Category Archives: art gallery

Little Birdie

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I hosted a closing reception for Jamie Santos’ art show.  The exhibition had taken place in the Chittenango Middle School library (Chittenango, New York) during May and June 2018.  Since they administered the algebra regents exam in the library today, we held the party in my art classroom.

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About twenty students attended this end of the year celebration.  Cookies were served.

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Jamie Santos is a tattoo artist.  She works at Tymeless Tattoo in Baldwinsville, New York.  Jamie is a 2003 graduate of Fayetteville-Manlius High school.  She says drawing is an important part of her life.  She gets up by 9:00 am and starts the day by sketching ideas for tattoos or paintings – she brought several notebooks full of these wonderfully executed drawings to share with the students.

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Her focus lately has been on birds.

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Students had a lot of questions about the tattooing process – does it hurt?  How long does it take to finish a tattoo?  Do people bring snacks? ( Lol, love that one ❤ )

Jamie was very honest about the process, the time commitment, the pain.  She explained how the needle works, how it vibrates when you hold it, how the artist gets better with every job.

She used to work every day and now she books clients only four days a week, devoting the rest of her time to creating art in her studio.  Designing her own unique look, her own motifs are crucial to her success and she takes pride in the fact that her work ethic has truly improved her skill.

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I asked how many of these eleven to fourteen-year-old students think that they want to get tattoos when they are older and the majority of hands flew up!  Should I be surprised by that?  I guess not.

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The students absolutely loved her!  She is amazing.  Thank you, Jamie Santos, for being such an inspirational voice for your profession.

A thousand thank-yous, as well, goes to my fabulous colleague, Katy Conden, for working with me to make these art talks happen. They are no fun without you!

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If you would like to see more of her work, Jamie will be exhibiting in a show of tattoo artists at the Everson Museum of Art.

 June 30–August 5, 2018

Embracing the Underground explores the rich and diverse culture of modern day tattooing. This exhibition is the second presented through the Everson’s Community Exhibition Program, which provides opportunities for Central New York organizations to present the work of area artists.

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Diamonds

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There is no better way to celebrate my birthday than spending time with wonderful friends viewing art.

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The Everson Museum of Art is host to two exhibitions of Darryl Hughto’s paintings.  From Diamonds to Sailboats will be on display until August 26, 2018. According to the Everson Bulletin, this show “examines the artist’s tireless interest in the power and possibility of a single shape:  the diamond”.

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These diamond and sailboat paintings are ethereal, immediately transporting the viewer to the blue skies and sunshine of summer.  I loved how the unprimed canvases allowed the paint to seep into the cloth.  There is an underlying structure of softness that builds into a textural landscape of ocean waves by the commanding use of gel mediums.  The paintings are shimmery and soft while also entirely rhythmic.  Beautiful work!

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Also on view are portraits of friends and acquaintances in his world.  These are energetic gestural works.  A must see!

Hughto will do a gallery walk to discuss his work on June 14, 2018 at 6:30 pm.  It is free for Everson members, otherwise $8.00.

Politics As Art

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Discord is a necessary factor in conscious creation because when you know what you don’t want, you can know what you do want.  So it can be a good thing even while it is causing the upset.  In its acknowledgement, the theory is that change can happen.  And there’s magic in that.

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Art Rage is the gallery in Syracuse, New York that specializes in social injustice and political satire.  It’s not typically my thing.  I am so la-la-la lately, living life in a sort of happiness bubble of gratitude and appreciation, and not giving much attention to the national headlines that seem to keep others in a constant state of pissed-off-ness.  I don’t often agree with the arguments.  But I attended this art reception anyway – I do love when an artist translates their angst into something tangible that transcends its origins and hands the world something beautiful.  And I loved every minute I spent viewing this incredible new work and talking to artist Jim Ridlon.

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Discord & Dissent:  Commentary on Contemporary Politics by Jim Ridlon is the final show this season at Art Rage, 505 Hawley Ave., Syracuse, New York, 13203.  And it is truly genius!

Ridlon was not a fan of the political shenanigans, as witnessed on the morning news during the 2016 presidential campaigns.  What followed was a bit of scribbling – sentences, words that he desired to expand upon via this new series of assemblages.  Each one in this series is equipped with its own statement to guide the viewer to their own conclusions.

