On Exhibit: Airport art goes beneath the surface

Richard Barlow, Daesha Devon Harris, Matt Frieburghaus, Tanya Marcuse, Kingsley Parker and Claire Sherwood among featured artists
“The Sea of Ice, Receding,” 2018, by Richard Barlow
“The Sea of Ice, Receding,” 2018, by Richard Barlow

Travel to new spaces at the local airport.

“Upon the Ground, Below the Water,” an exhibition up at the Albany International Airport Gallery is easy to dive into and well worth taking the time to visit, regardless of whether or not you’re waiting for a flight this Memorial Day weekend.

It’s a culmination of several artists, both local and not, including Richard Barlow, Daesha Devon Harris, Matt Frieburghaus, Tanya Marcuse, Kingsley Parker and Claire Sherwood.

As its name suggests, the exhibition takes viewers into various environments, some very real and others imagined. A large monochromatic work on chalkboard by Richard Barlow, called “The Sea of Ice, Receding,” spans three walls and it’s hard not to feel a sense of drifting desolation when standing before it.

A strangely whimsical series of installations by Kingsley Parker are adjacent to Barlow’s chalkboard piece. Small wooden boats are suspended from the ceiling and have these sorts of cone-like netting hanging below them, reminding one of the boat’s impact far below the sea’s surface.

While many of these pieces are environmentally focused, a few go beyond that and delve into social and technological commentary.

Take Harris’ works (of which there are many within the exhibition). “There are stains on the beauty of my democracy,” reads one of her works, the writing etched into the glass of the shadow box-like piece. Within this particular series, called “Just Beyond the River: A FolkTale,”  Harris explores the lives of African Americans, taking sepia-colored nineteenth-century photos and immersing them within a colorful, nature-inspired background. She pairs these with found objects, sometimes a screwdriver or a diptych, or a bow.

In one piece, a young-looking African American woman looks out at the viewer with lips closed tight, with the words “If for a day joy masters me, Think not my wounds are healed Far deeper than the scars you see, I keep the roots concealed” written on the glass over her. The mixed media photo is haunting, as are the others in the series, speaking to the pain and injustice felt by generations of African Americans.

Artist Matt Frieburghaus focused his works on juxtaposing place and technology, using 3D printer technology to create an installation of ice formations, rivers, mountains and ice falls. Frieburghaus was inspired by an artists residency to Iceland and the inspiration is easy to see.

Another dynamic piece by Parker is perhaps the best representative of the exhibition’s title. He created a 63-foot long fabric map of the Hudson River. It spans two walls and key locations are noted with scratchy-looking pencil written directly on the wall next to the map.

Whether you’re just passing through or you’re looking for a way to get away while staying in the area, check out “Upon the Ground, Below the Water.”

The exhibition is up until Sept. 3. The gallery is open every day from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Admission is free. For more information visit albanyairport.com/art.

Categories: Art, Entertainment


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