Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Adirondack Art: Three Exhibits In Saranac Lake

Oil, 16x20, plein airThree exhibits are coming up in the Saranac Lake area that will provide lots of visual enjoyment.

My own “What the Rocks Remember” and photographs by Karla Brieant, is the exhibit currently on display in the gallery space at the Paul Smith’s College VIC.  There will be a “Meet the Artists” reception on Sunday, Nov 2, from 2 – 5 and the exhibit will be up through Nov 21.

I first met Karla nearly twenty years ago. We both were volunteering at the Paul Smith’s College VIC, working with area art teachers and taking students out on the trails to do nature observation and sketching. I didn’t really know her very well, but when I saw her photographs, I could tell we felt the same reverence for the Adirondack landscape. Flash forward to 2014. I contacted Karla and asked if she would like to do a month long exhibit with me at the VIC and she agreed. When asked if we should have some kind of theme, I don’t remember which one of us suggested “rocks”, but the other eagerly agreed.

Geologists can tell us the actual stories of the rocks, where they were created and how they came to be where they are. But I’ve been curious about the more intimate, mysterious things. There is a huge glacial erratic that I found a couple of years ago when the VIC opened a new ski trail in the area near Black Pond. It sits a ways off the trail, perched on a level area of a fairly steep hillside, perfectly balanced on it’s tip. A glacier dropped it off in that location, grinding it into position.

There are some rocks wedged in underneath it, but when I found it, on an April day when I was out seeking some new subject matter to paint, I walked around it, saw the bare ground beneath the huge mass of balanced rock, and it occurred to me that it has been like that for probably 10,000 years. What animals had taken shelter beneath the rock? How many Native Americans, or Adirondack guides from Paul Smith’s Hotel, or loggers had walked past it? I knew they had recently, as there were blue marks spray painted on some of the nearby hemlock trees. The giant rock towered above my head, “dressed” with a healthy population of green ferns. That first day I was there it was spitting snow showers – I pondered how many winters had wrapped it in the depths of silent snow.

What the Rocks Remember, photo by Karla BrieantKarla too has images that beg to ask what stories the rocks could tell. The title of the show emerged from a moody photograph she took of ancient boulders along the shore of Moose Pond.

Both artists are displaying pieces from the Adirondacks, but also distant locations including Glacier National Park, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and the Grand Canyon. There are 36 pieces in the show: 15 oil paintings and 1 watercolor by me; 20 photographs by Brieant. Most of the paintings were done outdoors, on location and all of the photographs were done using manual cameras, traditional film and processing methods. Come meet the artists on Sunday Nov 2 and see what the rocks tell you. Consider a hike on the VIC trails as well and season ski passes will be available.

The Paul Smith’s College VIC is located about a mile north of the intersection of Routes 30 and 86, where the college campus is located. The VIC is open Tues – Sun, from 9 – 5. Check their website for the full schedule of nature related events.

Friends, by Valerie Patterson, watercolorClose To Home,” an exhibit of watercolor paintings by Saranac Lake artist Valerie Patterson, will be the featured show at the Adirondack Artists Guild in November. Patterson was the winner of the sixteenth annual juried art competition at the Guild last spring. The winner of that show is always offered a solo exhibit at the gallery in November.

The watercolor paintings in this exhibit reflect “home” in terms of physical location, as well as personal ideologies (“home of the intellectual mind”) and emotions (“home of the heart”). These recent works were mostly inspired by the places and people of the Adirondacks, a departure from the more emotionally difficult subject matter that Patterson usually deals with, although there are still a few images with those more familiar themes. Each work continues to transcend the mere decorative to afford the viewer the opportunity for thought and an emotional experience which may just hit close to home.

There will be an opening reception on Friday, November 7 at the Adirondack Artists Guild, from 5-7 PM. The Guild is located at 52 Main St in Saranac Lake. Everyone is welcome. The show will run through Tuesday, December 2.

NorthWind Fine ArtsAlso opening on Nov 7 will be the first ever Juried Show sponsored by NorthWind Fine Arts. No one can tell what will be on display in the gallery, but I can guarantee it will be some of the best work created by artists in the Adirondack region.

The Juror is Peter Russom, an Associate Professor at SUNY Plattsburgh. Artists will be dropping off work from Oct 29 – Nov 1, at which point the jurying process will take place. Artists interested in entering should check NorthWind’s website. The exhibit will continue until Nov 30.

Like the Adirondack Artists Guild, NorthWind Fine Arts in a cooperative gallery with 12 member artists. The gallery is located at 11 Woodruff St in Saranac Lake. November is usually a quiet time of the year, before the holiday season, but the arts never sleep in the Saranac Lake area. All are welcome to make the rounds and check out the various exhibits, meet the artists, and enjoy the refreshments.

For additional art events, check out the calendar at SaranacLakeArtWorks.com. If you are up for a drive, don’t miss Anne Diggory’s exhibit at the Hyde Museum. “Hybrid Visions” is an amazing collection of images in which the artist combines segments of photographs with her own drawings and paintings. It will be on display through Jan 4, 2015.

Illustrations, from above: “Glacial Erratic”, by Sandra Hildreth; “What the Rocks Remember”, (detail) photograph  by Karla Brieant; “Friends”, by Valerie Patterson; and NorthWind Fine Arts.

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Sandra Hildreth, who writes regularly about Adirondack arts and culture, grew up in rural Wisconsin and is a retired high school art teacher. She lives in Saranac Lake where she was spends much of her time hiking, paddling, skiing, and painting. Today, Sandy can often be found outdoors Plein air painting - working directly from nature, and is an exhibiting member of the Adirondack Artists' Guild in Saranac Lake. She is also active in Saranac Lake ArtWorks. Sandy’s work can be seen on her website sandrahildreth.com.

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