On Saturday, July 21st, a group of artists will open five solo shows (sculpture, collage, and painting). The works will be on display through August 12th with a reception for the artists on Saturday, July 21st from 6:00 until 8:00 p.m.
Main Galleries & Sculpture Garden
Set of six bronze figure (life-size).
“I have been making sculpture for over 50 years. I encountered my first sculpture, a 4th dynasty Egyptian reserve head, in Boston, while on an evening college-course museum visit that changed my life. Later at Oberlin, I drew great inspiration from Norman Tinker, an artist I worshiped, even though he
said almost nothing to me. What he did do was give me validation and encouragement to keep doing sculpture. I later learned everything that I could from Peter Agostini, working as his assistant for 3 years.
Agostini taught me to look instinctually, and hard – and ultimately to draw. I gained fuller artistic independence through contact with individuals I admired and emulated by trying to do what they did or what I thought they did.
I think of myself as a member of a 7,000-year- old guild of sculptural image makers, going back to Ain Ghazal. I feel connected artistically and spiritually to many artists of the past, some known; many unknown. Sculpture has been practiced for thousands of years, in every part of the globe, by every
permutation of human being imaginable. Much of it is strikingly primitive, direct and without artifice. Much of it is also anonymous, an idea with which I resonate. The concept of originality as the ultimate goal in art does not interest me. I am committed instead to a through line of practice and discovery at transcends the individual artist.
Within this larger world of sculpture, I seek visual and mythological associations from the art of the past, including Hellenistic, Roman, Medieval, Aztec, Coptic, Indian, and 19th-century works. Among modern sculptors, Medardo Rosso has long been my favorite.
Making sculpture for me is a silent and Shamanistic activity. I work from dreams and take cues from experience — recorded in my dreams, drawings and memory — fashioning sculpture that draws on the same thematic pool that has fed many artists of the past: adoration, metamorphosis, death, suffering, redemption – and love.”
Christopher Cairns, 2018
Recognition/Remembrance is a set of six bronze figures clustered in a group. They are life-size figures. Each of the figures embodies some form of hostility, timidity, introspection, or fearful hesitancy. Collectively, they intentionally display a feeling of ambiguous action and confrontational inertia — they are perhaps going somewhere – or nowhere.
The sculptures were originally fashioned in clay and cloth and cast into bronze. A plaster version also exists.
Main Galleries & Sculpture Garden
Standing Woman, 2016, oil on canvas, 70 x 50 inches
“A mirror is like the Roman Janus image, a moment that looks inward and out. The works in Mirrors are my attempt to reflect dualities. The paintings are mostly large with figurative imagery I source from drawings that I had made from life. Working from the drawings increases time-space that reverberates into the paintings. Ultimately, the images feel concrete, though none are literal depictions.”
Sam Levy, 2018
Carriage House, Second Floor
Swing, 2017, fresco, 17 x11 inches
“Did wars and plagues prevented arts?
Was lack of freedom stopping masters?
What’s really touching our hearts
Was made despite of the disasters.
Fresco takes me back to basics and keeps me close to a long history.
All the used materials are fundamental, simple and fresh. It has a strong connection with unchanged earth: lime, sand, natural pigments, water.
I like the fact that I can prepare everything from scratch. And thus it becomes more than just a painting. I am not only applying pigments; I do build my work, where the sense of layering is extremely present.
There is something very sensual about flowing watery pigments penetrating a raw surface and merging with the fresh layer of lime and sand. The paint doesn’t stay on the surface like in oil or acrylic: it is literary deep inside. The naturally created top layer of calcium carbonate protects fresco from external hazards.
High discipline, which includes a limited time frame, is the way to honor the technique. Soft material becomes hard like a stone. The decisions have to be made fast. Following my impulse is important and spontaneity plays a crucial role.”
Maryna Bilak, 2018
Carriage House, Third Floor
living visual koans: you are what you seek
who Is this person, 2017, acrylic medium & original paper photographs on panel, 30 x 30 inches
These new works present the composite worlds that unfold from daily creative and devotional practices. Scrap is always motivated in art making by a religious spirit that seeks to understand the nature of reality and the human search for God, meaning, and the non-dual Self. Thus piecing together these observations of the world in her immersive photomontages, she has noticed that we are engaged in causal dynamics rarely perceived.
