When Jewelry Isn’t “Just Jewelry”

Installation shot from Beyond Ornamental

Installation shot from Beyond Ornamental

I don’t wear jewelry, however, I will often see amazing jewelry come in to the gallery shop at Main Street Arts and I will try it on just to make sure. Wearing it isn’t for me, no matter how hard I try! (I do this all the time, just ask Sarah. I even did it today) However, the idea that I am drawn to it always sticks with me. I see many of the pieces as something to look at and think about, just like any other art form. That is the impetus for our current exhibition, Beyond Ornamental.

A sculptural necklace by Myung Urso and brooch by Loraine Cooley

A sculptural necklace by Myung Urso and brooch by Loraine Cooley

While jewelry is certainly meant to be worn, there are other aspects of this art form that are even more interesting to me. Thinking about the craft of jewelry making, I have such an appreciation for the often minute details that must be considered. The forming of links for chains, cutting shapes out of metal, shaping and polishing stones, threading beads into ornate patterns… These are things that the average person may not consider when they look at handcrafted jewelry, but that is what makes one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces different from their mass-produced counterparts. These things were all made by the hands of the maker in their studio and they are special for that reason.

"Domentzia Collar" by Ashley Landon-Halabuda

“Domentzia Collar” by Ashley Landon-Halabuda

Jewelry often transcends being strictly functional and becomes an art object in its own right—a painting, a sculpture. There may be some kind of narrative or meaningful symbolism behind the work. Loraine Cooley often uses the shape of a boat as a symbol to represent the journey each of us takes throughout our lives. Some pieces may have very specific titles that make you recall historical people or  events. Ashley Landon-Halabuda titled one of her more ornate pieces in the show, Domentzia Collar, referencing an Empress from the Byzantine Empire.

"Brown Coil Zulu Necklace" by Katie Nare

“Brown Coil Zulu Necklace” by Katie Nare

The materials may be chosen for very specific reasons, as with Myung Urso who uses Asian inks—among many other materials—as a way to connect to her birthplace of South Korea where she learned the techniques of Korean calligraphy. The patterns could reference those found in another culture, as in the work of Katie Nare. Her passion for travel is a way for her to celebrate the diversity of the human experience.

Ulterior Triple Band Double Finger Ring by Brittany Rea

Ulterior Triple Band Double Finger Ring by Brittany Rea

Sometimes, jewelry can be about the experience of actually wearing it. The work of Brittany Rea is sculptural and interacts with the body in ways that won’t let you forget that you are wearing jewelry. Other times, it can be strictly about whats happening on or in between the surface(s), as with Heather Bivens‘ enamel glass work where lifelike insects seem to rest on the neck of the wearer, causing a second glance from passersby.

Brown Recluse

Brown Recluse Necklace by Heather Bivens (will get second glances for sure)

All of this is to say that jewelry isn’t “just jewelry”, it is another way to communicate ideas through artwork. So, whether you are an avid jewelry collector or if you are like me and you’re contemplating buying brooches to frame and add to your art collection, do yourself a favor and pay a visit to this exhibition before it closes.


Beyond Ornamental features work by 6 jewelry artists from our region. Work from the exhibition can be previewed and purchased through the gallery’s online shop. Beyond Ornamental runs through August 16, 2019.

Meet the Artist in Residence: Victoria Scudamore

Victoria Scudamore , artist in residence at Main Street Arts during the month of August 2019, is working in one of our two studio spaces on our second floor. We asked Victoria some questions about her work and studio practice:

Artist Victoria Scudamore

Artist Victoria Scudamore

Q: To start off, tell us about your background.
I grew up in a suburb of San Francisco near the ocean, and across the street from a mountain covered in eucalyptus trees. I was given lots of freedom to explore, climb trees, and create. Being so involved in nature helped inform my art process.

I was an ultrasonographer, and realtor, before becoming a full-time artist. I have taken numerous courses from well-known artists and did an art residency in Barcelona. I don’t have a  formal art school background but have been told that is why I am able to be so free and loose in my art, there are no preconceived notions.

Scan 4

Q: How would you describe your work?
Painting makes me happy, and I hope to bring the same response in the viewer. I paint abstractly with bold brush strokes, and vivid colors. My paintings are non-representational,  as I want others to feel the art, and decide what it means to them. Since I have always lived near the ocean, blue seems to appear in my paintings quite often, as do abstract mountains, forests, and seas.

