Category Archives: abstract

Lizards!

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Two of my classes used hand-building skills to create these adorable clay lizards.  We used the Sax Colorburst glazes.  I love the colors, especially the Firecracker!!!  The projects remain in the glass case in the Chittenango Middle School atrium.

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We looked at the work of the Aboriginals of Australia for inspiration.  Different patterns were added to the body, head, limbs and tail using a variety of techniques.

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Face Mask

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My B-day Art-8 students (Chittenango Middle School) created these clay masks.  We used Sax Colorburst glazes.  They have silica flakes that pop in the kiln creating confetti-like effects.

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I offered students thirteen different colors and asked that they use at least six, making sure to place three coats of glaze on the mask for each color.   It was tricky because the glazes transform in the kiln – there is that allowance for serendipity that doesn’t work if you are a control freak, but totally does if you are experimental.

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I added a wire to the back so they can hang on the wall.  Students took them home today.  I miss them already!

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Day Tripping @ 54

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Terry Askey-Cole was in charge today at Gallery 54 (54 E. Genesee St., Skaneateles, New York 13152).  She is one of the artists represented by the gallery.  Fifteen years ago, Askey-Cole took courses in ceramics.  Now she has her own home studio complete with kiln where she creates decorative pieces, like these whimsical floral garden sculptures (below), as well as slab and wheel thrown pottery and mosaics.

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According to the gallery’s website:

Opened July 2009, Gallery 54 is an artist owned and operated gallery located in the scenic Finger Lakes village of Skaneateles. Most of our artists are local to the Finger Lakes/Central NY area and offer our customers a wide variety of high-quality and unique fine art and fine craft, including paintings, mosaics, pottery, art quilts, jewelry, photography, stained glass, handbags, scarves, and more.
In addition to the artwork our owners have on display, we also represent many additional local artists, whose mediums include paintings, jewelry, metal, glass, wood boxes, sculpture, tiles, silk wearables, ceramic clocks, illustrations and more. Be sure to visit our artist’s pages for more information about our artists and to see photographs of their work.

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Askey-Cole said there are eight artist owners.  Other artists may submit their work for jury – they can sell it on commission or sometimes items are purchased wholesale, so working the cash register is optional.  It is an interesting model for business – and quite successful.  Askey-Cole has played a part here for the past eleven years (since its inception)!

Traffic consists mainly of day trippers, like me.  People from outside the Skaneateles area who venture in exploration and leave with a wooden bowl, jewelry, painted glass, knitwear and/or artwork.  Gallery 54 makes use of every available space and when there are several people inside, it’s tight.  There were a bunch of excuse-mes and sorrys today as I guided my way around every nook and cranny.

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My friend Nella Joseph does well here.  She hand-paints glassware.  I am in love with the cardinal pieces (below).

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Richell Castellon is the featured artist.  His original paintings are cityscapes with one of the groupings done in black and white on burlap.  Castellon is also currently exhibiting (until March 30, 2020) in a solo show (From Cuba to Syracuse) at the Wilson Art Gallery in the library at LeMoyne College.

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Eventually I will purchase one of these amazing ceramic slab wall hangings by Peter Valenti.  His work is so incredibly well-crafted.  I love the Arts & Crafts feel with the ginkgo leaf and dragonfly motifs and the copper finishes. They are so distinctive in style!  They are raku-fired, which is the method where the ceramics are removed from the hot kiln and placed in sawdust, salt or another smothering effect to starve the artworks of oxygen thereby affecting the glazing process.  Valenti’s pieces offer rich texture and color.

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Other artists represented by Gallery 54 include Lisa Maffiore, Liz and Rich Micho, Donna Smith, Sallie Thompson, Fred Weisskopf, and Judi Witkin.  The gallery is open 10 AM – 5 PM daily.

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In the Process

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Former Syracuse University Art Professor Michael Sickler knows how to put on a show.  I stopped into the Community Library of DeWitt and Jamesville again (5110 Jamesville Road, DeWitt, New York 13078), and this time the tiny gallery space looked vastly different.  Sickler’s collage pieces are pure harmony.  From the process and the materials to the size relationships and the framing, this presentation is truly exceptional.

