Category Archives: art gallery

Water is Art

The Erie Canal Museum (318 Erie Blvd. East, Syracuse, New York 13202) is host to a ceramics exhibition, one installed in February 2020.  The museum is currently closed due to the world-wide health crisis – that makes interacting with the clay vessels (created as site-specific art) nearly impossible.

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photo cred – Jocelyn Reynolds

This is an irony because the idea behind the work envelopes the scope of human life, as it interacts with the forces of nature, the forces of water and the history of the man-made canal.  The humans in question are every socio-economic level of local and regional society.  All races of people who, in some way, have interacted with, associated with or had some understanding of what the Erie Canal has meant in our history, as well as those who have no idea but in fact, have been, inadvertently, affected by the legendary waterway.

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photo cred – Shane Lavelette

Artist Linda Zhang was the 2017-2018 Boghosian Fellow in the School of Architecture at Syracuse University.  She came to Syracuse from Europe and knowing no one, she spent time meditating (think deep thought) on designing the curriculum for this relatively new fellowship.  She proceeded to think about and create strategies for the design of her position, ideas that would ultimately catapult her educational journey to include making art and teaching electives at the college, which led to philosophical-infused artwork and the idea of making meaning in terms of one’s personal vortex.  This path included an interdisciplinary union with Errol Willet, Associate Professor of Art (ceramics) and Biko Mandela Gray, Assistant Professor of American Religion.

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graphic design – Im Burrow

Although Zhang is currently a professor at Ryerson University in Toronto, The Story of Water pairs the artist with her SU educational cohorts.  The clay vessels in this exhibition were slip cast and formatted utilizing water from the canal.  There is a transformation – water crafts and the art is manipulated to create a phenomenological transcendence – art as symbolism.

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Taking an idea and moving it through time, so that the result is present while encompassing a larger whole – this is incredibly interesting on so many levels. Fortunately for all, nothing is truly impossible.  This exhibition can be viewed remotely.  Zhang will be offering a lecture on her process via an on-line Zoom meeting.  This event takes place on Saturday, April 18, 2020 at 1:00 PM.   Click on the link above to join the party or check out the same link by way of the event’s Facebook page.

The event is free, however; donations to the museum are welcome.  <3

*from the Erie Canal Museum web-site

Weighlock Gallery

February 3-April 16, 2020:The Story of Water: The Erie Canal as a Site of Untold Stories

“The Story of Water” is a collaborative project between Linda Zhang, Assistant Professor of Architecture at Ryerson University, and Biko Gray, Assistant Professor of Religion at Syracuse University. This exhibit features clay vessels based on 3-D drone scans of Erie Canal structures, transformed by the introduction of Canal water before the firing process. The resulting clay models symbolize the transformative effects, positive and negative, that the Erie Canal had on the lives of those who built it, used it, and lived near it.

*Details from Facebook event page

Join artist Linda Zhang and Syracuse University Professor Biko Gray at 1 p.m. Saturday, April 18 for a live, online talk about ‘The Story of Water,” an exhibit of abstract art that is at the Erie Canal Museum. It will be hosted on the Zoom meeting app. Click on this link to register and you will receive an email confirmation: .https://ryerson.zoom.us/meeting/register/u50vcuGsqTwsjUGXxhFl1-DgYZPFHN2lzA.

Zhang will discuss the artwork, her creative process, and what inspired her and collaborator Biko Gray to develop this exhibit. “The Story of Water” features clay vessels based on 3-D drone scans of Erie Canal structures in Central New York. The artist introduced Canal water to the pieces before the firing process, creating models that symbolize the transformative character of water and the Erie Canal.

The Museum is currently closed to the public to protect visitors, volunteers, and staff from Covid-19. We’re working diligently to serve you by offering programs by alternative means, and greatly appreciate your help. You can make a donation to the Museum through the link in the “Get Tickets” box below,

We look forward to seeing you on April 18 for this thought-provoking talk!

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Umbrella Man

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photo cred – Jeff Heim

It started out as an experiment.  How could Michael John Heagerty create an homage to artist Ji Lee, as well as manufacture a happening that transcends art and becomes a part of the bigger picture?

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Answer:  plant umbrellas.

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Last summer, as co-owner of Wildflowers Armory (217 S. Salina Street, Syracuse, New York 13202), Heagerty collaborated to install a series of umbrellas in the nook next to the gallery’s former location.  The event, called #colorfulcanopysyr invited patrons to visit and share their photographs on social networks, which led to a “Best Selfie Spot” award from local media.

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The umbrellas lend color to otherwise dreary spaces, according to the artist, as follows:

Red is a very emotionally intense color. It enhances human metabolism, increases respiration rate, and raises blood pressure & appetite.
Red represents COURAGE.

Pink is intuitive and insightful, showing tenderness and kindness with its empathy and sensitivity.
Pink represents HOPE.

Yellow is the most luminous of all the colors of the spectrum. It’s the color that captures our attention more than any other color. It’s the color of happiness, and optimism, of enlightenment and creativity, sunshine and spring. Yellow represents HAPPINESS.

