On Exhibit: Everyday materials are put to new use at Albany Airport

Featured in "Cut & Color" at Albany International Airport Gallery
“The Light Between Blue” by Jean Feinberg, part of the “Cut & Color” exhibit at the Albany International Airport Gallery.
“The Light Between Blue” by Jean Feinberg, part of the “Cut & Color” exhibit at the Albany International Airport Gallery.

COLONIE — Bright fluttering fabric echoes a sweeping cityscape and a smattering of pastel flecks is swallowed by galactic-like foam in “Cut & Color.” 

​Featured at the gallery of the quieter-than-usual Albany Airport, the exhibit uses everyday materials, combining them so they become unfamiliar and the viewer is forced to look at them in a new light. 

While the title is reminiscent of what many said when visiting their hairstylists the moment they reopened after this summer, the exhibition holds a different sense of immediacy, featuring abstract works with both busy and uncluttered styles. 

It opens with the latter, with a wall sculpture by Michael Milton, where stripes of alternating tones of warm and muted colors are juxtaposed within colliding shapes. 

The piece is followed by a sweeping fabric mural that stretches across one exhibit wall. Created by Melissa Dadourian, the piece layers a circle of transparent purple material with many rectangular pieces of well-loved fabric. “I’ll stay with you,” the title of the piece, lends the viewer a sense of comfort, and draws up tactile memories. 

Not too far away are Gina Occhiogrosso’s vibrant abstract collages. In “Red Drift” she combines fabric and paint and intersects geometric shapes to create new ones. Bright red, blue and white circles intersect to make new figures; some are star-like while others are less familiar. In “Verso,” the artist collages squares of white fabric featuring bright splotches of multi-colored circles. 

Her work, perhaps most obviously, reflects the exhibition title and introduction: “The qualities of abstraction that characterize these works mean that instead of looking as through windows into a story, we can trace associations with nature, architecture, and the body in all of its masculine and feminine variations. An invitation is also made to soak in the optics of carefully positioned color combinations, whose vibrance and saturation are both nuanced and exhilarating.”

In a room right around the corner from Occhiogrosso’s works, Dadourian plays with everyday ideas of architecture and landscape in her installation “Dream Attack.” Sheets of fabric with window-like cutouts hang from the ceiling and walls, fluttering with the movement of passersby and the air conditioning. Wooden structures echoing bars on windows and other familiar cityscape structures are placed throughout the installation, which culminates toward the center with painted rocks in shocking shades of orange, coral and gold. 

Just outside of the cityscape-like piece are Tamara Zahaykevich’s layered sculptures, which invite viewers to walk and wonder. 

A tilted, mountain-like structure featuring black pieces of foam board stands at the center of the section. From the front, the work seems brooding, but a quick look at the other side gives a different perspective. Gone is the solid black coloring; instead we get a hollowed-out mountain, with only a few pieces of foam board precariously holding it up. It’s topped off with a splash of bright yellow. Called “Old Man of the Mountain,” it deserves more than a look or two (or a walk around). 

Nearby, in one of Zahaykevich’s larger wall sculptures, intersecting shades of pastel are engulfed by a cloud-like mass of black foam. Dotted with flecks of colors, the foam is reminiscent of a muted galactic print. The work, titled “Whole Black,” juxtaposes the darkness of the foam with the flecks of pastels in a way that draws attention to the light in each. 

A tour of “Cut & Color,” assisted by the airport’s soundscape of rolling luggage, footsteps and shuffling tickets, gives one the sense of traveling. For those who, like many, are stuck at home this summer with canceled vacation or summer camp plans, a trip to the airport gallery may be in order if only to take a step back and make the ubiquitous feel a little less so.  

The exhibit runs through Sept. 7. For more information visit albanyairport.com.   

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