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It is a series of collage pieces, rectangles adhered together with a sort of natural (read nature-based) thread.  Drawings/scribbles are juxtaposed with leaves and patterns from textiles, as well as with pages from vintage wallpaper books to form an edited narrative depicting a landscape of perception.

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Items are layered on balsa wood to create a variety of planes.  There is precision in his process.  He alludes to an interest in fragments, as in how we, as a society perceive information that seems random yet can be organized to reveal relationships.

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This is recent work on a small scale, which has been captivating him lately, along with his strong interest/second career in poetry.  The exhibited art is indicative of visual poetry in the way that dreams are subconscious thoughts.

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Formal principles of art dominate and allow for a lovely flow from piece to piece.  This library is the perfect place to showcase these beauties because they are child friendly – Sickler is planning a presentation in the library’s Community Room on Tuesday, April 7, 2020, at 7 PM.  He will discuss his process in an hour-long lesson/lecture.  Registration is encouraged for this free demo.  I’m sure the local art crew will be there in full-force for this gem, but I would love it if there is plenty of room for kids too, as in, I hope some of my students will take advantage of the opportunity to meet and know Michael Sickler.  <3

The exhibition runs through April 2020.  Call (315) 446-3578 for more information.

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Library Hours

Monday – Thursday
Friday
Saturday
Sunday

*Summer hours:

Saturday
Sunday

Services limited 15 minutes before closing

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Garden of Ridlon

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Jim Ridlon serves us a triptych-rich medley of Spring in his new exhibition at the Everson Museum of Art (401 Harrison Street, Syracuse, New York 13202).

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Two of these immense acrylic and collage paintings welcome museum guests at the door.  The remainder are located in the Robineau Memorial Gallery.

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According to the literature, “Cazenovia-based artist Jim Ridlon creates impressionistic portraits of gardens that are poetic meditations on the passage of time and the impermanence of nature.”  They are acrylic studies of gardens created on paper then cut and reassembled onto stretched canvas, the borders of which are all painted Titanium White.

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They are like a Claude Monet-Jaskson Pollack mash-up, but with this amazing cohesiveness that is inherent in Ridlon’s work.  The mindful decision making is what hooks me – the formal thinking solutions – harmony in the cut shapes, which leads to a rhythmic flow of color that seems to change as one travels through each trio.  Subtle coloration changes happen in the light then everything transforms upon closer inspection, as the texture begins to dominate.

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It is this deliberate action as an artist, used to create something that is meant to be fleeting, meant to be an essence of nature, that I whole heartedly admire in Ridlon’s creations.  He knows how to be present.  How to focus on the work and consciously capture the beauty of life.

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These paintings are relatively new, made in the last two years and exhibited for the first time here.  We are privileged to be among the first to witness this poetry.

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Jim Ridlon:  The Garden continues through March 29, 2020.  Call (315) 474-6064 for more information.

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EVERSON MUSEUM OF ART HOURS:

SUNDAY 12-5
MONDAY CLOSED
TUESDAY CLOSED
WEDNESDAY 12-5
THURSDAY 12-8
FRIDAY 12-5
SATURDAY 10-5

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Mardenizing

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This is what I’ve been doing lately – walking around Clark’s Reservation State Park in Jamesville, New York.  I found an app to track my hikes.  I think they sort of look like Brice Marden paintings.

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The app is called Walkmeter.  It also lets me know elevation changes, pace and calories burned among other things.

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I started hiking here last year with my friend Bobbi.  I always just followed her and subsequently, had no idea where I was.  Now that I’ve been exploring more on my own, I now know how all the trails are connected and how to get on the path to my favorite one (Pulpit Rock Trail).  You can tell which one it is because I loop it several times.  It has a steep rock climb at the end.  It’s very challenging and soooooo satisfying.  Clark’s is my new happy place.

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Dad used to bring us here (Kathy and me) when we were little, so I feel that connection in every step I take. <3

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Collection Legacy

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The four upstairs galleries at the Everson Museum of Art (401 Harrison Street, Syracuse, New York 13202) are filled with treasures, some of which I have seen many times over the decades – but not like this.  Elizabeth Dunbar, director and CEO, has a way of pairing paintings and ceramics with a keen eye that makes everything come alive and feel fresh again.

