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).
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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?
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.
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.
The result becomes its own presence, its own entity put into the world without the necessity of the language of its origin.
It is beautiful to witness these things and know their secrets, though, because I, personally, just love knowing.
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.
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.
***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.
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.
I don’t give credence to evil. I believe there is goodness and lack of goodness. We create our own realities and so, perhaps unwittingly, we create sadness, doom, mayhem and what have you. The Universe/God gives you EVERYTHING you ask for without the emotion associated with positive or negative vibes.
That’s the gist of it. In this way, no outside entity or force is inserting itself into your experience. You and you alone create the life you have.
The good news is that you can control your life experience by thinking positively, by working to create a sense of goodness via happiness, joy and love. You can have a beautiful life if you choose to look at the good, that is to say to create rather than face reality.
People who argue for their limitations, who need to revisit shit-storms don’t get this. People who use the devil as a temptation scapegoat instead of taking responsibility for their actions – well, that seems a fearful way to live.
I accept that I will not be loved unconditionally by this man, because it is apparent our beliefs have divided us, and so, this so-called devil has seemingly wedged itself in the cracks of my relationship after all.
Isn’t that ironic? You get what you think about – perfectly illustrated. Imagined evil wins this round (for the sake of this article). And the moral is that you just can’t take yourself too seriously. Allow everyone to live their own truth even if it perpetuates pain rather than alleviating it. And don’t judge. Yes, that’s the trick – to love anyway, even if you don’t always agree…and to trust, trust, trust that goodness will inevitably/eventually prevail. There are always positive outcomes available to you. <3
Jerome Witkin has made a career of facing harsh realities via his large-scale figurative paintings. Art must show our times, without any holding back, showing how we are living in this time – this world . His quote operates on the assumption that everyone in this time is living crummy lives. He uses Katrin Naumann, my friend and yogini as a primary model to illustrate the dastardly manifestations of society, which is such an irony in itself. Katrin is an ethereal soul, an absolutely beautiful human person.
Witkin is proficient in rendering and paint applications. His compositions are modern visual collages shaped like temples for his angst-infused pulpit. The devil is in the details, lol.
Jerome Witkin: This Time, This World is currently on exhibit at ArtRage Gallery (505 Hawley Avenue, Syracuse, New York 13203). The art reception is tonight from 6-8 pm. The show runs through January 11, 2020 with an artist talk planned for Wednesday, January 8, 2020 at 7 pm.
In 1971, Syracuse Folklorist Dan Ward met someone (okay, it was a hitchhiker), which led to his first trip to Syracuse, New York to see James Taylor in concert at the War Memorial. Instead of acquiring tickets to that sold-out concert, he ventured across the street and was pulled through the door of the museum. Somehow he randomly became part of an elite group allowed to tour the Yoko Ono exhibition at the Everson Museum of Art, along with the artist and her husband John Lennon.
The whole thing was documented on film and in the media. Dan Ward was a teenager living a serendipitous existence. There was a waterbed on the floor that evening, positioned to offer a unique view of the spiral staircase. He thought it was unusual but gave it a try – his first time on a waterbed and with a bed-bug (a Beatle). There were other interactive ingredients as well, some have been replicated for the retrospective/new exhibition, Yoko Ono: Remembering the Future, which opened last night. Every piece cultivated to reside harmoniously within the walls of I.M. Pei’s modern architecture. This show was meant to create a dialogue between viewer and artist with the viewer creating the closure.
Yes, a stunningly beautiful Ono (according to Ward’s recollection – photographs never did her justice) and Lennon, and Ringo Starr were all there that night, as well as several of their close friends from Manhattan. It was a media circus focused on celebrity in a time when art was misunderstood and maligned.
I wish I could have been there back then, too, wish I could have been that fly on the wall – to bear witness to perceptions of the past while remembering the future….
Imagine a museum filled with objects – hammers, nails, string, ladders, piles of dirt, blue paint. Imagine a world where the viewer participates and the result is a collaboration between artist and you. Artist as conceptualist. You as executioner. You as artist too.
It is what I do as a teacher. Okay, students – here’s the lesson, here are the supplies…. It is always so gratifying and almost strange in a way. Like – do this, and they say okay.
This is the genius of Yoko Ono. It is a presence, a facilitator who loves her audience, who gives them an experience, a happening, a memory. Something to do. Museums are always a DO-NOT-TOUCH place, but here you can add string to the wall, hammer in a nail onto a piece of wood, paint part of a mural, be a part of something bigger than yourself that has no other meaning than what it is. Collective mark making. A chance to interact in a museum in a child-like manner and by that, I mean being totally present. Not thinking about anything else but the art – and not even thinking too hard about the how or the what, or the why.
Because you are a part of the experience and your existence is relevant, necessary and needed. You matter. You are loved. You are welcome. You belong.
