I managed to convince a dozen friends to meet me at the Chinese Lantern Festival last week. It was my birthday, a week night, and it was sunny here for the first time in over a week. Perfect conditions to enjoy this exquisite happening at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse, New York.
You enter at Gate 6 and follow the signs to the parking lot inside the fairgrounds. The event is open every night (except Mondays) from 5:30 – 10:00 pm until June 24, 2017. It is $15 per person but they have daily specials; there was a $2 discount last Thursday for “best friends day” in addition to it being my special day! Check their Facebook posts here. I think there is another deal coming up for Father’s Day this weekend.
We arrived at around 7:00 pm. There are a few food vendors and an ice cream truck, and a bunch of crafts to purchase from booths at the far end of the festival enclosure. At 8:30 pm, performers take the stage – acrobat and rhythmic gymnastic style stuff with Asian melodies and lavish costumes.
By 9:00 pm the sky becomes that beautiful Prussian blue before turning dark then the statues transition into glowing visions of beauty. What an incredible light show and photo opportunity. It is truly a magnificent experience! Once you witness it, well…I think it is unforgettable. So worth the admission price. I am so grateful that my friends indulged this whim of mine. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I love you all sooooo muchy-much. ❤
I took a lesson out of my friend Penny’s playbook and re-worked eight paintings for my exhibition at Dolce Vita World Bistro that starts next week. Spent the last two days in intense artist mode, which I haven’t done in quite a while. It was a long time coming…and now I get it. I get what Penny feels. I get the lecture Anne gave me the last time we spoke – about making a commitment to painting because that is who you are. A painter. An artist. Much of what I told her about who and what I wanted to be seems inauthentic now.
Nobody knows the real me. Some of you know some of my secrets – but not all of them. It is strange to re-visit these paintings because I know what they are about, what they are still about and seeing them now as my future self, it is like I already knew the journey. I’m still on it, but, OMG, I am so much closer, if that makes any sense at all. It doesn’t have to. I know what I am talking about, lol, and so, I feel a profound sense of love for my old self. It’s weird and exhilarating, and just overwhelmingly emotional. I finally know where I am going and, of course, now that I know that, I can finally just enjoy the inspired action I will take to get there.
I added varnish to these paintings and chalkboard paint to the borders. Some were tweaked with twine knots and other mixed-media, a visual language insert to augment the journey, so to speak. These improvements are like the bridge that hurdles the gap between who I was and who I am now. Maybe I am not much different to the naked eye, but to me I’m vastly better, new and improved in mind and spirit. I am exposed and yet, still within the confines of my dreams where reality is soooo amazing. I love life as an artist. There’s truly no better way to live.
The series – did it have a name before? Because I don’t remember it. Regardless, I’m calling it Honor Thy Master. The original concept was the idea of the mandala as the first mark-making a human being creates. The circle and cross or X iconography on a white field is juxtaposed with torn postcards/notecards of artwork by Modigliani, Johns, Rauschenberg, Van Gogh, Michaelangelo…. I am honoring those master artists by adding their work to mine in combination with authentic mark-making. The addition of the chalkboard element, as always, is for the purpose of a third artist – the future owner of the work. My chalk marks will eventually erase and so, that person could add or subtract marks to the border with chalk themselves. In this way, we all join hands and make art together.
I am so proud of the way it all connects. The twine is the rope that binds us in both love and angst; we are free to choose. It is powerful and yet so simple, so perfectly cast that it gives me such a thrill to put these puzzle pieces together – like, literally…really!?! So much joy in the perfection of it.
I will install the show next weekend. There will be a reception on Tuesday, April 11, 2017 at 6:00pm at Dolce Vita World Bistro. A unique dining experience! Antonietta Vigliotti has prepared a special menu for the evening. I will create a public Facebook event page for it and invite all of my friends and acquaintences, and they will be able to invite friends too – the more the merrier, although it is not a huge space. I think the dining room serves up to forty people at a time. Reservations are in order for the dinner, but you can come and hang out at the bar too! It will be amazing to see everyone! I can’t wait! ❤
Dolce Vita World Bistro is located at 907 East Genesee Street, Syracuse, New York (13210). You can either call for reservations (315) 475-4700 or fill out the form on their web-site.
