Last night's opening of "The Oatman-Lail NewsHour" at The Teaching Gallery of Hudson Valley Community College in Troy was the place to be for denizens of the local art scene, which is no surprise, as both Oatman and Lail are popular and well-connected.
Among the arbiters seen there in the second hour of the event were these Capital Region gallery directors: Janet Riker (University Art Museum), Sharon Bates (Airport Art Gallery), Jeanne Flanagan (Massry Center at Saint Rose), Sarah Martinez (Albany Center Gallery), Amy Williams (Arts Center of the Capital Region), and Elizabeth Dubben (Amrose Sable), along with Tara Fracalossi (Teaching Gallery director and Lail's spouse). It was a good opportunity to schmooze in a beautiful gallery that's always worth a trip off the beaten path.
This exhibition is a celebration of collage as an art medium, and features two artists who are closely tied yet produce distinctly divergent work. Lail, the lesser known of the two, tends toward sketchy, almost conceptual installations that seem blown apart. His almost entirely monochromatic pieces shown here appear to be two-dimensional blueprints for super-colossal versions of the same.
Oatman also makes large-scale installations, but they are extremely carefully planned and constructed. His contributions to this exhibition are a continuation of a style of papercut collage he has been showing a lot over the last several years, often in tandem with the installations, and they share that super-particularity of execution.
These newest works are consistent with those of the past: colorful, nostalgic, irreverent, quirky, and confounding.
Both artists' works demand more than a cursory look - their large scale and extensive layerings and details offer the viewer rewards for time spent perusing them. Oatmans's are easier to like and interpret; Lail's take more effort.
Check it out - the show runs through April 4.
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