The current exhibit at Arts Mid-Hudson is organized by Ransome, a Rhinebeck, New York artist, who invited 22 artists to show recent work alongside of his own. “Kinship: The Inspiration of Artistic Connection” was inspired by the deep connections artists experience in their lives. Ransome commented: “Our families, our friends, our teachers: kinships are the connections that orient us and guide us in our lifetimes. In my art-making, too, I have discovered kinships—sometimes in artists whose work I have admired from a distance, other times in those who have become my good friends.”
Ransome expanded on the kinship theme in his written statement for the exhibit: “Though I would need to fill a sprawling museum to include all the artists who have inspired me, for this virtual exhibition with Arts Mid-Hudson, I have brought together a curation of works by a few of the artists who have, in some way, contributed to my artistic growth. Sometimes this influence came in the form of insightful comments; other times in illuminating paths for me to take on my own journey; others still have moved me simply through their manner of being and in the care they take in their own practices.”
The exhibiting artists hail from around the country and exhibit art created through a variety of artistic practices. There is a strong painting practice that focuses on the portrait as identity, as seen in works by several artists. Ransome’s “A Pretty Black Haired Wife” shows his facility of using patterned papers to build the surface, sometimes as collage and also as a lushly overpainted background. This layering adds to the feeling that although the woman meets the viewer with a direct gaze, she has her own personal stories and hidden secrets.
Steven Cozart creates portraits and incorporates text as a way to familiarize the viewer with the subject, as seen in “Weird Kid: The Tre’ Wilkes Statement.” This masterful charcoal and pastel drawing on a brown paper bag captures the likeness of Tre’ Wilkes, but also provides a glimpse of his personality and beliefs, reminding us not to judge people on their appearances.
The portrait can also be a narrative as seen in Robert Freeman’s painting, “This Way.” Freeman commented: “The heavy use of black and white paint within the painting is a metaphor for being black in white America and the tension that these seemingly dichotomous races have created between themselves.” The painting is done in bold strokes with a limited palette depicting a foursome dressed in formal wear, perhaps at an event.
Sika Foyer’s three-dimensional wall hung sculpture series, “Second Skin” is influenced by her West African roots. The layers of cloth, string, and paint explore skin and coverings, appearing as an archeological find. This recent work was created during 2020’s social unrest and the isolation of the pandemic.
Exhibiting Artists: Corina Alvarezdelugo, Deborah Read Belguendouz, Steve Cabral, Steve Cozart, Deborah Davidson, Sika Foyer, Robert Freeman, Edi Friedlander, Tracy Hayes, Alex Jackson, Joel Longenecker, Jenny Nelson, Ruby Palmer, Ransome, Deborah Roberts, Peter Rostovsky, Ben Sloat, Molly Snee, Laurel Sparks, Tara Tamaribuchi, Oliver Wasow, Deb Todd Wheeler, Philemona Williamson.
“Kinship: The Inspiration of Artistic Connection,” is on exhibit in the Arts Mid-Hudson virtual gallery through June, 2021.
April 18, 2021: panel discussion with Ransome and guest panelists. Latest information on events for this gallery exhibit: https://artsmidhudson.org/kinship/
This essay was originally published in the Poughkeepsie Journal, March 25, 2021. All artwork courtesy of the artists who hold all rights.