At 6:00 p.m. tonight, Jeffrey Mayer, Associate Professor of Fashion Design at Syracuse University, will be presenting a talk on the Art forEvery Home: Associated American Artists exhibition at the SU Art Gallery. He will be focusing on the clothing and textiles that are in the back gallery.
Here is more info taken from their Facebook invite page –
Join Jeffrey Mayer for a thrilling discussion focusing on the costumes and textiles featured in the current exhibition “Art for Every Home: Associated American Artists,” on dislay through March 19th in the galleries!
Post World War II fashion, with a new silhouette and a new appreciation for the designer as an artist, created the perfect opportunity for Associated American Artist to team with textile manufacturers to produce art based fabric prints. Creating series of textiles for both home decoration and clothing use these prints were marketed as being created by ‘fine artists’. The collaboration with textile manufacturers would only last for a very few years before AAA designed print fabrics would cease to exist. This lecture will include additional textile print examples from the Syracuse University Sue Ann Genet Costume Collection which document how the trend became popular and what contributed to its demise.
Jeffrey C. Mayer is Associate Professor and Program Coordinator of Fashion Design in the School of Design, SU CVPA, as well as the curator of the Sue Ann Genet Costume Collection for which he has designed many historic costume exhibitions. He is also author of ‘Vintage Details; A Fashion Sourcebook’ published by Laurence King, London.
The show continues though March 19, 2017. The gallery is located in the Shaffer Art Building on Syacuse University campus. Gallery hours are Tuesday – Sunday 11:00 am – 4:30 pm. The gallery stays open until 8:00 pm on Thursdays. They are closed during university holidays. Call (315) 443-4097 for more information or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The artwork presented by storyteller artist and quilter Vanessa Johnson is an extension of her being. The outstretched arms of this humanoid fabric art are inviting, welcoming and loving, connecting the women they represent, the artist and the viewer in a heart-warming embrace. She is honoring women as she visually interprets their struggle while contemplating her own life journey as an African American with roots in Ghana.
Vanessa begins with the bodies – sewing cloth to cloth, much of it found in West Africa. This becomes her canvas and from it sprouts limbs, heads and the detailed decoration of meaning that produces emotionally-charged and animated floor-to-ceiling quilts.
Last night was the opening reception for Unwrapping Vanessa at ArtRage, 505 Hawley Avenue, Syracuse, New York. The art exhibition continues through March 25, 2017. ArtRage is a gallery that focuses on social issues. They hold several exhibitions a season and coordinate them with other events – lecture/discussions, musical performances and poetry readings, film screenings and theatrical plays. There is a pancake breakfast on Sunday, March 5, 2017 beginning at 9:00 am. On Wednesday, March 8, 2017, Vanessa Johnson will give an artist talk at 7:00 pm.
Vanessa has been creating art quilts for over twenty years and has exhibited her work all over Central New York. She displayed work at the Chittenango Middle School library a few years ago! Since then her work has evolved considerably.
There is so much raw emotion to be discovered. Of the love of identity, of the power of friendship and of the joy of knowing a world where so many women of color are respected in their achievements. She is certainly inspired by these women and by the strength of the community in which she lives.
The artwork is combined with stories, text in quilted books and woven into the tapestry. In addition, pouches of soil from her homes here and in Ghana are lovingly added as a type of talisman. She calls them “gris gris”. It is this narrative that blurs the lines between artist and artwork, iconography, environment and inspired action. So much beauty in the richness and flavor of her life! ❤
ArtRage is open Wednesday, Thursday and Friday 2:00 – 7:00 pm and Saturday noon – 4:00 pm. They are available for school tours as well, and are always seeking submissions from artists for future exhibitions. For more information, contact email@example.com. Their website is www.artragegallery.org.
By day, Penny Santy is a graphic artist. By night and weekends, she becomes a powerhouse superhero – an oil painting phenomenon who captures the essence and beauty of (as well as the struggle to find) the perfect relationship in a work of art.
I love having conversations about art with Penny. She was recently in Baltimore for the Diebenkorn and Matisse show and spoke passionately about the brush strokes and the artists’ implied intention resulting in their ultimate successful choices on canvas. It is this attention to things that Penny brings to her own work, a constant questioning of what instinctively works at any given time.
This is reflected in her literature.
My motivation for creating art is a search for what makes humans tick, and for finding emotion in the painted image. My work is derived from an exploration of human strengths, struggles, accomplishments or destruction. What is great about making art is that it goes much deeper than the outward appearance of things. I’m always searching through the process of painting for what is below the surface. The process allows me to discover, and I am excited by what I find. My paintings aren’t trying to present answers, but to ask questions.
