The Ambiguous Stage

Went to another art reception last night.  It’s called Gallery 4040 – it’s at 4040 New Court Ave. in Syracuse, NY, not far from my house. The people who frequent these art shows remind me of the actors in the movie Shakespeare in Love for some reason.  I guess because they are all friends of a certain age (my age) and all happy, quirky and incredibly interesting.  Each takes their turn in the starring role, in this case Marna Bell.  Her black and white photographs are purposefully  blurry to illustrate what’s missing from her life.  Her memory.  She is such a sweet person and yet she cannot remember chunks of her childhood.

4040 Marna Bell art

I find this fascinating.  I sometimes can’t remember what I am doing once I walk over to my desk at work.  Like a student has asked for an eraser and as I approach the desk I begin talking to another student and I’m all what-am-I-doing-here?  But I can remember my first kiss and other pretty embarrassing things that happened a long time ago, some things I wish I could forget because they play in my mind in a loop, over and over until I wish I could shut them off.

Ultimately, it is very brave to expose oneself, as Marna does with her revelation, and I admire her so much for it.  Her work looks to be film clips taken from movie stills in a way that suggests – yes, I know those people, but wait, what?

gallery 4040 postcard

There are some large paintings of nudes on the next wall of the gallery.  I am really too immature to be in the same room with nudey-nudes, because I am the type of person who will say something completely inappropriate (and after having a small cup of wine, I’m pretty sure I did).  The colors in these paintings by Lacey McKinney are gorgeous and combined with size and compositions that either distort or void out the woman’s face, they make me question who the audience is supposed to be.

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I guess I wonder if artists even think about the audience at all.  Do I? I’m not much of a business woman, so no, not really.  I think my paintings are more meant to be displayed in homes versus gallery and museum walls.  But how many people do you know who actually buy artwork for the purpose of enhancing their decor? Whatever number came to your mind, it really should be a lot more!

Why do people buy art?  I had a conversation with someone last night who suggested that the local art scene is being supported by its own.  Artists are trading art or outright buying each other’s art. We value it.  So there’s another question for you – how do we get civilians (non-artists) to value it too?  I’ve tried going the educate them route but for some, this is a hard sell.

So, back to last night -Juan Perdiguero’s chimpanzee drawings were the most fascinating to me.  They are in the back room of the gallery. Very realistic.  Life-sized drawings on photo paper.  Huge in-your-face monkeys.  I can’t even articulate what I want to say in sentences  because these pieces need to be experienced.  You want to reach out and touch them, even as you remember how chimps terrify you. They need to be in museum collections.  I’ve never seen anything like them – the technique, the commitment to the subject matter and overall experience being near them….

It was in this room that I met and chatted with Mary Giel.  Her effervescence really lit up the place.  She’s currently exhibiting in the annual juried show called Made in NY at the Schweinfurth Museum in Auburn, NY, having created a massive amount of tiny crocheted pieces that accumulate into floor and wall installations, which she creates in between rock climbing expeditions among other interesting travels.  The enthusiasm of her spirit is really breathtaking and made me realize that I need to find my way back to the pure spunk of it all.  The fun that is mark making.

http://www.schweinfurthartcenter.org/exhibits_details.cfm?id=62

So I’ve decided to begin a painting project – but not that kind.  Two hundred and fifty dollars got me enough latex paint and supplies to redo five out of the six rooms in my house.

I feel so DIY right now.  I just spackled up a hole in the kitchen wall and filled the crack in the bathroom wall with caulk as per the paint clerk’s suggestion.  I’m going to start painting tomorrow.  The last time I painted the interior here, there was no furniture or cats, so I’m preparing to have a giant headache over it all.  So much for spring break.

But since the weather has been so craptastic, it seemed like as good a time as any to do it.  Plus once I get an idea in my head, I really can’t let it go until I make it happen – it’s like having a giant monkey on my back.

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5 thoughts on “The Ambiguous Stage”

  1. Karen , I just fell in love with you. Not to worry I live three thousand miles away and I’m older than your grandpa, so no threat. but you just sound like someone I would really like to know.

    All the best , Doug

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey, this civilian wishes he had some discretionary funds to buy some of your art. You know? That’s part of it, too, Karen. The econony where we live … Ugh. If you live near this New Court Avenue Gallery we are pretty much neighbors by the way. We really do have to meet for a working bloggers lunch to talk about life and art at Clark’s.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t live in walking distance to the gallery, Mark. But it is only a two street drive, which I did not know when I drove there and took a weird scenic route until it dawned on me where it actually was. Face palm moment but nobody saw, so….

      Like

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