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?
As an ultrasonographer, I used the left side of my brain while performing and interpreting scans of patients.  As an artist, I use the synergy of both sides of the brain. My intuitive right brain is in play when I am painting my emotions, using varied gestural strokes, marks, and vivid colours. Like a scientist, my art studio is my lab; where I experiment with different media and techniques in my abstract paintings. Acrylic is combined with ink, collage, monoprinting, or encaustic. Layer after layer and various textures aim to evoke a visceral response in the viewer.

IMG_0131

Q: What is your most useful tool in your studio?
My most useful tools are my imagination and intuition. I have a wildly vivid imagination and dream in color. My intuition is so strong, amazing things have happened in my life.

The tactile tools I love are my fingers and catalyst blades, which are a firm flat silicone blade.

54420CD7-5F32-4BEC-8186-9ED74D628524_ayxse3

Q: What advice would you give other artists?
Enjoy the journey, have a sense of play. Don’t worry about what others think of your art. If you are authentic and enjoy what you are doing, it will be reflected in your paintings and liked by others. Don’t compare yourself with other artists, everyone is on a different part of their journey. Comparison steals joy. You are never too old. Just start. The world needs your art.

Q: Do you collect artwork?
Making art has enhanced my enjoyment of other’s work. I collect art from close artist friends, as I love to have a memento from those I care about. When I participated in the International Encaustic Conference, I was thrilled to be able to purchase small works from incredible encaustic artists. I usually buy small pieces, as my walls are covered with my art. My most recent purchase was from a local hyperrealistic artist, Lorn Curry.  I appreciate his talent, as it is so different from my own.

Roundhouse Exhibition

Roundhouse Exhibition

Q: What are your goals for this residency?
I am so excited to have been accepted to the residency program at Main Street Arts!  I can’t wait to be in Clifton Springs and make new friends. I plan to explore the beautiful Finger Lakes region and incorporate natural materials in my work. Experimenting with brush making and monoprinting, I hope to complete a series of abstract paintings that give a sense of place. I hope to engage the locals, and that you will come to visit me on the second floor. I would enjoy chatting with you. I am also teaching a monoprinting with a gel plate workshop on August 24!

Q: What’s next for you?
I’ve applied for a few shows at the Federation Of Canadian Artists, back home in Vancouver, Canada. My dream art studio in my garden has been finished.  I’m excited to announce mixed media workshops in my beautiful bright new space. I hope to also have guest artists.

Q: Where else can we find you?

I can be found on my website: www.victoriascudamore.com
Instagram: victoria_scudamore_artist
Pinterest: www.pinterest.ca/VScudamoreArt

 

Inside The Artist’s Studio with Myung Urso

Myung Urso in her studio

Myung Urso in her studio

I was born in South Korea and moved to Rochester, NY in 2006. Since 2007 I started making jewelry based on my MFA major Fiber Art, which I studied in Seoul, Korea. This is one of the reasons that I have chosen using textural materials for creating my work.

Fiber materials

Fiber materials

Showing the "wear-ability" of my work

Showing the “wear-ability” of my work

Jewelry is the media that I have chosen to express my desire of art. It’s wear-ability has always been a big challenge which makes my work different from objects. I often challenge myself to broaden the boundaries of jewelry, regarding it as an art form.

Home studio

Home studio

Calligraphy

Calligraphy

I work in a studio within our house with three dogs and two cats. This is one of the reasons that I mainly choose organic materials as they are mostly derived from my daily use. New ideas at times come from a particular material; sometimes begin with a form and other times from a color or any kind of motivation.

 

Necklace -Combination Red

Necklace -Combination Red

My working process is like chasing the origin of the imagination. I directly work without a pre-planned drawing. In this way I am open to how the work can arrive towards its own destiny. This approach is risky and at the same time has huge benefits. As a result a final art form often becomes very different from my original expectation.

Asian/Korean calligraphy

Asian/Korean calligraphy

Simplicity and spontaneity are the kinds of principles or virtues of my work. I often think that I gained these abilities for being spontaneous and simple through Asian/Korean Calligraphy which I have been practicing since I was young. Calligraphy is like “my native language” which I am able to communicate through my work. Practicing calligraphy also led me to being intuitive in the creative process. This intuition is applied when I either choose a material or I am chosen by material to follow it’s own path.

To see more of my work, visit my website: www.myungurso.com


Myung Urso is one of 6 artists included in Beyond Ornamental, an exhibition of fine jewelry at Main Street Arts. Work from the exhibition can be previewed and purchased through the gallery’s online shop. Beyond Ornamental runs through August 16, 2019.

