On Exhibit: Strange, surreal on display at Collar Works in Troy

Artist Claire Sherwood’s “keep (it) up,” foreground, hangs from the ceiling as part of the exhibit “The Big Take” at Collar Works in Troy.
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Artist Claire Sherwood’s “keep (it) up,” foreground, hangs from the ceiling as part of the exhibit “The Big Take” at Collar Works in Troy.

“The Big Take,” a playful exhibit and fundraiser at Collar Works in Troy, reflects on surreal realities and forewarns of strange futures.

It includes works from more than 25 artists such as Owen Barensfeld, whose two-dimensional piece “Satelite Collage” creates the illusion of a sculptural work. The center focuses on a continent of yellows, oranges and whites, the former perhaps pointing to hot spots. Just below that is an undulating, rich blue background that rises in the center.

Not far away is a large, glacier-like sculpture hung from the ceiling.

Created by Claire Sherwood and titled “keep (it) up,” the imposing piece is impossible to ignore as it hangs at eye level to the viewer.

Acting almost as a follow-up piece to Sherwood’s is “You were a glacier,” an abstract painting from Rachel Baxter that presents an all-too-plausible future. The sweeping work is propped against the wall in another section of the gallery space with black, gray and dull blue hues melting into the floor.

Next to it hangs a vibrant work from Jennifer Hunold that offers an antithesis to the more somber works. “Coltish Fall” is a small, meditative composition created with colored pencil and using zigzagging patterns to depict trees and perhaps a sort of cityscape in the background. Between the joyful, slightly dizzying patterns and the bright colors, the work brings a sense of exuberance to the exhibit, restrained in size though not in spirit.

The focus on nature continues nearby with a striking oil painting from Rachel Nelson. Titled “Cynthia Standing,” the piece depicts the forked branches of a birch tree, painted on reclaimed wood that peels on the edges, echoing the peeling bark of a birch.

Not far away is an expansive, map-like work featuring layers of rice paper with circular patterns of greens, blues, yellows and blacks. Called “The Garden,” by Kara Jefts, it reflects the shapes of fossils or perhaps the rings of trees, bringing a sense of the past to the forefront.

Further along in the exhibit is a series of untitled photos from an artist known as Radical Dagical. Each captures the sky at night, some with eerie light effects in the foreground. In a description of the series, the artist writes that the photos are part of a collection created by a secretive UFO religion.

Equally strange, though with a more earthly focus, are the works of Colin Boyd, which hang close by. Through a series of five black and white intaglio prints, Boyd depicts the skeletons and skins of a whale, an elk, a bear, a walrus and a rabbit. The eclectic works are tucked away but not to be missed.

An installation by artist Roger Bisbing brings the entire exhibit back around to what was the strange reality of many teachers and students during the pandemic. In “September 2020,” Bisbing offers a miniature classroom setting where all the chairs are spaced apart and the desk at the front of the room has a plastic shield in front of it.

The works featured in “The Big Take” are all on sale and proceeds will be split 50/50 between the artists and Collar Works. There will also be a virtual fundraising auction from Friday, June 18, through July 17. Called Take It or Lose It, the auction will feature works from more than 50 artists.

“The Big Take” will be up through July 17. For information, visit collarworks.org.

Categories: Art

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