Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Exhibits: Still Time for Social Faceworking

As odd as the name sounds – like it must be some kind of misprint from Facebook – “Social Faceworking” is a dynamic, exciting exhibit of the works of 19 creative individuals, with 170 connections between them, at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts. It will be on display until February 11.

Organized by Nip Rogers, Lake Placid artist and designer, the main connection is that Nip is friends with all these artists and has created a unique portrait of each one. Each artist has their own exhibit area which includes their own work. The portraits hang throughout the gallery. It’s up to the viewer to make the connections.

Quoting from the exhibit program “with the advent of social networking, it has become easier for artists to come together and share work and inspiration online”. Just think of what these advancements in communication have done for artists. It wasn’t that long ago that working artists often felt they lived and worked in isolation – that’s the stereotypical image of the artist, working away alone in their studio. Probably with weird personality traits and anti-social behavior. When an artist attended an exhibit or hung out in a coffee shop, they might meet and interact with other artists. In between those events maybe they wrote letters or talked on the phone. Or not.

Fast forward to 2012. Artists have web sites where they post images of their work to share with the world – not just discreetly showing their friends at the coffee shop They write and illustrate blogs where anyone can go online and see just exactly what their favorite artist is currently working on. Or maybe you can find a YouTube video of the artist actually at work! Or a Tweet! When I am out plein air painting I often take a photo with my smart phone and post it directly onto my Facebook page – “here is what I’m working on right now”. Artists can have fans and patrons without ever having even met them in person! A finished work of art doesn’t have to wait for the paint to dry, the frame to be put on, and months or years for a gallery owner to propose an exhibit – it can go on display online in an instant.

The immediacy and world wide connectivity that artists have right now is both changing the image of the artist and is probably affecting changes in what they create. Artwork is no longer subject to being hidden away in a closet until the artist is “discovered” – or dies. For artists in the Adirondacks, there is no longer any reason to feel isolated – unless you want to be.

“Social Faceworking” taps into all this connectivity and instantaneous sharing that exists via the internet. There’s even a Facebook page for it! The variety in techniques, subject matter, and style are fun to see and surely will provoke some critical thinking. Participating artists are: Andrew Dehond, William Evans, Brooke Noble, Cal Rice, Carol Vossler, Charles Stewart, CJ Dates, David Fadden, Eric Ackerson, Jenny Curtis, John Ward, Ken Wiley, Peter Seward, Sandy Edgerton Bissell, Sara Mazder, Shaun Ondack, Susan Stanistreet, Vicki Celeste, and Nip Rogers.

The Lake Placid Center for the Arts is located at 17 Algonquin Ave. Gallery hours are Tues. – Thurs. 1 – 5, Fridays 1 – 9, and it’s usually open when there are other performances or events. 518-523-2512.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Adirondack Native, Local, Outsider or Stranger?

A few years ago I noticed a small sign taped to a cash register in a local store. It read “no checks from strangers.” Well, I reasoned, this is a quirky establishment so I smiled and went on my way. Sometime later I was talking with someone who asked me where I was from. I answered and she raised her chin, looked down and replied, “Oh, you’re an outsider.”

I live on a road that is closed this time of year but this morning the automated gate stood open in protest to the cold. Despite the impossible-to-miss “Road Closed” sign, a vehicle drove slowly through. When I stepped out to tell him that the road was closed, he assured me that he was a “native” just out for a drive. Strangers, outsiders, natives – have I stumbled into a National Geographic special about an exotic colonized land?

I’ve noticed that in conversation here in the Adirondacks it is advantageous if you can slip in your provenance,because like any commodity, identity is valued according to lineage, history and ownership. But when does a stranger or an outsider become a local, and where is the line between local and native? And what, in the name of homogenization, is the difference!

Are people subject to the same hierarchy of belonging when it comes to Adirondack identity that we argue over with respect to the plant and animal community? Are we one step away from setting up an invasive species task force to weed-out the outsiders before they take over the landscape?