For six decades, Yoko Ono has maintained an unwavering belief in art’s ability to transform, uplift, and inspire. Her work, typically ephemeral or participatory, occupies the porous boundaries between artistic disciplines, from music and film to sculpture, poetry, and performance art. Ono’s approach to art making is generous, and since emerging in New York’s downtown art scene in the 1950s, she has privileged collaboration over solitary authorship, inclusivity over isolation, and transience over permanence. These underlying precepts, which simultaneously undermine the capitalist structure of the art market and criticize the institutional model of the museum, also unified a postwar artistic movement known as Fluxus, of which Ono was an important contributor. For Ono, as well as later generations of artists and those currently engaged in social practice, art belongs to everyone, can be created by anyone, and has the potential to change the world.
Yoko Ono was born in Tokyo in 1933. A survivor of the trauma inflicted on Japan during World War II, she moved to the United States in 1953 during a period of surging nationalism, consumerism, and anti-Japanese sentiment. During this time, Ono became a central figure within New York’s downtown scene and became close collaborators with artist George Maciunas, the founder of Fluxus. Many avant-garde intellectuals, artists, composers, and writers gathered regularly at Ono’s Chambers Street loft for experimental performances by groundbreaking artists like La Monte Young, Toshi Ichiyanagi, Terry Jennings, Jackson Mac Low, Richard Maxfield, Henry Flynt, Joseph Byrd, Simone Forti, and Robert Morris. Here, Ono realized some of her earliest conceptual works that would greatly influence the trajectory of art, film, and music.
Ineffable, intangible, impermanent, Ono’s art, as a body of work, defies categorization. The term Wakon yosai (“Japanese spirit, Western technology”), the national slogan of modernization in Japan during the Meji era, might best describe Ono’s approach to life and art. Her works, conceptually linked to the form of musical scores, draw on sources as diverse as the history of classical and modern Japanese art and Zen Buddhism to early black-and-white cinema and classical music. Ono’s signature text-based scores date back to the early 1950s. In 1964, she published the scores in Grapefruit, her definitive text. The scores, as Ono explained in 2016, “are a bit like music scores which exist so anyone can play the composition. What I’ve imagined are art scores. Each visitor can take them up so that their own ‘music’ can be heard in my creations.”
Throughout the 1960s, Ono had significant solo exhibitions in the United States, Japan, and in England—including the AG Gallery in New York City and the Sogetsu Art Center in Tokyo. She performed at the 83rd Fluxus Concert: Fluxorchestra at Carnegie Hall, In 1966, Ono performed Cut Piece in Kyoto and Tokyo, exhibited her work at the Judson Church, and participated in the first Destruction In Art Symposium organized by Gustav Metzger in London. Ono met John Lennon when he visited her exhibition Yoko at Indica, at the Indica Gallery in London.
Following her marriage to Lennon in 1968, Ono was catapulted onto the world’s stage of fame and wide public visibility, a position she has brilliantly coopted to further her long-standing interest in the power of the imagination, human rights, and world peace.
Forty-eight years after the Everson hosted This is Not Here, Ono’s first museum retrospective, YOKO ONO: REMEMBERING THE FUTURE presents her enduring artistic work devoted to healing human connections and exposing social and political injustices. Spanning more than six decades from germinal early instruction pieces to recent, large-scale architectural installations, YOKO ONO: REMEMBERING THE FUTURE traces Ono’s experimental approach to language, art, and participation as a means of contributing to a more accepting and peaceful world.
YOKO ONO: REMEMBERING THE FUTURE is curated by DJ Hellerman, the Everson’s Curator of Art & Programs and Jon Hendricks, Ono’s long-time friend and curator in partnership with Yoko Ono, Studio One, and Susie Lim.
The operation of the Everson Museum of Art is made possible with funding from the Dorothy and Marshall M. Reisman Foundation, the County of Onondaga administered by CNY Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, the Richard Mather Fund, the Everson Board of Trustees and Everson Museum of Art Members’ Council.
YOKO ONO: REMEMBERING THE FUTURE is made possible, in part, through support from Bonnie and Gary Grossman, and Sollecito Landscaping Nursery.
Tonight was the opening reception for the summer art exhibition at The Syracuse Tech Garden gallery (235 Harrison Street, Syracuse, New York 13202). It is titled Cool August Moon. I saw my high school friend and fellow art teacher Audrey Levinson there!
Artist Steve Nyland (another Jamesville-DeWitt alum) is the curator and a participant in the show. He told me that he signed a new contract to continue with these exhibitions for at least another year. They take place in the lobby of this building, which is across the street from the Syracuse Marriott (Hotel Syracuse).
Other local artists contributing to this show –
Laura Audrey Terry Lynn Cameron Richell Castellon Fletcher Crangle Kathy Donovan Ryan Foster Larry Hoyt Lisa Ketcham James P. McCampbell Sally Stormon Rabekah Tanner Mitzie Testani Ray Trudell Kayla Cady Vaughn Ryan Wood
Massachusetts transplant Lisa Ketcham creates these kitschy assemblages and frames. They are sort of a cross between steampunk and macabre via the use of gears, timey-wimey-ies and skeletons.
Terry-Lynn Cameron brought her originals to share. I met her on Sunday at City Market where she was selling prints of these lovely acrylic paintings.