 

Inside The Artist’s Studio with Loraine Cooley

Hi, I’m Loraine Cooley and I’m honored to be included in the Main Street Arts exhibit Beyond Ornamental.

Me at my studio bench

Me at my studio bench

At the age of 13, I began my journey as an artist at my father’s knee so to speak. My dad decided to teach himself how to create jewelry in his basement workshop and invited me to join him in his discovery of the metal fabrication process. That was over 40 years ago. Since then, some of the things that have contributed to who I am and my recent artwork are: a BFA from The School for American Crafts at RIT, extensive travel around the world, pursuing a degree in the Art Education Program at Nazareth College and engaging in several classes and workshops in all areas of art. I also continue to enjoy teaching and learning from my students at the Memorial Art Gallery where I’ve taught since 1987.

In my studio, creative chaos abounds!

Creative atmosphere

Creative atmosphere

Creative chaos

Creative chaos

Work in progress...

Work in progress…

For me the boat shape is a predominant theme in my one-of-a-kind pieces. I regard the boat as a symbol of the journey each of us takes throughout our lives. Below is my triptych sculpture:

PHASES: Birth  Chaos  Rest

PHASES: Birth Chaos Rest

Here are more boat themed pieces:

"Journey" Necklace

“Journey I” Necklace

"Journey II" Neckpiece

“Journey II” Neckpiece

"River" Neckpiece

“River” Neckpiece

"Sunboat" Necklace

“Sunboat” Necklace

I am currently working on a series of Lapel pins loosely based on the windows and doors that I photographed several years ago while in Italy.

"Archway" Lapel Pin

“Archway” Lapel Pin

"Guilin" Lapel Pin

“Guilin” Lapel Pin

"Tuscan Arch" Lapel Pin

“Tuscan Arch” Lapel Pin

Each piece that I make is born of an idea. I think big and make small. The act of transforming the idea into a 3 dimensional form is an ongoing challenge. The end results stem from sketching, experimentation, trial, failure, refinement and finally, with hope and experience, success. My work starts with raw materials ie: metal sheet and/or wire or materials such as slate, bone, fossils, stones or shell. I use several metalsmithing techniques to transform these materials into something unique and personal.

Here are some of the tools that I use to manipulate and transform the raw materials that I use in my pieces.

Studio tools

Studio tools

Future projects include a series of necklaces based on the 4 seasons and also a large (for me) sculptural boat made of parts and pieces from my studio scrap box.

To follow me as I continue on my journey of discovery, please visit my web site: www.lorainecooley.com


Loraine Cooley is one of 6 artists featured in the fine jewelry exhibition Beyond Ornamental at Main Street Arts. Work from the exhibition can be previewed and purchased through the gallery’s online shop. Beyond Ornamental runs through August 16, 2019.

Meet the Artist in Residence: Jane Fleming

Jane Fleming, artist in residence at Main Street Arts during the month of July 2019, is working in one of our two studio spaces on our second floor. We asked Jane some questions about her work and studio practice:

Jane Fleming with "Self Portrait," Mixed Media on Canvas, Triptych, 2019

Jane Fleming with “Self Portrait,” Mixed Media on Canvas, Triptych, 2019

Q: To start off, tell us about your background.
My path to becoming a visual artist has been rather non-traditional. I grew up in Virginia and moved to Texas in 2014, where I have lived ever since. I received my B.A. in English from the University of Texas at El Paso and am currently pursuing my PhD in English from the University of Texas at Austin. I have always been a creative writer, focusing primarily on poetry and creative non-fiction, but had never really considered myself a visual “artist.” In 2016, I began to create small collages as a compliment to my writing— a way of working out the things that I couldn’t yet form into words.

My collage practice morphed to include painting with acrylics, which I began to learn with the help of YouTube videos and guidance from my twin brother, Jordan Aman, who has a BFA in studio art from Florida State University. From there, something really clicked. Like my writing, the creation of my collages became almost compulsive. I have totally fallen in love with the ever-growing and changing artistic practice.

"Mindscape 2019," Mixed Media on Paper, 2019

“Mindscape 2019,” Mixed Media on Paper, 2019

Q: How would you describe your work?
All of my work is mixed media— usually acrylic paint with images found in old magazines and used books. I often joke that my preferred aesthetic is “naked ladies in space” because most of my pieces have some kind of cosmic backdrop and nod towards my fascination with the female form.

