Experimenting with a technique has its rewards, just ask Rebecca Hutchinson. And you can ask her yourself tomorrow – Saturday, September 10, 2022 during her gallery walk (the work is in the Robineau and Malzman Galleries) from 11:00 am – noon at the Everson Museum of Art, 401 Harrison Street, Syracuse, New York 13202.
I met her last night at the art reception and I was delighted to make the acquaintance of such a spirited human being. She spoke of developing a technique where her large scale vessels are hand built upside-down using a series of paper strips dipped in clay slip, which is surprisingly strong. The pieces are not kiln fired and yet ,not fragile, which is intriguing.
Some of these enormous pods are decorated in botanical gestural paintings and drawings, like those on the long strips of rice paper located in the adjacent gallery. They are meant to represent the ebb and flow resilience of nature. This mark-making is what elevates this work from experimentally friendly bulbous thingys to big bulbous thingys with a meaningful message.
Professor Hutchinson teaches ceramics at the University of Massachusetts – Dartmouth in addition to her role as a working professional artist and all-around art trailblazer .
Rebecca Hutchinson – Regeneration will be up through December 31, 2022. There will also be a workshop scheduled to learn her techniques. Call the Everson at (315) 474-6064 for more information or visit their web-site. www.everson.org
Jim Ridlon has donated these amazing prints to the Everson Museum of Art. They are located in the museum gift shoppe – for sale – and they are priced between $30 and $50. They are embossed. I’m not sure if this is true but the young man at the sales desk said he’d created them when he was a student and since he is not known for etchings or prints he decided to price them low.
I mean, they are a steal, really. They are created on a thick archival paper, probably Arches, not sure. You’d have to get them framed, but wow!
I’ve been reminiscing about Dawn Dolls. They were manufactured for only three years in the early ’70s by Topper. Dawn, Angie, Gary, and company. they were only six-and-a-half inches tall, so they were incompatible with Barbies because they were so small. But they were so pretty with silky long hair and “real” eyelashes, and of course, with very awesome 1970s fashions. I loved them and I love them still.
I’ve been stalking them on the Internet – Ebay, Etsy and Mercari mainly. I don’t really want to buy them, do I? I want to be the Dawn doll. Haven’t I always? So funny that my hair resembles hers now. All I need is an Alice & Olivia dress and I am good to go.
What struck me as I viewed Sharif Bey’s art exhibit at the Everson Museum of Art is that he too seems to be enamored with doll collections albeit his are quite large scale especially the necklaces!
This show is housed in two of the four upstairs galleries and spans the artist’s thirty-year career. I mean, he’s only forty-eight, which indicates that some of the pieces in this collection of works were created when he was only eighteen. It is a lot of work – from functional ceramics to these large figurative pieces and finally the accessory wall. It is incredibly impressive for sure.
These necklaces in particular are really something. In the accompanying pamphlet prepared for a Junteenth visitation, it is revealed that he used toilet paper over glaze in the kiln to manifest the charred pattern on the “beadwork”. It is genius.
The scale speaks volumes about who this man is as an artist and as a human. It is a combo of continued visual exploration and ethnic pride coupled with a desire to both learn and teach.
Bey is a professor at Syracuse University in the Art Education department. The brochure professes to take children on a journey to discover themselves as he serves to explore ideas to carry him on his own path.
The exhibition is titled “Facets”. It works so well here because the Everson has always been first and foremost a ceramics museum. Knowing that these massive pieces are also fragile lends itself well to that idea that we are all fragile beings in a way, always seeking that strength of character in our true identities while harboring thoughts of doubt, worry and stupid fears that can easily break our spirits.
I wonder if that thought crossed his mind? No matter what doll one identifies with – big or small, black or white, etc., etc., we are all that creative spirit looking for a way to connect and feel that blessed feeling of validation as we develop our crafts/psyches in order to continue the ascent through life.
The Everson Museum of Art is located at 401 Harrison Street, Syracuse, NY, 13202. Call (315) 474-6064 for more information or find them at www.everson.org.
Sharif Bey: Facets continues through August 14, 2022.
She was resolute in her determination to create art on her own terms.
I have known Syracuse artist Arlene Abend for thirty years. We met when I joined the now defunct Visual Arts Committee at the Civic Center. We held juried exhibitions and installed the work of local artists on the walls of the space – a captive audience situation, which lead to several sales. My sister even bought someone’s art from there and I met my first patron who ended up buying several of my paintings over the years.