Scrap photographs subjects encountered in lived experience to express aspects of her understanding, and she invites viewers to open gates in their experience by entering into the symbolic space of her artworks. Coming from a place of profound inter-connectedness to things, scraps’ witnessing of the passage of time, interactions, and events leads her to assemble scenarios of visual language that may function on some level as visual koans.
Koans in the Zen tradition intend to induce students’ awakening by speaking to the roots of our deepest questions about the human condition. Defying rationality, yet speaking to the yearning heart, the photomontages become self-referring maps that confront fears — venturing boldly into ‘unknowns’ by pushing diligently through vast realms of epistemological ‘knowns.’ Then, the physical works exist both as contemporary art and as timeless offerings, aspiring to perpetuate the ancient, non-dual “Way-seeking Mind” however possible.
Carriage House, Fourth Floor
left…The History of landscape, 2018, wood latex and plexiglass, 72 x 24 inches
center…Play List, 2018, wood latex and plexiglass, 61 x 23 inches
right…Oceans away, 2018, wood latex and plexiglass, 72 x 23 inches
Isherwood’s is showing newly developed computer navigated cut wood blocks and they are further developments of unanticipated consequences of new technologies and his ongoing dialogue with the associative sensations of image, color, and surface. Carved lines contour the surfaces to emphasize the convergence between pattern, surface, color and image and create the illusion of expansiveness and provoke narrative associations to place and sensation. The recently completed series propose a state of reflection through mirrored shapes that are centralized to the highly articulated relief carved surrounds.
On Saturday, June 23rd, a group of artists will open a medley of exhibitions. The gallery will have six solo shows (sculpture and painting). The works will be on display through July 15th with a reception for the artists on Saturday, June 23rd from 6:00 until 8:00 p.m.
Underground Passages (Exit), 2017, C-Print, wood, Museum Board, 64 x 22 x 12 inches
“Recently I have been moved by the shifting light outside my studio windows. As a result, I am in the midst of a large cycle of paintings titled LightSwitch that decodes my interpretation of light. I take in observation of light, light interactions and study the science of light. My viewpoints are both human and microscopic scale.
Readings on the physics of light have guided this work, but the experience of applying pigment dominates what happens in the studio. I look for luminosity, pursue improvisation and set up possibilities for chance and spontaneity. My studio practice is the sum of decades of experimentation, my curiosity about a slew of topics, close attention to contemporary art, friendships, politics, emotional rollercoasters, curated reading, playlists and for-my-eyes-only dancing.”
This project has been supported by a grant from the Martha Boschen Porter Fund, a Fund of Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation.
“Punch & Judy,” concrete and archival concrete paint, 41 x 64 x 42 inches
“My recent work has returned gradually toward my beginning and first love as a sculptor: the human figure. This was after years of working abstractly and making public art all around the US. My reason for this return (though I loved making the abstractions) was the wish to expand my work, to take what I gained during those years and make it even more meaningful for myself (and hopefully others), to put as much as possible into each sculpture. I think that nothing is more meaningful for us than human life, our own and others and each life is different. That is why each of my sculptures, while clearly recognizable as my work (including the abstractions), is usually quite different from every other sculpture. My belief is if I can put some of the wonder, sadness, comedy, tragedy, and drama that is in every life into a well-conceived and executed sculpture it will continue to be meaningful over time.”
Howard Kalish, 2018
Ground Floor, Carriage House
Untitled, 2018, oil on board, 8 x 5 feet
“Athletes talk about getting into the ‘zone’ – in terms of painting, one can learn all of the elements of making a painting and be very good at it and still what you end up with is just a painting. Somehow one must find a way to go beyond that, the sum of its’ parts has to end up being more than their total. Two and two have to be more than four, two and two has to become ten. Frank Auerbach spoke about it as being the ‘magic of painting.’ Something happens, it’s hard to describe in words, it is more of a feeling, something spiritual. Transcendence is another word which seems to apply but for the moment, I think I like to describe it as ‘magic’, it is the continuing search for magic, to try to attain that which is almost unattainable.”