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They are visual puns meant to take the sting out, to replace the discord with fun, humor and the strange machinations of this Renaissance man’s mind.  They are outfitted in sports gear to possibly refer to the political arena as a game, as well as referencing his own history – football hero turned Syracuse University professor.  There are clipped feathers found on meditative hikes taken with his son that speak of the illusion of the sanctity of government positions; rusty found objects from various trips to flea markets – hunting the perfect pair of old scissors or wood turnings, ropes/chains to bind the opponent in an intricate power trip.  Well-worn accessories complete these framed boxes of objects, the human element that sets the viewer on this quest to create meaning.

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Jim Ridlon is a true artist in every sense of the word and does justice to this art form by allowing us a glimpse into his vortex.  I asked him if his studio was neatly organized – were all the scissors in a bin, leather bits together, et cetera?  Answer – chaos! Lol, I love him!

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Ridlon sets up his studio space so that he can concoct several pieces at once.  They are on tables laid out in their frames, items amassed in nearby boxes first that speak to his mini manifestos.  He builds, builds up then knocks everything down.  Sometimes it takes over thirty tries to make one good product and once that solution arrives, it is like a game key that solves the puzzle and everything else just falls into place.

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It is music to my ears when I hear an artist speak about their process.  It is poetry.  It is radiant and beautiful, and everything I love about creation.  The work becomes the thing – important, all encompassing and his passion was just so present as he shared it with me.  He told me that this process took months to complete.  He spent days and days working on them and many, many nights dreaming about them.  He was a man consumed by this work.  His eyes sparkled as he spoke of getting just the right element to fit the case then finalizing and gluing it all into place – a culmination that is weirdly spiritual.  Like, it was not about politics anymore.  That was just the spark to the flame.  An idea that took thoughts to these wonderful things.

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Were they for sale?  Yes, but he quipped that he did not expect to sell them, as they have an ugly side to them.  I didn’t agree.  But I guess this is the case with artists of all skill level and experience.  The force that reckons with the making and manipulation of art flickers out once the discord that brought it about dissipates.

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Thank you, Jim Ridlon, for inspiring me as my aesthetics professor in 1981 and continuing to inspire me to desire to grow as an artist.  To want to take a dream and make it real, and laugh in the face of current realities that are undesirable.  Outrage can and does make a difference when one is aligned with their ultimate source.  And then we watch as everything changes for the better.

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Jim Ridlon will give a presentation about his work on June 11, 2018 at 7pm in the gallery.  Visit the website or call (315) 218-5711 for more information including gallery hours.

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Art in Hospital

After the Happy Little Tree House art reception on Tuesday, Brandon Hall took Karmin and me to see his other hospital exhibition.  It is in the cancer center wing of Upstate Medical Center and will be up for a couple months, I think, or at least until the end of May.

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Brandon is an art teacher at Fayetteville-Manlius High School.  He scours flea markets and garage sales to find discarded photograph albums and situates these unknown strangers into wallpapered assemblage landscapes peppered with texture and color.  They are mounted on wood and double-lacquered to prevent fading.  They are really exquisite and priced at only $250!

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Also in this show are Heidi VanTassel’s photography and paintings by Kate Renetta.

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Happy Little Treehouse

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I was invited to participate in an art show at the Syracuse, New York Golisano Children’s Hospital.  In 2011, my Chittenango Middle School students exhibited Mexican sun sculptures in this same little gallery on the 12th floor.  This time Ryan Wood from the 40 Below Public Arts Task Force connected with Jenny Dickinson, Coordinator for Pediatric Programs and Events to create an art event in which all artists produced treehouse themed art and called it The Happy Little Treehouse Show.

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An all call went out via email and I responded.  Three weeks ago, I created three new paintings for the event.  Other artists in this group exhibition are as follows:  Madison M. Quinn, Carlos Lee, Micha L. Crook, Sofia Marquez, Eva Hunter, Brandon Hall, Becki Fuller, Tommy Lincoln, Karmin Schafer, Jamie Santos, Melquea Smith, Aldea K. Gerard and Ryan Wood.

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Many of the works are priced as donations to the hospital.  Mine too, although the signage was wrong on that.  I must have checked the wrong box when I filled out the form.

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My paintings are titled “Spring”, “Autumn” and “Winter”.  They are encaustic combines.  I used two hardboard panels to create the abstract tree and house then added a variety of found object items.  Encaustic is a process of heating beeswax and infusing it with oil paint.  They are priced at $75 each.

