An afternoon in a local gallery can go a long way toward adding some color to bleak November days. Several new exhibits of art opened this week at Partition Street galleries in the village, and the Saugerties Performing Arts Factory is displaying the ongoing group show “Blue” through the end of the month. The Saugerties Public Library is home to several ongoing installations, as well, and is featuring an exhibit of journalistic and fine art photography by French photographer and now-Saugerties resident, Jacques Charlas. The library also has on display a very special photographic image taken by the Hubble Telescope, on loan for one year from NASA.
“Nature Through the Looking Glass” opened this week at the Marleau Gallery. The show remains on view through Sunday, December 23. The exhibit of work by Roy Owsley is an unexpected juxtaposition of terrarium art [an entirely new category] and oil paintings on canvas.
First, the paintings. There are 12 large 48-inch-square canvases in Owsley’s “Bank Rock Bay” series, as well as nine 12-inch-square canvases on the same theme. All depict the same landscape under different weather conditions, times of day or frames of mind. Each is radically different in coloration and mood, however, so one wouldn’t necessarily recognize that it’s the same landscape at each painting’s heart. Using Van Gogh-like brush strokes laden with paint, Owsley captures his “Bank Rock Bay” subject matter in vibrant colorations that suggest the panorama of possibilities in nature.
The humble terrarium elevated to the status of fine art by Owsley works better than one might expect. Several groupings of small to medium sized glass globes filled with plants are hung artfully from the ceiling by ropes, while larger sitting terrariums of glass, about 14 inches in diameter, house mini diorama scenes depicting tiny figures engaged in activities like camping or sitting on the beach. The small figures, made even more miniscule in relation to the foliage surrounding them in their glass globes, are meant to make a statement, according to the artist, about our place as humans in relationship to the natural world we inhabit.
The Marleau Gallery is located at 99 Partition Street in the village. Gallery hours are Thursday-Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, visit www.saugertiesartgallery.com or call 246-5006.
The Gallery at Saugerties Performing Arts Factory
The Gallery at Saugerties Performing Arts Factory (SPAF) continues its exhibition of “Blue” this month, in which 24 artists pay homage to the eponymous color and its complex cultural associations in a diverse showing of paintings, sculpture and mixed-media works. The exhibit is an exploration of the artistic potential and emotional resonance of the color, which is indeed the only element common to each work. “Blue” remains on exhibit through the end of the month.
The featured artists are: Isaac Abrams, Stuart Bigley, Sara Conca, Ford Crull, Ruth Edwy, Kari Feuer, Astrid Fitzgerald, Audrey Francis, Robert George, Julie Hedrick, Robert Hite, Anthony Krauss, Alex Kveton, Ramon Lascano, Jeesoo Lee, Luis Pagan, Shelley Parriott, Judith Peck, Roger Ricco, Bill Richards, Blake Richards, Nadine Robins, Susan Sommer, and Robin Tedesco.
The Gallery at the Saugerties Performing Arts Factory is located at 169 Ulster Avenue in Saugerties. Gallery hours are Wednesday-Friday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday from 2 to 7 p.m. or by appointment. For more information, visit www.saugertiesperformingartsfactory.com.
Imogen Holloway Gallery
The Imogen Holloway Gallery is showing “Something Sacred” this month. The works on exhibit are meant to invoke the power of art as a focus for contemplation and spiritual reflection, and will remain on view through Sunday, November 25.
In the main room of the gallery are six acrylic on canvas (with mixed media) works by Ji Yong Kim interspersed with six encaustic on panel diptychs by Paul Rinaldi. The works are small, scaled to the size of the gallery walls. The paintings by Ji Yong Kim are all 12¼ inches by 14¾ inches in size, and the Rinaldi encaustics are approximately eight inches square, grouped in twos as diptychs to form works of around 8 by 16 or 17 inches.
Rinaldi’s encaustic works are deceptively simple and ultimately serene. At first glance, they appear edible, like small cakes with rolled fondant icing hanging on the wall, albeit cakes that one would only find in a bakery specializing in very austere offerings. The encaustic process involves raw pigments and beeswax fused to a support with heat, giving a characteristic waxy surface on the finished work that appears as if the color is embedded beneath. On these 12 variations on a theme grouped in twos, simple shapes appear partially visible beneath the waxy surface, partly obscured; the colors light, yet muted. On Rinaldi’s website, the artist states that he builds the works in layers, achieving the final effect by veiling strong color structures with translucent layers of wax.