I left the program after about four years. I wanted to do member exhibitions and everyone felt that was self-serving. Later, they moved the exhibitions to the PBS building (was it? I don’t really remember) but they did start having those member’s shows.
I have always felt the same way about the Everson Museum of Art. They would bring in these out of state artists who’d get recognition from our less established museum subsequently gaining the confidence to go on to illustrious careers. I couldn’t understand why the Everson didn’t cultivate from within. That seemed the perfect opportunity – to big up our talented local artists and catapult us towards successful art careers nationally. It would be a win-win as it would generate interest and revenue for the museum because there would be so many wealthy and amazing artists who would give back. I guess I was never thinking universally, but selfishly (my vortex contains the dream of showcasing my art in all four of the upper galleries – I can 100% fill them), The idea that we are an art community that helps and supports each other – is that too daft?
Well, it’s finally happening. Elizabeth Dunbar has begun this trajectory and we can currently see this manifestation in the form of a feisty little ninety-year-old woman who is currently showing her sculptures in the Robineau Gallery at the Everson Museum of Art.
We create our own realities and Arlene Abend’s road has been one primarily of family and deep-rooted friendships combined with the solitude of her artistry. Every one of us has stated a collective “it’s about time” in reference to this exhibition!
The bumpy amorphous shapes in her metal wall sculptures sort of mirror the curves in her path/emotions in her path – health issues, worry, relationship heart break, disappointment, money struggles, fears…and yet, the tiny humanoid figurines showcase her whimsy and humor, her belief in the human spirit even while the resin pieces indicate a sort of trapped suffering.
This exhibition has always been in Arlene Abend’s vortex – of that I am certain. It’s almost as though the resolution was in lowering the resistance. Lessening the struggle in favor of the resiliency of the human condition. Here she is at the apex of her career, all ragged edges, highs and lows, structures and voids, liquids solidifying inside her mind for all of us to witness – a life lived with an expectation to share it in all its incarnations.
It really does not matter how much time it takes for a dream to come true. That’s the beauty of it.
Arlene Abend – RESOLUTE is on display through April 17, 2022. Visit the www.everson.org for information regarding hours of operation and admission price or call (315) 474-6064.
Jaleel Campbell’s solo exhibition in the Robineau Gallery at The Everson Museum of Art is scheduled to end on August 1, 2021. It’s not too late to see it! The museum is open noon-5pm Tuesday-Sundays with extended hours on Thursday. Call (315) 474-6064 for more information.
Randy Casciano of Salt City Salvage creates tables from vintage filing cabinets and bird houses with wine crates, among other repurposed items. He does not have a website yet (working on it) but his email is Randy@SaltCitySalvage.com. I love his work. I want everyone of these birdhouses, especially the copper roof one!
Ken Nichols and his lovely wife Kris sold his handmade ceramic bowls and mugs. When I stopped by, they had a large crowd of fans gathered around. Ken is at this event every second Sunday, of the month 10:00 am-5:00pm, May through October 2021.
Goodies Mediterranean Grill & Cuisine was represented with to-go versions of their delicacies. As the sign indicates, they are located at 3605 James Street. Call (315) 433-1003 for more information.
David McKenney of GBD Studio (glass by Dave) presented his glassworks. He can be reached at (315)373-3078 if you would like to make a purchase.
Jane Zell was the musical guest. She is FABULOUS! This video is on my http://www.youtube.com channel. Yes, I have one! <3
The collection of contemporary Japanese ceramics, displayed in the Everson Museum of Art (lower level) is a breathtaking representation of experimentation and whimsy in clay.
The beautiful thing about this exhibition, as with the previous one in this space, is the circle of trust – trust that visitors will not touch; trust that nothing will break. Some pieces are behind glass, like caged animals and others roam free on mirrored and lighted shelves, allowing patrons to appreciate the details up-close-and-personal-like.
It is incredibly inspiring to view the concepts unfolding within decades, the mastery of cut, shape, form and glaze application.
For many years, the Everson Museum of Art was known for its ceramics collection, the largest in the nation. Now they are going forward with American art, I think, although maybe that is just with regard to the upstairs holdings.
The Everson Museum of Art is open! I mean, it’s been open – I just didn’t know it. I was able to catch the tail end of the Lacey McKinney show, Reconfiguration. The Everson Bulletin states the show’s run ended on the 24th so…lucky me and my friend Penny.
*The show has now been extended to February 28, 2021 so…lucky you!
I love the discourse between Penny Santy and me when we see exhibitions together. We don’t always like the same pieces but we understand each other’s point of view.
