Abby Simmons loves the Finger Lakes. Perhaps that’s why its rolling hills, rural landscapes and colorful foliage feature prominently in her photography.
One night, heading to her parents’ farm in Bellona, Simmons crested a hill near Tomion’s Farm Market (off Route 14A) and noticed a tractor in a nearby cornfield. She pulled over and was absorbed in taking dozens of photos of the tractor’s silhouette against the setting sun, when her parents drove by. They stopped when they saw her wading through the field with her camera.
“They catch me doing that a lot,” Simmons said with a smile.
The tractor at sunset image and many others will be featured in the Lightner Gallery at Lightner Library at Keuka College Sept. 2 – Oct. 31. An artist’s reception will be held 4:30-6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 19, where light refreshments will be served. Gallery hours may be found online at lightner.keuka.edu.
This will be Simmons’ first solo show. Her work first caught the eye of Melissa Newcomb, assistant professor of art and curator of the gallery, during last winter’s staff and faculty art exhibit. Simmons has worked as a staff member for Keuka’s D.R.I.V.E program for the last year-and-a-half. (more…)
If members of Keuka’s Class of 2013 are looking for inspiration as they enter the job market, they should check out Stephanie Lange, who was in their shoes just a year ago.
In her time at Keuka, Lange ’12 of Apalachin made quite a mark. While completing a double major in visual and verbal art and organizational communication, Lange helped found and lead an intellectual exploration group known as Tabula Rasa, worked as the graphic designer for the student newspaper, and completed a bronze sculpture installation of a red-tailed hawk as her senior art project.
Now she’s venturing into new ground in the arts, and landed what she calls her “dream job.”
In late January, Lange started work as the program coordinator for the Schweinfurth Arts Center in Auburn. She is now directing a two-week annual conference, “Quilting by the Lake,” for the non-profit in addition to helping promote the Arts Center’s five annual exhibits, communicating with corporate sponsors, and producing and designing the center’s newsletters and other marketing materials.
The annual quilt show convention, held each July on the campus of Onondaga Community College near Syracuse, features more than 30 quilting-related classes and lectures, a quilt show and specialty vendors. According to Lange, while traditional quilting styles and methods are featured, there is a focus on modern quilting techniques involving painting on the fabric and elements of geometry, all of which creates an artistic quality.
“It’s not like something my grandma does,” Lange said. “The precision required for quilting is difficult to master.”
Like others, Lange had been forewarned to expect great challenge finding a salaried, full-time position in the arts field and said that awareness had her raving to her family that this opportunity was amazing. Not only does she help stage exhibits – some in the same measurements she learned as a student assisting with shows in Keuka’s Lightner Gallery – but she can participate in art classes hosted by the Center, as well as meet artists and local residents through Schweinfurth’s special events. (more…)
A trio of seniors are presenting their final art projects – a closer look at their personal journeys – in an exhibit on display April 29-May 24 at Keuka College’s Lightner Gallery.
The Senior Art Show showcases the talents of Erik Holmes of Penn Yan, Courtney French (Massena), and Erica Ruscio (Middlesex). An artists’ reception will be held from 4:30-6 p.m. Tuesday, April 30 at the gallery in Lightner Library. Light refreshments will be served and the event is free and open to the public. The exhibit runs through May 24.The gallery is open during Lightner Library hours, whichcan be found online at: http://lightner.keuka.edu.
According to Melissa Newcomb, assistant professor of art and adviser to the student artists, each one had to prepare an artist’s statement, along with a “thesis” of sorts, representing the culmination of work produced over their time as a student. Throughout this semester, they met weekly for senior art seminar, she said, and from those talks, a group consensus emerged: everybody’s grown.
This group has some of the strongest raw talent of students Newcomb has mentored during her four years at Keuka, she said.
According to Ruscio, the trio named the exhibit “EXPEERIENCE” because it’s “all about our experiences and we hope that people can see that by peering a little closer.”
“There are also a lot of eyes and faces, so we just thought it was a catchy title,” Ruscio added. (more…)
By day, Penn Yan resident Carol Sackett manages the circulation desk at Lightner Library, a post she has held for 32 years. But through March 7, visitors to Keuka College can glimpse a different side of her, as seen in three oil paintings gracing the walls of Lightner Gallery.
Sackett’s paintings are on display alongside numerous other works from members of Keuka’s faculty and staff, whose job titles may not necessarily disclose the individuals as creative “artists-in-residence.”