According to gallery owner Diane Dwyer, Kim’s works reflect his interest in Asian Buddhist temples, specifically those found in Myanmar, where he grew up. He begins each painting with the shape of a stupa [a Buddhist shrine or pagoda that houses a relic or marks the location of an auspicious event] and then alters these shapes with paint, drawing materials and gold leaf, a material chosen for its historical association with spirituality.
In what Dwyer has dubbed the “East Wing” of the gallery (an even smaller section of the tiny gallery), are exhibited abstract oils on canvas by Stephen Niccolls of Kingston. The 14 inch by 11 inch “Escalator” depicts playful orange abstract figures in motion reminiscent of Keith Haring, while other works here are less figurative, abstracts involving interplay of interlocking textural shapes.
The gallery’s windows are devoted to an installation by Karen Schifano, red-tape framed sections of window meant to challenge perceptions of space.
The Imogen Holloway Gallery is located at 81 Partition St. in the village. Gallery hours are Thursday-Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. or by appointment. For more information, visit www.ihgallery.com, email email@example.com, or call (347) 387-3212.
Exhibits at the Saugerties Public Library
The Saugerties Public Library is home to several ongoing art installations, including “Arch,” a welded-steel sculpture installed on the grounds by Saugerties-based artist Jeff Schiller, and “Tendrils,” a whimsical work installed in the reading porch off the original Carnegie Library reading room. “Tendrils” is currently receiving a facelift, being not immune to the effects of gravity, and is made of colorful plastic tubing, nylon, aluminum, steel and vinyl by artist Judy Thomas.
In addition, a five foot by 21-foot collaged mural originally created for “Images from Everyday Life,” an exhibit by local artist Brian Lynch previously on view at the library, remains on view on the walls of the ground floor outside the art gallery. Lynch’s work in the earlier exhibit was so compelling to visitors, says library board member Sally Colclough, that although that exhibition in the gallery ended, the collaged mural is staying for an indefinite time.
In the Art Gallery on the lower level and on a gallery wall upstairs are the journalistic and fine art photographs of Jacques Charlas, to remain on exhibit through the end of December. Charlas was born in Paris in 1949 and moved to the U.S. in his early twenties, living first in New York City and later in New Paltz before returning to France. After several other moves, Charlas is now a resident of Saugerties. The photographs on view document conditions of war in Latin America and Afghanistan, and the disappearance of Paris’ central market Les Halles. Charlas also exhibits fine art photographs from “Species,” a series he did of large color pictures of random objects that are revealed to be portraits of imaginary characters.
And finally, on the topic of noteworthy photography, the Saugerties Public Library is one of a limited number of recipients nationwide to receive on loan a special photographic image taken by the Hubble Telescope. To celebrate the anniversary of Hubble’s launch in 1990, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) releases a limited amount of images taken by the telescope each year, for exhibition in places that might not normally have the budget for such a thing. The image recently mounted at the Saugerties Public Library will remain on view for one year.
The image is titled “The Tarantula Nebula, 30 Doradus.” The Doradus Constellation is 170,000 light-years away (a light-year is 5.87 trillion miles, by the way). The image on view depicts a dynamic interstellar cloud with a star cluster at its center, in which millions of new stars are forming very close together. The nebula also contains the closest old star to be observed exploding into a supernova. The Tarantula Nebula is the brightest part of a nearby irregular galaxy that orbits our own.
The Hubble Telescope orbits Earth, sending us hundreds of thousands of pictures which have proved invaluable in the advance of astronomy and science. The library is currently one of only two locations in the country hosting “The Tarantula Nebula, 30 Doradus.” For more information, visit www.hubblesite.org.
The library has additional resources to learn more about the Tarantula Nebula, including a map, a film clip that shows the Hubble Telescope zooming in on the Tarantula Nebula, and a list of books in the library catalog to learn more. For more information, visit www.saugertiespubliclibrary.org or call 246-4317. The Saugerties Public Library is located at 91 Washington Avenue in the village.