At the Greene County Council on the Arts (GCCA) Gallery in Catskill, ten area artists are being featured for their use of Nature “as subject, source material, scientific inquiry and an expression of the sublime” in the new exhibit “Nature/Nurture” that opened with a splash last weekend and now stays up through October 9. Meanwhile, up and down the street from the GCCA are the mix of 87 contemporary women artists from up and down the Valley on view in BRIK Gallery’s stupendously lively “Cowgirls of the Hudson River Valley 3,” featuring new Catskill resident Kiki Smith’s first contribution to then local arts scene, as well as the five-person “Women and the Landscape” exhibition at the more intimate Galleria space near the town’s post office, with some new work from the region’s top photographer of late, Susan Wides.
Up on the Greene County Mountaintop, meanwhile, are the ongoing Hudson River Artists’ Guild’s exhibit of more “romantic” plein air work, “Today’s Ladies,” at Tannersville’s Astor House, as well as the upcoming “Artistic Women Past and Present: Looking Forward from the Hudson River School Tradition” show mixing 19th-century and contemporary artists at Hunter’s Catskill Mountain Foundation, opening September 4.
“We’re unofficially calling this the Hudson Valley Estrogen Tour,” said GCCA Gallery director Fawn Potash of amassed shows that she has putting together with the help of the Cole House’s education coordinator, Johanna Frang. “Plein air painter Patti Ferrara, a docent at the Thomas Cole National Historic Site and longtime volunteer at the GCCA, came up with the idea for our exhibit…and before we knew it, the ball was rolling.” She referenced the Cole House “Remember the Ladies” exhibit’s use of an Abigail Adams quote about how, not given the proper care and attention, “the Ladies…are determined to foment a Rebellion.”
Amongst the rebels included in “Nature/Nurture” at Potash’s GCCA Gallery are Jane Bloodgood Abrams’ transcendent Luminist paintings; large-scale watercolor collagist Mariella Bisson, known for working with waterfalls; a series of oil sketches by Sasha Chermayeff, better known for her Minimalist pieces; wall sculptor Linda Cross, who captures “the spirit of the riverbed, earth, water and human detritus” in natural-appearing three-dimensional paintings; caustic wildlife painter Claudia McNulty, best-known locally for her Palmer House wall paintings in Rensselaerville; eco-art pioneer Christie Rupp, showing sculptures of mutant animals and collages based on gas drilling and oil industry tragedies; a pair of terrariumlike installations by ceramic sculptor Kaete Brittin Shaw; photographer Olivia Stonner’s icy abstractions printed on translucent rice paper; and sculptor Susan Togut’s nestlike constructions referencing seasons and cycles. Overlooking all is a painting by Ferrara, who is also showing as part of the Mountaintop shows, as well as the Galleria exhibit, which in addition to Wides also includes work by Donna Barrett, Margarite Takvorian and gallery-owner Edith Marcik.
The “Artistic Women Past and Present” exhibit at the Catskill Mountain Foundation’s Kaaterskill Fine Arts Gallery, meanwhile, builds on collected works from such 19th-century pioneers as Thomas Cole’s daughter Emily, Onteora Club founder Candace Wheeler, known as the “mother of interior design,” and others with newer works in a variety of media by the likes of Nancy Campbell, Kate McGloughlin, Ruth Wetzel, Marcik and others, tracing “the continuity of the profound influence of the founders of the Hudson River School of art on the women of that period and later, up to the present day,” according to curator Megan Daly.
“Wheeler’s art and business acumen established the art of interior design as a viable business for women. Because of her influence, art began to be perceived as a legitimate vehicle for women who wished to become independent,” Daly continued, setting context for all on view this month in Greene County – along with that Cole show’s gams, as we put it earlier. “No longer hampered by societal restrictions of dress, occupation or subject matter, artists today hike into the hills to be inspired by the same vistas that drew Thomas Cole, Asher Durand and others to these mountains.” Talk about a perfect reason for a full day trip north (alongside the many women’s groups doing similarly this season).
For more on the “Nature/Nurture” show on view through October 9 at the GCCA Catskill Gallery at 398 Main Street in Catskill, call (518) 943-3400 or visit www.greenearts.org. For more on the BRIK “Cowgirls” show, up through September 19 at 473 Main Street in Catskill, visit www.brikgallery.com. For more on the Galleria show, open Thursdays through Saturdays at 281 Main Street, visit www.thegalleriacatskill.com.
On the Mountaintop, the Astor House is located at 5980 Main Street, Route 23A, in Tannersville. Visit www.astorhouseshop.com for more info. The Kaaterskill Fine Art Gallery is located on Main Street, Route 23A, in the middle of neighboring Hunter, and includes a market and restaurant. For further information call (518) 263-2060 or visit www.catskillmtn.org.Finally, for the Cedar Grove show that started this whole estrogen thing, visit the Thomas Cole National Historic Site at 218 Spring Street in Catskill, call them at (518) 943-7465 or visit www.thomascole.org.
And remember to save either September 11 and 12 as a further art-filled day for visiting the studios of many on view at all these galleries, as well as the galleries in the Catskill area.