufman worked as a studio potter in the ‘70s, later turning to sculpture, her work in that medium reflecting the same kind of flowing movement seen in her paintings at the Marleau. Isaac Abrams is a self-taught artist who grew up in New York City and exhibits internationally. Alex Kveton, a native Czechoslovakian, was educated in Prague and has exhibited widely in the U.S., the Czech Republic and Austria. His work is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

The Marleau Gallery is located at 99 Partition St. in the village of Saugerties. Gallery hours are Thursday-Saturday 11 a.m.-9 p.m. and Sunday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. For more information, visit www.saugertiesartgallery.com or call 246-5006.


The Imogen Holloway Gallery

Diane Dwyer opened the Imogen Holloway Gallery at 81 Partition St. on May 4 of this year, giving the space her mother’s maiden name. (Imogen Ariel Holloway, in turn, was named after characters in Shakespeare by Dwyer’s grandfather.) Dwyer manages her gallery and curates the shows. The current show reflects her ongoing plan to feature a local artist together with a non-local artist; a juxtaposition of sorts between the Hudson Valley and the rest of the world.

Currently, the Imogen Holloway Gallery is showing “Yellow Makes a Sound,” new paintings by artists Meg Lipke and Jack Davidson, on view through Sunday, Sept. 2. Lipke is the regional artist (Philmont) and Davidson is Scottish, lately of Barcelona, Spain.

Works by the two artists are not separated. Individual pieces play off one another throughout the gallery. Dwyer says she chose to exhibit these two artists together purely for aesthetic reasons, because she thought they showed well together.

Lipke’s works on paper are made using melted beeswax as a drawing medium and resist, in the way that wax is used in batik work to block out line and create patterns on cloth. She came to the process by happenstance, when making batik drawings on her children’s clothes. Taken with the painterly potential for the medium, she began integrating the batik process into her fine art work.

“Bright Beacon” and “Saint Story,” both 22” x 30”, are done with ink, dye and beeswax on paper. They’re characteristic of all of the works by Lipke on exhibit, each showing abstract forms of an indeterminate source in a palette of bright colors accented with black. There is a playful, childlike exuberance to the works, some showing a debt to traditional batik fabric design, and others with a quality reminiscent of Paul Klee.

Davidson’s works are oil on linen and small in scale, generally 15” x 18” in size. They work well on the walls with Lipke’s work, showing geometric shapes in clear, bright colors. Seen together as a grouping, they resemble sophisticated nautical flags in their simplicity of design, especially “before Hollywood,” painted in yellow, black and white.

In an interview, the artist said he comes across color combinations inadvertently.

He is also quoted as saying that he works quickly and spontaneously without over-thinking the process: “Your touch gets the job done,” he said.

Meg Lipke has an MFA in Painting from Cornell University, and has had her work reviewed in Art in America and the New York Times. Jack Davidson was educated in his native Scotland and has exhibited his work in group and solo shows in the U.S. and Spain.

The additional exhibition space in the gallery’s windows is devoted to either separate installations or to three-dimensional works by the artists showing on the main walls of the gallery.

At the moment, the windows show the work of four artists who were a part of the recent Saugerties Artists Studio Tour; the mythic-themed painted baseballs by Carol Zaloom, art pottery by Steve Frederick and Cherie Jemsek, wood turnings by Ze’ev Willy Neumann, and welded metal sculpture by Jeffrey Schiller. Dwyer doesn’t represent these artists professionally; she offered the space in support of the studio tour artists and organizers.

The Imogen Holloway Gallery is located at 81 Partition St. in the village of Saugerties. Gallery hours are Thursday-Sunday 11 a.m.-6 p.m. or by appointment. For more information, visit www.ihgallery.com, email diane@ihgallery.com, or call (347) 387-3212.