Dickson is the recipient of two Pollock Krasner Awards and exhibits his work internationally, including recent solo shows in Nunu Fine Art, Taipei; David & Schweitzer Gallery, New York and currently included in Iceland Biennial, Fresh Winds, Iceland. Dickson’s work is held in private collections in USA, Europe, and Asia and in public collections including Haensa Contemporary Art Museum, Korea, Arts Council of Northern Ireland; Arts Council of Great Britain; Ulster Museum Belfast, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool and the Palmer Museum in Pennsylvania.
Carriage House, Second Floor
Una Folla 16 1/2″ x 14″ image, 21 1/2″ x 19″ paper size
“Working the borderlands between the decorative arts and an abstracted code of images I am painting rhythmic, loosely grid-based works. With one foot in the contemporary and one foot in history, they at once surprise me and feel familiar – like the handkerchief I saved or the garden I prune. Graphic and cartoon-like bulbous forms comingle with nature – referencing pattern as well as organic growth. Raucous figure-ground interaction draws me down this path- nature-based yet strewn with culture – or is it – culture based and adorned in memories of the landscape.”
Holly Hughes, 2018
Carriage House, Third Floor
Dead Elms, 2017, oil on wood, 41 x 42 inches
Clay Sorrough paints from within, rather than “from life;” but the landscapes that appear on his canvases are not fantasies. They arise out of the immersive experience of the physical environment of upstate New York with its layers of occupation and abandonment, cultivation and surrender, construction and collapse, a continuous pentimento, all within the much longer story of nature itself. We have, for centuries, seen in our American landscapes an expression of our collective interior life, changing, as history has moved forward, from a faith in our heroic exception from the tragic laws of history to a more complex understanding of vulnerability and error, dashed promise and slow realization that, indeed, we may be subject to those rules after all.
Sorrough’s s work is right out of the zeitgeist of this moment, rendering landscapes that, to this onlooker, expresses our national interior moment as a people. They are moving in the way of Albert Pinkham Ryder’s work, especially the night paintings’, in which with a warm dark layering of paint, Ryder captures the uncanniness of the presence of the world and the loneliness of our inclusion in it. Sorrough’s work is different in that he captures what seems like a kind of darkness in light, in decay, in forgetfulness, in a futile struggle. Though the same loneliness and largeness come through in Sorrough’s work, it is full of the partially hidden presence of multiple generations, levels upon levels of experience in a natural world now irreversibly altered by that occupation.
These paintings are elegiac, but never romantic, always contemporary, edged with uncomfortable paradox and yet gorgeous. If there is a desolation, or fear here instead of promise and hope, or an absence of the homey naturalness of human settlements in providential surroundings, that is not superimposed as ideological cant. It arises, instead, in nuanced complexity, out of the landscape itself, speaking to us, through the artists’ paint and tools and his meticulous and time deep process. These paintings can seem to have arisen out of our dreams, speaking to us in an altogether unfamiliar register, asking who have we become, where are we?
But let’s not struggle any longer to capture in words what is so much more articulately expressed here in this very beautiful and very powerful work.
Suzannah Lessard, 2018
Carriage House, Fourth Floor
Three Old Four New, 2018, hoes, bamboo hanger, wire, thread, nails, 74 x 33 x 21cm
“Four old four new” was a champion to destroy the old culture and establish the new during the cultural revolution in China, 1968. By demolishing a huge amount of traditional objects, architectures, and arts, modern Chinese successfully cut our cultural blood from our ancestors who created one of the most delicate civilizations. This scene of cultural ruin and the tone of the brokenness and the brutality are the background to see the big success of China during recent two decades in economics and as the most important role for industrial production in this contemporary. In the piece Three Old Four New, I assemblage three old shoes and four new ones, which gives the title. Shoes remind me of the standing on the ground, the presence of human being; they can be the symbol of journeys. Shoes are one of the most common export products that made in China and sold globally. My shoes are so close to my body and many of them have accompanied me in my life journeys that from Beijing to New York, then to London. I use shoes collected from my friends, family and myself, or bought from those super retail merchants. In object making, shoes are cheap materials but provide surprisingly abundant variety. I never could predict how many layers, colors or structures a pair of shoes can provide until I shovel their surface off. The deconstruction leads me to an exploration of construction with new forms, by doing which I have a chance to retrieve the lost memory, story, and reveal the hidden reality.
