Every year about this time, I assign a sketchbook assignment called March Madness, which is a drawing of people playing basketball. Not the hoop or a ball, or an aerial view of a basketball court.
But that is pretty much what I get. So frustrating. Basketball isn’t a successful theme for art.
As per this art exhibition at the Everson Museum of Art, I can only surmise that the curator thought – give the city what it loves, and for Syracuse, that is basketball. Art as secondary to the sport. Basketball players posing as contemporary artists.
Shoelaces as art. Basketballs as art. Sneakers as art. Trading cards as art.
And a room of basketball hoops and balls to actually play the game.
I wish I could be positive and open minded about this. Like in the vortex happy. But I was all – this is dumb.
Hoop Dreams: Basketball and Contemporary Art continues through May 21, 2023. Not sure if it is open today because of the blizzard, but you can make your own judgment during regular museum hours listed below.
Raymon Elozua: Structure/Dissonance is currently on view at the Everson Museum of Art, 401 Harrison Street, Syracuse, New York 13202. The show continues through December 31, 2022.
These are large additive sculptures featuring ceramics, glass, steel and found objects, which culminate in an explosion of color and beautiful junk that satisfies the artist’s intellectual philosophy of “decaying industrial landscapes.”
This is not just a new series of work that takes a theme and runs with it. It is more like a half-century career retrospective. The bauble-rich sculptures make more sense in multiple because they sort of announce the concern of global waste.
Included in this show is Elozua’s personal collection of rusty enamelware. This is the part of the experience I loved best because I spent my entire summer doing something that was in the making for about seventeen years.
I bought a metal detector and searched the yard of my 1900s era home. There was so much there. The videos are on my YouTube channel. Now I just need to intellectualize these finds and incorporate them into art. The meaning? Unearthing the treasures that are right beneath you on your path. Most of it was garbage because back in the early 20th century people buried their trash in their own backyards. Isn’t that ironic?
We are always burying our hearts under the mask of reality. Making art is about building dreams. I want to build mine with all that garbage. And so does Elozua with his. I’d say that is harmony, not dissonance.
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.