The former Woodstock resident, who has maintained her artistic ties with the Woodstock School of Art and other local arts institutions, works as small as three by four inches…with frame. And yet her creations always have the keen observation of larger paintings and painters. Her book, Big Art Small Canvas, has become something of a bible for many seeking revelation on how to get started at distilling the world around one without too great a birthing educational process.
And her own work, as witnessed in the Lotus show, has a delicacy, an exquisite sense of perfectly made and rendered choices, that is cumulatively stunning.
She has been working with transparent colors of late, and again working on three paintings of the same setting or subject at a time…increasing her acuity of vision in the process. Yet it’s all in a highly affordable, and easily hang-able fashion. This is a sweet yet surprisingly resilient and strong showing. ++
Good Things Come in Small Packages: The Painting of Joyce Washor will be up at Lotus Fine Art through June 5. The gallery is located at 33 Rock City Road; for full hours and further information call 679-2303 or visit www.lotuswoodstock.com.
Never too much Snyder
Can one have too much of the great American (and Woodstock-based) painter Joan Snyder? There was a well-received exhibition of her prints at the Zimmerli Museum in New Jersey this past winter, major retrospectives of her career at the Jewish Museum in New York City and the Danforth Museum in Massachusetts, along with publication of an Abrams’ monograph on her work, in the past decade. In the years since she burst on the scene as part of Whitney and Corcoran biennials in the early 1970s, Snyder’s won NEA and Guggenheim fellowships and her work was bought by some of the world’s top museums. She was granted a coveted MacArthur Fellowship four years ago.
Snyder’s paintings and prints — which she has herself described as a “combination of personal iconography, female imagery, aggressive brushstroke and accomplished formalism — surfaces every few years at the Betty Cunningham Gallery in New York City’s Chelsea art district, in Los Angeles, as well as at the intimate Elena Zang Gallery on Route 212 in Shady.
There, Snyder’s first local exhibition of new paintings, prints, and paper pulp paintings in two years opens at Zang’s with a reception this coming Saturday, April 30, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. The show will then stay up through May 24.
“It’s a whole different language. It’s about painting and structure and putting many, many things together,” Snyder said a few years back, on winning the MacArthur (which she hoped, then, would help smash the glass ceiling she’d found women artists face at a certain level). “I’ve built a vocabulary of many, many different signs and languages and marks so I can take a painting and pretty much say what I have to say…There’s a lot of thought involved, but when it happens it’s a little like jazz music. They really happen.”
Be careful parking, come Saturday’s opening. There will be many interested in what this major artist has come up with to address her, and our lives of the past two years. And maybe even helping smash those eternal glass ceilings Snyder’s eluded to in the past.
In other words, one can never have too much Joan Snyder…++
Elena Zang Gallery is located at 3671 Route 212 in Shady, just west of Bearsville. For further information call 679-5432 or visit www.elenazang.com
Varga on Varga
Consider the new exhibition opening this weekend at Varga Gallery, down by the movie theater on Tinker Street, as a “best of” the always-funkified and perennially upstarting art venue’s first eight years of business.
Gallery owner Christina Varga will train the spotlight on her own work for the coming month, showcasing what she’s calling her “new apocalyptic themed works,” including portraits of Janis Joplin and Paris Hilton in saintly poses and a mixed media collage series of the four horses of the Apocalypse she’s entitled “White, Red, Black and Pale.”
Picked to show alongside La Varga, and perform at her back-to-back opening parties on Friday, April 29 and Saturday, April 30, will be several of the artists she’s shown over the years that she’s now calling her “best sellers.” These include the prolific self-taught and truly original Scott Ackerman, who now has his own gallery space in Rosendale, glass artist Ellen Miret, who served as Varga’s first Artist-in-Residence last year, sandblast artist Michael Hunt, who is also showing works this month at Oriole 9, Saugerties-based assemblage and construction sculptor Anthony Cantone, musician/artist/poet
Peter Head of Pitchfork Militia and hand-made instrument fame, and Jim C, the locally-based artist who first made his name running galleries in the East Village during its early 1980s heyday and has recently been working in video…and collaborating with Varga on several new two-dimensional works.
There will be a Preview Party for VARGA Gallery 2.0 Reloaded on Friday, April 29 starting at 7:30 p.m. The event is BYOB and will include music by “Group 49.5,” the percussion duo of Ellen Miret and Russell Rielly joined by Peter Head playing his own hand made instruments. An official opening reception takes place on Saturday, April 30 starting at 6 p.m., with music by Head and his Home Made Instrument Ensemble. VARGA 2.0 then runs through Sunday, May 22.++
Varga Gallery is located at 130 Tinker Street. For further info call 679-4005 or visit www.VARGAgallery.com.