Ever so quietly, a fairly new Woodstock gallery — Collective — has been gaining audience and buzz around town through enterprising exhibitions and events, and a keen sense of purpose that fits the shifting ethos of our times like a glove.
On the morning after an experimental film screening and arts happening this past Saturday, and the eve of a pop up show featuring a new photo series from Marainna Rothen set for this coming Saturday, November 24, Collective founder and curator Jicky Schnee talked about what got her started as a gallerist, and keeps what she’s created singular, yet also hyper-relevant.
“I saw the Rauschenberg — Among Friends at MOMA last year,” said the actress/artist and former model who’s been sinking deep roots into Willow over recent years. “I realized how much we were missing the collaborative element he always worked within…People are so caught up in what they do and posting it, documenting a community rather than working on one. The gallery came out of my sense of frustration at always having to work (as an artist) in isolation.”
Schnee spoke with the owners of D Day Studio, a sliver of Tinker Street across from Neher Street, which had an 800 square foot space open next door as part of its lease.
“I’d known Jodi and Asa for ten years,” she said. “They were at first reluctant but I said it would bring in people and I’d do the renovation.”
After a few walls were shifted and some new lights installed, Collective began opening group exhibitions that ran weekends for a month. Schnee pulled out a list of names of interesting artists she’d been noting at the Woodstock Guild’s annual 5 x 7 show, at O Positive, and elsewhere around the area.
“I pay for the space for the month, and it’s cheap compared to New York. I get to curate things, bring together people I’ve known for years with artists I’m just getting to know,” she said. “It’s all so anti-social media, and about giving artists access to a real community. It opens up possibilities for collaboration.”
Collective’s shows over the past year have included curated groupings entitled “Into the Woods,” Red Thread: Good Grief,” The Fusion of Identity and Idolatry,” Shaking the Dreamland Tree,” and “Seen and Unseen.” For each, Schnee writes a conjoining statement that’s far from artspeak, and designed to engage and spark.
“This show examines both one’s personal experience of going ‘into the woods’ and is also an exploration into how nature can be both reflective of that darkness and act as a balm and antidote to the darkness exposed,” she writes in one. “Red Thread; Good Grief examines this thread that steers, accompanies and illuminates through the darkness of loss…Shaking the Dreamland Tree is an examination of what is revealed when one shakes the mind to see what falls from the tree of dreams…Seen and Unseen is an examination from all angles, political, global, personal, conceptual, and theoretical, of that which is perceived and that which is unobserved or even invisible.”
Names of artists who’ve shown at Collective’s innovatively hung and truly contemporary exhibits are both new and treasured. Among them: Melissa Dadourian, Sigal Ben-David, Les St. Leon, Eddy Martelly, Anne Mailey, Terry Jones, Nin Brudermann, Janine Iversen, Robert Ohnigian, Joe Mama-Nitzberg, Alice Schavoir, Jessie Kolter, Raina Hamner, Luis Robayo, Emily Roberts-Negron, Chris Victor, Alex Hoerner, Erik Brunetti, Fionn Reilly, Nadja Petrov, Will Lytle, and Schnee herself.
“A group initiative instigated in response to the world-wide trend towards self-absorption and self-promotion. Like its definition, collective — involving all members of a group as distinct from its individuals — Collective aims to lend the power of community to extend the creative endeavors of artists as it creates both a physical and psychological space for artistic support and exchange,” reads the gallery’s mission statement.
“I’ve been told there’s not really an art buying market in Woodstock, at least for contemporary work, unless you get the price right. But there is a crowd that appreciates art,” Schnee says this past weekend. I’m not great at publicity, but strong at creating opportunity for artists, and for showing art that’s not made for the art world, but for a larger art community. I’ve got kids coming in, connecting with work.”
Schnee paused, noting how Rothen, whose work shows Saturday, came to her attention from Upstate Diary, which has also featured Schnee and her family, home and art. It was an opportunity, and right for the space before its next collective exhibit opens.
“I’ve even been able to work on a movie by several local artists,” she finally added. “Such things wouldn’t happen without this.”
Collective, located at 60 Tinker Street and open Saturdays and Sundays, noon to 5 p.m.
For further information call 646-594-5013 or visit thecollectivegallery.art.