When The Hyde Collection first opened its doors, it was 1963, the year that John F. Kennedy was murdered. “I Want to Hold Your Hand” by The Beatles was spinning on phonographs, and gas was 29 cents a gallon.
For a boy in Hudson Falls named Dan Cameron, the new museum in Glens Falls, four miles from his home, was the first place where he experienced fine art.
Today, decades later, Cameron is chief curator of the Orange County Museum of Art in California.
He has never forgotten the Hyde, and this year the Hyde invited him to be their juror for the 2013 Mohawk Hudson Regional.
As the Hyde celebrates its 50th anniversary, it’s the second time the Regional is visiting the museum, and 252 artists from within 100 miles of Glens Falls and Albany submitted 1,127 works.
The Regional debuted at the Hyde three years ago, joining the Albany Institute of History & Art and SUNY Albany’s University Art Museum as a third sponsor.
2013 Artists of the Mohawk Hudson Region
WHERE: The Hyde Collection, 161 Warren St., Glens Falls
WHEN: Through Dec. 29. Museum open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 12 to 5 p.m. Sunday
HOW MUCH: $8; $6 for seniors and students, free for children 12 and under, active military and their families. Catalog costs $10 in the gift shop.
MORE INFO: 792-1761, www.hydecollection.org, Facebook
Cameron picked 83 works by 74 artists, and came to town to decide how they would be exhibited. Fifty-five appear in the museum’s main Wood Gallery and 28 in The Annex, a gallery in The Shirt Factory Arts and Healing Center, a few blocks away.
This Regional may be remembered as “The Painting Show.” On wall after wall, viewers will find an extraordinary parade of engaging paintings. In the catalog, the words “oil on canvas” appear 20 times. There’s a bumper crop of mixed-media works, too.
We’ve come to expect photography, but this year there are less than a dozen offerings.
The 2012 and 2011 Regionals each had six video works. In Cameron’s show, there is only one, by Blacklight Lighthouse.
Housed in a vintage GE television, vaporous shapes flicker on the screen as the sound of faraway voices, like messages from outer space, sputter into the gallery.
When it comes to sculpture, there is only one free-standing form, “White Flower,” a five-and-a-half foot-tall stoneware piece by Audrie Sturman.
On the walls, the artwork appears to be arranged in loose themes.
One section we’ll call the abstract/psychological room.
Ryan T. Parr’s “Map on Puzzle” is a pleasing jumble of colored fragments and snippets of text that suggest names of states and water bodies. It could be a commentary on a country that’s breaking apart. But the pastel colors, like those of a child’s nursery, are comforting, not ominous.
John Hampshire’s large “Labyrinth,” an eye-boggling marvel of black Sharpie strokes on white board, was one of the most memorable works in the Hyde’s first Regional. This year’s work, another “Labyrinth” drawing, is similarly impressive and thought-provoking.
In Gina Occhiogrosso’s “Long Road,” an oil on panel, the lower third is a whirl of objects caught in a storm, like Dorothy’s vision inside the twister in “The Wizard of Oz.” In the upper two-thirds, a hopeful, calm and peaceful light floats above this disturbance.
Leaving the psych section, you are stopped in your tracks by “Fossil Fruit,” acrylic and ink on canvas by Charles Geiger in which fantastical life forms (are they plants or animals?) dwell in a dense, aqua-colored jungle.
Installed on the floor is another standout piece, “Brawl” by Harold Lohner.
In colored and black-and-white monoprints, muscular male nudes, like Greek gods, wrestle each other. With the prints laid on top of each other at different angles, limbs grapple with other limbs in a way that challenges us to untangle them.
Michael Oatman’s birds are back.
“The Branch-Summer Panels” is a collage masterpiece. At first, it appears to be a paradise of birds, trees and plants, but then you see a soldier pointing a gun into the scene. In the right corner, robot birds are perched like evil spies.
In the center of the gallery, we see exciting landscapes.
In Gerri Moore’s “Schoharie Hills, Landscape I,” a small oil on panel, a pattern of trees rises from the green earth like a chain of embroidery.
Laura Von Rosk, who traveled to Antarctica with scientists in 2011, offers “Moat Melt,” an oil-on-panel scene of ice and snow with a deep cleft that meanders into eternity.
