The journal’s creators continue the written/artistic
tradition with an exhibit of works by several contributing artists, this
year at the Community Folk Art Center, 805 E. Genesee St. Previous
shows have been held at the Delavan Center on West Fayette Street and
Projects Gallery in Armory Square.
“We had this idea that all the visual artists in the book would also be a part of the show,” says Colley, Stone Canoe’s editor. “And so when we had our book launch party they would have all their art around the wall, so that’s the vision.” The book launch party took place Jan. 26 at Community Folk Art; attending were contributors and sponsors of the journal, along with their family and friends.
Stone Canoe, the exhibit, brings to life the visual art pieces featured in the journal, allowing old and new fans to step into a few pages of the artistic compilation. Some of the works at the exhibit were included in the book as well, so readers have the opportunity to see a painting or photograph from the book in its original form at the exhibit.
from the book in its original form at the exhibit.
The anthology features works from writers and artists who have ties to upstate New York. This year an exception was made for veterans who wanted to contribute to the journal, so no upstate links were needed.
“We have a brand new award for veterans’ writing that the Syracuse University New Institute for Veterans and Military Families is funding,” says assistant editor Allison Vincent. “And for that we agreed that as long as they’re a veteran we’re not going to push the connection thing,”
The award is given to the best piece of writing submitted by a military veteran. A panel of veterans, who are prominent writers, choose the winner, Vincent says. The winner receives $500, a certificate, and an original statue carved by renowned Native American sculptor Tom Huff, who is based in Syracuse.
Vincent adds that by including work by veterans, this year’s Stone Canoe journal contains an entirely different perspective. This edition includes works by eight veterans: Four of the pieces are poems and the other four are short stories.
Contributors to the journal range in age and experience, giving the compilation a broad mix. “We’ve got work from a sophomore from one of the local high schools in here, we’ve got 70-year-olds who were in the field of battle—there’s something for everyone,” Vincent says. She adds that the current issue includes some statements from the visual artists, giving readers a look into how they think.
At the same time, there is an eclectic mix of works in the exhibit. Traditional paintings illustrate iridescent and abstract landscapes. Vivid photographs captured outdoor art installations as well as profiles.
The exhibit has a light feel to it, as Community Folk Art’s space is open and airy. Guests discussed the art they saw, some in awe of the panoramic photography—a technique that captures images with a wider field of view—by Barry Perlus, an associate professor of art at Cornell University. Others tilted their heads to the left as they stared at a horizontal photograph of a woman engulfed in streaming dark hair.
Artist Steve Carver, whose works were included in both the journal and the exhibition, is a first-time contributor. Carver, who lives in Ithaca, was a graphic designer for 30 years before taking up painting. He had designed covers for publications such as Newsweek and The Atlantic, and found that painting challenged him a bit more.
“Being a painter is a different kind of discipline,” Carver said at the art opening, “in that it’s not deadline driven; it’s personal-deadline driven and that’s a lot harder.”
Carver thought that as he switched from designing to painting he would leave his graphic design style behind, but found that merging the two media was necessary. “All of my work incorporates typography in one way or another,” Carver said. Most of his work features elements of pop art while he allows his mind to take control of his creations and drive them wherever they need to go.
“All the years I was doing illustration, by its nature it had to be fairly unambiguous,” Carver explained. “Whereas now, even though I’m still telling a story, the viewer is now an equal partner and can make of it what they will.”
This year’s edition of the journal numbers nearly 300 pages, a point of pride for its editors and contributors. “It’s just unique,” Vincent says. “We don’t see a lot of other ones out there of this size or this mix so we feel like we’ve got a special place for some folks to get them launched.”
The Stone Canoe journal has had a hand in getting some of its contributors critical acclaim and prestigious awards. One of the journal’s former contributors, E.C. Osondu, later went on to receive the Caine Prize for African Writing. The journal was the first place his writing had been published substantially; he had not received any writing awards before appearing in the journal, Vincent notes.
“There’s so much that it can offer, whether it’s an opportunity for the people that are in it or people who are reading it,” Vincent says. “It gives you inspiration, it gives you great stories, it gives you wonderful art, it’s inspiring to hold, it’s inspiring to work with.”
The Stone Canoe journal is available for $20 at the SU Bookstore, 303 University Place, inside the Schine Student Center, and online at stonecanoejournal.org; the website also offers an e-book version of the journal. You can also receive a two-year subscription to the journal for $35.
The accompanying art exhibit remains at the Community Folk Art Center through Feb. 23 and admission is free. The gallery is open Tuesdays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call the CFAC at 442-2230.