In an interesting reversal, being “local” has a cache in certain situations but when it comes to weighing in on management and planning decisions “local” can be a liability. To that point, a recent conversation among colleagues (some of whom have lived here for 30 years) focused on how to encourage “locals” to participate in discussions about the future of the Park. The question was asked, “Who among us is actually from here?” As I watched the unanimous shaking of heads I tried to ask why it should matter, but I wasn’t nimble enough to work it in before the conversation got away from me. The reason for my inquiry was simple: I don’t actually think that the question that was asked, was the question that was meant.

After all, if you’ve lived and worked and belonged to a place for 20-30 years could it possibly matter that you were born in Jamaica, Queens? I submit that the intended question was too impolite and indelicate to ask. The honest question among this group of educated professionals was “Who among us is socially and economically disadvantaged such that our circumstances prevent us from feeling empowered to contribute to a discussion about the future of the Park?” Then, in response to what I’m sure would be another unanimous head shake, we could talk about why these types of conversations don’t feel inviting and why a feeling of being a “local outsider” prevents certain people from joining in.

A similar debate rages in the area of “environmental pragmatism.” In short it asks whether wildlife management decisions should be deliberative, inviting a range of viewpoints and perspectives from professionals and laypeople alike, or whether the decisions should be left to specialists with merely a back-end nod at the democratic process that invites comment from the unwashed.

I have heard it said that some opinions are worth more than others. I think that those of us who are empowered either by social or economic circumstance are obligated to do more than to rhetorically toe the liberal party line. And if our objective is deliberative and democratic then no, no single perspective or category of citizen is worth more than another.

Book cover image of The Stranger by Albert Camus

Marianne Patinelli-Dubay is a philosopher, writing and teaching in the Adirondack Park.


Sunday, January 22, 2012

24 Hour Adirondack Student Photo Contest

The Lake Placid Institute for Arts and Humanities is inviting all high school students in the Adirondack region to participate in a visual interpretation of their surroundings in the Institute’s program: “24 Hours – A Photographic Interpretation of Life in the Adirondacks”.

Photos must be taken within the Adirondack Park, from April 14, 2011 through April 15, 2012 and represent one hour of a day in the Adirondack Park. Each photo must be accompanied by a brief description of when, where and why the artist chose to photograph that particular scene or subject.

Entries will be accepted beginning March 1, 2012 and must be postmarked or submitted on-line no later than April 15, 2012. Entries must include the photographer’s name, age, grade, the hour the photo was taken, date taken, location of the photo, type of camera used, and the name of the supervising teacher. Photos must be able to be replicated in 11” by 14” formats. Entries should be sent to: LPI24Hours@gmail.com


Monday, January 16, 2012

Sandy Hildreth: Artist Maps of Saranac Lake

Artists find their way around the world differently than most people. This is clearly evident in “Mapping the Familiar: Artist Maps of Saranac Lake”, which opened last week at the Adirondack Artists Guild Gallery in that village. The exhibit was curated by Jess Ackerson, a young artist, printmaker who lives and works in Saranac Lake. Each artist was invited to interpret the concept of the show in their own individual way – and all the pieces in the show are very unique.

When I find my way somewhere, I am inclined to rely upon visual “signposts” – usually natural landforms. Even in an urban environment, I find myself locating the sun, when possible, so I’ll know which way is north, and I might mark my course by remembering to turn at the big tree on the corner where the road goes uphill rather than the name of the street intersection. This might be evident when a viewer examines my piece in the exhibit because I have no map in it, but I do have many of the views that one sees when in Saranac Lake.

There are several pieces in the show which are clearly maps – but maps interpreted through what the individual artists found interesting. Diane Leifheit’s map is a detailed ink drawing/silkscreen print that depicts the course of the Saranac River and the various bridges within the community, along with hand-scripted anecdotal notations. Peter Seward’s “The Resettlement of Saranac Lake” is “a whimsical depiction of the challenges faced inhabiting a wilderness”. It is reminiscent of the fanciful maps of drawn by early explorers and even has an area identified as “terra incognito”.

