Looking to chase away those winter blues? Chicken soup is good. Or how about an afternoon in Canajoharie?
If you get off Thruway Exit 29 and drive three blocks, you can escape the cold, cruel world.
At the Arkell Museum, the current exhibit is “From Giverny to the Brooklyn Bridge,” paintings by American Impressionists who were inspired by the French countryside, New England shores and New York City scenes.
2012 Arkell Annual Juried Art Show
WHERE: Arkell Museum at Canajoharie Library, 2 Erie Blvd., Canajoharie
WHEN: Through Friday, Jan. 25. Library and museum are open daily through December. Beginning Jan. 1, they will be closed on Monday. Call or check websites for hours.
HOW MUCH: Admission to the art show is free. Museum admission is $7 for adults, $5 for seniors and students, free for children age 11 and younger.
With so many jewels in the Arkell’s collection, including the Winslow Homer paintings, it’s easy to spend all your time there.
But don’t overlook the adjoining library, built in 1925, where one can imagine what the town was like when Bartlett Arkell was running the Beech-Nut Packing Co. and buying paintings and sculpture by America’s finest artists.
A large oil portrait of Arkell hangs above a red tile floor and old-fashioned wooden tables. If you want to pause for a while with a book, the library has provided comfy Mission-style chairs set next to live potted palms.
For the next five weeks, what you’ll also discover in the library is the annual Juried Art Show, an exhibit that has been around for decades. And it expanded in 2007, when the new museum was joined to the old limestone library in a $10 million expansion and renovation project.
This year, 88 artists submitted 165 entries.
Rachel Seligman, associate curator at the Tang Teaching Museum and Gallery in Saratoga Springs and former director of Union College’s Mandeville Gallery in Schenectady, was the juror, and she selected 35 works by 26 artists.
“The show was for any artist with ties to New York, so it was a pretty open call,” says Seligman, who was not given names or information about the artists when she did the jurying.
“It is a nice little show. I think there is some great work in it by artists that I was not familiar with from the region, as well as some of the more familiar names.”
While the artists come from a dozen counties, including Montgomery, Washington and Fulton, most of them are from Saratoga and Schenectady counties.
The exhibit is spread over three spaces, two of them in the library and one in the community gallery in the lower level of the Arkell lobby, where an admission fee is not required.
Eleven paintings and photographs hang on a brick wall near a 30-inch world globe that was made in Canajoharie in the early 1880s. The Juvet Time Globe was quite a sensation in those days, as an inner clock rotated the sphere once every 24 hours.
We feel loss and emptiness in Stephen Honicki’s photograph “A New Routine,” in which a man reads the paper on a porch while the rocking chair next to him is empty. Like a story from the Theatre of the Absurd, there are quirky touches. Text on the image reads: “The toaster was never used anywhere” and there is some kind of dust on the chair and floor, as if someone magically vanished.
The image, and another called “Coupling,” are from a series by the Scotia artist that you can see on his website, www.stevehphotography.com.
Clifford Oliver, a Greenwich photographer, looks at the power of farm animals in a close-up of the muscular, muddy and hairy hooves of two horses and a man’s boot, as the three join forces to haul a heavy load of stone blocks. While the man’s attire indicates modern times, the image harks back to the days when there were no machines to move rock and stone.
Photographer Carol McCord of Niskayuna went to the seashore for her interesting close-up of blue shells clinging to a rock.
There are also landscapes by Stu Eichel of Saratoga Springs, Betty Pieper of Scotia and Val Robert of Schenectady.
Eichel won the Best in Show award for “Ramada Out,” an oil painting in which a lovely country landscape is marred by a garish billboard. With short yellow strokes, as if he was using Wite-Out, he deftly and purposely blocks the message on the sign.
Pieper’s “House on the Point,” an acrylic seascape of a cottage on a peninsula, stirs longings for the isolation of an ocean hideaway.
In “Round Top,” an acrylic by Val Robert of Schenectady, bright red farm buildings are startling in their clarity in the foreground of neatly delineated field and trees.
At the other end of the library, near the museum gift store, there’s a space that’s clearly a gallery.
This is where you’ll see “Mardi Gras With Superheroes,” by Carol Caruso of Schenectady, who paints in a studio above the old Key Bank building next door to Proctors.
In the acrylic/mixed media work, abstract figures are chalky and ghostlike, outlined in black, and wear devilish horns and crowns. It’s unsettling and compelling at same time.
“Broadway El,” by K. Velis Turan of Greene County, is a remarkable fiber artwork in which a New York subway scene is silk-screened, dyed, painted and stitched.
The largest pieces are in the downstairs gallery.
Before I could even walk into that space, I was stopped in my tracks by Leslie Peck’s “Consider Bardwell Chickens.”
The Greenwich artist loves farm animals, and her large, horizontal oil painting of hens and their rooster poking in green grass pops into sight with lively color and realism.
Painter Deborah Angilletta of Scotia also chooses realism, but her landscape “The Scent of Rain” is softly colored and romantic.
Then there are the two embossed prints, “You Are What You Eat: 4 Cookies” and “You Are What You Eat: Candy Corn” by Gwenn Mayers of East Chatham.
Mayers effectively plays with the simple shapes, colors and patterns of these treats, which rise from the flat surface as if molded.
Other award winners
Besides Eichel, three other artists won awards.
Errianne Hall received Best Painting for “Pachyderm Pabulum”; Kris Corso Tolmie of Albany won Best Graphics for “Borderline 1.2” and Torrance Fish of Saratoga Springs received the Best Mixed Media Award for “Vice.”