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Sunday, April 17, 2016

Spotlight on Abraham Ferraro and Hudson Valley Seed Packs at ACCR

Abraham Ferraro has redefined "mail art" with his sculptural installations
For a fun and very colorful experience, check out the solo retrospective of sculptor Abraham Ferraro and the annual show of Hudson Valley Seed packs at the Arts Center of the Capital Region in Troy through Sunday, April 24.

Ferraro began making mailable sculptures out of corrugated cardboard in 2008, when he sent a roughly cubical piece about the size of a lunchbox to himself. This act may or may not have been unique or groundbreaking - but it was not in the well-known tradition of "mail art," wherein the art goes inside an envelope or on a postcard, and it started something big and creative for Ferraro.

Since that start, Ferraro has built up an ever-growing body of work constructed out of geometrically shaped and increasingly colorful modules, all of which were shipped intact from the post office to galleries, where they are assembled like a whacked-out erector set. The exhibition Every Which Way, which fills the Arts Center's main gallery, adds new units and re-creates years' worth of past projects that retain their original shipping labels (including that very first one).

It's a joyous romp through Ferraro's inventively restless oeuvre - carnivalesque, yet formalist. The show also includes a couple of the artist's electrical inventions and some flatter art that has also been shipped, in which bright postal labels combine with printed images to make a picture.

Also on view, in the Wallace + Foyer Galleries, is the Art of the Heirloom exhibition of original art that was commissioned for seed packs sold by the Hudson Valley Seed Library and makes an annual touring exhibition (co-sponsored by Capital Roots). The art is very diverse, yet consistently excellent and beautiful, while the seed packs are extraordinary examples of highly aesthetic graphic design. Seen together, they get you thinking about the ways images are transformed by context.

The show was such a pleasure, it inspired us to pick up a pack of striped cherry tomato seeds for our garden (from the Honest Weight Food Co-op), an unusual result of a Sunday afternoon art excursion.

Rainbow Chard, oil on canvas by Sheryl Humphrey, from Art of the Heirloom

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