Mayor Clyde Rabideau, who once boasted of some interest in the arts, was also invited to contribute a piece. His cartoon style drawing of a map of the community shows the pride he feels in the village and looks like something you might have seen in a 1950’s tourism brochure! It’s title was derived from the locally known Dew Drop Inn and Mr. Rabideau wrote in his artists statement “for many generations, thousands of people have, indeed, “dropped-in” to Saranac Lake and never left, making it their permanent home”.

Some of the other pieces in the show have more emphasis on the “art” and less on the “map” although the village map has worked it’s way into the individual images. Jess Ackerson’s three color reduction lino-cut, silkscreen and colored pencil piece combines the map with other bold images like a rainbow, a compass star and a labyrinth. In her statement Jess wrote “This map is actually a maze. It’s an attempt to describe what it takes to be present while we navigate the transition from past, where there were so many other paths we could have taken, to the future.” Eric Ackerson created a labyrinth of intertwining map and snake forms titled – “A Ransack Illegal Fovea” – which happens to be an anagram for Village of Saranac Lake.

In addition to the 10 artist creations, there is also a large, interactive “Community Map” where gallery visitors are invited to draw and write upon it their special spots or trails in the village.

Find your own way to this unique and thought provoking exhibit – the Adirondack Artists Guild is located on Main Street in Saranac Lake and the exhibit will be up through January 29.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Sandy Hildreth Visits The View’s Photo Exhibit

On my way through the Adirondacks, while traveling for the holidays, I stopped at View, the Arts Center in Old Forge, to see “Adirondack View Finders: Farb, Battaglia, Bowie, Heilman”. As I walked through the galleries of photos I kept waiting for one to jump out at me – to say “hey, this is new and different – look at me” and it wasn’t happening.

Don’t get me wrong, this is an outstanding exhibition of photographs. Nathan Farb’s work can take your breath away with the incredible details. Nancie Battaglia is exhibiting some striking sepia tone images. Mark Bowie has some low light nighttime exposures with amazing results and Carl Heilman’s panoramas pull you into the space so much you feel like you are right there with him on a mountain summit. All good – but all things I had seen before.

In adjoining galleries there are additional photographs: “Emerging Views,” featuring works by Johnathan A Esper – who sometimes climbs up big white pines to get some wonderful panoramic views; Leslie Dixon and Clark Lubbs, both of whom are showing lovely, intimate views of the natural world.

Finally, there are photos from an exhibit called “Teacher’s Turn: Instructors from the Adirondack Photography Institute.” Another batch of terrific images from Eric Dresser, Joe LeFevre, John Radigan and Carl Rubino. Here is where my inner spirit was moved. We’ve all seen cute bear cub photos, or monster buck images that make you wonder if the photographer was shooting animals contained on a game preserve. Eric Dresser’s photos seem to just take you to the place – you feel like you were stepping softly through the forest and chanced upon these animals without disturbing them. Not overly cute, nor dramatic, just a beautifully composed, captured moments in the life of wild creatures.

However the photos that made me stop and walk back to look at them again were some relatively small images perhaps in the 12×18” size, by John Radigan. Not dramatic, nor extreme in detail or view, but subtle, soft painterly moments in time. In fact they looked more like paintings than photographs – printed on lovely paper with torn edges. I thought they were something like polaroid transfer prints, but after contacting the artist, he explained that “the series of images for the View exhibit were made using an Epson archival inkjet printer on watercolor stock. The image edges were made manually using Photoshop to approximate edge effects like an acid burn, etc. The paper edges are hand torn. The images themselves were captured using various in-camera techniques such as multi-exposure, long exposure blur and image overlay. No computer tricks were used.”

