The Mohawk Hudson Regional has a new home in the North Country, at The Hyde Collection in Glens Falls, and as that stiff-necked TV legend Ed Sullivan liked to say: “We’ve got a really big show.”
First off, there were a record number of submissions — 1,500 works by 340 artists — for the Hyde show, which was juried by Charles Desmarais, deputy director for art at the Brooklyn Museum. The Regional’s growth spurt began in 2008 when renowned sculptor Joel Shapiro was the juror and the exhibit was at the Albany Institute of History & Art, drawing a record-shattering 244 artists and 1,062 submitted works. Last year, at the University Art Museum, with juror Matthew Higgs, the record was cracked again, with 285 artists and 1,242 artworks.
This time, it’s not just the submissions, but the final show that tips the scales. Desmarais selected a hefty 94 works by 72 artists, and the exhibit in the Charles R. Wood Gallery spills into Hoopes Gallery and into the hallway joining Hoopes with historic Hyde House. Not only are there more works of art, the number of artists has more than doubled, from 34 artists (71 works) in 2008, and 35 artists (81 works) in 2009.
Yet, the really BIG news is that having the Hyde as a third sponsor expands the Regional’s geographic range. Traditionally, the exhibit has cast its net over a 100-mile radius from Albany. Now, artists within a 100-mile radius of Glens Falls, into the Adirondacks and Vermont, are also invited to enter. And that’s every year, not just when the show is at The Hyde.
‘2010 Artists of the Mohawk Hudson Region’
WHERE: The Hyde Collection, 161 Warren St., Glens Falls
WHEN: Through Jan. 2; museum open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 12 to 5 p.m. Sunday.
HOW MUCH: Free (Donation of $5 suggested)
MORE INFO: 792-1761 or www.hydecollection.org.
RELATED EXHIBIT: Annex Show, Tom Myott Gallery, Shirt Factory Building, 71 Lawrence St., Glens Falls, 798-8431, www.tmyottart.com. Fourteen works selected by juror Charles Desmarais. Gallery hours: 11 to 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 15; Saturday, Oct. 16; Friday, Oct. 22 and Saturday, Oct. 23; and 12 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 17.
RELATED EVENT: “Hyde After Dark,” 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 28 — $13 advance ticket, $15 at the door. Music by DJ Midas, followed by “fast talk” art program in which selected artists from the Mohawk Hudson show discuss 20 slides of their work for 20 seconds each.
As a host for the Regional, the esteemed Hyde also deepens its mark at the northern point of a trail of outstanding museums: from the Clark Art Institute, Williams College Museum of Art and MASS MoCA in the east, then west to the New York State Museum, University Art Museum at the University at Albany, Albany Institute and north to the Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery in Saratoga Springs. If you venture further west, there’s the Arkell Museum and the Fenimore Art Museum.
The Hyde joined the Regional rotation after the Schenectady Museum, a longtime sponsor, dropped out and shifted its mission to science. The Regional’s final visit to Schenectady was in 2004, when it made an odd but interesting one-time appearance in the old Carl Co. building now inhabited by Proctors. Its last show in the actual museum was in 2001.
‘It’s so unusual’
But let’s move on to this year’s show.
Demarais traveled to Glens Falls to organize the exhibit space and supervise installation. It’s a zesty space, with sculpture enlivening each of five sections in the Wood Gallery.
“I like the way the gallery looks so different; it’s so unusual,” one visitor commented on a busy Tuesday morning.
Deep in the gallery, there seems to be a theme, with 11 botanical or nature-linked pieces in the same area.
There’s Ryan Parr’s 6-foot-tall painting of forest foliage, Dorothy Englander’s ink-on-watercolor “Shadowlife” and Portia Munson’s kaleidoscopes of real flowers that were scanned in a computer and printed on rag paper.
Ginger Ertz and Betsy Brandt, both known for quirky sculpture with found or unusual materials, inject even more color and animation.
Ertz, whose chandelier of chenille stems (aka pipe cleaners) currently hangs at Proctors, reaches new heights with “Cove,” a 5-foot-long chenille-stem form in blues and purples that suggests crashing ocean waves, as light-colored sprays or tendrils spring from darker, denser shapes.