Beyond 9 to 5: The Hidden Talents of Keuka’s Faculty and Staff runs through March 7 in Lightner Gallery,located in Lightner Library. It features a range of artistic mediums, including painting, photography, ceramics, glass work, digital art, and film. More than 20 faculty and staff members submitted work for the show, including President Jorge L. Díaz-Herrera.
During a special artists’ reception – open to the public – Thursday, Feb. 21 from 4:30 – 6 p.m., the exhibit will also feature select culinary art from four members of the faculty and staff. The exhibit remains open daily during library hours, available online at: http://lightner.keuka.edu
As an artist for nearly 30 years, Debra Fisher shares stories – but she shares them in visual narratives, not necessarily written ones.
Among her many multimedia creations are trifold and quad-fold “books,” which can feature any number of colors, drawings, prints, and other artistic details inspired or culled from the pages of her life. Several of Fisher’s “books” and a massive installation work she calls The Waning October Moon are currently on display through Nov. 8 at Keuka College.
The title of the large work is also the title of the exhibit that is featured in the Lightner Gallery, housed in Lightner Library. An artist reception will be held Tuesday, Oct. 23, from 4:30- 6 p.m. Both the reception and exhibit are free and open to the public.
A few years ago, Fisher spent four months in the hospital, and it was not a pleasant experience.
“They poke and prod and pull you apart,” said the Spencerport resident who leveraged the experience and turned it into “The Predator Series,” a collection of prints of animals in attack mode. Each print features an inset of images from the classic cookbook “The Joy of Cooking,” which she considers humorous takes on Mother Nature and what people do for food sources.
“Man being preyed upon is the bottom line for that [work,] and myself – the object of investigation,” said Fisher, who has taught printmaking, multimedia and drawing for 13 years at SUNY Brockport. Other prints, drawings, and multimedia creations are also featured in the show.
It took two days for Fisher to complete the installation of her signature work in the gallery, and visitors will see a wash of antiqued yellow painted directly on the gallery walls, on which she has displayed three-dimensional objects, including 10 individual prints – of a boy, a boat, birds, and more. Each print was created when Fisher etched the selected work onto copper plates, then inked them. Prints were then mounted on wooden frames with hand-marbled paper around the edges, lacquered in a thin coat of beeswax.
Fisher calls herself a fan of the alternative print-making process. In addition to copper plating, she teaches gum prints, inking, and stamping. Stamps are part of the signature installation, and across the walls of the installation, visitors will see hand-stamped leaves and scarabs, the term for a dung beetle that some in the Egyptian culture believed offered good luck, or a sign of safe passage to the afterlife. Perhaps creating a feel as if entering a room, the installation also features a pair of women’s shoes from the 1940s rested atop a small ,three-dimensional staircase, mantel ledges mounted on the walls, and drapings of coffee-colored fabric swaths with prints of birds in flight.
“It’s déjà vu, the sense you’ve been somewhere before, lived this way, the ebb and flow of life situations and experiences you may have,” Fisher said, adding that even the imperfections of the gallery wall, with its nooks and crannies, fit the essence of her work.
Some of the images of the 10 prints contained within Fisher’s installation are replicas of idyllic landscape images from a print created between 1700 and 1800. Others have been culled from old books, perhaps those with engravings, or from nature. Another print, of a couple’s hands, was pulled from a famous work, “The Wedding,” by Jan Van Eyck, she said.
The Keuka exhibition is the second time Fisher has installed her signature work, and she enjoys discovering how it evolves each time it is recreated.
“The installation is ongoing … and I [already] have ideas for the next time. I have some really large bee etchings that will be mounted on thick cardboard and hovering above the wall. I will also include an elaborately framed etching of a dung beetle,” she said, noting she may add a print of her mother to the work. “One response I had from a fellow printmaker and artist was: ‘This could go on forever – you could work on this your whole life.’”
Visitors to the show will have the opportunity to purchase handmade sketchbooks Fisher has created. The covers are crafted with prints from the exhibition and the sketchbooks feature an exposed spine with coptic bindings (ie: chain-stitched by hand). These handmade creations are available for $25.
The gallery is open during library hours, which can be found at: http://lightner.keuka.edu.
The faces and forms of the people in his paintings look as though the individuals brushed into living color could step right off the canvas and into conversation.
They look, in a word, real. And that’s exactly how artist Lennie Muscarella of Victor wants it to be.
“If you were right next to it, it looks like a hodgepodge, but step back 10 feet and you’ve got a photograph,” he said, explaining that a number of contemporary painters in the same Realist style he aspires to are currently striving to master that technique.
Muscarella had lots of time to become intimately acquainted with the human face and figure. After studying biology at St. Bonaventure University, and a brief stint in the U.S. Navy, he entered dental school at the State University of New York at Buffalo.
