How to make an exhibit guaranteed to catch the region’s memory and pump the art forward several seasons, even eons? Bring in a respected artist/curator with strong contacts to the most cutting-edge and involved artists around the area. Find a magical location that you’d normally not get to, or that you remember from past memorable events. Bring together a small number of artists who are diverse in styles but together in their wish to engage audiences on as many levels as possible. Finally, open it all with a quiet sense of fated accomplishment, then let people come around to see what the growing buzz is all about.
“Miners,” the new sculpture exhibit that opened last Sunday in Rosendale, was curated by that community’s always-inventive and fun artist resident, Laura Moriarty. It takes place at the exquisitely quirky and redolent Snyder Estate off Route 213: the place with the iron gates depicting the Brooklyn Bridge, which was made with cement mined from the back of the place. The title of the exhibit ties back to the town’s cement-mining history – as strong in its day as Rosendale’s canal presence – but also the ideal of allowing several key artists to “mine” the property at hand, mixing their creativity and personalized aesthetics with the history and natural realities of the place itself, now owned and operated by the Century House Historical Society (on whose board Moriarty sits).
The invited artists contributing pieces include Michael Asbill of Accord, freshly back from a winter exploring and making public art in the Province of Quebec; encaustics bio-artist Lorrie Fredette, also showing these past months in locations throughout the Northeast; über-artist Portia Munson, who has taken her plastic mound sculptures and massive floral mandalas into new outdoor shapeshifting manifestations; high conceptualist and “Funism” practitioner Norm Magnusson, set to speak about his unique perspective at the Woodstock Guild in the coming weeks; Rosendale legend Wayne Montecalvo, of corrugated cardboard and local clown movie fame; Barrytown-based driftwood-man-maker/fine artist Andres San Millan; and found-object-contextualizing sculptor Chris Victor, who’s also a mainstay at Dutchess County’s Wassaic Project this summer.
Most of the pieces are on the lush grounds of the old Snyder Estate; some are in the entrance to the Widow Jane Mine there, a cave of magnificent history and past performances that must be seen if you live up here. It’s all open on Sunday afternoons or by (frequent) appointment. Just contact them.
“Miners,” Sunday afternoons or by appointment, Snyder Estate, 668 Route 213, Rosendale; (845) 658-9900, www.centuryhouse.org.