In “Price Chopper II,” oil-and-acrylic on panel, Scott Nelson Foster transforms the mundane ugliness of a supermarket into a poetic composition of shapes and colors.
Daniel Schroeder’s “Mountain and Cloud” is hyper-real, crisp as the autumn air, in its depiction of fall foliage and thick sweeps of paint that seem to move swiftly across the sky.
In the “tree and flower section,” you’ll find “Barking Betula” by Allyson Levy and “Natural Attraction” by Katie DeGroot.
In Levy’s abstract piece, strips of papery birch bark emerge from encaustic. The viewer is almost tempted to peel the bark off, just as if it were a tree in the woods.
DeGroot’s large watercolor nature study focuses on two logs, encrusted with fungi and moss, positioned vertically instead of horizontally on a pure white background, capturing our interest.
Faces and architecture dominate another area, and this is where you’ll see Darcie Abbatiello’s three comical portraits of girls with oversized heads and “Smokerise Circle” by Michael McKay.
Like a gathering of Indian tepees or puffs of clouds in the sky, McKay arranges 23 cutouts of a suburban ranch house on a wall. Each has a different color and title, but the home is the same, which leaves us wondering about the humans who live within them.
And how does this show compare to the Hyde’s first Regional?
In 2010, more artists submitted work, 340 to be exact. The show was a little bigger, too, with 94 artworks by 72 artists, and it was exhibited not only in the Wood gallery but in the smaller Hoopes Gallery and in the hallway that joins the museum to historic Hyde House.
In 2010, there was an exhibit at The Annex but it wasn’t officially part of the Regional and the artworks were not listed in the catalog.
This year, The Annex Gallery was part of the Regional, but the exhibit closed Nov. 2 after a three-week run.
“It does indeed mean that visitors will not be seeing the exhibition in its entirety,” says Alice Grether, director of marketing and communications.
“The artists were told that there would be a chance, if they were chosen for the show, that their works may be hung in The Annex and not The Hyde. They had to either agree to that stipulation or decide that they did not want to participate in the show.”
It’s unfortunate that more visitors won’t be able to see those artworks and discover The Shirt Factory.
Another point to ponder is why there aren’t more Adirondack artists in the Regional.
While the boundary for submissions reaches 100 miles north of Glens Falls, only three artists live inside the Blue Line.
There are three artists from Washington County.
Back in 1973, a drawing by a Washington County teenager appeared in the Mohawk Hudson Regional.
His name was Dan Cameron, and he was a senior at Hudson Falls High School.
Reach Gazette reporter Karen Bjornland at 395-3197 or email@example.com.
Sixteen artists in the 2013 Artists of the Mohawk Hudson Region were honored with awards.
Alex Nye of Albany received the Hyde Collection Purchase Award for the digital photograph “Plaza 4D.”
Daniel Schroeder of West Sand Lake and Michael McKay of Canaan received Albany Institute of History & Art Purchase Awards, Schroeder for the oil painting “Mountain and Cloud” and McKay for “Smokerise Circle,” a mixed-media piece.
Wendy Ide Williams of Ravena received the University Art Museum Purchase Award for “Commensalism,” mixed media on paper.
Twelve artists were honored with juror’s awards:
Franc Palaia of Poughkeepsie, “Quartet,” mixed media; Charles Geiger, Poughkeepsie, “Fossil Fruit,” acrylic and ink on canvas; Susan Miller, Sparrowbush, “Descent of Woman,” oil on canvas; Allyson Levy, Stone Ridge, “Barking Betula,” encaustic and yellow birch on wood; Susan L. Berger, Poughkeepsie, “Superior Ink Loading Dock Panel #3”; Brian Cirmo, Albany, “Sun Loather.”
Also Art Murphy, Catskill, “Window”; Deborah Zlotsky, Delmar, “Luck or something like it,” oil on canvas; Berry Gerson, Preston Hollow, “Tribal,” painting with collaged photo elements; Harold Lohner, Albany, “Brawl,” monoprints installation; Scott Nelson Foster, Albany, “Price Chopper II,” oil and acrylic on panel; and John Hampshire, Troy, “Labyrinth 289,” Sharpie on panel.