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By Carl Mellor
During 2008, various trends appeared on the Syracuse art scene. There were exhibits reassessing famous artists. Several shows ventured into unfamiliar territory and succeeded very well. It was a time for exploration of memory from different artistic and personal perspectives. Finally, there was change in the roster of galleries as several new venues opened.
in Ernesto Pujol’s current exhibit
By Carl Mellor
Ernesto Pujol’s new show, Walk # 1, at Syracuse University’s Light Work Gallery, begins with a singular agenda: creating a body of work based on the artist’s reflections of meditative walks taken in Magnolia Cemetery, a Civil War-era graveyard in Charleston, S.C. Documenting the cemetery is one matter; communicating deeply felt feelings is a different task.
By Carl MellorSyracuse's newest venue, ArtRage: The Norton Putter Gallery, has announced an exhibition schedule mirroring its goals and aspirations. The new gallery, located at 505 Hawley Ave., plans to present visiting and locally originated exhibitions, to show works visually and thematically incisive, and to explore themes of community, peace and social justice. The opening lineup includes Combat Paper, Syracuse Cultural Workers Inside-Out and Voices of Diversity, a photographic portrait of the Syracuse Community Choir.
Combat Paper, whose opening reception runs Saturday, Oct. 11, 7 to 9 p.m., was first initiated by Green Door Studio, of Burlington, Vt., along with members of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW). Veterans transformed uniforms worn in combat into sheets of paper and artworks by beating, cooking and cutting them. The Syracuse exhibit, for example, will feature artists’ books, three-dimensional pieces and broad-side prints, among other works.
The 2008 art season offers a banquet with many courses. As they visit various galleries, viewers can sample fashion statements, an exhibit focusing on a famous artist, a show heading down the highway and a bevy of group exhibitions. One gallery reopens, another looks back on 25 years, and a third venue presents its very first show.
At Syracuse University, SUArt Galleries (443-4097), located on the SU Quad, is showing Michelangelo: The Man and the Myth, featuring sketches, poems and drawings by the famed artist, as well as a medal depicting him, a miniature monument honoring Michelangelo and a bronze reproduction of the “Pieta.” The show views Michelangelo from several perspectives—as an artist, poet, architect and businessman. It will appear at only four sites in the United States.
Local artists submitting work to the Everson Biennial were asked to perform some mental gymnastics. The show, juried by independent curator Edward Winkleman, was organized around the theme of The Object and Beyond. The challenge was to create art that somehow perverts everyday expectations of objects, going “beyond” them. Critics bored of asking “Is it art?” can now argue about the definition of an object.
During his tenure at Syracuse University, which began in 1968, Mack made an international name for himself with his distinctive sculpture. As the first director of SU’s School of Art and Design—he held the post from 1982 to 1991—Mack was instrumental in the creation of the Comstock Art Facility. Melanoma ended his life in 2002. Teddy Aiken, director of the graduate program in Museum Studies at SU, has helped organize an exhibition of Mack’s work at Cazenovia’s Stone Quarry Hill Art Park. Other old friends and colleagues lent work to the show and even helped install it.
Made to Order
Made in New York 2008, currently on display at Auburn’s Schweinfurth Memorial Art Gallery, continues to evolve from year to year and to operate without a set artistic agenda. The 2007 edition had many more photographs than other recent shows, and that generated some controversy. Nonetheless, that wasn’t a structural change but a one-time phenomenon.
The new exhibition, selected by jurors John McQueen and Jen Pepper, has its own imprint, with special attention paid to landscapes. Landscapes, it should be noted, have certainly appeared in past Made in New York shows. The 2008 show, however, presents a much richer selection, done in various media and from varying perspectives. It’s possible for viewers to appreciate not only individual landscapes but also a larger discussion of the art-world favorite.
Photographer Brantley Carroll documents the legacy
of slavery in a new Community Folk Art exhibit
By Carl Mellor
Community Folk Art Center’s new exhibit touches many bases in its exploration of slavery in the United States. The Whipping Post is both concrete, with its presentation of shackles, a punishment mask and other objects associated with slavery, and meditative with subtle reflections on America’s “original sin.” In addition, the show straddles past and present, drawing both on the historical record and intimate portraits of contemporary artists, actors and local residents. And The Whipping Post combines narrative and drama, communicating intense emotions.
Local artists demonstrate their range for a wide-ranging display in Utica
By Jon Dufort
The 61st Exhibition of Central New York Artists is no joke but it has quite a sense of humor. Of the hundreds of submissions by local artists for this group show at Utica’s Munson-Williams-Proctor Museum of Art, about 60 pieces were chosen by jurors Thomas Piche and Marion Wilson. They range in mood from clinical to kitschy, subtle to screaming. There are more oil paintings than anything else, but digital images, videos, installations, collages, lithographs, sculptures and drawings are all represented.