Sunday, May 7, 2017

Gallery Night and Day

Taughannock Falls State Park
May 6, 2017

Now, put away that cell phone...nature is still in and around us.  Take a look today at Taughannock Falls coming - or going out of Ithaca, New York, near Trumansburg.  The rushing, thundering water is my key to understanding the moment; right now, - there is so much water coming down...simply amazing!

Marianne Van Lent at Corners Gallery

The falls are evocative and remind me of my experience seeing all this art in a short time on a gallery trek - a veritable gusher of imagery.  I am in Ithaca,  driving up Hanshaw Road to the Corners Gallery to see prints and paintings from Masha Ryskin and Marianne Van Lent in their current show called; "Collision of Realms".  On the Gallery website ( the image that was chosen to represent Marianne's artwork is a collage featuring fungi in a modest mixed media piece. Once I got to the gallery, I saw the paintings she has been working on and they are much stronger in color and texture.  These paintings were recently presented in New York City at The Painting Center, and for me there seems to be a connection to the early paintings from Terry Winters, especially because they had fungi and cellular structures embedded in textured grounds as well. But Marianne Van Lent has a stronger grasp of dramatic color without loosing the organic references entirely.

Marianne Van Lent " Dark Green Glade"

A little trio of paintings had the effect of bringing me back to the waterfalls at the top of this post.
"Dark Green Glade" has also a little touch of Monet with tempting red structures positioned over shimmering blue greens.  

One might think that because this is a two person show at the Corners Gallery that the show title "Collision of Realms" might symbolize two very different points of view on the part of each artist, but in point of fact the pieces from both artists on exhibition work very well together.

Marianne Van Lent at Corners Gallery

I am more familiar with Marianne's part in this show - though I was surprised that many of her paintings featured fresco secco - a hand mixed pigment with an organic binder often used as a wall painting technique.  Marianne was a classmate and neighbor of mine when I was studying painting in graduate school at Cornell University.  Marianne and her husband, the architect Nic Goldsmith lived above Simeon's at 104 North Aurora Street in Ithaca.

Simeon's in Ithaca

It was nice to visit with her and see her new art - this many years after college.  Her paintings were paired with prints and paintings by Masha Ryskin who now teaches at RISD.  The two artists have many things in common.  Masha Ryskin's art is subtle, very quiet also with an eye toward the organic ( see her Red Fossil below).

Masha Ryskin 

Masha has a very fine line that is carried through her art and it looks like lacework through which you might see a color plane.  She also exhibits small paintings like "Turmoil X" that restates some abstract expressionist tendencies toward automatic writing and mark making.

Masha Ryskin at Corners Gallery, Ithaca, NY

Down the high hills of Ithaca, right on State Street is the Ink Shop, opening in the evening with a two person show - paintings, prints and constructions from Scout Dunbar, and paintings by Skye Schirmer.

At the Ink Shop door I am greeted by gallery members and inside I look at the paintings by Skye Schirmer which often include hot color and verbal declarations sometimes etched into wet paint.  This kind of direct assault on your senses has a political ring to it and reminds me of the many thousands  of hand made posters I have seen at a rally or a march.

" Nobody's Baby " by Skye Schirmer at the Ink Shop

The statements from Skye Schirmer have an emotional high pitch which can be angaging in the gallery and I wonder what they might look like if you brought one home with you.  One of her paintings might be in honor of the singer Nina Simone, while the next painting may spring out of a bad dream.

The artist and printmaker, Craig mains with his work above

Hanging over my head is an arrangement of prints and cut paper arranged in theatrical rows featuring a tug-of-war between a large snake and an alligator.  This brush with death happening again and again in the Everglades is the focus of this new work by the artist Craig Mains.

Scout Dunbar at the Ink Shop, 330 East MLK/State Street, Ithaca, NY

On the main floor there is an interesting selection of artwork from Scout Dunbar that plays with forms and color in a very lighthearted manner.  Sometimes there is a repeating pattern that can evoke an African culture, and close by there are constructions that evoke children's toys.
Much to see and do on a Gallery Night in Ithaca, New York.