Sunday, May 27, 2018

Memorial EarthDay

Brooktondale, New York, May 25, 2018

A moment of silence on this Memorial Day for those troops who have served the U.S.

-Now, let us think of Earth Day.. If, we are really stardust - as the song says, at what point do these specs of dust achieve consciousness?  How would these atoms of which we speak become sentient beings?  And what would they look like?  I know it takes eons to become what we are today, so let us celebrate what great good luck we have had to appreciate the Earth on this day and in this way!

Going forward as a working artist, I look at many exhibitions and get a big boost by looking at artwork and thinking about the people who make the images.  I also teach art at my college ( R.I.T.) and I hope to inspire my students and others to be creative, and celebrate their good fortune at being alive in this moment.

June Szabo
"Artists Save The Earth"
Ithaca, New York

We start out at our little pond in Brooktondale and take in all of nature in its regal splendor before a drive into Ithaca, New York.  I am going to The Ink Shop on State Street, and when I walk into the building I find a small show in the entryway of CSMA: "Artists Save The Earth".

Craig Mains, woodcut
"One Last Load"

On the wall there is a large print by Craig Mains of a last lumber truck rolling along the little housing
project that looks like the colorful ones on Boiceville Road off Route 79.  There is a photo of cows munching on piles of garbage by Robyn Wishna ( Toxic Cow ) that is quite threatening, as well as photos of gravel pits and the like.

Robyn Wishna
"Toxic Cow"

There is a look back to a time when "Earth Art" came to my attention.  I was following what Robert Smithson wrote about, and at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum they had dedicated space to host a show that featured artists who were striking out in new directions.  Marilyn Rivchin brings us a scrap book from this time ( 1969 ) and gives us a description and documentary photos of artists like Jan Dibbets, and Hans Haacke, among others.  I remember that Hans Haacke was one of the teachers at The Cooper Union when I was there doing my undergraduate work.  Hans Haacke made his reputation digging into the dirty secrets of the art world by posing interesting questions, and then setting up circumstances that were very revealing.  I am not sure how this saves the earth but it sharpens my memory of those years when I was a student.

Marilyn Rivchin's 1969 Memorial

Upstairs, at The Ink Shop, I spoke with artist Paul Van Atta - who is a Kahn Family Fellow,  as he prepared his show called: "Molotov Cocktail".  Silk Screen prints of his reminded me of the characters of west-coast artist Barry McGee.  I will have to come back and look at Paul Van Atta's work when it opens in June.  Originally, I thought that I was going to see a show of printed poetry, with many samples from a collection at Wells College.

The Ink Shop presents:  Paul Van Atta
Opens Friday, June 1, 2018

I walked down Ithaca Commons to Artspace and there I found a show of poetry, paintings and prints by Patricia Brown and Lisa Harris.  There is a book published with their collaboration called "Traveling Through Glass" that seems to be the origin of the images on view.  Each work contains a line from a poem, and the painting or print attempts to deal with those thoughts mostly through abstraction,  Energetic and analytic at the same time, many of the images have a geometric tendency.

Patricia Brown and Lisa Harris
"5 Change"
at Artspace, Ithaca Commons, Ithaca, NY

The day was hot and dry, so I got into my air conditioned car and drove up to Clifton Springs to attend an opening at Main Street Arts for a show called: "Land and Sea".  This juried exhibition has a nice printed catalog available and the exhibit itself includes several artists from this area as well as many artists who were new to me.

"Land and Sea" at Main Street Arts
Clifton Springs, NY

June Szabo in "Land & Sea"

The spaces upstairs at Main Street Arts are reserved for artist studios in the residency program, and also for changing exhibits like the walls full of small works that make up the show of "Colorful Creations".  I also found some substantial works from past students from R.I.T. including Chad Grohman and Mike Tarantelli.  There is a lot to see here, so take your time, and enjoy!

"Colorful Creations" Student works and much more....

Chad Grohman, upstairs at Main Street Arts,
Clifton, Springs, NY