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It is this new perspective that breathes love into the exhibition, A Legacy of Firsts:  The Everson Collects.  It showcases the museums over one hundred year history, presenting the cohesion via an American thread.  The exhibition honors the museum’s legacy and in turn reveres the decisions made by previous curators and directors.  I love this credence to respect.  It feels welcoming.  It feels like family.  It feels like home.  As she says in her message in the winter 2020 Everson Bulletin, [the museum is] “For artists.  For community.  For everyone.”

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This is an historical trek that begins at the top of the spiral staircase with pieces purchased around 1911 when the museum was known as the Syracuse Museum of Fine Arts – impressionistic landscapes, portraits and still-lifes displayed in ornate golden frames coupled with the ceramic pieces of the day.  Adelaide Alsop Robineau was a local potter who corresponded with and met the museum’s director at that time, Fernando Carter, as she frequented the facility back then – her intricately carved vessels were the first pieces purchased for what became a premier ceramics collection.

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There are over 11,000 items in the Everson’s collection! As the show progresses into the second chamber, you are jolted by bold colors.  This room is filled with large-scale abstractions and colorful pottery to mix and match.  Lee Krasner’s painting is displayed above her husband’s, an early Jackson Pollack.  I love the similarity in their styles.

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There is a display of transmedia here as well, but the videos don’t translate well in a photograph.

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The next gallery is familiar in that the museum purchased pieces from exhibitions from their recent past.  This (below) is a piece by Vanessa German.

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And I believe that (above) is an Angela Fraleigh 

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The fourth gallery space is heaviest on the ceramic collection.  It is such a bold move to see these pieces sans glass or other protective shielding, but that is what makes them so compelling.  Textural items created to be touched that one must not touch within reach – when I visited the museum as a child, all the ceramics were under glass in the do not touch space, as though they came to the museum to die, lol.  Now they are sooooo alive!

This show is visual candy.  I love the angles of the presentations, the way pieces connect, that flow, rhythm and the sheer beauty of the artwork.  It’s a wonderful journey through yesteryear and beyond.  <3

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A Legacy of Firsts:  The Everson Collects continues through March 22, 2020.

The Everson Museum of Art is closed Mondays and Tuesdays.  Hours of operation:  Wednesday, Friday and Sunday noon – 5 PM, Thursdays noon – 8 PM and Saturdays 10 AM – 5 PM.  There is a sliding scale admission fee (free for members).  Visit their web-site for the deets.  www.everson.org

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In the Absence of Presence

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The last time I went to the Noreen Reale Falcone Library (1419 Salt Springs Road, Syracuse, New York 13214), the LeMoyne College campus looked a lot different.  They’ve since uprooted a nearby parking lot in favor of more grassy knolls (which are currently snow-covered).  I had to ask several people to direct me to it once I found visitor parking across the street.  It was, like, in the Hunger Games when they discombobulated the players by topsy-turvy-ing the playing field computer simulation.  The building didn’t even look the same to me as I came upon it from a different angle.  I mean, where was I?

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Eventually, I found my friend Penny and together we chatted with Gina Occhiogrosso, who is currently showing oil paintings and mixed-media fabrications at the Wilson Art Gallery located inside the library.

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Occhiogrosso graciously shared information with us regarding her artist inner-voice.  Her mother (now retired) was an artist and shoe designer with a penchant for “junking” (as my sister calls it), filling her home with flea market finds in various states of patina-ed wear.  Decades of layers that make up a life of surroundings.  As the artist pondered this home landscape, she created paper cut-outs from photographs she’d taken then abstracted them via paper collages.  Intrigued by the void, the absence of the material, she set upon painting large scale versions of these pieces.

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The result becomes its own presence, its own entity put into the world without the necessity of the language of its origin.

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It is beautiful to witness these things and know their secrets, though, because I, personally, just love knowing.

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There is artwork in this show that spans approximately three years of work.  More paper collages are meant to represent the anxiety of environmental disaster, in this case, the tsunami disaster of 2011.  Occhiogrosso creates that absence of presence once again, cutting images, rearranging them and turning them into solid-colored shapes that intertwine to create something vaguely familiar but completely void of the emotion that inspired them.