Burgundy, named for the French region of wine-making, shows unconventional thinking, a desire for being unique and self expression. It can increase your energy, like red.
Burgundy represents COMFORT.

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The umbrella configurations have visited several locations in the past few days.  They have spent twenty-four hours each at Onondaga Park, Woodland Reservoir, Onondaga Creekwalk, Thornden Park and their present location, Willow Bay at Onondaga Lake Parkway (3858 Long Branch Road, Liverpool, New York 13090).

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photo cred – Lisa Richards Kane

They are planted in the ground (curved handles removed), and to honor our current life circumstances, they are pointing towards hospitals or engaging in the six-feet-apart modality.

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photo cred – Lisa Richards Kane

For the next phase, the future installments will last forty-eight hours in duration.  This for those who adhere to an every-other-day walk-about, as we further distance ourselves while allowing the medical epidemic to dissipate.  The installations will continue as phantom pop-ups to sustain the idea’s magic.

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photo cred – Lisa Richards Kane

Heagerty is a fan of the artist Christo who, along with his wife Jeanne-Claude, created large-scale temporary installations for the purpose of fulfilling a happiness and joy credo or art for art’s sake, in addition to making the invisibility of common-place landscapes visible via “immediate aesthetic impact”.

It is this purpose Michael John Heagerty aligns with most.  This is his love-letter to Syracuse, New York, suggesting that we WILL get through this mayhem with courage, hope, happiness and comfort, and above all, a caring, creative-arts zest for life.  <3

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photo cred – Benjamin Terry

***all other photographs not tagged are used with permission courtesy of the artist

 

 

Following the Light

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The Richell Castellon art exhibit at Wilson Art Gallery in the Noreen Falcone Library on LeMoyne College campus is a must-see. (1419 Salt Springs Road, Syracuse, New York 13214).

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Castellon gives us his impressions of homeland Cuba vs. Syracuse, New York.  The landscapes of Cuba appear as an anachronism – like a sunny Miami circa the 1950s – the cars are vintage, the streets are clean and the people appear content.  The Syracuse paintings are a bit more gritty,  There’s a painting representing the underside of a rusty Route 81 bridge and another depicting a homeless panhandler holding a sign reading, in part, “the best is yet to come”.  I am assuming this is a metaphor for the artist’s life?

Because he does live here now.  According to the literature, the artist is interested in the similarities and differences between Cuba and Syracuse – the paintings are all street views, painted in the same style, yet these places are distinctly different with regard to the way he captures the light.

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Castellon offers both city views in color and in value studies using an impressionistic brushstroke with acrylic paint.  The paintings seem to glow from within.  The Syracuse paintings radiate heat, especially in the way he handles the traffic lights in the night-time street scenes.  They appear to have a sort of uncanny incandescence, which is quite impressive.  How does he get acrylic to do that?

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I met him at the Syracuse Tech Garden a while back – he told me then that he paints from photographs and from memory.  There is a sense that the images have emerged from dreams.  They portray a sequence of moments in time, as if they are somehow actually moving.  I think it is the combination of loose brushstroke and just enough sharp edges that creates this phasing in-and-out of reality magic.

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Yeah, I think Castellon is some sort of artist wizard.  The larger originals are only $850 and the two smaller framed paintings on paper are around $300.  Very collectible!

From Cuba to Syracuse continues through March 30, 2020.  See the library website for hours of operation.  For more information, call (315) 445-4330.

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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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Joy is in the Library

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Joy Engelhart was the January and February 2020 artist exhibiting at the Community Library of DeWitt and Jamesville. (5110 Jamesville Road, DeWitt, New York 13078). I caught the tail end of the show on Sunday.

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She is a “signature” member of the Central New York Watercolor Society.  These pieces are watercolor and mixed-media, a combo of portraits and still-lifes.  I am assuming that she will take down today.  The library opens at 10 AM.  Call (315) 446-3578 for the deets.

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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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Imagined Word

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Be prepared for an all consuming journey of the mind, if you plan to visit Syracuse University’s Point of Contact Gallery (350 W. Fayette Street, Syracuse, New York 13202) in the next two months.  Puerto Rican artist Rafael Trelles has reinterpreted visions, dreams and literature to create a compelling dialogue between artists while exposing his queries regarding the human condition in his art exhibition titled The Imagined Word.

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Twenty-two painted drawings are presented here.  They are figurative – faces painted with etching inks, an oil-based ink that dries relatively quickly (as opposed to using oil paint, which would bleed on this particular paper, as he explained to me at tonight’s reception).

Some faces came first until a literary resource matched the artist’s hand then others selected first and the process reversed. Gestural lines and acrylic paint in sweeping brushstroke join these brilliantly rendered portraits to create compositions of depth and allegory, allowing the viewer to attach meaning in terms of their own identity to the stories with respect to personal fears and the beauty of their individual subconscious realms.

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There is magic here.  These recent pieces reflect two years of work.  Next up for the Trelles, large-scale paintings on canvas and an exhibition in London!