Like my writing, though, my art tends to play with the experience of internal chaos alongside the presence of what I consider aesthetically beautiful. I am an artist, like many, who struggles with mental illness, so I am all about working through those struggles in my art. The road to recovery from depressive episodes and intense anxiety is as beautiful as it can be dark and exhausting. I think a lot of my work mimics that.

Live Painting at Austin Witches Circle Market, 2019

Live Painting at Austin Witches Circle Market, 2019

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?
In addition to writing and visual art, I also do a lot of flow dancing, which is basically a form of dancing that relies on the music and gut instinct to determine movement (that’s a crude description, but it is hard to describe). I think about it as a form of meditation. I am placing my faith in the medium of creative production and trusting my creative instincts to perform the right movement. My process for creating art is very similar.

Usually, I start with an image from a book or magazine that has really gotten stuck in my mind— a figure, a face, a background. I choose the major color for the background and paint a primary layer. Then, I begin to lay out the piece with other objects, images, etc. that feel right. When I have a basic composition, I sit with the piece and ask it what it wants to be. I find that my most successful pieces form narratives organically throughout the process of creation. Usually, what I think I am creating when I begin is nothing like what the piece ends up looking like in the end.

"Jumper," Mixed Media on Paper, 8.5"x11", 2019

“Jumper,” Mixed Media on Paper, 8.5″x11″, 2019

Q: What type of music do you listen to? How does music affect your artwork?
The music that I listen to has a huge influence on the art that I create. When I get into the “zone” it is almost always accompanied with a deep dive into my favorite albums. That said, my taste is pretty erratic. By far, the album that I listen to the most while working is Pink Floyd’s The Wall. I just love the performative nature of the album and the feeling that you are going down the rabbit hole with the band. When I am really jamming hard with a piece, I feel like I’m heading down a rabbit hole too, so it jibes perfectly.

Otherwise, I am a big fan of what I lovingly call “sad girl music,” which is basically female indie singer/songwriters who wear their hearts on their sleeves. Some of my recent favorites are Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker, Hop Along, Slothrust, and Boygenius.

"Roots," Mixed Media on Wood Board, 24"x48", 2019

“Roots,” Mixed Media on Wood Board, 24″x48″, 2019

Q: Do you collect artwork?
Yes! Absolutely. Mostly, I buy art from local artists at craft fairs and art markets. I just love picking up prints or originals that both support local artists and are emblematic of the places that we live and have visited.

I am also lucky enough to have a family that also values art production and collecting, so some of my most treasured pieces in our collection have been passed down. My favorite piece is without a doubt one of those gifts. It is a paper cast from New Mexican artist, Dolona Roberts, which was gifted to us by my grandparents for my husband and I’s wedding.

Jane Fleming working on pieces for her show, "Ocotillo Worship" at Vault Stone Shop  Gallery, Austin, TX, 2019

Jane Fleming working on pieces for her show, “Ocotillo Worship” at Vault Stone Shop Gallery, Austin, TX, 2019

Q: Who inspires you and why?
Unsurprisingly, a lot of my pieces have a literary influence. I often get lines from books and poetry stuck in my head and write it on the wood/canvas before I begin painting. So, you could say that the heart of my visual art is always literary.

In the art world I have a lot of influences, but for collage, my favorite is undoubtedly Sebastian Wahl. I love the Wahl’s clean composition and the dynamism/movement of his collages. I am always trying to emulate that in my work.

Q: What are your goals for this residency?
My biggest goal for this residency is to play. I hope to really experiment with material and form. Recently, I have begun using butcher paper and wheat paste rather than wood for my collages and I would like to continue working with that.

Additionally, I have a series that I have been working on called “To Wander,” which I would really like to expand upon. The series gets its name from John Milton’s use of the word “wander” in his epic, Paradise Lost. In Paradise Lost, it is Eve’s wandering that leads to the “fall of man.” Milton uses “wander” from the latinate root for the verb “to err,” thereby suggesting that a wanderer is, in fact erring. I interact with this interpretation in two ways. First, my series produces “Eves” that wander on purpose. They are fully in control of their processes of discovery. Additionally, these Eves are centered rather than the tragical Adam. They are engaging in a pleasurable wandering– one that is productive for its pleasure, rather than reductive for its erring.

I haven’t yet found a place for this series, but I am excited about where it will take me with its narrative.

