Best Art Moments of 2009
Lee Musselman @ David Dew Bruner Design, Hudson: Lee Musselman calls his disturbing and surreal assemblages “spirit guides” or “guardian angels.” Formed from doll parts, beads, buttons, wire, farm tools and other found objects, he offered up an army of them in this reprise of his 2008 show that won him the notice of Art in America. John Foxx’s “The Quiet Man” at BCB Art, Hudson: The former Ultravox frontman offered a magical spoken-word performance of “A Man Made of Shadows” – a section of his ongoing project “The Quiet Man” – to accompany a film collage of cut-up and re-edited vintage black and white films.
George Hofmann @ Martinez Gallery, Troy: Hofman’s large acrylic abstracts of pure color seem to glow from within, so standing in a room full of these paintings felt like floating in a cloud. This small but comprehensive exhibition surveyed his career of more than 50 years.
Discard Avant Garb @ the Grand Street Community Arts Center, Albany: This long-running annual extravaganza of creatively recycled fashion is a moveable feast, landing this year at the beautifully decayed Grand Street Community Arts Center. Music, art, fashion, outrageousness…and all to benefit four local charities.
Larry Kagan’s “Flags: Variations on a Theme” @ the Arts Center of the Capital Region, Troy: Larry Kagan’s vintage sculptures of rusted metal wrestled into flag shapes presage the highly imaginative, eye-popping, smile-inducing, mind-bending play between metal, light and shadow that has established Kagan as a major Nippertown artist.
Lucy Feller’s “Wish You Were Near” @ Ferrin Gallery, Pittsfield: Lucy Feller’s delicate, nostalgic collages of postcards and family photographs displayed in lightboxes combine vintage images with contemporary icons to create an intriguing temporal confusion in the mind of the viewer. Melissa Matsuki Lillie @ Kolok Gallery, North Adams: Melissa Matsuki Lillie’s colorful paintings and collages of graphic shapes play with space to suggest natural forms that have been flattened and folded in on themselves.
Dona Ann McAdams @ Opalka Gallery, Albany: Photographer Dona Ann McAdams’ exhibit of silver prints was a compelling, wide-ranging sample of her documentary work, as Tim Cahill noted, “transmuting fleeting moments into penetrating views of the human condition.”
Thaddeus Powers, Meg Oliver, Kyla Toomey and Stacey Esslinger @ Tom Myott Gallery, Glens Falls: Four young turks gave a hint as to the future of contemporary ceramics at this high-quality show. Elizabeth Dubben’s “In the Middle of the World” @ Albany Art Room, Albany: Elizabeth Dubben shuttered the Amrose + Sable Gallery in Albany at the end of May, and then lost no time installing this show at the beginning of June. Sad as we were to see the gallery close, we were oh so glad to see this show of mixed media works that combine oil painting with image transfers of photographs.
Other shows of note:
- “Zoo Logic” at the Lake George Arts Project Courthouse Gallery
- Mark Mulherrin’s Three-part 30-year retrospective in North Adams
- Wendy Ide Williams @ Amrose Sable Gallery, Albany
- Nitin Vadukul’s “Into the Light” @ Marianne Courville Projects in Hudson
- Keith Carter’s “Poet of the Ordinary: Photographs by Keith Carter” @ the Massry Center for the Arts, Albany
- Basil Twist @ EMPAC at RPI, Troy
- “A 21st Century Celebration of Light & Art” @ the Arts Center of the Capital Region, Troy