Many of us celebrated the end of a tumultuous 2020 last week. However, with the recent rise in coronavirus cases and an uncertain outlook for 2021, especially when it comes to local arts and community events, it seems we’re not exactly out of the woods yet.
Luckily, there are still some options when it comes to visual arts. The following regional exhibits can be viewed from home and one is available for in-person visits as well.
The first is “Upstate Artists” at The Laffer Gallery in Schuylerville or thelaffergallery.com. Juried by George Dirolf, it features works by 30 local artists, incorporating a variety of mediums.
One of the most vivid works is “Light on a Trunk” by Daniel Schroeder. The joyous painting features a massive, richly textured tree surrounded by a fiery-yellow forest floor, reminiscent of late fall.
Mary Ellen Riell’s “Side Yard Hydrangeas,” has one thinking back to the summer, with its verdant foreground, abundant with white hydrangeas, tucked between a shaded home and a white picket fence.
Another striking work is Gary Larsen’s “Purity Lake,” a chilling black and white photograph with a line of trees stretching toward the sky, their reflections hitting the still lake below them just right, so it looks as though the trees are reaching across the water. While the tone is eerie, there’s a sense of peace in the composition.
There are several other impressive landscapes in the exhibit, as well as a few fantastical works, like “Whispers From the Woods,” by Jon Gernon, who won best in show. Using oil and egg tempera, Gernon has created an intricate visual story, with a world bursting with creatures, including a peach-colored snake, pink deer, and tiny bubble-gum pink pig curled up on a woman’s lap. She is the central figure in the work, with piercing blue eyes and white-blue hair that’s been coiffed into a bulbous heart-shape. It’s nearly impossible to refrain from applying some sort of narrative to the piece and it’s fun to play around with the possibilities.
On the flip side, a clay sculpture by Phyllis Kulmatiski grounds one in the present. Called “Hero | Essential Worker,” the piece features a mask-clad figure, with a determined look in their eyes. Kulmatiski, who also won best in show, offers up another equally powerful work: “Border Madonna,” with a worried-looking figure holding a small child.
There are many other pieces in the exhibit, spotlighting local talent and giving viewers, even those stuck inside, a wealth of intricate and contemplative works to see. “Upstate Artists” will be up through Jan. 17. The gallery is open from noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday – Sunday and by appointment. For more information or to view the exhibit online visit thelaffergallery.com.
‘2020 Holiday Show’
The Colonie Art League presents a virtual show filled with portraits, landscapes, still lifes and more. Juried by Takeyce Walter, the exhibit is displayed in two different formats. One is in a slide-show format, featuring the winners and honorable mentions with some commentary from Walter. The other format features images of all the works in each category.
Among the winning works is “Special Delivery,” by Ned Lacy. The oil painting features a run-down barn in the background and snowy ground leading up to two gray-colored mailboxes, a brown-paper package peaking out of one.
Another standout is Susan Barczak‘s “March Sunrise,” a watercolor painting with a yellow and violet-hued sky reaching up over a cold-blue landscape. As Walter writes “The atmospheric perspective is palpable. It also has great balance of warmth and cool.”
On the opposite end of the spectrum in terms of subject matter, is James Mise’s “Nighttime.” Mise tackles a tricky landscape, one lit only by a sliver of a moon and a dim light from a cabin, sitting comfortingly at the end of a path.
In the photography category, Marthanne B. Linacre offers up a detailed view of a frozen bubble, with sunlight bouncing off of the top of it and illuminating the tiny leaf-like details on its surface.
The show features more than a dozen emerging artists, as well as many established artists. It will be up online through the end of January. To view it and for more information on the league visit colonieartleague.com.