Show looks at war from different perspectives

Vivid oil-on-canvas paintings, other works give voice to war's victims
Part of “Bunker," from 2010, by Brian Cirmo, which will be part of the “Masters of War” exhibit.
Part of “Bunker," from 2010, by Brian Cirmo, which will be part of the “Masters of War” exhibit.

ALBANY — It’s not a war zone, but the Albany Center Gallery might echo one this weekend with the opening of its latest exhibit, “Masters of War.”

The show, curated by Brian Cirmo, brings together works from 16 regional artists that examine the concept of war from multiple perspectives. 

“We are at a time in modern history when war images are ubiquitous in our culture,” said Cirmo in a statement. 
In the past, art has been used to both encourage and protest war. But there’s always been a need to record and document war in some form through image. 

The artists featured in the exhibition created vivid oil-on-canvas paintings and other works, all depicting some aspect of war, to give a voice to its victims, to express its injustices and to question cultural norms. 
Cirmo was inspired by the Bob Dylan song “Masters of War,” which refers to “Masters” as people who build big guns and planes. But he flipped the meaning of the song and instead focused on the “Master Artists of War.”
“The ‘Masters of War’ in this exhibition are artists who use the rich and vast history of human conflict to build powerful and meaningful work that speaks to our collective unconscious and human condition,” Cirmo said. 

The exhibition opens on Fri. at Albany Center Gallery, 488 Broadway, Albany, and runs through Dec. 1. 

Oakroom Opening

The latest Oakroom Artist exhibition, opening this weekend, doesn’t have a name. But if the artists had to pick, it would be called “Layers.”

It brings together artists Karen Rosasco and Helga Prichard, the former the teacher of the latter. 

Rosasco’s work has been featured in shows and publications across the country, and she’s become well-known for her “abstract-by-design” style. She compiles layers of paint and mixed media, sometimes between six and 30 layers. Within her compositions, she blurs the line between objective art and abstract art.  

For more than a decade, Rosasco was director of the Oakroom Artists, and taught art in the Duanesburg school district as well as in her own sessions throughout the Capital Region and Europe. But she moved away from the region about two years ago to be closer to family in Virginia. 

The upcoming show with Prichard is both a goodbye and a homecoming.

“This will probably be my last show [in New York] … that’s why this is such a homecoming,” Rosasco said.

It’s part of the reason she wanted to show with Pritchard, who is both friend and student. 

“There’s a lot of Karen’s teaching in my work,” Prichard said.

Oftentimes within the Oakroom Gallery, each side of a show is dedicated to a single artist. But Rosasco and Prichard are going to mix their work since their styles are woven together. 

There’s an environmental abstraction to Prichard’s work. In one piece, called “Invasive Elements,” skyscrapers sit atop beautiful red mountains that look like they’re from out west. 

“[It’s about] how foolish we are, building up in the mountains with our concrete houses,” Prichard said. 

Although Rosasco’s work is well-known in the area, she warns that some people might not recognize her new style. 

“It’s larger, lighter and more serene,” Rosasco said. 

However, she’ll also bring along some pieces from older collections like “Immortal,” a striking piece created using handmade paper. 

“People are constantly saying ‘What was she thinking?’” Rosasco said. But that’s exactly what she hopes people will do when they see her work and the upcoming show: Think. 

The exhibit opens Friday at the Unitarian Universalist Society of Schenectady (1221 Wendell Ave., Schenectady). There will be a reception from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Sunday. 

Categories: Art, Entertainment

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