Penny reworks paintings until they are to her satisfaction, whether it is the better choice of blue for a sky or the slightest value change in a complementary color scheme to tweak the flow of rhythm that is constantly in her vortex. Her presence as an artist is truly captivating.
I am really impressed with this new body of work, how it defines her vision, a place hovering between reality and abstract, which generates considerable movement with breathtaking perfection.
She sold several of these paintings at the opening last night at the Wilson Art Gallery in the Noreen Reale Falcone library at Le Moyne College (1419 Salt Springs Road, Syracuse, New York 13214). I observed patrons fighting over pieces (“okay, I’ll get that one and you can have that one” type stuff). It was really magnificent to witness her success. She is the real deal and I encourage anyone who wants to acquire her work to do so now before she skyrockets to the fame she deserves.
The show is titled Between Us. In addition to the butterfly series, Penny is sharing works she’d made for juried exhibitions including the winning entry from that Adirondack show and the Bowie-inspired one from the Tech Garden show last year. Her hen and sunflower paintings work as well here, as they reflect her proficient technical skills while fulfilling her criteria to share rhythm with respect to relationships between objects, nature and people.
The exhibition continues through February 24, 2017 and can be viewed during library hours. Call (315) 445-4153 for more information.
Make it a Penny Santy day today! Head over to see this show then take a drive out to Earlville, New York. You can meet Penny at the Earlville Opera House Art Gallery (18 East Main Street, Earlville, New York 13332) where she is exhibiting her series of bull paintings. There is an art reception from noon to 3:00 pm today!
Size Matters is the title of the latest art exhibition at Clayscapes Pottery, Inc. (1003 W. Fayette Street, Syracuse, New York 13204). The ceramic sculptures by Syracuse University grad student Peter Smith will be on display and for sale through February 23, 2017.
The show is a combination of two things – the idea of farm equipment enlarged and age simulated to act as a metaphor for man’s “relationship with the environment” according to his literature, and brilliant-hue glazed ceramic weapons mixed with porcelain gas masks, which I am assuming constitutes man’s willingness to destroy it.
The work is found attached to walls, resting on tables, hanging from the ceiling and strewn about the floor. This, for me and my band of fun artist friends, created a sort of surreal adventure in art wonderland, as we contemplated the minefield of meaning around the space.
It was the dialogue I was having as we posed in these pictures. Guns and missiles glazed in beautiful colors, a wall of blades that reminded me of the backdrop in a knife throwing performance at the circus…. Should we laugh or be afraid? Pretty weapons. Fragile weapons. But still weapons. And the haunting effect of decaying metal artifacts produced a kind of guilt-ridden sorrow.
There is definitely something about Peter’s work that makes you want to start a discussion. I love the idea of that narrative. Love the way the work fits together in a cohesive way and yet any one of the pieces could find a home and continue to resonate on its own. These gas mask castings are priced individually.
It was surreal and beautiful. Like whimsical horror. I just love this meeting of minds, love the way a college student can be such a free thinker, creating art for art’s sake but also as a means to tell a story or voice an opinion of the world as he sees it. It’s all in the perspective! You really ought to see this show.
The gallery is open Tuesday – Saturday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Call (315) 424-6868 for more information or visit their web-site at www.clayscapespottery.com. They are also on Instagram (clayscape_pottery) and have a Facebook page (Clayscapes Pottery)!
I strolled through the Everson Museum of Art today (401 Harrison Street, Syracuse, NY 13202). In the basement wing, they’ve flipped the Education Center with the Ceramics section and created a gorgeous inviting space for part of the ceramics collection (the rest, like the Robineau funerary urn, is in storage).
It is spectacular! The art looks fresh again. You can actually enjoy the nuances of individual pieces and appreciate them for their craft. The Everson has a very large collection of ceramics. I’m not sure if it is one of the largest in the country, but something like that. The old shelves made the collection look like it was all in storage, like they never really wanted people to look at it. I remember taking students on a field trip there once and there was so much stuff, it read like junk and nobody looked at anything.
The museum has never looked better! We have this incredible resource right here in Syracuse, NY. So great. I was delighted to see a handful of visitors there. They are charging a fee to get in these days, but it is free for Everson Museum members.