Though he had given up art school to pursue a “day job” that could support a family, Muscarella found himself rewarded, he said, because dental school turned out to be “a very sophisticated art school.”
“They taught you how to paint porcelain and you have to know your colors inside out to match anteriors [teeth], and they hone your sculpting skills down to a tenth of a millimeter and bless them, they give you the privilege—not the right, but the privilege—to dissect the human body twice,” he said. “As a figure painter, you can’t get any better than that.”
While he may be “Dr. Muscarella” by day, in his free time he is simply “lennie” the artist, and yes, he spells it lowercase, because painting such a long name with a brush involves more work. “It’s much easier, if [I] use the one name,” he said.
In Muscarella’s mind, dental school was also a saving grace because had he instead entered art school in 1977, he would have confronted what he considers “a horrible year, the post-modern movement, [which] we’ve suffered from the last 40 years. They threw away all the technique and all the skill level is gone.
“I’m so sick and tired of people signing toasters or toilets and calling it art. It’s the king and his clothes, and people have got to be told the king is naked,” he said. “America’s got a wonderful crop of world-class figure painters on the East Coast right now making a comeback—they’ve held the fort up quite well.”
Muscarella will also show some of his drawings and sculptures at the Keuka exhibit, which continues through April 13. While he enjoys both sculpting and oil painting, casting sculptures is more expensive, so he tends to lean toward toward painting, he said.
“Painting is like playing the violin and sculpture is like playing the drums — it’s more physical. There’s a hammer involved, welders, tables with clamps on them. It’s very satisfying in its own way. I like both. But [sculpture’s] a lot messier.”
Muscarella will meet the public Thursday, March 22 during an artist’s reception, 4:15 – 6 p.m. in Keuka College’s Lightner Gallery, where light refreshments will be served. Prior to the reception, Muscarella will give a demonstration of his oil painting technique, known as the old master’s method, to Keuka drawing and painting students taught by Melissa Newcomb, assistant professor of art. And while it would be impossible to finish a work that typically takes 60 to 90 hours in an hour-and-a-half, Muscarella plans on giving them a significant taste in the science of it.
To that end, he will dissect one of his portraits in progress, creating a four-part cross-section on linen canvas where one quarter of the portrait is simply his drawing, and the next is coated with a sepia-tone wash of diluted oil paints. The final two quarters are in stages he calls “underpainting” and “almost done.” During the demonstration, Muscarella will take each cross-section to the next stage of completion. The canvas-in-progress will be put on display during the reception.
“It’s the process of making art, the doing that’s important,” Muscarella said. “Once one [work] is done, it’s time to move on to the next, like a rainbow in the next field. You never quite get there, and you’re always chasing it.”
Bradley Kellogg’s avant garde ceramics are inspired by history, innovation, the vessel and the machine.
The Canandaigua artist will showcase ceramic works of the last five years at Lightner Gallery in Lightner Library at Keuka College through Dec. 16. Kellogg will meet the public at a formal exhibit reception from 4:15-6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17 in Lightner Library. The exhibit and reception are free and open to the public.
Kellogg said he approaches his art with a knowledge and reverence for ceramic history and tradition, in particular the traditional art of “throwing” clay on the pottery wheel. He said without that “hindsight,” there is no foundation for innovation.
“History remains a sustaining force in all art; without it, art is without context or an objective basis of quality,” he said. “Being able to absorb and grow with history is a natural cycle.”
In marketing materials introducing his work, Kellogg will often showcase his pieces against a backdrop of a historical setting, such as a black and white photo from years ago. This can emphasize the contemporary, even futuristic elements of robotic, cog-wheel figures, winged-like vases, and even pieces that can hint of outer space and rocket ships.
She calls it “the printed collage.”
Artist Barbara McPhail of Canandaigua likes to use household items – wallpaper, fabric, string, tag board, almost anything with a texture – in her specialty prints, often works that focus on nature and the beauty she finds in it.
In her current exhibit, “Shadows in the Water, “ on display at the Lightner Gallery in Lightner Library, Keuka College, through Oct. 6, the elements of water, shadow and light take center stage. Prior to a gallery reception running 4:15 – 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22, McPhail will demonstrate her printmaking technique in a two-hour presentation for students that starts at 1:30 p.m.
After planning out a design in a sketchbook, she’ll pick up those textured scraps, and over weeks, or perhaps months, begin crafting them into the shapes she wants, perhaps modifying her design if she feels it necessary. When she’s finally ready to print, McPhail will set aside an entire day to focus on one image. (more…)
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