Another “First Friday” in Saugerties has come and gone, leaving in its wake two new exhibits on view at the art galleries on Partition St. in Saugerties.
The Imogen Holloway Gallery: “Wiggle Room”
The Imogen Holloway Gallery at 81 Partition St. is showing “Wiggle Room,” works by Matthew Magee and Margrit Lewczuk, to remain on view through the end of the month. Gallery owner and director Diane Dwyer paired the artists’ work and came up with the concept for the exhibit because she felt a rhythmic connection linked the two artists together.
Lewczuk grew up in New York City on the lower east side, the child of a Ukrainian father and German mother. She maintains a studio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The works by Lewczuk at the Holloway are small works on paper, symmetrical mixed-media designs of amorphous shapes that Dwyer says are generally made by the artist as preparatory works for larger cut-paper collages, which are in turn the impetus for larger-yet paintings.
The colors are high-key, even neon; nothing muted here. Lewczuk is attracted to African music and culture, and collects a lot of textiles for inspiration; all influences that show up clearly in “Untitled,” a mixed-media collage 12” x 16” in size. It depicts a diamond-shaped zig-zag patterning in red, black, white and yellow, very suggestive of African textiles, and is made of cloth-like paper that appears to be handmade.
Matthew Magee’s paintings (and a felted sculptural piece) at the Holloway are also brightly-colored. “The Space Within Between,” a 31” x 17” oil on panel, is an abstract patterning of dove-silhouette-like shapes in bright green on a silvery gray matte background that looks like it’s been textured with something waxy. The title suggests that the negative space created in gray by the green winged forms is as important as what initially appears to be the foreground design of the green winged birds; overall, the painting has the similarly textile-like appearance of Lewczuk’s untitled collage.
Magee also contributes several collages to the show made with small rectangles of curved flattened aluminum (made from aluminum cans, says Dwyer) carefully arranged into an uneven grid. In a video on the gallery’s website, Magee says he’s influenced by his father, an archaeologist and geologist, carrying over into his artwork that interest in cataloging and organizing forms, and fascination with layers unearthed.
Not to be missed on a visit to the gallery is a singular work tucked away on the back wall, not part of the “Wiggle Room” show, although a case could be made for the strong rhythmic flow in its design positioning it perfectly under that theme. Douglas Wirls’ “Terrain #9” is a 16” x 40” work on paper, suggestive of a forest of trees with whirling eddies of wind blowing around the trunks, drawn with light-colored pencil against a very dark brown Sumi-ink painted backdrop. At first glance from a distance, it looks like a copper etching or a plate that has been engraved in negative for printing. Very subtle, it deserves a long look.
The display area in the windows have the sculptural work of Douglas Culhane on display. It’s also not related to the theme of the primary show, but he is a local artist, living in Churchtown, NY, as Dwyer likes to include someone who lives in the region in every show she mounts at the space.
“Slow Cargo” is made of steel and marble, a dimensional construction 28” x 24” x 23” in size that looks like a utilitarian cart. The artist says in a statement on his website that this is intentional; his sculpture is meant to explore the inner potential of solid, inanimate objects whose resemblance to useful objects plays with our perceptions.
The Imogen Holloway Gallery will host an Artists’ Talk on Thursday, Sept. 20 at 6:30 p.m. Doug Culhane will speak in person, and Matthew Magee will be “Skype’d” in from Arizona, where he recently moved. The artists will speak in depth about their work, and visitors can ask questions, and enjoy a glass of wine. “Come curious,” says Dwyer.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (347) 387-3212.
The Marleau Gallery: “Four Fellows”
The Marleau Gallery at 99 Partition St. is showing “Four Fellows,” to remain on view for two months, through the end of October.
It features the work of Sara Conca, Robert George, Michael Ciccone, and Richard Gamache. Gallery director Nicolette Cook says that the initial inspiration for the concept of the show was the close friendship between three of the artists; Conca, George, and Ciccone. After meeting them herself and finding similarities in their work of rough and yet refined textures, she decided to feature the three together, and to include Richard Gamache as well. In thinking of the four as fellow artists and not just friends, the idea for “four fellows” was realized.
Sara Conca’s paintings in the show are large canvases, primarily in oil or mixed media. They’re expressionistic and abstract, sweeping paint strokes rendered large. Several canvases utilize a lot of gold paint, which the artist says on her website is something she likes to use because it gives each piece energy from the reflected and refracted light.
Sculptor Robert George was profiled in this newspaper last week. His works at the Marleau Gallery are figural, about two feet in height, made of terracotta or bronze. When profiled by our writer, George said he defines himself as an expressionist, preferring to work on the human form, mostly nudes rendered in clay, and his interest is in exploring a sense of potential energy and imminent motion in his figures.
Michael Ciccone’s steel cable and forged steel “Knot #6,” 78” x 24” x 12” in size, is as gestural as the quick line drawings done in a life-drawing session, meant to convey the essence of the form, only here it’s a drawn line rendered solid with heavy steel cable. In a statement on his website, the artist confirms that initial impression, saying that he indeed intends exactly that, to “draw in space” with steel. The pieces at the gallery have both an airy graceful linear quality and an industrial solidity, not an easy contradiction to pull off.
Richard (Marleau) Gamache is a co-owner of the gallery, along with Kevin Hinchey. A resident of Saugerties, Gamache is showing satirical portraits drawn in colored pencil as well as several large paintings with similar subject matter. “Girl Twirling Her Hair” is an oil on birch, 24” x 36,” depicting a stylized image of a curly-haired woman with a glass of wine.
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.