Freedom summer: The best visual arts

Thursday, June 13, 2013 by : Michael Janairo , Arts & Entertainment Editor



VanAlstine - Ramersdorfer - sculpture park Wells, NY (see last listing)


By Tim Kane

This season's major museum exhibitions take a decidedly American bent. New revelations about Georgia O'Keeffe's deep connections to Lake George are at the Hyde Collection in Glens Falls . A recalibration of Winslow Homer and an interesting late period for George Innes fill the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown , Mass.

Meanwhile, Thomas Cole, Asher Durand and Albert Bierstadt highlight the Festival of American Romantics at the Fenimore Museum in Cooperstown, while other Hudson River School artists are featured at the Albany Institute of History & Art. James McNeill Whistler's fertile period in Venice is explored at the Arkell Museum in Canajoharie.

But if you're on a tight budget, interested in experiencing art outside of museums or focused on contemporary art, there's a wealth of free exhibits dotting the region all summer. The array of talent is impressive. Here's a sampler:

2013 Annual Summer Exhibition at Art Omi
It's hard to beat this lineup. Nathan Carter draws inspiration from decaying technological devices, pirated communications systems, rogue nation states and rolling blackouts. Known for her hand-blown glass terrariums, Paula Hayes interprets the Columbia County farmland with a series of planters. Always over-the-top, Erwin Wurm presents a typically acerbic portrait made with cast aluminum and enamel. Tom Doyle contributes five large-scale works cast in bronze from wood, while Allan McCollum revisits his “Perfect Vehicles” series from the '80s. Opening reception: 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday; exhibition runs through October. Art Omi, 1405 Route 22, Ghent . Sculpture park is open every day during daylight hours. Visitor center and gallery 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. 392-4747;

Fence Select 2013 and ‘ Associations : Channing Lefebvre'
You never know what you're going to get with the Fence Select, but that's its enduring quality. For this installment, Mass MoCA curator Denise Markonish , the guest juror, has selected 50 pieces from 33 artists from dozens submitted. While you're there, check out Channing Lefebvre's spinning doughnuts. June 28 to July 28; Opening reception Friday, June 28, 5 to 9 p.m. Arts Center of the Capital Region 265 River St., Troy . 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Saturday; noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. 273-0552

‘Some Assembly Required'
For the past century, collage has taken on an increasing role in art. From the French word coller , meaning “to glue,” the process of cutting, deconstructing, and replacing pieces from different media into a single work has altered the notions of what is art in a fundamental way. This exhibit, with 16 artists, many local, dissects various collage methods into a keen arrangement about assemblage. Through Sept. 8. Albany International Airport Gallery, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. 242-2241; http://www/

Carriage House Gallery Summer Exhibit
Three painters and sculptor — Jenny Snider, Gregory Amenhoff , Peter McCaffrey and Jason Stopa — contribute to this exhibit in one of the region's most interesting places to see art. The Carriage House, in back at the John Davis Gallery in Hudson , rises four floors, reached by small, winding stairs. Isherwood's large figurative marble and granite compositions and Snider's acrylic and watercolor pencil collages take the ground floor. On the second floor are Amenhoff's small pencil drawings, the fruit of living in Paris last summer. On the next level, McCaffrey responds to the death of his terrier. Finally, Stopa , on the top floor, focuses on surface tension. June 20 to July 14. Opening reception: 6 to 8 p.m. June 22, John Davis Gallery, 362 ½ Warren St. , Hudson . 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Monday. 828-5907;

‘Michelle Segre: Antecedents of the Astral Hamster'
Segre is hard to classify. In the 1990s, she produced wax enlargements of giant fungi and drawings of broken landscapes. More recently, she has moved toward gestural abstraction, constructing free-standing assemblages with furniture and other recycled materials including rocks, milk crates, yarn and plaster with a storyteller's ability to weave a narrative. June 27 to Sept. 14. University Art Museum , University at Albany , 1400 Washington Ave. , Albany . 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, noon to 4 p.m. Saturday. 442-4035;

‘Mind and Matter'
Brooding, moody and inward-looking, paintings by Jane Dell and Liz Parson aren't exactly summertime fare, but their gravitas shouldn't be ignored. Both create micro-universes filled with illogical occurrences, exploring psychology and the material world around them in expressive and autobiographical terms. 9 a.m to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, through July 27, Saratoga Arts, 320 Broadway, Saratoga Springs . 581-7666;

Martin Myers
If you're looking for a wild ride and can't make it to Great Escape, try the Martin Myers experience. Part optical illusion and part architectural form, Myers' paintings are intense, hypnotic and pulsating; the space is constantly advancing, bending and receding. July 13 to Aug. 16. Opening reception: 4 to 6 p.m. July 13. Lake George Arts Project's Courthouse Gallery, 1 Amherst St. , Lake George . Noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; noon to 4 p.m. Saturday. 668-2616;

‘Soft Focus'
This mixed-media exhibit explores the depiction of light as it transforms and blurs through eight artists — photographers Chad Kleitsch , Jeri Eisenberg, Betsy Weis, Lynn Butler and Lori Van Houten and painters Patty Neal, James O'Shea and Bruce Murphy. Through July 7. Carrie Haddad Gallery, 622 Warren St. , Hudson . Open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily; noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. 828-1915

Russell Serrianne
Using tendrils — thin stems
from climbing plants — Serrianne's wall-based installations grip, rise, expand and fall. Some look like meteorites flaming through the sky, others tornadoes or a monk's robes. In such simple botanical elements Serrianne finds the multiplicity of ideas in the natural world with a coy inventiveness. July 6 to July 26. Opening reception: 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday, July 6. Salem Art Works, 19 Cary Lane , Salem . Open daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 854-7674 http://


‘John Van Alstine and   Caroline Ramersdorfer: Confluence of Opposites'
This isn't quite an exhibit, but it's a cool summer trip into the Adirondacks visiting two artists' habitats hard against the Sacandaga River . One day a year, they open their complex of galleries, work spaces and a sculpture park displaying both of their works. As the title suggests, they couldn't be more different. Van Alstine works in abstraction through metal and stone, while Ramersdorfer hones white marble into mind-bending geometric configurations. 1 to 7 p.m. Saturday, July 27, 1293 Route 30, Wells.