The new show brings together Woodstock Past and Woodstock Future, as it were, in about as lively a demonstration of the currency of Woodstock Now as has been seen in recent years.
At the center of the show are two elements that seem oppositional, on first glance, but then reveal deep similarities.
Featured will be a renowned installation, “Wall Piece,” by the man many have credited with being the pioneer of video art…former Woodstock resident Gary Hill, who now hails from Seattle.
Playing off Hill’s work will be five commissioned video installations by former participants in the INDIE Media Program that just closed its doors in recent weeks (see story, Page 9). Those build off of both “Wall Piece,” and the central concept, “the frustration of expression”, particularly as it relates to having grown up in or around Woodstock by exploring “the terrain of adolescent expression and the obstacles — both external and internal — to that expression,” according to exhibit curator Dorota Czerner, wife of recent INDIE director Russell Richardson.
“With the Aquarian paradise tangled before them in beaded necklaces, young people of Woodstock grow up knowingly listening through the gap between myth and reality,” Czerner wries of her show’s concept, which started hatching when she met Hill and his friend and editor, George Quasha of Barrytown, across the river, a couple of years ago. “The disjuncture between the town, and its own essential happening, generates nostalgia for the absent story.”
Hill has similarly allowed himself to be described as the “original INDIE kid” based on his experience coming to Woodstock as an 18-year old in the late 1960s. Here, he studied at the Artist Students League, had his first shows at the Woodstock Artist Association (who also had their first experiences with video art via the young man’s work), and then became a stalwart of the old Woodstock Community Video, an early video art collective and production studio, before moving on to New York City, back up to Barrytown, and eventually back out to the West Coast.
Hill has often noted how he wouldn’t have made it through high school if it were not for the freedom to create and explore that he found with a few particular mentors, and how he first started to explore the many issues his compex work has focused on — from the physicality of language, synesthesia, and perceptual conundrums to ontological space and viewer interactivity — while playing off the many creative sorts in Woodstock during the early 1970s, and later among the sound poets and others drawn to Quasha’s Station Hill creative home in the latter 1970s, 1980s, and beyond.
Hill has been recognized as one of the more important artists of his generation because of his work with video and sound, mixing text, speech, and image in video, installations, and performance that explore both the physicality of language and our thought processes, via such awards and honors as the Leone d’Oro Prize for Sculpture at the Venice Biennale, two Guggenheim Fellowships, a Rockefeller Grant, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Grant. His work has been included in six Whitney Biennials, Documenta IX, MoMA, and museums and galleries around the world. He has also performed with Charles Stein and George Quasha, the latter an editor of the recent Documenta charting Hill’s career, over a span of a quarter century.
The five INDIE-related young artists collaborating with Hill by working off his art in the current exhibit include 16-year old Marilla Abrahamsen of Tannersville, whose installation Ghost of Waltz (2010) consists of a cluttered shelf of highly personal and somewhat fetishistic objects, including a shadow box playing video of a shrouded couple wandering along cliff edges; 25 year old Will Lytle of West Hurley, whose Aer/Aure is an out-house shaped video installation through which viewers insert their heads to watch interior video monitors; Anthony Morelli of Chichester, with three projections featuring concrete, everyday objects projected onto cloth screens; 19 year old Cal Arts freshman Kaela Smith, with a video tryptich with text; and 30-something Taima Smith, who grew up in town in the 1980s and 1990s and will be exploring the “summer cult of swimming holes” in a tent-like structure with video monitors.
“It’s very interesting to see how cohesive this show is. Everything falls together as though everyone had been working alongside Gary Hill all along,” notes Czerner of the exhibit. “Gary is such an emblematic Woodstock artist. And he still has the temperament of a very young person. He’s still a sort of teenager. The idea was to start with that impression…”
Quasha, who will also be on hand, has created single lines of text to accompany each work in the show, which will open this Saturday, November 13, but have an official Artist’s Reception, with Hill, Quasha and the five younger artists in attendance, from 5 p.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, November 20 at CPW on Tinker Street.
Also opening is Piranesi, a series of exquisite photogravures in homage to the 19th century Italian master printer Piranesi, by Bard art teacher Lothar Osterburg.
For further information call 679-9957 or visit www.cpw.org.++
For those who like to render life artistically, there’s really nothing quite like the luxury of having a live model to pose for one. But given the odds of not only convincing family members and friends to do so for long and to be still enough to actually be captured on paper or in clay, it’s become an almost unreachable goal for all but the most successful — and outspoken, as it were — artists these days.
Which makes those chances one gets to share models, in art classes and grouped settings, all the more popular. Especially when they come about in the rather celebratory laissez faire format by which the Woodstock School of Art will be hosting yet another of its “Go Figure” parties next Wednesday evening, November 17, in its historic studio buildings off Route 212 just east of the celebrated arts colony village.
“The model is not to be copied, but to be realized,” noted the great painter and art teacher Robert Henri, a frequent visitor to Woodstock in the early 20th century. “Has your drawing the meaning you saw in the model at first?”
A “madcap, free, food and fun art event” is how the WSA describes its event featuring four live models in two studios, with tasty snacks provided by C’est Cheese, Sunfrost Market, Woodstock Meats, Richard and Mary Anne Erickson’s Bistro to Go, New World Home Cooking and the Hurley Ridge Market, along with a goodly bit of wine and other non-alcoholic beverages destined to loosen palettes (and hopefully not inhibitions). And WSA Instructors will be on hand throughout the evening to draw, too, and talk during breaks about their classes.
“My models, my human figures, are never like extras in an interior. They are the main theme of my work. I depend absolutely on my model,” noted the great Henri Matisse of his own experience. “The model for me is a touchstone, it is a door which I must break open in order to reach the garden in which I am alone and feel good.”
“Go Figure” is free and open to all. For more information, please call Nancy Campbell or Eric Angeloch at 845-679-2388 or email@example.com.
The Woodstock School of Art is located east of the hamlet of Woodstock at 2470 Route 212. ++
For a full schedule of classes with descriptions, visit www.woodstockschoolofart.org.