Yi Zhang, 2018
On Saturday, May 26th, a group of five artists will open the season with a medley of exhibitions for the Main Galleries, Sculpture Garden and Carriage House. In celebration, the gallery will have solo shows (sculpture and painting). The works will be on display through June 17th with a reception for the artists on Saturday, May 26th from 6:00 until 8:00 p.m.
Diver, 2018, oil on canvas, 20 x 16 inches
“In this current body of paintings that I will be showing at John Davis Gallery, I will be focusing on the summer Olympics from 2016. I have been working on this series for the past 2 years and this will be the first time I will be able to exhibit the series in its totality.
I wanted to paint the Olympics because of the courage of the human mind. To me, an athlete is almost like a supreme being. Not because they are athletes, but because they show me how powerful the human mind can be when you set a task when you have to be disciplined to achieve a goal. I find this extremely inspiring so these paintings become metaphors of experience, falling, running, losing, winning. In these figures, I have painted these acts of the Olympians. I see such a metaphor of how I want to live and see, to be in the moment as a living craftsman and always try to make the image that speaks to me and the path that I am on.”
Clintel Steed, 2018
Sculpture Garden & Ground Floor Carriage House
“Legends of Montecastello,” 2012, glazed terracotta,16 x 9.75 x 7 inches
“This group of ceramic pieces was not intended to be…
Indeed, they were merely the tests – to try some new glazes, intended for a large ceramic outdoor sculpture – a commission, from some time ago.
Dealing with glazes was something entirely new to me. Always admiring colors of Italian, Japanese, Chinese ceramic, I considered them, nevertheless, decorative…
I remember the breathtaking feeling in the front of a kiln when the door opens and you are the first one to see the works..!
Sometimes I got some beautiful results, but in general – it was a bunch of failures… Nothing even close, to what I would expect… Total disappointment… Some of the works slowly grew on me, but overall it was a failure…
On the other hand, I feel – I’m attracted to ‘’failure’’ – my favorite quote is Beckett’s: “ Try again… Fail again… Fail better…”
It took me some time to see how beautiful those “failures” were…!
Isn’t that something? What do you make out of it?..”
Leonid Lerman, 2018
Carriage House. Second Floor
Predator Country: Wilderness paintings from Montana and Southern California
Climbers Rocks revisited, 2017, oil/board, 20 x 24 inches
“The high Mojave desert of Southern California is wilderness home to the cougar as is Joshua Tree national park with its huge boulders sculpted by wind, sun, and water. Culp’s dynamic painting “Climbers Rocks revisited, “asks for footholds up the near vertical face of these massive granite outcroppings as they tower over the dry scrub vegetation below. The work injects a poetic imperative into painted wilderness experience and reminds us of our unique, and now fragile, heritage of public land.”
Jane Culp, 2018
Carriage House, Third Floor
Alannah In Mori Dress, 2017, oil on canvas, 70 x 36 inches
“The process of painting my subject directly from observation in natural light has always been essential to my work and a jumping off point for exploring intimacy and poetic visual relationships found both in observable reality and the abstract relationships within the painting. In my most recent paintings, I have been working from memory as well, slowing down, and focusing more on allowing visual metaphors to emerge over time. In painting the specific, I am painting the universal.
Alix studied painting at Bennington College and received her MFA from Indiana University. She has shown her work in New York, Connecticut, and Italy. She lives and works in New York City and Taghkanic NY with her two daughters.”
“Working directly from observation but clearly suffused with a classical sensibility, Bailey manages both to channel and to contrast with the wholly invented, steely automata of her father, William Bailey. They share a cool stillness, but distinct in the younger artist is a tender voluptuousness of flesh tones and a creamy, painterly touch that conspire to imply a sense of presentness. The unforced credibility of a sitter inhabiting her own gravity, meanwhile, and the feeling of total compatibility between fullness and ease speak to the empathy of one woman regarding another.”
Carriage House, Fourth Floor
White Light, 2017, oil on linen, 84 x 48 inches
“My motifs are found, not created. They involve an interaction between abstraction and perception, centered on the urgency of a fleeting observation of a moment of light. These observations are of nature, which in our time seems itself to be fleeting.”