"Eden," Mixed Media on Wood, 12"x12", 2019

“Eden,” Mixed Media on Wood, 12″x12″, 2019

Q: What’s next for you?
I have two full-length collections of poetry and lyric essays coming out in 2020 with Rhythm and Bones Press and Chaleur Press, so I am working hard on getting those manuscripts ready to go. With my visual art, I intend to keep producing and working on getting involved in the artistic community here in Austin. I am hoping to have opportunities to show my work before the end of the year and have faith that those opportunities will fall into place!

Q: Where else can we find you?
I am very active on social media and have a personal blog. You can find me on Twitter and Instagram at @queenjaneapx. I also run a blog called Luna Speaks, which houses my artistic portfolio in addition to interviews with other artists and authors, and a creative writing series. You can find that at lunaspeaksblog.com.

Meet the Artist in Residence: Geena Massaro

Geena Massaro, artist in residence at Main Street Arts during the months of July and August 2019, is working in one of our two studio spaces on our second floor. We asked Geena some questions about her work and studio practice:

Geena drawing

Geena drawing

Q. Please tell us about your background.
I grew up in Palmyra, NY and still reside there. I attended Pratt MWP in Utica, NY as well as the better known Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY where I received my BFA in painting and drawing. Since finishing my BFA, I worked as a preschool teacher and am currently a teacher’s aide in a special education program. I’ve always found the energy of children inspiring, honest and relatable so I seem to have developed a gravity for this type of profession. I am currently attending Nazareth College in pursuit of a degree in art education.

Q. How long have you been making artwork?
I have been making art since I was a child. My imagination was my home and a safe place to follow some of the curiosities I developed about perceiving my inner and outer worlds.  I identified with the quiet self who  actively observed both my imaginary world and the physical world in one channel, so drawing became very natural to me. It was my habit and identity as a child.

The first thing I consciously remember drawing was an elephant. I remember showing my parents at the kitchen table (where I actually still draw) and my mother telling me that I was going to be an “artist” and I remember I took that very seriously.

Self portrait as a child, graphite on paper, 2019

Self portrait as a child, graphite on paper, 2019

Q. How would you describe your work?
I started this style of automatic painting that is very reactive to surface and are conversations (and excavations) with my own silent innerness. My paintings exhibit compulsive movements, perceived more through the hand than the eye. Superficially, they are highly textured and raw spaces. The goal of this kind of painting is not to represent a specific thing but to be within the activity of a field of feelings come and gone- observed and released through me to my hand and onto the surface. I started doing this as a way to push my paintings and myself into places of the unknown. When I reach this state of the unknown, I feel I often go blind to the action of my hand and become involved in this deep instinctual play of automatic-reactive problem solving. 

Geena Massaro, Untitled, oil on canvas, 2019

Untitled, oil on canvas, 2019

My drawings channel the same hand but a different eye. They often depict some innocent and vulnerable object or character (I seem to be followed by the archetype of the child) turned melancholic.  It is the expression of my hand however that I do believe defines my drawing- regardless of what I could say my subject matter is.

Geena Massaro, Isabella at the table, graphite on paper, 2018

Isabella at the table, graphite on paper, 2018

Q. What is your process for creating a work of art?
I am very curious about seeing and enthusiastic about the act of (and the mind of) drawing itself. Translating an image from my perceptions to my hand, my hand becomes a vehicle towards another seeing.

I draw a lot from reference photos that I have accumulated from my time as a preschool teacher. I draw a lot of my students. I think sometimes the drawing begins with a separate emotional response (some curious response) and then I just continue reacting to whatever through the language of line. My line dances fast from light to heavy and I tend to draw small- around sketchbook scale.

Geena Massaro, Lily in a chair II, graphite on paper, 2019

Lily in a chair II, graphite on paper, 2019

My paintings develop out of reaction as well. Painting is embarked upon in phases of intense work and suspensions of waiting. Painting begins in the hand and it’s completion is seldom foreseen. The process is a blind, visceral response between thought, hand and material.

Geena Massaro, Untitled (Blue), oil on canvas, 2018

Untitled (Blue), oil on canvas, 2018

The painting sits once I tire of the action and then waits for me to return to it. I live with the painting as if it were complete. This is when the painting speaks to me. I contemplate its suggested “eternity” through this play until I am either tormented or inspired to re-enter the work- or agree with it’s completion.  this play is very childlike to me and liberating. It is difficult for me to see my paintings clearly as the object they insist to be in their completion and I am curious still how to define the life of an artwork.

Geena Massaro, detail of Untitled (Blue)

Detail of Untitled (Blue)

Q: What advice would you give to other artists?
I’ve learned that it is more productive and enjoyable to leave some questions out of the working hand and to ask them when you are out of the creative state. I think asking yourself questions while working is important but any question that involves a doubt about the work  will be more beneficial and constructive to yourself when you are out of the work and in a state of reflection instead.

