One of the most important milestones in the career of an artist is to have their work included into a permanent museum collection. The Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art has established an annual purchase award and acquired artwork over the past 12 years through the Alice and Horace Chandler Art Acquisitions Fund. The exhibit, Collecting Local: Twelve Years of the Hudson Valley Artists Annual Purchase Award is a rare opportunity to see selections of the collection together.
Entering the gallery, it’s apparent that the collection has been built with a discerning, yet diverse eye. The exhibit includes video, sculptural installation, paintings, photography, mixed media and ceramics, yet all these artworks together create a vivid picture of the work of contemporary Hudson Valley artists.
Many of the artworks included in this exhibit turn the mirror back onto our culture as they examine climate change, violence in our society, and displacement. Curt Beishe and Lise Prown collaborated on the installation, Carrying (Pistol Packing Pupils) 2010, an artwork that makes a statement on our gun culture and gun laws in schools across the United States. Seen in a context of when the sculpture was created, we have seen ten additional years of gun deaths in our schools.
Libby Paloma creates wall hung multi-media pieces that memorialize her Chicanx and queer culture. In Chingona AKA Libby, she remembers her family roots while she claims her own individuality. The piece is embellished with seed beads and tiny objects that depict her world.
Several paintings are featured using a variety of style and approaches to working with paint. Nestor Madalengoitia’s work, Simon Bolivar – Hero 2, uses the artists’ trademark signature of portraiture with lettering and designs that feel inspired by Incan civilization from centuries ago. Thomas Sarrantonio’s small paintings on paper show us the birds eye view of forests with waterways from his series, Forest Paintings. Charles Geiger’s works are not only beautiful, but also a statement on the environment as shown in his painting, Out of Sight, inviting the viewer to search within the jungle of flowers and plant-like objects. In Stephen Niccolls’ painting, Strapat, the artist has pared down shapes to explore the essence of painting. Looking closely at the artwork, you will see the deliberate brushstrokes and placement of color.
There are several fine examples of photography in the exhibit from François Deschamps series, Available, where the artist places an image of a person alongside an empty storefront, to Richard Edelman’s dramatic piece, Rebekah Creshkoff in Search of Matilda, a study of shadow and light.
Several artists use existing materials to reconceptualize the work, such as Barbara Leon’s Homo Naturalis, where the artist has taken an existing poster and painted over the images. Don’t pass by the grouping of steel engravings; look closely to see how Jean-Marc Superville Sovak has inserted images that change the perception of these formerly bucolic landscapes.
As you depart this exhibit, pause a few moments at the gallery entrance to enjoy Patrick Kelley’s ethereal video, 175 Rome Churches.
The exhibit Collecting Local: Twelve Years of the Hudson Valley Artists Annual Purchase Award is on exhibit until July 12, 2020 at The Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art.
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This essay was originally published in the Poughkeepsie Journal, February 28, 2020.