The latest exhibit to open at the Albany International Airport reflects the collective disorientation we’ve all experienced when it came to time this year.
Mixing mediums, “Sunrise Sunset” offers picturesque views and contemplative works that echo the transience of our days.
“I had been thinking for quite a long time over the months of COVID about how we’re experiencing time and how for many of us I think it was hard to tell if we were beginning the day or ending it,” said Kathy Greenwood, the director of the Art and Culture Program, who curated the exhibition.
It’s divided up into two sections, which is a first for Greenwood. One section is on the third-floor gallery, which has been restructured in recent months so that the gallery space is centered around the observation area rather than near the offices. All visitors are welcome and they don’t need to go through security first. The second section of the exhibit is in the post-security Concourse A Gallery. There is an online catalog of each work, accessible by a QR code on the exhibit panels.
“It was important to me that people who are not traveling be able to see both sides of the exhibition. This is the first time I’ve tried to split one show between two locations so I was very mindful of trying to give people access to the whole picture,” Greenwood said.
Coming up to the third floor, one is greeted by three vibrant paintings from Carl Grauer. In “Backyard Sunset” the sky is glowing with orange creamsicle-colored clouds, as seen from the shade of a fenced-in yard.
Further along are several rural sunset scenes from Robert Moylan. Each gouache painting is a panoramic view of a snow-covered field, with mountains or a home in the distant background. The style is reminiscent of the Hudson River School, which seems fitting for the exhibition.
One of the more charming works in the exhibit is “Canning the Sunset,” by Carly Glovinski, who took the traditional colored sand crafts idea to a new level. Dozens of glass jars lined up along several shelves feature convincing compositions of sunsets, created using only hand-colored sand. Each jar is a different size and each sunset was created based on a different photo, some from Glovinski, some from friends. They’re all an attempt to preserve moments in time and memories, an overwhelming task considering time’s perpetual motion.
Across the gallery space is a stunning and disorienting digital print from Ghost of a Dream, a Hudson Valley-based couple. The work, titled “Aligned by the Sun (DACA),” overlays and combines photos of sunsets from each country where there are more than 1,000 DACA recipients are from, along with one sunset from the United States.
“In a time of travel bans, persecution, climate change and now a global pandemic, ‘Aligned by the Sun’ seeks to unify our fractured planet by bringing attention to the one thing we all have access to, the sun,” wrote Ghost of a Dream in a statement.
Not too far away is a group of three paintings that echo a sense of in-betweenness, not only between day and night but between seasons. Artist Julia Whitney Barnes gives viewers a look at three sunrises/sunsets through what looks like stained glass windows, inspired by the atrium of Brookfield Place’s Winter Garden in lower Manhattan.
“These works were all made in 2020 when days and months started blending together,” wrote Barnes in a statement. “This space has special significance in that it was destroyed on September 11th but completely rebuilt by the following year. This kind of rebirth imbues the imagery with a sense of optimism in the face of adversity.”
Downstairs, in the post-security section of the exhibit, are a few cheeky works. One, titled “Watch #7” by Niki Haynes, is at once surreal and irreverent, revealing an image of a watch collaged with an eye inside of its face. The watchful watch is placed in the foreground of a landscape with a sunrise (or perhaps a sunset), featured above pockets of water, into which the watch is sinking. There is a series of “watch” pieces in the exhibit, and according to the artist, they’ve been in the works for about 20 years and quarantining during the pandemic finally presented the right time.
Tasha Depp offers up a playful mixed-media work called “Sun Riding Pizza.” Her canvas is a DiGiorno four-cheese frozen pizza box, on which she blends an image of a glowing sun rising over a mountainous landscape into the marketing copy and imagery of the pizza. The juxtaposition of the natural scene with the processed and preserved pizza (under which the marketing copy declares “Rising Crust”) draws attention to what the artist calls “the foibles of a civilization determined to bring about its own demise.”
Nearby, Chris Gonyea reflects on patterns in nature, both in forested landscapes and in the sky, using a lightly abstracted painting style. In one work, called “Sawkill Sunset,” hints of trees at the center of the composition reach up into the sky, which is covered with salmon-colored clouds. Dark, imposing evergreen trees line the sides of the composition, contrasting with the bright pastel colors at the heart of the work. The abstraction in his work leads viewers to reflect on the connections between each aspect of the landscape, from the trees to the sky to the ground; they all blend and bleed together.
“Sunrise Sunset” features 72 works from 46 artists and will be on view through August 30. There will be a virtual reception on Thursday, June 10 from 7-8 p.m. Those who aren’t necessarily traveling and want to see the second part of the exhibit in person can contact Greenwood to facilitate a security pass.
For more information visit albanyairport.com or call 518-242-2243.