|Matt Frieburghaus - Water Collection, still image from four-minute video|
But don’t take that the wrong way – Shin’s choices are almost flawless in terms of quality; maybe this snapshot of 2018 simply says that artists today are looking forward by looking back. I for one will never tire of painterly abstraction – and here’s a ton of it! Indeed, this Regional is almost a show of paintings, with a few photographs, sculptures, prints and drawings thrown in for balance.
|Shari Mendelson - Korean Bird Vessel 2|
repurposed plastic and other media
|Gina Occhiogrosso - A Cold Melt|
acrylic ink and oil on muslin
Nearby are several of the show’s three-dimensional works, including David Herbert's monumental take on the Statue of Liberty. Topical and laboriously hand-wrought of wood and string, its emptiness speaks volumes. Also topical are Susan Hoffer’s three modestly sized representational paintings of people looking at electronic screens. Her titles are ironically compelling (one is Watching Human Rights Silently Legislated Away) and her technique is both luminescent and a bit goopy, creating an odd surface tension that adds to her wry message.
|Karin Schaefer - Intersectional, oil on canvas|
A particular favorite piece of mine (and winner of both a Juror's Award and a purchase prize) is Laura Frare and Mary Kathryn Jablonski’s video-poetry collaboration, entitled These Last Few Days of Freezing Rains. It runs an acceptable 4 minutes, and creates a wintry atmosphere by combining visuals and images evoked by spoken words. Be sure not to miss seeing/hearing it from the start, as it cycles continuously.
The Phantom of Liberty
wood, string, paint, hardware
Similarly mesmerizing are the two VR (virtual reality) works presented by Jessica Ann Willis that each provide a kaleidoscopic experience in an illusory cube of space. On the wall nearby are two exquisite mandala-like paintings by Amy Cheng, and two similarly radiating rag-rug assemblages by Kathy Greenwood - yet more non-representational work in the show.
|Susan Spencer Crowe - Tosca|
cut and folded paper, graphite, Flashe
Taken as a whole, the exhibition clearly demonstrates just how high a standard is maintained by the fine artists in this region, and provides plenty of food for thought on the questions of what defines a region and what defines a moment in time.
Note: This year's Regional is accompanied by a sidebar exhibition in the Museum's attached upstairs West gallery. Entitled Flow, it includes one or two pieces each by 11 UAlbany alumni whose works received UAlbany purchase prizes during the past nine Regionals, and covers a full range of artistic media. Both shows continue through Dec. 8.
|Susan Hoffer - Appealing to a Moral World Community, oil on hardwood|