The Imagined Word continues through March 13, 2020.

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Point of Contact Gallery |350 W. Fayette St. Syracuse, NY 13202 | Open Monday – Friday: 12PM – 5PM or by appointment. Call (315) 443-2169 for more information.

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Decorative Surfaces

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Just returned home from another wonderful art reception.  This time I was around the corner from home, at SUNY Empire State College (6333 State Route 298, Suite 300, East Syracuse, New York 13057) for the Independent Potters’ Association exhibition, Surface Decorations on Ceramics.

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I spoke with Alan Stankiewicz (above), the mastermind of this show, as he is curator and exhibitor, as well as an educator at the college.  He used horsehair as a surface decoration on his piece – the horsehair is placed on hot-from-the-raku-kiln-fired pottery.  It is allowed to burn away leaving fine lines resembling the look of a gestural charcoal drawing.  I’d never seen this technique before.

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This is the beauty of the exhibition.  The whole thing is a teachable moment.  This group of potters share their expertise with each other and now, here, with the students of this college and you, the public.  There is such a sense of positivity in their camaraderie.

The exhibit is nicely linked via tiles with explanations of individual techniques and literature that tells the story of this vernacular.  It is really so amazing how many ways pottery can be decorated and, of course, multiply that times the combined techniques variations and you have madness!  I honestly don’t know how the artists settle on a particular style.  It has to be inspired action.

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Many SUNY Empire employees joined the artists for the reception in the Central Arts Gallery.  They had a marvelous spread of munchies.  It is on the third floor of the building on the left after entering the college facility.  I was here once before for Maria Rizzo’s thesis exhibition.

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Surface Decoration on Ceramics will remain on display through February 28, 2020.  Gallery hours are Monday-Friday 9 AM-5 PM.  I highly recommend this to any high school ceramics art teachers in the area who are contemplating a field trip.  It is a really informative show.  So many cool ideas! Thank you, IPA. <3

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Woolly Winter

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Today, after work and a five-mile Green Lakes hike, I headed over to the Sue & Leon Genet Galley at The Nancy Cantor Warehouse (350 W. Fayette Street, Syracuse, New York 13202) for the Sue Ann Genet Costume Collection exhibit, Let It Snow!  Keeping Warm at Syracuse University, 1870-2020.

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I love the irony of this whole premise that it is cold in Syracuse in winter and I’m all hiking my head off for two hours a day thinking it’s totally warm – what’s wrong with you people?  Naturally, I am also all about cashmere, fur, leather and down parkas, so this little exhibit was right up my alley.  Keeping warm is my schtick.  Really, it’s fashion.  Fashion’s my schtick.

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I frequented this gallery when it was housed in Slocum Hall back in the ’80s, so actually visiting it again, it’s kinda/sorta my old stomping grounds.  I am a graduate of the Fashion Design program at Syracuse University and a really cold (minus 4 degrees) day in 1982 is referenced in the literature, which was probably a day I was walking around campus with my gigantic portfolio and paint case or a huge bag of fabric and a sewing kit (dual degree Fashion and Studio Arts) blowing around all over the place.  Could this be anymore about me? LOL, sorry….

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This is obviously an exhibition of outerwear spanning a century and a half.  Everything on the mannequins looks stunning – well preserved and for the most part, timeless.

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The show was curated by Professor Jeffrey Mayer.  Kirsten Schoonmaker gave a slide presentation during the event tonight sharing her expertise on textiles, specifically a history of the fashion/costume use of wool and fur through the ages.  Students in attendance were clearly enthralled by her dynamic presence.  She is an Associate Professor of Fashion Design at Syracuse University, as well as the exhibit designer and collection manager.

Let It Snow! will be up through February 28, 2020.  You will love it. <3

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***from the Syracuse University website

On Dec. 2, 2019, Syracuse University canceled a full day of classes for the fourth time in its 150-year history. This means that generations of students have trudged through snow, sleet, ice, and wind in order to get to class. How did they keep themselves from shivering as the daytime temperatures plunged as low as -4°F in January of 1982? Students on campus have proved that staying warm doesn’t have to mean sacrificing style. Thick fulled wool in fashionable hues has been cut and shaped to follow the silhouettes of the moment, whether it be the 1880s, the 1980s, or today. Collars and cuffs have been trimmed with insulating materials from soft fur to plushy polyester, trapping warm air around exposed skin as icy winds blow. Belts and buttons not only keep coats from flapping, but also add a touch of shape, sparkle, or contrast. Selections from the Sue Ann Genet Costume Collection reveal that while faces may change, outerwear has always been a style statement on campus.

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About the Sue and Leon Genet Gallery:

Based in the School of Design at the Nancy Cantor Warehouse, the Sue & Leon Genet Gallery is a student-managed space hosting exhibitions from the school’s students, faculty, and alumni. Programing seeks to engage the University and downtown Syracuse community with exhibitions inspired by and related to the field of design. Public gallery hours are Monday through Saturday, noon to 5:00 pm., or by appointment.  Call (315) 443-2455.

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.