This photography exhibit is definitely worth seeing for it’s breadth, depth, and excellence. And if the opportunity to wander through the Adirondacks via the captured images of all these photographers is not enough, then consider the sixty-eight pieces of native stone sculptures tastefully placed throughout the galleries by Keene Valley artist Matt Horner. Soft, organic forms of hard Adirondack rock! A final bonus is a slide show in an adjoining gallery of Nathan Farb’s striking images of the devastation of Hurricane Irene. Worth seeing as a reminder of the awesome power of nature. The overwhelming response to this natural disaster cleaned things up so quickly it’s easy to forget how bad it really was.

These exhibits will be on display until January 29 at View in Old Forge. Correction: “Adirondack Viewfinders” will remain on exhibit until March 3. Hours are Monday through Thursday, 10 – 4, Friday and Saturday from 10 – 5, and Sunday from noon to 4 pm. Admission is $10/$5 for members. 315-369-6411.


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Adirondack Carousel: A Moveable Feast

When the Adirondack Carousel is completed it’s going to be a moveable feast for the eyes. Kids (and adults) will love to take a ride on it and surely will pick out their favorite animal. (I always had a favorite horse on the carousel I rode as a child at the Wisconsin State Fair). But besides the traditional thrill of the ride, this carousel is going to be an amazing work of moveable art.

First of all, the carved wooden animals are all unique and all native to the Adirondacks, rather than the traditional leaping horses. Talented wood carvers from all over the country have donated their time to create these animals. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Sandra Hildreth: A Local Lesson in Art History

What follows is a guest essay by Sandra Hildreth, a member of the Adirondack Artists’ Guild. The Guild is a cooperative retail gallery with 14 member artists, located at 52 Main St. in Saranac Lake. Gallery hours are 10 – 5, Tues – Sat, and 12 – 3 on Sundays. 518-891-2615.

The current featured artist exhibit at the Adirondack Artists’ Guild in Saranac Lake could easily be a lesson in art history. Nancy Brossard is a well known local artist who lives between Tupper Lake and Childwold. Brossard primarily paints Adirondack landscapes in the tradition of “en plein air” artists, that is, outdoors, on location. Her works interpret the environment in wonderful animated brushstrokes, reminiscent of some of the French Impressionists, but faithful to the Adirondack views they portray.
» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

John’s Ten Favorite Irish Songs For St. Patrick’s Day

Here are ten songs everyone with Irish aspirations should know, in no particular order. Learn these and you’ll never spend St. Paddy’s alone.

Whiskey in the Jar – This classic tune is believed to have originated in the late 1600s or early 1700s. Since then it’s by been covered by The Dubliners, Thin Lizzy, Peter, Paul & Mary, Gerry Garcia and David Grisman, and Metallica. My favorite line: “I first produced my pistol, and then produced my rapier.” » Continue Reading.


Monday, January 30, 2006

Transgender Discrimination in Glens Falls

The Glens Falls Post Star is reporting today that they “received three letters to the editor alleging transgender discrimination on South Street.” Though they are at pains to diminish the seriousness of denying people basic human rights, here’s the evidence:

Diane Bement, owner of Beamer’s Pub, said Adams came to her bar one day and used the women’s restroom. When she came out, Bement said she “told him to use the men’s room” in the future.

Old McDonald’s Too had a sign on its front door Tuesday that read, “No Drama No Drags.” The sign was posted by customers and remained on the door for about three weeks, said Harry Knoblauch III, who is in the process of taking over the bar’s liquor license.

Other hand-made signs in the bar address proper bathroom etiquette. A sign over the toilet in the women’s bathroom tells patrons who might be standing while going to the bathroom that they should be in the men’s bathroom. Another tells men that there is no excuse to use the women’s room because of a dirty toilet seat in men’s room.

After The Post-Star visited the bar, the sign on the front door was taken down along with another sign in the bar that read “no chicks with (expletive),” Knoblauch said.

» Continue Reading.


Page 56 of 56« First...102030...5253545556