Oakroom artists bring meaning to chaos, anxiety

Latest show, called 'Fiber Action Print Passion,' is resistance in 2 parts
This is one of Peg Foley's works in the Oakroom Artists exhibit in Schenectady.
This is one of Peg Foley's works in the Oakroom Artists exhibit in Schenectady.

SCHENECTADY — The latest Oakroom Artists show, called “Fiber Action Print Passion,” is a resistance in two parts.

A desire to break away from the everyday and a desire to resist politically.

Artists Peg Foley and Kathy Klompas have woven together a joint show inspired by chaos, structure and exploration, which is on exhibit at the Unitarian Universalist Society of Schenectady.

Klompas’ work leans toward the abstract, with most of her pieces influenced by her background in textiles.

“I’ve gone from fabric to paper and back to fabric,” Klompas said.

Her collection is seeped in her love of color and texture, much of which was gained from her years working at The Costumer in Schenectady.  

While there, she created everything from a giant egg for the state Department of Agriculture to a 6-foot-tall Big Mac for a McDonald’s promotion.

It was a unique job and it had Klompas constantly working with textiles and textures. She still works with textiles in her printmaking studio called The Ragged Edge in Cohoes, where she teaches and creates most of her artwork.

The studio offers a respite from day to day life and worries at home in Clifton Park, a respite that inspired her latest collection.

“ . . . It’s about intuitive action, spontaneous color, a respite from the 9 to 5 . . . it’s an exploration,” Klompas said.

Using brightly colored dyes, Klompas reflects a sense of playfulness within her collection.

“Printmaking can go into a lot of different directions. . . .  We both come from a textile background, we just use it differently,” Klompus said of her joint show with Foley.

While Klompas’ work reveals a resistance from the drudgery of everyday obligations, Foley’s collection focuses on resistance of a different kind.

Inspired by the current political climate and by events like the Women’s March in January, the Schenectady resident uses stitching to call up the idea that humans tend to create structure from chaos. Other pieces incorporate fiber art, quilting and printmaking.

As a longtime educator within the Schenectady school district, Foley has been a strong supporter of arts education programs. She is also a firm believer in the necessity of investing time, energy and money into the arts.  

“I’ve felt the anxiety of not knowing if an art class would get cut or a program defunded.  . . . I’ve felt the anxiety of art teachers as they worry whether or not they will be able to teach the following year or if arts funding will disappear,” Foley said, “One cannot help but be aware of the anxiety that students, artists and art educators feel when one of the qualities that make us human is always on the attack.”

One piece in Foley’s exhibit, “Small Anxieties,” explores these struggles, while “Silent Resistance” expands on how people manage them.

There will be a reception for the show on Sunday, March 12, from 1:30 to 3:30 at the Unitarian Universalist Society at 1221 Wendell Ave.

To see the show, visit the Unitarian Universalist Society of Schenectady from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday through March 27.   

Categories: Art, Entertainment

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