Using hot glue and the stamens of artificial flowers, Brandt creates a colorful colony of 24 round, squishy-looking “sea urchins” that cling to the wall.
Nearby, but in its own corner, “Listening and Watching” by Kyra Garrigue of Troy, the show’s only video work, is small but impossible to ignore. Like puppets on a stage, four human throats are isolated on a black background, and we see the undulating movements and hear the somewhat disturbing sounds as the gullets gulp and swallow.
Turbulent and mysterious
Drawings and mixed media are strong in this show.
John Hampshire’s “Labyrinth 229,” made with marker on panel, is dark and foreboding, suggesting twirling funnel clouds. At close inspection, the tight, thin lines are like fingerprints or lines on a topographic map.
Turbulence of the emotional kind may have inspired a large, abstract work of graphite-ink-gouache by Cat Peters of Albany, in which blue and black ink erupts and moves between dark entities.
Deborah Zlotsky won two awards for “Piquance,” a graphite drawing of a whispery, mysterious organic shape of fur and sinew (could it be a brain?) atop a plant-like stalk.
While there aren’t many oil paintings, they are exceptional.
Joel Griffith’s ordinary-looking house on a snowy rural road has a photographic realism warmed and enhanced with subtle light.
“Madonna and Child,” oil on canvas, by Esmond Lyons of Glens Falls, is a rich, exuberant portrait of a contemporary Madonna, perhaps a Latina, with a dark-skinned infant; the two figures bound together in a blanketlike wrap reminiscent of a Native American papoose or a Gustav Klimt.
Photography has been prominent in recent Regionals, and this one is no exception.
Mark McCarty, Connie Frisbee Houde and Carrie Will, familiar names from Photography Regionals, were selected by Desmarais.
McCarty’s “Telephone Picture,” shot with an iPhone, is an image of a man’s lower legs and crossed feet that seems both common and sacred, like a statue of Christ dangling from a crucifix in a Roman Catholic church.
Houde zeros in on the faces and hands of four female journalists in Afghanistan, stripping away stereotypes to reveal each woman’s expressions and physical attributes.
Peter Crabtree of Bennington, Vt., has four color photographs in the show, all images of down-home folks. “Carter Campbell,” his portrait of a chubby, shirtless boy, could be a creamy-skinned angel in a Renaissance painting if it weren’t for his sour expression.
With 94 works, it’s only possible to describe a small fraction of what you’ll encounter.
Large exhibits apparently aren’t daunting for Desmarais, who, in the past 25 years has organized more than 50 exhibits and authored more than 100 articles and exhibit catalogs.
For this show, he made his first picks after wading through 1,500 slides and e-mail images. To make his final selections, he traveled to the Hyde and viewed the original works.
While at the Hyde, he also selected 14 works by 14 artists for an Annex Show at Tom Myott’s gallery in the Shirt Factory Building. The Annex is not officially part of the Regional, and the artworks are not listed in the catalog.
Seventeen artists in the 2010 Artists of the Mohawk Hudson Region exhibit were honored with awards and gift certificates.
-- Jeri Eisenberg of East Greenbush received the Albany Institute of History & Art Purchase Award for “Crabapple (Fall), No. 5.” Eisenberg also received a $250 juror’s award.
-- “Labyrinth 229” by John Hampshire of Troy won the Dr. Arthur C. Collins ’48 Purchase Award, University at Albany Alumni Association, for the University Art Museum.
-- Jane Bloodgood-Abrams of Kingston received The Hyde Collection Purchase Award for her painting “Presence.”
-- Carrie Will of Albany and Gina Occhiogrosso of Troy received $500 juror’s awards.
-- Deborah Zlotsky of Delmar, William Jaeger of Albany, Katie DeGroot of Fort Edward, Georgia Wohnsen of Dolgeville and Sanford Mirling of Troy each received a $250 juror’s award.
-- David M. Bender of Ballston Spa won the $100 juror’s award in memory of Les Urbach from Albany Center Galleries.
-- Six artists were awarded gift certificates from various sponsors: Mark McCarty of Cropseyville; Peter Crabtree of North Bennington, Vt.; Amy Cheng of New Paltz; Kyra Garrigue of Troy; Sara Pfau of Diamond Point; and James Paulsen of Albany.