On Exhibit: Works of Gail Kort, Tom Schottman to be celebrated

End of 2017 wasn’t necessarily filled with holiday cheer for Oakroom Artists
“Albany, Schenectady and Troy from Thacher Park Overlook-Big Fall,” by Gail Kort.
“Albany, Schenectady and Troy from Thacher Park Overlook-Big Fall,” by Gail Kort.

Between new exhibitions and new digitally guided tours, the local visual arts scene seems to be waking up after the new year. Here’s a glance at what’s going on:
Oakroom Artists

The end of 2017 wasn’t necessarily filled with holiday cheer for the Oakroom Artists. 

The group lost two of its members: Gail Kort and Tom Schottman. With their upcoming exhibition, the Oakroom Artists are finding a way to celebrate the work and the lives of the artists they lost.

“With the unexpected passing of Schottman and Kort, we worked quickly to find a way to honor them at this first show of the year. We wanted their work with ours as we, as Oakroom members, are deeply connected through friendship and support,” said Karen Cooper, the Chairperson for the exhibition. 

Kort and Schottman’s work will be on exhibit alongside 19 members. Schottman was known mostly for his sculptures, which were inspired mainly by nature. For fellow artists like Cooper, Schottman will be remembered for his elaborate garden parties and sculpture shows when he would unveil and celebrate his latest sculptures. Other members remember him for his enthusiasm for the arts and for his kindness. A small collection of Schottman’s sculptures will be featured in the show.

Kort focused her artistic career on paintings, usually illustrating outdoor scenes, with special attention to Thacher Park. She’d won several awards for her pieces of the sky and a large three-paneled painting titled “Albany, Schenectady, and Troy from Thacher Park Overlook – Big Fall” will be included in the exhibition. But she’s remembered by many as someone who was always willing to bring others to the arts and to step in and lead when the Oakroom Artists needed it. Robin Rosenthal, an OA member, said that Kort enriched her life with art and helped to lead her to the organization. In Kort’s later years, as she was struggling with various health issues, gave back to her in a way. In an email to Helga Prichard, an Oakroom Artist, neighbor and longtime friend in 2016, Kort said she was thankful to be part of the group of artists and happy to be able to talk and exhibit with them. 

Her work and Schottman’s will be on exhibition alongside work by artists like Corey Pitkin, Kevin Kuhne, and George Dirolf, among others.  

The Oakroom Artists Winter Group Exhibition opens on Sunday, January 21, with a reception from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. It will be up until February 28 at the Unitarian Universalist Society of Schenectady (1221 Wendell Ave). For more information visit oakroomartists.wordpress.com

Albany Institute of History and Art

New York State’s oldest museum went digital last week. 

The Albany Institute of History and Art released the first in a series of Family Discovery Tours, which can be accessed using a cell phone.

Short recordings cover the museum’s history, some of the iconic sculptures at the Institute, and the various exhibitions on view. The digital tour also prompts and questions that can start up a discussion or make viewers delve more into local history. For visitors looking for a bit more detail on each exhibition, the tour also features QR codes that visitors can scan and discover additional information. People who can’t physically visit the Institute can also access the tour, via aiha.oncell.com. The tour will be updated as various exhibitions open. 

At this time the tour includes stops at the “Hudson River School: Landscape Paintings from the Albany Institute” and “Well-Dressed in Victorian Albany” exhibitions as well as other stops at artifacts in the Institute’s permanent collection. 

Opalka Gallery

Art professors aren’t solely teachers; they’re also artists. 

And the Opalka Gallery is focusing on that with “Practice What You Teach: Sage College of Art and Design Faculty Show,” which runs until February 14. 

It’s a show that Opalka curates every four years as a way of leading by example. This time around, the exhibition features works from thirteen full time, adjunct, and emeritus professors. 

The group contributed a range of work, including photography, sculpture, digital media, painting, graphic design and illustration, among others. 

“This faculty believes in practicing what they teach, but just as importantly, teaching what they practice,” said Matthew McElligott, the art and design department chair. 

There will be an opening reception from 6-8 p.m. on February 2. For gallery hours and more information visit opalka.sage.edu.

Categories: Art, Entertainment

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