The Gallery at Wildflowers Armory is the place to be – for great parties and events, YES! and as your new fabulous place to shop for arts and crafts by local artisans at amazing prices. It is also a great place to showcase new and emerging local talented artists. The gallery is a co-op. It offers rentable gallery space at daily, weekly and monthly rates.
It is located behind the armory (225 W. Jefferson Street, 13202) in Syracuse, New York. There is limited free parking in front. For gallery hours, check them out on social media. @wildflowers_syr on Instagram. There is also a Facebook page that will keep you updated on the latest events. Email them at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
I was there last Friday night for their “Black Masquerade” bash, my first Halloween party of the season. So fun!
There are things I have always liked doing and still do – swinging on swings at a playground, lol…playing jacks and Chinese jumprope, blowing bubbles with a ninety-nine cent bubble wand. They never get old. The best things in life from childhood – because when you were little you were free to just have fun and dream.
My summer has been a lot of that. A world filled with possibilities and joy. I discovered a new park today. It is on the west side of Syracuse, New York past the Delavan Center on W. Fayette Street, called Lipe Art Park.
I love that there are people in this city committed to improving abandoned areas, in this case a former railroad yard. Sculptures flourish beside positive message murals and flower garden vignettes, like set decoration for a movie with a backsplash of real-live moving trains. It has this surreal flavor of being elsewhere. Unexpected urban beauty.
I’ve driven past it loads of times and never noticed it until a Facebook post inviting me to visit unveiled it to me, which is just so amazing. I found a playful atmosphere there – a happening – Blinded by the Lipe! with music, food and new interactive art.
Went to another art reception last night. It’s called Gallery 4040 – it’s at 4040 New Court Ave. in Syracuse, NY, not far from my house. The people who frequent these art shows remind me of the actors in the movie Shakespeare in Love for some reason. I guess because they are all friends of a certain age (my age) and all happy, quirky and incredibly interesting. Each takes their turn in the starring role, in this case Marna Bell. Her black and white photographs are purposefully blurry to illustrate what’s missing from her life. Her memory. She is such a sweet person and yet she cannot remember chunks of her childhood.
I find this fascinating. I sometimes can’t remember what I am doing once I walk over to my desk at work. Like a student has asked for an eraser and as I approach the desk I begin talking to another student and I’m all what-am-I-doing-here? But I can remember my first kiss and other pretty embarrassing things that happened a long time ago, some things I wish I could forget because they play in my mind in a loop, over and over until I wish I could shut them off.
Ultimately, it is very brave to expose oneself, as Marna does with her revelation, and I admire her so much for it. Her work looks to be film clips taken from movie stills in a way that suggests – yes, I know those people, but wait, what?
There are some large paintings of nudes on the next wall of the gallery. I am really too immature to be in the same room with nudey-nudes, because I am the type of person who will say something completely inappropriate (and after having a small cup of wine, I’m pretty sure I did). The colors in these paintings by Lacey McKinney are gorgeous and combined with size and compositions that either distort or void out the woman’s face, they make me question who the audience is supposed to be.
I guess I wonder if artists even think about the audience at all. Do I? I’m not much of a business woman, so no, not really. I think my paintings are more meant to be displayed in homes versus gallery and museum walls. But how many people do you know who actually buy artwork for the purpose of enhancing their decor? Whatever number came to your mind, it really should be a lot more!
Why do people buy art? I had a conversation with someone last night who suggested that the local art scene is being supported by its own. Artists are trading art or outright buying each other’s art. We value it. So there’s another question for you – how do we get civilians (non-artists) to value it too? I’ve tried going the educate them route but for some, this is a hard sell.
So, back to last night -Juan Perdiguero’s chimpanzee drawings were the most fascinating to me. They are in the back room of the gallery. Very realistic. Life-sized drawings on photo paper. Huge in-your-face monkeys. I can’t even articulate what I want to say in sentences because these pieces need to be experienced. You want to reach out and touch them, even as you remember how chimps terrify you. They need to be in museum collections. I’ve never seen anything like them – the technique, the commitment to the subject matter and overall experience being near them….
It was in this room that I met and chatted with Mary Giel. Her effervescence really lit up the place. She’s currently exhibiting in the annual juried show called Made in NY at the Schweinfurth Museum in Auburn, NY, having created a massive amount of tiny crocheted pieces that accumulate into floor and wall installations, which she creates in between rock climbing expeditions among other interesting travels. The enthusiasm of her spirit is really breathtaking and made me realize that I need to find my way back to the pure spunk of it all. The fun that is mark making.
So I’ve decided to begin a painting project – but not that kind. Two hundred and fifty dollars got me enough latex paint and supplies to redo five out of the six rooms in my house.
I feel so DIY right now. I just spackled up a hole in the kitchen wall and filled the crack in the bathroom wall with caulk as per the paint clerk’s suggestion. I’m going to start painting tomorrow. The last time I painted the interior here, there was no furniture or cats, so I’m preparing to have a giant headache over it all. So much for spring break.
But since the weather has been so craptastic, it seemed like as good a time as any to do it. Plus once I get an idea in my head, I really can’t let it go until I make it happen – it’s like having a giant monkey on my back.
Yesterday was one of those perfect days where I did everything I set out to do. It was kind of a thinking week and I finally executed decisions from the think tank.
I was thinking about the Academy Awards. In the past (read: up until yesterday), I scoffed at those who thanked their families for an award they received at work. It seemed to me that the SHORT speech should reflect the specific aspects of the work and thanking co-workers was the way to go. But then I had the flu and the subsequent bout with a debilitating sinus infection and the truth is that I could have never gotten through the week without help from Mom and Dad. Mom for running to the grocery store to get me oranges, bananas, Jello, and meds, and sitting with me without any fear of getting sick herself, and Dad for helping me shovel/snowblow my driveway at least three times so that when I was ready to go out, I actually could fall back into civilization. No matter what other successes I may have had otherwise, I owe so much of it to them for being there for me always, including supporting me and my decision to be an artist. I am grateful they decided to get married when they were basically kids and are still going strong after fifty-three years of marriage. So thank you, Mom and Dad.
