ALBANY – The exhibit space at the Albany Center Gallery is chock-full of works that reflect on this moment in time, and works that perhaps provide a bit of an escape from it.
The “Members’ Show” features more than 100 pieces from artists around the greater Capital Region, including winding sculptures, subtle audio/visual installations, vibrant paintings and more.
Upon entering, viewers are greeted with a somber still-life from Matt Chinian called “1611 Water, Oil, Whiskey,” featuring bottles of each. Below it hangs a richly textured encaustic from Ali Herrmann, filled with swamp-like shades of green and yellows. Nearby is a peaceful painting from Sandra Dwileski, depicting flowers wending their way upward the pale pink and yellow sky.
A distinctive portrait from Eugene Downs Jr. is shown just a wall over. While most of the figure’s head is in shadow, their cheeks and nose are alight with a warm yellow glow. Their eyes are closed, separating them from the viewer.
Further along, artist Jae Schalekamp, who won the show’s jurors select award, reflects perhaps on how disruptive this year has been for many. In “Routine (torn-mended)” Schalekamp stitches pieces of torn mulberry paper together with gold thread, meditating on how many of us have had to reconfigure our daily lives during the pandemic.
Fellow artist Lori Lawrence, whose piece “Chilkat Bay, AK,” hangs nearby, also uses thread; though her work takes viewers to a different mindset. Combining embroidery and paint, it features vibrant flowers and a calm sea, with mountains barely visible in the background.
Further on in the exhibit, Altin Stoja’s “Artomis” provides another form of escapism. Crystal blue and green water sweeps across the canvas, interrupted by a single boat. A statue of the Greek goddess Artemis is anchored in the foreground, looking out protectively toward the water, her hand reaching for her arrows.
Not too far away is a powerful photograph by Sean Hovendick, from his “Lives of Men” series. Front and center is a figure dressed in black from head to toe, sitting on wooden front steps, with a coffee cup beside them.
“Jim. 41 yrs old. Resourceful visionary. Former thespian. Lost his twin brother to suicide in 2013,” reads the caption from the artist’s website. The subject’s gaze is directed at the viewer, drawing them into their environment and story.
Another powerful work, this one by Kevin Kuhne, reflects the toll that the pandemic has had on businesses. In “Sheila’s, Boarded Up,” the artist uses watercolors to depict a boarded up wine and liquor shop, with a lone figure walking by it. The piece is mounted on a block of rough wood. It’s a work that reflects a reality that many have seen around their neighborhoods and communities this year.
Not too far away, is a moonlit landscape from Robert Moylan, “Anusczewski Farm.” The work is relatively small, featuring a snowy field and two silos, with a thin strip of road winding through the foreground and disappearing into the background. It echoes the solace that comes with the silence of winter nights.
The “Members’ Show” gives viewers a look at the talent of these regional artists, some who are well-established and some who are just starting. It will be up through January 15, 2021. The Albany Center Gallery is located at 488 Broadway, Suite 107, Albany. Hours are from noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday or by appointment. For more information visit albanycentergallery.com.