McKinney’s paintings are oil and acrylic. I suspect the acrylic was either a means to create texture or the underlying Frankenthaler-esque washes in some of the female populated landscapes.
Penny loved these new-technique-for-the-artist “cyanotypes” (above) but they reminded me of a crafty high school art project – female body parts minus vagina, lol, that is too mean, sorry Lacey, but, I felt like these were a bit too safe and they read more like studies than finished pieces. I did admire the size relationships though. And in person, the blue hues are lovely and more nuanced than the photograph suggests.
The larger portrait/landscape mash-ups were far more interesting to me. They offered visual collage in a successful way – female as mountain, eyes averted so as not to become a focal point – they had an ethereal beauty to them. She is quite proficient in the rendering of the subject matter, as well as holding a cerebral allocation of the structure of her iconography.
These two (above) were my favorites. I loved the softness of the colorations and the rhythm in the compositions. They whisper emotion in a powerful feminine way with subtle colorations of glaze-infused shadow. Perfection!
This piece (above) reminded me of Marilyn Monroe, but that may be because I had just watched a documentary on Arthur Miller, ex-husband of MM, and one on the fashion designer Dries Van Noten, Belgium fashion designer who created a line of menswear with a variety of images of MM silk-screened on jackets and shirts.
The literature states that the artist selected images from magazines and reconfigured them stealing fragments of different women juxtaposed as either friend or foe. So, maybe?
This collection is on view in the Robineau gallery on the first floor of the museum. I believe there were only about five other people in the entire museum today when we visited. Plenty of social distancing room to ruminate on this new work. Call (315) 474-6064 for more information.
Two of these immense acrylic and collage paintings welcome museum guests at the door. The remainder are located in the Robineau Memorial Gallery.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Jim Ridlon: The Garden continues through March 29, 2020. Call (315) 474-6064 for more information.
The four upstairs galleries at the Everson Museum of Art (401 Harrison Street, Syracuse, New York 13202) are filled with treasures, some of which I have seen many times over the decades – but not like this. Elizabeth Dunbar, director and CEO, has a way of pairing paintings and ceramics with a keen eye that makes everything come alive and feel fresh again.
It is this new perspective that breathes love into the exhibition, A Legacy of Firsts: The Everson Collects. It showcases the museums over one hundred year history, presenting the cohesion via an American thread. The exhibition honors the museum’s legacy and in turn reveres the decisions made by previous curators and directors. I love this credence to respect. It feels welcoming. It feels like family. It feels like home. As she says in her message in the winter 2020 Everson Bulletin, [the museum is] “For artists. For community. For everyone.”
This is an historical trek that begins at the top of the spiral staircase with pieces purchased around 1911 when the museum was known as the Syracuse Museum of Fine Arts – impressionistic landscapes, portraits and still-lifes displayed in ornate golden frames coupled with the ceramic pieces of the day. Adelaide Alsop Robineau was a local potter who corresponded with and met the museum’s director at that time, Fernando Carter, as she frequented the facility back then – her intricately carved vessels were the first pieces purchased for what became a premier ceramics collection.
There are over 11,000 items in the Everson’s collection! As the show progresses into the second chamber, you are jolted by bold colors. This room is filled with large-scale abstractions and colorful pottery to mix and match. Lee Krasner’s painting is displayed above her husband’s, an early Jackson Pollack. I love the similarity in their styles.
There is a display of transmedia here as well, but the videos don’t translate well in a photograph.
The next gallery is familiar in that the museum purchased pieces from exhibitions from their recent past. This (below) is a piece by Vanessa German.
The fourth gallery space is heaviest on the ceramic collection. It is such a bold move to see these pieces sans glass or other protective shielding, but that is what makes them so compelling. Textural items created to be touched that one must not touch within reach – when I visited the museum as a child, all the ceramics were under glass in the do not touch space, as though they came to the museum to die, lol. Now they are sooooo alive!
This show is visual candy. I love the angles of the presentations, the way pieces connect, that flow, rhythm and the sheer beauty of the artwork. It’s a wonderful journey through yesteryear and beyond. <3
A Legacy of Firsts: The Everson Collects continues through March 22, 2020.
The Everson Museum of Art is closed Mondays and Tuesdays. Hours of operation: Wednesday, Friday and Sunday noon – 5 PM, Thursdays noon – 8 PM and Saturdays 10 AM – 5 PM. There is a sliding scale admission fee (free for members). Visit their web-site for the deets. www.everson.org