Geena Massaro, Untitled (Carter, curtain, dog, room), graphite and chalk on paper, 2018

Untitled (Carter, curtain, dog, room), graphite and chalk on paper, 2018

Q. Who inspires you and why?
Children seem to have a big emotional impact on me. It may be because they are naturally what they are and I have a feeling of this being more difficult to know in adult life. I think children are always in a creative space.  Their brains are so hungry and I feel mine is too but I feel it is so much more natural to engage with that when you are child. They take the information of life as it comes. I love my students and there is so much natural wisdom in the things they say and do. They remind me to be honest with myself and my own inner child.

Q. Who is your favorite artist and why?
My favorite visual artist, overall, is Cy Twombly.  Apart from his works being highly charged in historical literary significance, there is a sublime freedom and play in his hand and the language his works possesses which I feel moved by.

Geena Massaro, Sasha’s communion and lilies, graphite on paper, 2019

Sasha’s communion and lilies, graphite on paper, 2019

Q. What type of music do you listen to? How does music affect your artwork?
I’ve noticed, my hands respond to noise reflexively, so I really enjoy listening to music while working. I respond to all kinds of genres, so whatever I’m into at the moment is what’s playing.

I had a huge relationship with John Frusciante’s music during college (especially after reading his essay on the creative act, The Will to Death). His work and expressions carry through to me still so deeply so I turn to him sometimes by default because I know a strong energy exists in his music.

I sing a lot to myself when I work as well.

Q. What are your goals for this residency?
My goal for this residency is to produce as much as I can and really be present with my creative world. I want to work bigger and I am very excited to have the space to do so (my current working studio is also my bedroom which is very limiting).

I want to try to unite the worlds of my painting hand and my drawing hand more successfully as well. I would like to try larger figurative paintings that use the same kind of mark as my non-objective paintings but solve themselves with a  figure. I would like to try to make more spaces for the figures to exist in in the paintings that would combine a better sense of space with the dance of paint that my non-objective works have.

Geena Massaro, Lily, oil on canvas, 2017

Lily, oil on canvas, 2017

Apart from figure, there are other subjects in me that I find reoccurring in the gravity of my innerness and I want to try to understand how these objects or things got there and what I could do with them in my work.

Geena Massaro, Untitled (Julianna, bird, branch), graphite on paper, 2019

Untitled (Julianna, bird, branch), graphite on paper, 2019

Q. What’s next for you?
I can’t really say what’s next yet. I’ve been  looking forward to this residency and I’m just really excited for this opportunity to be with myself and create.

Q. Where else can we find you?
Instagram @geenamassaro

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Julie Herman

I am a Syracuse, NY based photographer with work in the de/composition exhibition currently on display at Main Street Arts.

"Packard Automotive", photograph included in de/composition at Main Street Arts

“Packard Automotive”, photograph included in de/composition at Main Street Arts

I received my BFA from Alfred University, and currently work for Light Work, a non profit photography organization based at Syracuse University. Light Work supports emerging and under represented artists through a residency program, grants, and lab facilities. I also do freelance work and studio photography.

My photographs focus on the decline of American industry, and the effect it has had on neighboring communities. As a child growing up in Endicott, NY, I witnessed the slow collapse of IBM, the region’s major employer. When layoffs began, I remember watching my father worry about losing his job. As offices closed, and manufacturing plants were shut down, the landscape became dotted with vacant factories and shuttered storefronts. As IBM’s presence in Endicott slowly dwindled, the places where I spent my childhood were abandoned, and stand now as derelict property.

The IBM country club pool, now full of reeds and rainwater

The IBM country club pool, now full of reeds and rainwater

Former blast furnace, Pennsylvania

Former blast furnace, Pennsylvania

As I began to search for other towns that had been similarly affected, I saw the same story unfold in other areas; places that once had function and purpose are now empty, nature slowly reclaiming the buildings and their contents. Despite their great amount of deterioration, I find these places serene. A sun beam through the roof, or a seedling rooted in the floor signal hope and beauty where it might not be expected.

Control panel at the now abandoned IBM country club

Control panel at the now abandoned IBM country club

Empty house in a company town in Pennsylvania

Empty house in a company town in Pennsylvania

Forgotten work glove at a Pennsylvania lace factory

Forgotten work glove at a Pennsylvania lace factory

Recently, I have begun collecting mementos from the places I visit. Old invoices, letters, torn wallpaper, and discarded books all tell stories of those who had been there before. I have also been collecting old IBM memorabilia: postcards of the manufacturing facilities, photographs, and items that belonged to my father. I don’t know what I will do with them yet, but gathering them feels like the next step to me.