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The one hour reception took place this afternoon.  Because of hospital security issues, only artists and hospital staff attended.  It was really lovely networking with the other artists.  The gallery is a wonderful space, right across from the library near the elevators.

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The Happy Little Treehouse show continues through the end of May.

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The Spirit Beckons

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Sandra Sabene and Laura Stisser have united in art for an exhibition at the Roji Tea Lounge in Syracuse, New York.  The artwork will be on display through May 2018.  Tonight was the reception, which included a demonstration of meditative painting by Sabene and a musical performance by Zoe Mullan-Stout and Blake Propst.

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Sabene spins her canvas on a mobile contraption-style easel her husband had built for her.  It was pretty cool and reminded me of a similar process I am using with my 5th graders – their paper canvas-based sculptures are propped on banding wheels in order to look at and paint them from all sides.

During her presentation, the artist’s hand, holding a two-inch flat brush, danced across the canvas to the beat of music, dipping that paintbrush in a succession of primary colors, working intuitively and discarding brushes along the way.  She would grab another and another in an attempt to prevent the inevitable muddiness that can occur using this process, as she had mentioned prior to her start.  She lets go of pain, hurt, and the past and focuses on the now.  In the present moment, her hand guides her emotional healing sparking the flow of spirituality and inner peace.

Sabene teaches this method in her studio gallery, the Liverpool Art Center, located near Onondaga Lake Parkway in Liverpool, New York.  For more information on Sandra Sabene and her style visit www.artbysandra.com.

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Both artists create non-representational work.  Both connect to their inner spirit as they work.  Laura Stisser’s work looks to use a marbleizing technique.  She is evolving as an artist (she is a Sabene disciple) while also selling Young Essential Oils in her spare time, as well as making a living as a professional actor!  Connect with Laura Stisser at www.laurastisserart.com.

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The show is titled “A Soul on Fire…is the most powerful force on earth”.  The Roji Tea Lounge is located at 108 East Washington Street #2, Syracuse, New York.  Visit www.rojitealounge.com for information such as their latest menu and hours of operation.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EqJesktztEE

 

IPA: Spring Show

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Last night I caught the tail end of a three-hour art reception at Clayscapes Pottery in Syracuse, New York.  The IPA (Independent Potters’ Association) displayed their wares in the wonderful gallery in this basement establishment located at 1003 West Fayette Street.

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Clayscapes is where I get the clay I use in my classroom.  It is a retail business with walk-ins welcome; it is a gallery and it is home to studio space for ceramic artists, as well as a venue for ceramics classes for all ages.

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I can’t spend a lot of time in there, however – big secret revealed – I am allergic to clay!  When I do clay projects with students, I limit them to a four-class affair.  I do it, of course, because it is really an important media for sculpture and functional art.

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This gallery is really cool because many of the works are functional and so, when art lovers and customers see them, they want to use them immediately.  And they can because it is a cash and carry show.

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The glass shelves were formerly in the Everson Museum of Art before the museum went through renovations.  Everything looks amazing.  Every artist’s work is unique – there is really something for everyone.

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I spoke with Wes Weiss, a local guy and Nottingham High School grad who spoke of his process in such an interesting way, which totally resonated with me.  He said he took negative feelings of the political climate in this country and infused his feelings with positive text creating the message of melting his painful thoughts and keeping the good ones.  He said an idea grips him and it is almost painful until he purges it via creation.  He is “a slab guy”, using said technique to create tiles, lanterns and other pieces scattered throughout the show.

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You can claim a free tile from his bowl of positive words located at the entrance to the gallery.  I loved the sentiment of walking away with a piece of his goodness.  It really blends with my belief that we all work together to create our experiences.  Loved that so much.

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Also in this show are the following:  Casey Cleary-Hammarstedt, Jen Gandee, Matt Hill, Michael Hughes, Sookie Kayne, Bobbi Lamb, Tom Krahe, David MacDonald, Jamie Noce, Tina Parker, Jessica Pilowa, Margery Rose, Millie St. John, Tim See, Don Seymour, Karen Jean Smith, John Smolenski, Alan Stankiewicz, Peter Valenti, Sarah VanDerVoort, Michele Walters and Rebecca Wind.

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This exhibition continues through May 5, 2018.  Visit IPA at www.ipa.org for more information about this group.  Clayscapes Gallery is open Tuesday – Friday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm and Saturday 9:00 am – 1:00 pm.

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