ArtBeat: “Radical Kingdoms” @ Mandeville Gallery [Get Visual]

April 10th, 2017, 2:00 pm by Sara
Juan Fontanive:  - Passerine 2016 mechanized flip-book

Juan Fontanive: – Passerine 2016 mechanized flip-book

By David Brickman

Extensive open hours may not be the best reason to like a gallery, but it’s a factor in my positive assessment of Union College’s Mandeville Gallery in the Nott Memorial, where a show intriguingly titled “Radical Kingdoms” is on view through June 18. It’s great that you can go see it any day from 10am to 6pm.

But a more substantive reason to like the Mandeville is its eminently able leader, Julie Lohnes, who deftly organized the show around a theme of botanical and biological illustration by contemporary and historical artists, drawing connections from the past and linking traditional scientific illustration to more expressive modern iterations of the style.

A visit to the Nott is always a step into the past, as it is a unique structure that exemplifies the state-of-the-art design and engineering of 100 years ago, and that makes this show a particularly comfortable fit for the unique space that the gallery occupies on a circular, second-story balcony. Lohnes has chosen works by five contemporary artists, augmented by examples of work by ten historical illustrators drawn from Union College’s archives that range from an anonymous 19th-century printmaker to the uber-famous John James Audubon.

Click here to read the rest at Get Visual.


ArtBeat: Caroline Ramersdorfer @ Opalka Gallery [Get Visual]

February 3rd, 2017, 11:00 am by Sara
Installation view of Gravity & Light at Sage Colleges' Opalka Gallery (photo provided by Opalka Gallery)

Installation view of “Gravity & Light” at Sage Colleges’ Opalka Gallery (photo provided by Opalka Gallery)

Review by David Brickman

A world-class sculptor is on view at Sage College of Albany’s Opalka Gallery – so please go see the wonderful retrospective solo show “Gravity & Light: Caroline Ramersdorfer Sculpture, 1985-2016.” It opened on December 2 and will be there through Sunday, March 5, so no excuses.

Ramersdorfer has great international credentials, both in her development and in the exposure of her art – yet, she is also local, having a home and studio in the Adirondacks town of Wells, which she shares with an equally prominent sculptor, John Van Alstine (see my brief review of their two-person show at Lake George Arts Project in 2014). A native of Austria, Ramersdorfer studied art in Paris and Florence and then learned marble carving in Carrara (where else?), and has produced commissioned work for permanent installations in places as fur-flung as China, Iran, Egypt and Abu Dhabi.

One extraordinary feature of this exhibition is its inclusion of numerous maquettes and sketches for some of Ramersdorfer’s major projects, and they are as skillfully crafted as their larger progeny, while also being charming in their tininess. The beautifully produced catalog of the exhibition features lavish illustrations of each foreign installation (plus one on the Sage campus in Albany), telling the story of these remarkable and ambitious creations.

Click to read the rest at Get Visual.

ArtBeat: “The Art of Seating” @ AIH&A [Get Visual]

December 27th, 2016, 1:30 pm by Sara
Synergistic Synthesis XVII sub b1 chair 2003, Kenneth Smythe

Synergistic Synthesis XVII sub b1 chair 2003, Kenneth Smythe

By David Brickman

Amid the hustle and bustle of the holidays, there’s an end-of-year chance to catch a marvelous traveling show at the Albany Institute of History & Art before it moves on after Saturday (December 31).

The Art of Seating: 200 Years of American Design was organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville and is a delight for anyone who has ever sat in a chair or wondered what it would be like to try to improve on that experience. Featuring 43 individual specimens in pristine condition, this collection runs the gamut from simply stated wooden rockers to gaudy stuffed confections to space-age sittable sculptures.

Click to read the rest at Get Visual

ArtBeat: In Brief: Screenprint Biennial at ACCR [Get Visual]

December 20th, 2016, 3:00 pm by Sara
Christopher Cannon, Runaways on Hunt Street screenprint

Christopher Cannon, Runaways on Hunt Street screenprint

By David Brickman

On a recent shopping excursion to River Street in Troy, I abandoned my spouse and ducked into the Arts Center of the Capital Region, where a gallery full of dazzlingly rich colors greeted me. The 2016 Screenprint Biennial, on view through Friday (December 23), is also hosted at Collar Works in Troy, and is just terrific. After it closes, a selected portion of the show will be mounted in January at the Center for Contemporary Printmaking in Norwalk, Connecticut. I’d say, if you miss it here, it might be well worth the trip to Norwalk. But try to catch it here if you can.

Organized by printmaker and RPI lecturer Nathan Meltz, the show handily demonstrates that a blue-collar medium that grew up in the golden age of advertising and was adapted into a fine art in the ’60s and ’70s is still wonderfully alive and well.

Click to read the rest at Get Visual.