Collected items

Collected items

I took my first photography class in high school, where I was introduced to a traditional black and white darkroom. Despite the prevalence of digital cameras, analog processes are still central to my image making process. While my freelance work demands the immediacy of a digital workflow, almost all of my personal work is done in the darkroom.

I photograph using medium format film cameras from the 1950’s and 60’s. Shooting with film forces me to slow down, consider each frame, and be present in the space. There is joy and excitement in waiting to see the images; not knowing with certainty that I’ve captured what I intended.  I enjoy the process of analog photography, the physicality of the work, and even after two decades of darkroom printing, watching an image materialize in the developer is a magical experience.

After years of using a community space, I finally installed a darkroom in my basement. The nice thing about developing film and silver gelatin prints is that it doesn’t change much. It’s the same process that I used in high school. There is no need to upgrade to a better camera, a nicer monitor, or faster computer.

You can see more of my work at www.juliekherman.com or on instagram @juliekherman.


Julie Herman is one of 31 artists featured in the national juried exhibition de/composition at Main Street Arts. Work from the exhibition can be previewed and purchased through the gallery’s online shopde/composition runs through June 28, 2019.

Inside the Artist’s studio with Adriano Valeri

Me in the studio

Me in the studio

My name is Adriano Valeri, and I’m participating in Main Street Arts show de/composition!

I was born in Milan, Italy, and when I was eight years old my family relocated to Quincy, MA, a working class city south of Boston. As a birthday present one year, my parents enrolled me in an after school art class held in the basement of a frame shop. It was a great way to bond with other young artists and helped me adjust to my new environment. The teacher was an academically trained portrait painter. She was very affectionate with the kids, but also held us to a high standard. She taught us to use acrylic and oil paints, which I still favor to this day. Overall, I feel the experience was fundamental to my development as an artist.

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My studio space

After graduating from a county vocational high school where I had specialized in arborculture, I choose to return to Italy and to further my education in the arts. I was accepted to the State Academy of Arts in Venice and spent the next 10 years studying and working both there and in the surrounding region. I learned to be more inquisitive and intellectually engaged as an artist. Although I have stuck with traditional techniques such as oil on canvas, it’s important for me that the paintings acknowledge critical issues of our time and to ensure the medium remains fresh and surprising.

After having completed my undergraduate and masters degree, in addition to several artists residencies, I opted to move to New York City and to further my career in the United States. I’ve lived in NYC for fours years now, working on my paintings in Brooklyn. My studio is a spacious drywall cubicle with a large table and some small desks. There’s a window that overlooks a busy highway and some empty lots and the whole floor is occupied by artists and craftspeople. Inside I like to find a balance between creative messiness and impractical clutter. On the tables, paper plates crusted in oil paints vie for space with sketches and photographs, while the walls are thronged with completed paintings.

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View from the studio

As a child, painting and drawing was a way for me to express my fascination with animals and wild places. As an adult, I chose to paint subjects drawn from everyday experiences with the urban environment. Plants, construction material, feral animals, litter. We live in a globalized and rapidly homogenizing world, and I want to make paintings which can resonate with people across the globe.

I think we as a species have never before been as psychologically disconnected from the land we inhabit. The production of food and consumer goods is internationalized and largely automated. Internal and international migration, displacement for economic reasons or from social and natural calamities,  and the evolution of our mentality and social patterns of behavior contribute to a massive distancing from the organic process which occur around us. 

What I’m really interested in is bringing the viewer’s focus to  the land we inhabit. I’m not interested in making work that is purely documentary — I’m interested in how these marginal spaces teem with unintended interactions that result from our massive presence as a species, so I’ve developed a personal narrative style to convey that. I love how trees can absorb and deform a chain-link fence. It reminds me of the incessant action of biology, this weak force that is constantly at work everywhere, and is assimilating everything we shed.

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The painting “Belgian Planters” which is currently on view in de/composition at Main Street Arts

I’m excited to have been selected for the show de/composition at Main Street Arts! Since this is a recurring theme that I acknowledge  in my painting, it was exciting to see how the other participating artists approach this topic in different media and from different perspectives and practices.