Margaret Grimes, 2018
On Saturday, April 28th, there will be an exhibition of constructions by Erin Walrath in the Main Galleries. The work will be on display through May 20th with a reception for the artist on Saturday, April 28th from 6:00 until 8:00 p.m.
Unto (the blue study,) 2018, book covers, archival adhesive, approx 20 x 14 x 2 inches
“Somewhere at the heart of my process are memories I cannot quite access, holes that are trying to be mended, an attempt at making sense of things. I see incidental beauty in the worn surface of objects, such as discarded books, that have been battered by time and will soon be rendered obsolete. I dismantle and distill them in the studio, ending up with pieces that feel to me like pixels, brush strokes or individual figures which may then be gathered together to invoke new meaning. In this way, my studio practice often feels like an homage to the comforting processes of nature, which pull simultaneously both inward and outward, constantly rising out of and returning to the most basic of elements.”
Erin Walrath, 2018
On Saturday, March 31st, there will be an exhibition of drawings by John Lees in the Main Galleries. The work will be on display through April 22nd with a reception for the artist on Saturday, March 31st from 6:00 until 8:00 p.m.
In the Park/Early Morning, 2015, graphite, ink on paper, 11 x 9.125 inches
“…Nerval confessed in one of his progress reports to his editor: the more he wrote, the more he crossed out… only in erasure does the true image of our desire take shape. “
– Introductory note to “Angelique” and “Sylvie” by Richard Sieburth: Gerard de Nerval, Selected Writings — Penguin Classics, 1999
This exhibition is in conjunction with a solo show of paintings by John Lees at Betty Cuningham Gallery (15 Rivington Street
New York, NY 10002): March 30 – May 6, 2018
Platinum & Palladium
On Saturday, March 3rd, there will be an exhibition of photographs by Betsy Crowell. The work will be on display through March 25th with a reception for the artist on Saturday, March 3rd from 6:00 until 8:00 p.m.
My Pond, 1998, Platinum/Palladium print, 2.25 x 2.25 inches
“As a kid I was a Private Eye. Nancy Drew and Dick Tracy were my heroes.
We used tiny spy cameras. One of mine was worn on my pointing finger.
Not much has changed in 75 years. The hidden, waiting to be found, and the deeply seen still command my attention.
The pictures in this exhibition were taken with film in small plastic cameras and large, vintage view cameras.
Each is handcrafted in a darkroom using the noble metals, platinum and palladium which yield the most beautifully nuanced and exquisite image.”
Betsy Crowell, 2018
On Saturday, February 3rd, there will be an exhibition of paintings by Polina Barskaya in the Main Galleries. The work will be on display through February 25th with a reception for the artist on Saturday, February 3rd from 6:00 until 8:00 p.m.
Pink Bath, 2016, acrylic on panel, 16 x 20 inches
My recent paintings are of my immediate surroundings. They are usually self-portraits or portraits of my husband in different moments of our daily life. They are a kind of documentation, a way of examining, breaking apart, remembering, understanding the passing of time, and recording the stillness of private moments in a very fast-paced isolating world.
Polina Barskaya, 2018
Sailing to Byzantium
On Saturday, January 6th, there will be an exhibition of work by Martin Dull in the Main Galleries. The work will be on display through January 29th with a reception for the artist on Saturday, January 6th from 6:00 until 8:00 p.m.
Confusions of a Wasted Youth, 2017, acrylic and charcoal on canvas, 92 x 45 inches
Sailing to Byzantium explores a world existing somewhere between our waking life and dreams. Derived from a Yeats poem, it refers to a transformative state where mortal cognizance leads to spiritual transformation.
“…Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing…”
– W.B. Yeats
My goal is simple: to communicate through paint and found objects the many and diverse sensations of being within a non-objective environment. I work abstractly because I am interested in the individual and subjective responses to these forms. Whether or not the state of viewing is consistent, a dialogue will emerge through the experiential nature of the work – opening it to a set of truths that can be discussed and debated by all. The paintings probe the viewer; are you being transported to an excited state? Is there elation, anxiety, feelings of curiosity or disruption? In this sense, my work serves as a bridge from the personal to the public, the intangible to the geographical, while encouraging communication and, ultimately, unity.
Martin Dull, 2018