Sunday, September 11, 2016

Star of the Southern Tier

Windsor Whip Works
98 Main Street
Windsor, New York 13865

New Show:  "Not Just Alike, But One and the Same"
On Exhibit until October 29, 2016

At the opening came the announcement of the closing.  Just as the party was getting underway, Bill Pesce, co-founder with his wife Johanne, got up to speak, welcoming artists and guests to the opening of a big new show at The Windsor Whip Works Art Center.  "After eleven years", Bill was speaking into his microphone, "..once the new show that runs here through October 29th comes to an end, the gallery would close".

The Windsor Whip Works has been a star of the Southern Tier, and a stop I made numerous times as I drove along Route 17 ( now interstate 86 ) usually as I was coming up from New York City.  They renovated this old building and it was a labor of love.  The two floor space has been the host of many terrific shows over these past eleven years that the gallery has been in operation.  The Whip Works is an art center with drawing classes and special guest speakers doing workshops like my friend Dan Welden, among many others.  The Windsor Whip Works built a community too, so it is to be applauded for all this effort, along with the energy poured out by its board of directors and people like Bryna Silbert who was diligent in putting her curatorial skills to work at the gallery.

Fernando Llosa speaks with Bryna Silbert
at the opening of "Not Just Alike, But One and the Same"

One by one, the artists in this final show were introduced by Bill Pesce to the gallery audience assembled at the opening and the artists all had a few words to say about our shared experience there.  I had juried a show of small works for Bill and Johanne, and my artwork has been featured in the gallery six years ago ( along with my father Arthur Singer, and my brother Paul ), and now again with this present exhibition.  The people I met there along the way included some artists young and old, some with an international record of exhibitions to their credit, and some just getting their feet wet.
The atmosphere at the Whip Works is friendly, not off-putting like the art galleries of the big city.  But will people support what they are doing here?

Bill Pesce making my introduction
at the artist's reception on September 10th, 2016

I think we are still experiencing the downturn of the economy that swept across the U.S. and much of the world almost eight years ago.  People may be nervous about spending money on art which is often seen as a luxury.  As a culture we are also so inundated with images via the internet and our smart phones, that the values and principles of fine art are often questioned and sometimes ignored. The artists are just doing what they love to do, what they are driven to do and are passionate about, and they will have to find ways of supporting their habit.

Artist Kim Schrag
Windsor Whip Works

Back at our show in Windsor, New York, a good crowd has assembled to look over the new artwork, and I was very happy to see how the exhibition was presented.  Surprised to see my big blue painting in the gallery window out front, and nice to see a line up of my prints on the main floor.  I spoke with most of the artists and learned more about Kim Schrag and Treacy Ziegler, both in attendance.

Treacy Ziegler speaks at the opening
"Not Just Alike, But One and the Same"

Treacy Ziegler asked me questions about my printmaking, since she has practiced that too, and I found out about her recent activity teaching and showing her art in prison.  She spoke about writing letters to prison wardens encouraging them to offer inmates this avenue of expression, and she has now been adding this to her busy schedule of shows and creative work.  Many of her pieces on display at Windsor Whip Works are sculpted birds; they embody what we know about birds and their attendant freedom to fly.  There is some irony to this with her dedication to working with the prison population.  If you look at the card that advertised this final show, it is her barn owl that stands out as the only three dimensional work that announces this exhibition.

Three works by artist, Kim Schrag

Kim Schrag actually carves into the surface of her paintings, thereby making them into bas-reliefs onto which she spins a visual narrative.  I thought to ask Kim whether she was related to the artist Karl Schrag whom I met in Manhattan, but her answer was no.

Kim came east from her home in Kansas to attend graduate school at Cornell University, and I found that her paintings not only had facets and carefully orchestrated color, but they also reminded me sometimes of the art of Paul Gauguin.

Fernando Llosa at Whip Works

Fernando Llosa is a powerful artist who was born in Peru, and has a truly international perspective on contemporary art and culture.  The deep dark color of his work on view here has an emotional impact and though the work is nearly abstract it conveys the human presence in a very expressive manner.

Painting by William Benson

William Benson's paintings are more conventional in this show.  Maybe they are more accessible, while incorporating elements of geometry and textures that seem to come right out of impressionism.

The author, Alan Singer, and his painting:
"Playing to the Crowd"

My paintings and prints in  this exhibition stem from my recent activity in my studio where the interaction of color is applied to the visualization of mathematical functions.  What I do is the equivalent of having a color etch-a-sketch.  I am having a great time learning what curves can do, and opening my mind to whole new range of ideas that enlarge my geometric vocabulary.

So, please applaud the artists in this show, and most of all the folks who created this "Star of the Southern Tier".  It has been an honor and a pleasure to be a part of this enterprise.  Thank you, Windsor Whip Works.  Our show continues thru October, so take advantage of this opportunity, it won't last forever.

For information about their hours of operation, call them at area code 607 655-2370