“I have no divine power; I make honesty my divine power. I have no means; I make understanding my means,” renowned watercolorist, Woodstock School of Art teacher, and digital mischief maker Staats Fasoldt writes of himself and his art. “I have no magic secrets; I make character my magic secret. I have no body; I make endurance my body.”
Fasoldt, a WSA fixture for 27 years, will be showing new landscapes and still lives in his emotionally rich and keenly observed minimalist way, exhibiting his technical mastery — and love for the rural/urban mix of scenery in the Rosendale/Kingston area he’s lived so much of his life. He speaks of his art as “visual haiku” and notes how he works to “radiate the universal silence in the particular.”
“Rhythms, imagination, simplified shapes and color are what is depicted in my work. My inner child is alive well amid the titanic rigors of everyday life,” notes Woodstock fixture Ed Berkise, who interrupted his arts training to make a New York City living as a businessman, and now sells realty around the area for a local firm. “My work is a map of my life’s journey and its challenges and travels…There is a small boy wondering through these works that is totally delighted with shapes and colors.”
Berkise, who has inhabited a fairytale-like Les Walker home at the edge of a field on Plochmann Lane for over three decades, will be showing his own watercolors — seemingly influenced by Fasoldt’s, a friend and former teacher, along with some of his more whimsically abstract fantasy paintings, which he describes as “incomplete pieces from the fabric of symbols.” He considers the work in this show to be “a new beginning; stemming from a period of personal and professional turbulence.”
Fasoldt and Berkise acknowledge their differences, from the former’s rootedness in local life and the rigors of a painting teacher’s life, to the latter’s world travels and innate urbanity. But they also speak fondly of the 15 years they’ve shared friendship and long talks about art and vision, observation and creative invention.
“Both have changed through the experience yet they remain entirely themselves,” they have jointly written in a description of this new show, entitled in regards to their penchant for water colors.++
Aquamen, featuring new works by Ed Berkise and Staats Fasoldt, opens at The Doghouse Gallery 4 p.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, September 4. The gallery is located at 429 Phillips Road, just off Glasco Turnpike in Saugerties. For further information call 246-0402.
Peace in photographs
Ray Bidegain — whose platinum nudes, many in anachronistic wet plate formats reminiscent of photography’s earliest days, will be the focus of a new Photosensualis exhibit opening with a reception this Friday, September 3 — sees his career having taken place in two distinct parts.
First, was that which he started as a teenager in Tucson, Arizona, where he was shooting weddings by the end of his senior year in high school. Eventually, he moved on to study the technical aspects of commercial photography, which he then practiced as a black and white master for decades.
Then there was his discovery of platinum printing, a time-consuming process within which one basically paints chemicals onto treated paper, in the late 1990s. And Bidegain’s subsequent life as a fine artist, shooting everything from landscapes and still lives to portraits and this show’s nudes, all in a manner that reaches back, beautifully, to earlier times while simultaneously capturing — if only fleetingly — the nod and wink of post-modern life.
“I was drawn to the older alternative photo processes because of the hand made nature of the work and its inherent beauty,” he says of what he does now, based in Portland, Oregon, with his wife and two young children. “I find peace in my photographs, and mostly photograph things that present themselves voluntarily into my life. The images serve as visual reminders of moments and feelings I have experienced, signifying both the passage of time and the reverberation of consistency in all of our lives.”
An opening for this exquisitely textured and toned exhibit, which runs through October 31, takes place 5 p.m.-7 p.m. Friday, September 3 at Photosensualis, 15 Rock City Road, just off the main junction in the village.++
Call 679-5333 or visit www.photosensualis.com for further information.
McKenna for the ASKing
Katherine McKenna, who has a solo show of new works at the Arts Society of Kingston she’s helped keep alive and thriving for well over a decade now, is as much known for keeping a studio in neighboring Saugerties as her years running Coffey Gallery and doing much to center the county seat’s arts scene…or her frequent painting trips out West, where she’s long felt many of her roots reach.
And yet she’s truly a Woodstock artist, through and through.
McKenna lives here. She carries on a tradition of outward-looking artists that stretches back into the earlier days of this arts colony’s history. She thrives on what Woodstock centers.
“The energy that flows through my hands and onto the canvas is something that I describe as my Color, Light and Spirit technique, which has become my signature,” she writes of her neo-Fauvist works, largely of brightly-hued Western scenes. “My life’s work is to illuminate the mind in an exciting new way — not to defy tradition, but to expand assumption. Through my formal education, I was trained to discover color in shadow and to use many hues and values to create light. The use of line and space in my compositions combine abstract elements with the figurative, which are sculpturally fused by bright color.
Her new show, opening this Saturday, September 4 at the Arts Society of Kingston gallery on lower Broadway in the Rondout, will again focus on her trips out west, taken each year with her husband and fellow Woodstocker, Mark Braunstein.
“My paintings of the west begin on site where I’ve spent my summers for over 40 years. The reds of Wyoming and Arizona — the brilliant yellows and greens of Colorado and Montana are my passion,” McKenna writes of her inspiration, so similar to that of great artists from the classic Woodstock scene 50, 60 years ago. “My work as a contemporary American artist appeals to a certain kind of collector — one who is spiritually drawn to the uninhibited use of color and light.”
The show opens with a reception 5 p.m.-8 p.m. Saturday, September 4, and then stays up through September 25.++
ASK is located at 97 Broadway, Kingston. For further information call 338-0331 or visit www.askforarts.org