Get Visual is the grateful recipient of a grant from The Christos N. Apostle Charitable Trust

Thursday, August 12, 2010

... and other Troy shows

Just across the triangular Monument Square from the ACCR is the Clement Art Gallery, where curator Jon Gernon is developing a strong reputation for bringing together regional and national artists, particularly in the realm of realism. The current show there, represented by the card reproduced above, is perhaps his finest effort yet.

Allusion to Illusion: Contemporary Realism Today features five artists who are extremely skilled at rendering representational images in vividly colored, painstakingly textured detail. Two are from beyond the area, while three are local (including Gernon himself). Steve Carrelli, from Chicago, and Gernon work in egg tempera; Carolou Kristofik and Russell Gordon (the other locals), work in oil on linen; and Erin Gergen Halls, of Minnesota, works in colored pencil.

One of the fascinating aspects of so-called realism is how different each artist's interpretations end up appearing. A key facet of this exhibition is that its artists are very expressive - not mere imitators of the way things look - and highly individual in their modes of expression.

Kristofik's still lifes play with ordinary items and art objects of similar colors, then contrast them with another dominant color. For example, one of her pieces depicts a flock of yellow rubber ducks arranged in front of a deep blue wall. Others feature all red and black subjects, while another is a meditation in shades of paper-bag brown. All of them are masterfully composed and painted.

Gordon, who lives in Cambridge, N.Y., but has never shown inside the state until this exhibition, is the most commercially successful of the group. His extremely traditional still lifes in the Dutch style demonstrate why that is - but it is on the strength of his other paintings, particularly two marvelous trompe l'oeil pieces that appear to be presented back-side out, that he can hang a reputation of originality and true artistic significance.

Perhaps the most original stylist here is Carrelli, whose unframed temperas on linen mounted on panel fool the eye and tickle the brain with illusionistic paper envelopes as their picture planes. Like Gernon, Carrelli adds snatches of pencil sketches and other curious objects as elements in his constructions, using the smoothly-polished surface and tiny hatchings typical of egg tempera to marvelous effect.

Gergen Halls is the only artist in the show who clearly refers to photographs for her drawings, which places some of them in the special category of photo-realism (a style that had its heyday in the 1970s with artists such as Ralph Goings and Janet Fish). Others border on illustration, both in the sense that her technique is so impeccable as to be nearly flawless and that some of her imagery is less personally evocative than that of the other artists in the show. Still, it is visually sumptuous, whether depicting a friend taking a drink or an arrangement of scuffed containers of Tiger Balm.

Allusion to Illusion: Contemporary Realism Today remains on view through Aug. 26 - try not to miss it.

Tom Nelson View from Mt. House I oil on paper

Up the hill from Monument Square is the Chapel + Cultural Center at Rensselaer, a multi-use church and arts venue that operates in conjunction with RPI but is independently run by the Rensselaer Newman Foundation.

The current show there, titled The Big Picture: Expansive Landscapes includes four regional artists, of whom I am one. I also organized the exhibition (the fourth time I have done so at this venue), so I certainly won't be writing a review of it. But I break precedent here on Get Visual to recommend a show I'm in on behalf of the other artists - painters Gail Kort and Tom Nelson (one of whose works is pictured above), and photographer Barry Lobdell.

The Big Picture runs through Sept. 30, and is open every day - if you go, you may have to turn on the lights yourself, but it's worth the trouble. And, while I'm breaking the rules, there below is a tiny reproduction of the 8-foot photograph I've contributed to the show. It is the first and very probably last time I'll publish one of my own pictures here. Enjoy!

David Brickman Le Pilat, France 2007 photograph


PlanetAlbany said...

I object to your policy of not putting your own photos on this blog, and suggest you refudiate this overly persnickety ethical persiflage and give the customer what she or he wants and deserves. Harrumph.

david brickman said...

... persiflage?