I don’t care if you call me a cat lady (at least you think I’m a lady) but I would also like to thank my two little indoor gin-gins for their companionship. I tend to think they loved having me around this week. My life was much like theirs. Eat a little, dream a lot. Go up and down the stairs and wonder what the hell I was doing up there once I got there, etc. So thank you, Georges and Pablo. Georgie is named after Georges Braque and Pablo for Picasso. I’m kind of hoping they will want to help me make abstract watercolors this summer – I would love to see their polydactyl footsies stomping on Arches paper.
They are not my first multi-toed nutters. I found a picture of Meet-zee and me recently. He was our first cat. We got him on Halloween when I was about nine from a house on Erregger Terrace. I was telling the story to some students the other day and it did seem a little weird, like not something that would happen today unless scripted into an episode of Criminal Minds or something.
My sister, Kathy, and Anita Suritis and I were invited into the trick-or-treat house, went into the downstairs rec room and saw the orange and white kittens along with their mother in a comfortable cardboard box. Their eyes had just opened making them about six weeks old, I guess. We called Mom from the house and she came over in her bathrobe (not uncommon) and we got Meet-zee. He only lived a year, hence no artwork. Thought he ran away but only a few years ago Mom and Dad revealed that he was buried in the yard. He’d been hit by a car over by where Kathy lives now. Yeah, we used to let him go out at night and he would go hunting at Barry Park.
So, back to yesterday, I re-joined Gold’s Gym, went grocery shopping, came home, gung-hoed on doing pilates, and went to an art show! Thank god for people like curator Anne Novado of Cappuccilli Fine Art, LLC! She’d posted the event on Facebook, called Fine Art pairing at Wine 105 (105 Green Street, Syracuse, NY), and I had checked that I would be going. Then the weather got all snowstorm again and I could have easily reverted to my specialty, staying home in jammies with a Duraflame log in the woodstove, but I did it. I said I would and I did. I ventured out (and I’m really glad I did)!
I had a great conversation with the eternally youthful sculptor Arlene Abend and saw and chatted with Cheryl Chappell, Marna Bell, Sherry and Peter Allen, Linda Bigness, Anne Novado, and many others.
I really love a captive audience so here it was – an art show at a wine store. And I really, really love it when it isn’t a group show, when it is a one artist thing showcasing the depth and breath of one person you can truly fall in love with. That person is Diana Godfrey.
Now, I’m not an art critic and I find that it isn’t really a job I want to have being that I am a colleague, a fellow artist. With that said, I am completely head-over-heels for Diana’s work. She is a texture goddess. There were straight paintings, and paper collages – paintings on paper then torn and arranged in magnificent compositions on display, all framed by Cheryl Chappell from Edgewood Galleries.
I met Diana for the first time last night and she had such a regal elegance. I was born in Syracuse, lived two years in Florida – end of story. I mean family is what brought and kept me here. But Diana recieved her Master’s in Iowa and came here because her spouse had gotten a job at the university – not sure how long ago. She spoke to me about the business of art and I loved that she could bridge both worlds – to be that talented and business savvy. She makes a living selling art and well she should.
I just love her sense of color and the texture in her work and the holy trinity of putting those together with the ease of rhythmic expertise. There is so much to see in her world. It’s what I’ve always wanted in mine – a sense that once you are drawn in, you never want to look away. You never want to leave. Her prices are reasonable so you may want to head down there and pick up a few. While you’re there you can throw in a few bottles of wine to enjoy while watching the female Superbowl tonight. You’re welcome.
My work colleague, Sherry Spann Allen, is the lead artist in a group exhibition at the Tech Garden. It is an office building across from the Hotel Syracuse in downtown Syracuse, New York. This city is all about alternative venues for artwork where a captive audience is forced to make visible what is ordinarily invisible.
Sherry’s work is all about texture, playing with it to the degree that her canvases literally pop off the wall with geometric, amorphic and combination shapes that emit a feeling of the sea. Gorgeous turquoise encaustic and oil pastel mix with pinks and creams to produce the feeling of being on vacation in the Mediterranean. I will be surprised if she doesn’t sell every one of those paintings in the next three months.
I know that at least one artist made a sale last night at the reception, which is great news for our talented community. Steve Nyland curated the show from a list of emerging and already out there localites who’d been queued for a coveted spot at a local Armory Square bistro. When the place changed hands, the art space was nixed in favor of god-knows-what. Kind of a blow, but we artists are like cockroaches, emerging from the disappointment and ready to infest the world with our aesthetics. Beware – we are not going anywhere!
Joan Applebaum was the only other artist I knew who exhibited – landscapes of familiar landmarks that resonate with local audiences because of their emotionally charged nostalgic-inducing vibe.
I took a few pictures of some other work as well, and I couldn’t help but take a few snaps of the food. They had quite a spread. In their defense, it was an excellent turn out for a night that started out fine and quickly turned into a blizzardly drive-from-hell-frozen-over drive home.
The show, entitled Winter Recipe, continues through March 27th, 2015. The Tech Garden is located at 235 Harrison Street and features in addition to Sherry and Joan, the artwork of the following: Holly K. Austin, Theresa Barry, Emily Bender, Willson Cummer, Christophe Ennis, Cat Gibbons, Arianna Lynch, Ashley Marie, Yegor Mikushkin, Kathryn Petrillo, Gail Reynolds, Doreen Simmons, Ray Trudell, and Missy Zawacki,