You can find more information about me and images of my work at adrianovaleri.com


Adriano Valeri  is one of 31 artists featured in the national juried exhibition de/composition at Main Street Arts. Work from the exhibition can be previewed and purchased through the gallery’s online shopde/composition runs through June 28, 2019.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Stephanie Garon

By juxtaposing organic materials against an armature of steel, my art captures paradoxes of decomposition: formalism and fragility, permanence and impermanence, and nature and nurture.

Evaluating placement of my sculptures in an exhibition

Evaluating placement of my sculptures in an exhibition

I’m continually experimenting and evaluating placement of my sculptures. Since I focus on environmental awareness, it’s important to me to bring organic materials indoors to the viewer.

My sculptural work placed in a different setting

My sculptural work placed in a different setting

Placement affects meaning. The viewer’s perspective changes, but this sculpture gets lost in the environment. Should it?

Images from Redwoods

Images from the Redwood Forest in California

My inspiration stems from nature, in additional to the following four artists:

  • Eva Hesse: delicacy of materials, framing of powerful themes with grace,
  • Anish Kapoor: using steel and similar infusions to instill messages about humanity,
  • David Nash: playfulness in creating nature based work that succumbs to nature,
  • Meret Oppenheim: for transforming items traditionally associated with decorum or refinement into sculpture.
Eve sculpture

“Eve”, sculpture included in the “de/composition” exhibition at Main Street Arts

Eve is a monument. Whether we see lungs or breasts or the negative space between the forms, we are forced to acknowledge the greatness of nature, despite how much we nurture it, as evidenced by the evergreen changing. It is foreboding. These decaying materials, presented in unexpected ways, challenge reason and emotion. Eve changes color and sheds through the duration of the exhibit: it’s nature’s own performance art.

“Impediment”, current work

“Impediment”, aluminum, plaster, soil 70x30x30

My current work, shown above, is inspired by pine needle bunches. I plan to fill a small gallery space with these repeating forms.

To see more of my work, visit my website: www.garonstudio.com.


Stephanie Garon is one of 31 artists featured in the national juried exhibition de/composition at Main Street Arts. Work from the exhibition can be previewed and purchased through the gallery’s online shopde/composition runs through June 28, 2019.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Jeremy Moule

Hi. This is me.

Hi. This is me.

Every photograph represents a moment; whether the exposure lasts a fraction of a second long or spans several hours, the maker is capturing a defined period of time.

I find many of the moments in my images as I wander through Rochester’s streets and neighborhoods. I’m subject agnostic — not a true street photographer — alternating between people, the built environment, and various objects. My mood often guides me and seeps into my images; so do gut reactions to what’s in front of me. It’s a slight shift from my full-time work as a journalist, where I’m supposed to keep my emotions out of my writing.

A little time on my feet and a little patience enabled me to make this photo.

This photo came together after a little time on my feet and a little patience. I think the anonymous subject and I shared a little fascination with the fire-breathing machine.

“Spectre of the Piss Tunnel,” which is part of de/composition, came together in an instant and is a good example of my process.

I was out walking around the edge of the High Falls District and started photographing a stack of newspapers that had been tossed in a tunnel under the Inner Loop. Then a stranger walked past me. The camera I was using, an old Yashica, isn’t exactly built for speed, but I recomposed and refocused in time and click, I got the image.

"Spectre of the Piss Tunnel"

“Spectre of the Piss Tunnel”

The image has a gloomy, tense quality to it, which was my intention.  I knew I wanted the figure to remain in the shadow, so I set my camera’s shutter speed accordingly.

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Cameras are tools, part of a process but not the process itself.

With people, I like to preserve a sense of the anonymity inherent in a city environment. The objects and structures I photograph show traces of human presence, if not the impact that people have on their surroundings and environments.

The way we alter our surroundings sends messages, intentional or not.

The way we alter our surroundings sends messages, intentional or not.

Sometimes I use a digital camera, but my preference is usually for 35mm or 120 film. I hand-develop my black and white film as well as my color negative film, and I do my own black and white printing. The analog processes are tactile and meditative, plus I’m generally happier with the results.

The Flower City Arts Center darkrooms are about the closest thing I have to an actual studio, and they’re a valuable resource. So is the community around the center. The folks who work, teach, and create there have given me knowledge, criticism, and opportunity which has in turn helped me grow as a photographer.

Bye!

Bye!

 


Jeremy Moule is one of 31 artists featured in the national juried exhibition de/composition at Main Street Arts. Work from the exhibition can be previewed and purchased through the gallery’s online shopde/composition runs through June 28, 2019.