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.
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.
It was only my second time at LeMoyne College. I remembered which street to turn into to get to the parking lot that leads to the Noreen Reale Falcone Library on the campus in DeWitt, New York, but once inside, the Wilson Art Gallery was not where it used to be. I guess they renovated since I was last there, lol. It was sort of strange, coupled with the fact that I got the time wrong and missed the entire two hour party by fifteen minutes. The art is currently gracing the walls directly opposite the front door, which allows it to greet all visitors in the captive-audience style. It also appears as a larger space than the previous venue, which, I admit, is a win-win.
The new show is titled Spring is on the Way. It offers lovely floral incarnations by Judith Hand. She is a retired art teacher who has worked at Westhill, as well as schools in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Massachusetts. She is also a member of the Cazenovia Watercolor Society and a signature member of the Central New York Watercolor Society.
I found out about this show via Facebook. Judy is a FB friend I hadn’t actually met until this day. I told her I was a blogger and she said she knew; she’d just read about my student’s Google doodles that morning!
I shared that my Studio in Art students are working on landscapes in watercolor, so we talked shop for a bit. And took a selfie, of course. The art reception was yesterday (she’s sold five pieces!). I love the positive flavor of these pieces, the richness of color and, you know, the subject matter. Who doesn’t love flowers?
There is plenty of time to view this show. Judith Hand’s paintings will be on exhibit through March 2019.