2016 Exhibition by Artists of the Mohawk-Hudson Region at The Hyde Collection [Get Visual]

December 13th, 2016, 2:30 pm by Sara
Installation view of MHR-80 (photo  provided by The Hyde Collection)

Installation view of MHR-80 (photo provided by The Hyde Collection)

By David Brickman

At this year’s 80th annual Exhibition by Artists of the Mohawk-Hudson Region, hosted by The Hyde Collection in Glens Falls, the show’s the thing.

Juror Michael Oatman, a true local artist who lives in Troy and teaches at RPI (sorry, the rebranding as Rensselaer didn’t take), has stepped up as curator – and not just any curator, but a particular post-contemporary sort of curator who uses the art and the venue to build a whole that seeks to be greater than its parts.

In this case, the parts consist of 126 works by 106 artists – an almost stupidly broad and shallow swath of our region’s best creators – and the whole very smartly includes not only the Hyde’s contemporary Wood Gallery, but also its weirdly curved basement space, its world-class historic house, and its lovely grounds. The result, featuring boldly painted walls of bright orange, deep green, and warm grey, is striking, fresh, and – well, a little distracting from the art itself.

Click to read the rest at Get Visual.

ArtBeat: “Future Perfect” @ UAlbany’s University Art Museum [Get Visual]

November 30th, 2016, 3:00 pm by Sara
A group of drawings by Alexander Ross as seen in Future Perfect

A group of drawings by Alexander Ross as seen in Future Perfect

By David Brickman

The exhibition Future Perfect: Picturing the Anthropocene at the University at Albany Art Museum is a grand compendium of ideas that handily meets its purpose to “explore and inform,” but falls a bit short simply as an art exhibition.

Curated by Associate Professor Danny Goodwin, Director Janet Riker and Associate Director/Curator Corinna Ripps-Schaming, the show features significant individual pieces or bodies of work in a variety of media by 12 artists, augmented by 11 additional artists whose prints, drawn from the museum’s permanent collection by participants in a class project, create a sidebar exhibition within Future Perfect.

The anthropocene is the label now affixed to our current geological era, so named to reflect the changes to the earth’s climate and ecology that human activity has caused. Much of the work that has been selected to represent this concept here leans toward the futuristic, including animated science fiction film projects by Colin C. Boyd and Jacolby Satterwhite, and colorful, cartoonish critter paintings by Alexander Ross.

Click to read the rest at Get Visual.

ArtBeat: Breathing Lights [Get Visual]

November 18th, 2016, 2:00 pm by Sara
(photo: hyers+mebane)

(photo: hyers+mebane)

By David Brickman

On a recent Saturday night I took a truncated bus tour of a few of the Breathing Lights houses in Albany, offered as part of Historic Albany Foundation’s annual Built fundraiser. It was good to finally get out and see some of the illuminated vacant houses, and I plan to go again soon – on foot for the real experience – and hopefully in all three participating cities (adding Schenectady and Troy).

In case you have been living under a rock, Breathing Lights is the local winner of a $1 million grant from the Bloomberg Philanthropies, part of its national “Public Art Challenge,” and comprises a collaboration among three city governments, several nonprofits and numerous neighborhood organizations. It is the brainchild of UAlbany art professor Adam Frelin in partnership with architect Barbara Nelson, and consists of a very elegant, broadly distributed installation of glowing panels in the windows of more than 200 vacant houses, which represent less than 10% of these three cities’ unoccupied housing stock.

The installation is (obviously) very ambitious, but it is also simple, which I can’t help but like. And it passes the “Is it art?” test quite easily, as the work transforms the subject matter and gives viewers a new experience of something old. All the better that this new experience comes directly out of one’s own presumably familiar local raw material. (Those who know my personal photography of some of these same neighborhoods will understand this approach is not unlike my own as an artist.)

Click to read the rest at Get Visual.

ArtBeat: Paul Mauren @ Albany Center Gallery [Get Visual]

October 17th, 2016, 2:00 pm by Sara
Paul Mauren - Speak to Me 2016, assembled mixed materials

Paul Mauren – Speak to Me 2016, assembled mixed materials

By David Brickman

The local art mafia came out in force last Friday night for Paul Mauren’s exhibition Where Things Go at Albany Center Gallery, and with good reason. Yes, many of the seeming hundreds of guests were this longtime College of Saint Rose professor’s colleagues, counterparts, current and former students, friends and fans, but the show alone is an event worthy of major excitement.

Mauren, a stalwart of the regional arts scene (and beyond) for several decades, has operated under the radar for the most part. Still, he has built up a presence through steady inclusion in important shows – going back to the 1979 Mohawk Hudson Regional, a 1981 solo at Emma Willard’s Dietel Gallery, and the seminal Water Works exhibition, held in 1982 in an Albany public bath house that eventually met the wrecker’s ball.

Click to read the rest at Get Visual.

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