Category Archives: found object

Peek-A-Boo

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2017_contact

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In the 1950s, the artist Dorothy Reister and her husband purchased land for a summer home in Cazenovia, New York.  They added acres when land became available then turned the place into a sculpture garden, creating hiking trails, as well a sculpture studio attached to their mid-century modern A-frame home.

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The property transformed into the incorporated non-profit Stone Quarry Hill Art Park, recognized by National Geographic magazine as one of the top sculpture gardens in the nation, and home to permanent and temporary sculptures by such renowned sculptors as Rodger Mack and Emilie Brzezinski.  Now the home and art studio on the property are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  It is open to the public to enjoy.  Today was the perfect day to hike the trails and fall in love with the hidden sculpture gems playing peek-a-boo around every corner.

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I am on vacation this week, Spring Break.  I spent a few hours investigating several trails and breathing the fresh air of this space with my high school pal Suzy, who is a fellow teacher.  There was really no one else around – it was a serene and wonderful experience.

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I highly recommend coming here, especially if you have kids at home this week and are looking for something to do.  I brought students to Stone Quarry Hill on a school field trip a few years ago and they loved it.  There truly is a surprise around every corner!

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Suggested donation is $5 at the front entrance.  If you wish to donate to the upkeep of the park or volunteer, there is more information on their website – here  

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Several events are upcoming – kite flying, an art exhibition in the indoor space, and a YMCA summer camp experience.  All information is on their website – here.

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315-655-3196

office@stonequarryhillartpark.org

3883 Stone Quarry Rd., P.O. Box 251, Cazenovia, NY 13035

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Sweet Alley

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Tony Thompson’s closing reception was last night.  He’d been showing his artwork at Kasai Ramen, 218 Walton Street, Syracuse, New York 13203 for two months.  I decided to go and it was the first time I’d been to this location in twenty-six years!  OMG.  It used to be Sweet Baba’s, the very first place I exhibited my own art.  I was the house artist for a while – I don’t remember how long, but it was the place where I sold my first painting, which led to a commission.  Fond memories.

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The restaurant itself is a work of art.  It was built in the alley between two buildings.  The Walton Street entrance boasts a cozy bar area and some seating.  There are three staircases, one a spiral, that lead to a lower level filled with the ambiance of brick walls, dark lighting and the dance of kitchen staff preparing asian fusion meals to perfection.

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“Kasai Ramen is a 100 seat, two level restaurant. Its menu features traditional Ramen and Izakaya dishes with a Salt City attitude. Featuring superior service and exceptional quality food in an electric fast paced atmosphere Kasai is the restaurant to dine at in Armory Square. Come enjoy an order of Pork Gyoza, Shrimp Steam Buns, Shoyu Ramen and a Whole Roasted Duck!”

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Thompson is a Syracuse bred artist currently living in Utica, New York.  He exhibits regionally and is part of the graffiti/tattoo stable of artists led by my friend Jamie Santos.  These thirty somethings have commandeered the art scene here with many cool-themed pop-up shows and curated group restaurant gigs under their young hipster belts.

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The work here is cohesive.  Thompson uses found object canvases – discarded windows, old cabinets and wood scraps.  His work is a narrative of the inner workings of his mind.  Portraits that bring to mind a Basquiat quality with competent, confident line quality that belies his mostly self-taught status.  The other imagery appears like a nightmare jutxaposed with sweet child-like innocence.  My favorite pieces are the glass ones.  They are a fun marriage of old and new, the window allowing the viewer to, sort of, see into the artist’s engagingly energetic mind.

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Next up for the restaurant is a show by Jamie and beyond that, a curated Japanese-themed one that I may be a part of.  I am immersed in Japanese art and culture right now with four of my classes using Hokusai and other wood block print references, so it may be up my alley. (Get it?  Because Kasai Ramen is built in an alley….)

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Find Tony Thompson on Facebook.

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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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Thirteen paintings from my angel series “Futura” are currently on display at the Half Moon Bakery & Bistro in Jamesville, New York!  Bobbi Petrocci and I pulled the switch-a-roo – she took down the CBA Hope for the Bereaved exhibit and installed my show by lining up these encaustics to look like ethereal soldiers hovering from above to love and protect the foodie patrons at this wonderful café.

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The paintings are $111 each.  If you want one, just let proprietor Debbe Titus know.  She can contact me and I will meet you there.  You will get to take one (or more) home for Christmas!  They really do work best in multiples!  They are small:  8″ x 10″ paintings on masonite mounted on 11″ x 14″ chalkboard.

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It is always such a thrill to exhibit here.  I have a fondness for a captive audience – people who do not ordinarily go to art shows, so we bring the art to them.  Making the invisible visible is what it’s about.  The show will be up during the month of December 2017.

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T Minus One Week

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Futura comes down on Saturday, November 11, 2017 (11/11).  You can still see the show and buy the work in a cash and carry.  Paintings are $111 each.  Eye Studio is located at 712 W. Manlius, East Syracuse, NY.  They are not open today – hours are 11:00 am – 7:00 pm Monday – Saturday.

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Here are the pictures from the closing reception last Friday night.  I am so grateful to Ilene Layow for offering me this wonderful space and throwing such an awesome party complete with music by Jerry Cali, and that gratitude is extended to all of my friends, patrons and family who came to support my art career.  Great time! ❤ ❤ ❤

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