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In addition, there are fabric collages that are stitched, painted and inked.  Here the work becomes layered, as though there is more to discover, as if she’s hiding a legend inside.  I am intrigued by this body of work.  Occhiogrosso’s talent lies in the bridge between fear and the journey to a calmer, gentler space via the shapes of the present.  She seems to be on a discovery to something more.  I stumbled into something wonderfully puzzling and I am very interested to see what happens next.

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***from the artist’s web-site

I am a painter whose work is composed not only through the application of wet color on a surface, but through processes of disassembly and realignment, and the incorporation of common, everyday materials like thread and yarn. These activities and elements allow me to explore anxiety, loss, humor and heroic femininity.

The hallowed and often masculinized tradition of painting is subverted in my work through a repeated process of cutting and then sewing painted surfaces together to develop new forms, dynamic connections and illusions of depth. Where these freshly stitched edges join, there is a seam, which has both linear and sculptural qualities. The seam acts as a geometric disrupter of curvy ellipses and other organic forms that are carefully rendered and then carved up with alternating precision and chance. The ghost of those cut edges has its own subtle presence. Where the fabric overlaps in the reverse of the painting, a slightly more opaque path is traced, issuing a new element whose origin is not at first apparent to the viewer.

I am interested in developing a surface that’s full of the suggestive qualities that abstraction can create. The stitched paintings supply this through the deliberate recalibration of shapes and their relationships to one another. In parallel to these, and often in service to them, collage becomes an important method for revealing new, unexpected interpretations of form. The sources of the collaged materials are often photographs of real things and places that hold meaning for me. As in the paintings, that information is disrupted and reinterpreted in compositions that suggest the fleeting nature of forces, figures and time.

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Gina Occhiogrosso is an Associate Professor and Foundations Coordinator at The College of St. Rose in Albany, New York.  She is represented by several galleries and has been in numerous group shows.  She is a MacDowell Colony Fellow.  This exhibition will remain on view at Wilson Art Gallery during regular library hours through February 21, 2020.  For more information call (315) 445-4330.

 

Cindy Lewis

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Cindy Lewis is exhibiting abstract acrylic paintings in the art gallery at the Community Library of Dewiit and Jamesville.  The paintings will be on display through December 2019 with an artist meet and greet scheduled for December 1, 2019 from 2 – 4 PM.

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The artist uses instinct to cultivate her paintings, which are color driven.

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New Threads

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Syracuse artists Jacqueline Adamo, Lauren Bristol, Dana Stenson and Tom Huff have joined forces to produce a contemporary spin on texture for the new art exhibit at Edgewood Art Gallery and Custom Frame Shop (216 Tecumseh Road, Syracuse, New York 13224).

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These four talented people – I am always running into them in town – I saw Jackie at the Yoko Ono exhibit at the Everson Museum of Art; I see Lauren every now and then while hiking at Green Lakes; ran into Dana last week at Target and Tom at the Regional Flea Market.  But, weirdly enough, I missed the opportunity to see them all in one place at the same time at the art reception for their show, which was Friday night.

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The exhibit is called Creative Thread.  I popped in on Saturday to check it out.  Edgewood is a small gallery, about the size of my living room, but owner Cheryl Chappell has a great eye and a way with space.  Each show brings a fresh perspective and Cheryl does a magnificent job curating – pairing larger pieces with smaller ones and allowing all to shine.  She is also a preeminent framer.

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Jackie Adamo has created all new pieces incorporating fabric and sewing techniques into her oil paintings.  Lauren designs her own patterns in these wonderful crochet wall hangings in addition to displaying several diminutive fiber art narratives.  Dana is a metalsmith and has produced some mixed-media art pieces, as well as jewelry for this show.  And Tom has chipped in with his reductive soapstone sculptures.

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David MacDonald’s ceramics are still for sale too!

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This exhibit continues through November 15, 2019.

The shop is open Tuesday-Friday 9:30-6:00 PM and Saturday 10:00 AM-2:00 PM.  For more information call (3150 445-8111).