Richell Castellon Ferreira is the real deal – a painter and woodworker by trade. He comes to us from Cuba. His paintings of the Syracuse landscape would make perfect additions to any local collector’s art stash! He paints from photographs and from memory. These originals are only $175.
Ray Trudell focuses on the invisible in his black and white photographs taken of the surrounding area. He “slows time” by defining a glimpse of a moment using sharp contrast in his compositions.
The exhibit will be on display until September 20, 2019. For more information contact Steve Nyland at firstname.lastname@example.org. To purchase artwork, contact the artists directly. They have left business cards and also have contact information on their respective art tags.
The retrospective currently on exhibition in two of the upstairs galleries at the Everson Museum of Art (401 Harrison Street, Syracuse, New York 13202) was fifty years in the making. Puerto Rican born Juan Cruz has spent the past forty years dwelling here in Syracuse, New York, making murals, teaching and working on a collegiate degree in Fine Art from Syracuse University. And painting – he has been creating the mother-lode of paintings.
This show exemplifies what I have always wanted the Everson to be – a museum that believes in local artists, supporting their careers and offering ample space to breathe love and life into a body of work that illustrates the strength, character and beauty of an artist’s life-long vision.
There are paintings that show Cruz’s proficiency with realism – watercolor landscapes and oil on paper portraits. These pieces are the yellow bricks of the journey. They offer the first dance on a path that takes a left hand cruise into abstraction.
Those abstracts even go 3-D via a few sculptures as well, but the artist’s main strength is in the confident energy of the gnarled face forms peering out of these canvases, evidently pleading to be understood.
This energy alludes to social injustices felt both personally and as a member of a Caribbean culture with economic drama. There is abundant repetition of shape and color interspersed with black outlines, as well as bright white. This co-mingling rhythm creates a cartoon-like flavor undermining the angst, which gets more pronounced in the newer pieces, suggesting a shift to a more positive perspective for this working artist.
I would imagine pure full-on non-representational abstraction is the goal, obliterating the need to be understood by the masses, because when the goal is freedom of expression, the limitation of pleasing others gives way to one’s own knowing. Knowing the rightness of choices made with deliberate intent.
It’s all about the journey, and this one is an enormously satisfying one. I am delighted that I was able to witness this body of work as it is displayed. And for Juan Cruz, the best is yet to come. Because the dance is by no means over – it has just begun. <3
Juan Cruz: A Retrospective concludes on August 4, 2019. (Up next – Yoko Ono!)
****From the Everson website
Syracuse-based artist Juan Alberto Cruz (b. 1941, Puerto Rico) combines rich symbolism with a bold and colorful abstract style to create work infused with his Caribbean heritage. Moving from Puerto Rico to Manhattan’s Lower East Side and subsequent travels to Spain, Mexico, Cuba, and Central America have had a major impact on Cruz’s work, which reflects a mixture of his cultural heritage and life experiences. From his earliest portrait paintings to recent abstract collages, Cruz uses the emotional realities of his past to articulate his feelings about economic inequality and systematic injustice.
As a child, Cruz taught himself to draw by copying the comic strips from discarded newspapers onto brown paper grocery bags, and later he drew portraits of everyday people that he sold for pocket change on the street. It was not until his thirties, when he enrolled in an art program led by then-Everson Director Jim Harithas that Cruz learned art could be more than replicating the world around him. Harithas taught Cruz how to paint and introduced him to a world of modern artists, which led Cruz’s drawings and paintings to evolve into a complex amalgamation of figurative and abstract forms. For the past five decades, Cruz’s boundless creativity and production has led him to compile a massive body of work.
Since moving to Syracuse in 1975, Cruz has made a significant impact on the local community. He has painted numerous murals throughout the city, including on the Onondaga Commons building, in Skiddy Park, and several in the Near West Side. He also completed a new mural with the Everson Teen Arts Council currently on view on the Museum’s Lower Level. Cruz served as artist-in-residence for the Near West Side Initiative for five years and ran the Patch-Up Studio, a community center that provided children and adults with a safe space to make and learn about art. By choosing to live and work in Syracuse, Cruz has brought together a multigenerational community inspired by his public art initiatives and workshops.
Today, on Orthodox Easter, I did, technically, go to a church. Kirkland Art Center occupies the architecture of a former house of worship in the quaint town of Clinton, New York ( 9 1/2 East Park Row, Clinton. NY 13323). The place looks like the set of the naughts TV series Gilmour Girls! I’d been invited here several times, but this was my first visit to this amazing little venue.
Penny had a show there last month, so we took the road trip to get her paintings then stayed for the new exhibit.
Needles & Glue features the work of mixed media artist Pamela Crockett, sculptor Stephanie Garon and collage artist Steven M. Specht, Ph.D., NCS. Of the three, only Specht was in attendance today.
Specht, a Psychology professor by day, sold two pieces, which were very reasonably priced. There is so much satisfaction in these little gems. Pictures are garnered from vintage magazines then arranged as narrative utilizing techniques he learned in an art course. The collages are really quite intelligently crafted.
The exhibition continues through May 24, 2019. See the website for more information – hours of operation and future events planned at the center including musical performances and dance! <3