Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Meanwhile, out back

Ian paints the pedestals
Some one is getting ready for an art show!

Monday, August 19, 2019

Whistling while we work

getting organized
One of the best things we have done since returning home has been the transformation of my dad's clinic into a sculpture studio for his play.
Dad retired from the veterinarian business at the beginning of this year. He was forced out by all the drug company regulations and mandated attendances at far away conventions. In order to keep his license to practice he had to attend a convention every couple years and have his badge scanned as he entered lecture halls to hear panelists discuss the newest drug or industrialized benefits. At 83, he didn't feel old, except when dragged through the networking "parties" and herded into sales rooms, so it was agreed between him and his wife that when the year started, he would stop.
And it seemed as if he really did just STOP. When I showed up mid June, the clinic waiting room smelled musty and still had bags of dog food in the corner. The operating table had a set of calipers, an empty syringe and his lab coat draped across it. When I asked dad what he was going to do with the space he sort of shrugged his shoulders...

Clinic waiting room Before
Partial crowd of helpers with Dad

Dad's office area, Before
After a memorial event in the city for my dear Uncle Pat, a crew of 19 siblings, children, nieces, nephews, cousins and friends gathered at the farm. There was a clip board, a whistle and the promise of just 3 hours commitment. (Lunch was already waiting at the pond for when we stopped). You could check off the list and choose whether you wanted to clean, paint, destroy, or set up.
getting ready to repair and level the concrete floor
Natali in the operating room

Noah and Sophie cleaning the waiting room

Annie doing the windows

Erin mans the vaccuum

Lois and Julian paint the cabinets
 Meanwhile upstairs in the kennel room....

Kent and Gardner take down the kennel framework
Daniel and Dad

The Kennel room today
the old waiting room is now a gallery for Dad's sculptures

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Dover Survey Show Closing party Aug 10

Artists are the economic revitalizers of depleted communities. They transform them with visionary skill. With rising rents in NYC and the boroughs, many creative’s have been making their way up to the country and we benefit.

In Dover Plains this month two NY curators, recent art grads, pair seventeen emerging artists in a wide ranging sculptural survey that highlights a re-imagining of our old barns and farms. Amanda Brown andStephanie Del Carpio have placed a diversity of artworks at the 5 Harts Road venue just south of Dover Plains off of route 22. “We are interested in creating exhibition opportunities for younger or emerging artists through the use of underused spaces,” said Del Carpio. 

This is their third curatorial collaboration. Last year’s show was in Bangall, NY in the old Bangall Whaler, a building that dates back to 1832 that had been vacant for several years. The owner, fearful of successive historic buildings in the neighborhood being demolished, invited the two curators to use his space. Del Carpio and Brown visited the Wassaic Project, another re-imagined farm space for inspiration. They invited and asked for nominations from artists. As a result, the ArtBangall merged 38 artists in the empty building and was so successful in transforming the interior that members of the community have come forth with interest in using the space.

Entering the old hay barn of 5 Harts Road, undulating ceramic forms by Rebecca Manson rest on faux cardboard pedestals and a model of an enlarged hipbone dangles with two bullets from the corridor ceiling by JonathanDurham, both sculptures hinting at mortal fragility. A pair of mysteriously abstract paintings by llana Savdie grace a small section of lime washed wall facing a melted wax mechanical construct of Justin Cloud. In an animal stall with remnants of hay still squeezed between boards, Noa Ginzberg’s mixed media yarn shrine has suspended peepholes to playfully enhance the perception of light. Upstairs are whimsical light sculptures by Angela Alba, and a wintry video projected upon an explosion of large canvas fragments by Michelle O’Connell. Anne Wu has fabricated two life-sized architectural replicas of city stoops facing each other with embedded cultural references and between the rafters of the cavernous barn, perhaps in the cleverest response to the building, hangs fringe and ribbons, echoing the slivers of light and pattern, by Carolin Wood.

There is plenty to see and the curators are hoping visitors find an array of work that can reference the body or shed new light on synthetic manufacturing. There are no labels or excess of literature to help you out. This is not the Whitney Biennial. It is a re-imagining of space in the context of art.

Open and free on weekends. The closing event on August 10th will include a performance within a work by of EleniGiannopoulou, whose tenuously built and slowly collapsing tent speaks of migration issues .
In addition to the hay barn installation, 5 Harts Road has interesting grounds to wander, including a school bus turned retro-lounge, a giant fire pit, and a possible pop up antique sale on the closing weekend. For more information check out

Friday, August 2, 2019

Wassaic Festival Tomorrow!

Nestled in the Oblong valley between the Connecticut state line and the NY Hudson River, the Wassaic Festival is happening tomorrow! It is a broad event created by a core group of artists. The work on display and presented in performances is playful, risky and witty. Building off a residency program, the Wassaic Project is a ten-year running institution with an investigative mission to explore new ways of seeing and thinking and to foster artists in their research. They have had year after year of maintaining freshness and quality.

Set in a casual country landscape, the Festival has food trucks, music, multi-experiential opportunities, lots of people, paintings, sculptures, and a gala atmosphere. It is free, fun and full of local color. The historical hamlet with the old Mill and Luther Barn are old-world early Americana. There is familiarity and comfort as the train rolls through town every hour. Dispelling the snobbery of much of the art world, firemen and country locals rub elbows with Yale grads, young poets and musicians. It is a seedbed for incredibly poignant contemporary statements. Don’t miss the artist talks scheduled every hour!

In the bucolic setting, experience the possibilities of performance, complete with literature in art, films, art in the stalls- not in pristine white galleries- and music that goes into the night. The place is bubbling with possibilities.  There is a generous and infectious attitude and the festival will be followed in the next few weeks with artist-taught youth camps, and more opportunities to share in the creative process. For more information visit

 Expect thousands. All are welcome. Art is fun and thought-provoking. It is free and family friendly, with kids art making opportunities. 

Art shows and parties in a local Haybarn

Two and a half years ago a group of three friends invested in an old farm in Dover Plains, NY with dreams of building a project space.  5 Harts road is the result of visionaries Jenny Morse, Jonah Trager and Walker Esner. It is an unconventional venue for art happenings. Being musicians themselves with experience putting on art festivals and having connections to the Wassaic Project, they have repurposed and renovated the barn and trailer spaces and, since last September, they have hosted parties and unique performances hoping to fill the gaps in programming in the area. Eager to respond to what people like and using word of mouth to grow their constituency, they have held Boondocks Film Society screenings, a Kings Highway Cider Boat party, and  even a wedding.  Currently Survey Dover Plains, a curated sculptural show, is installed in and around the giant hay barn. It will be up through August 10th, weekends only.  5 Harts Rd, formerly 5 Van Nostrand Road in Dover Plains, NY 12522 to visit contact

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Free and Fast Artist Talk

Every second Friday of the month, from May through October, the Pine Plains NY Free Library hosts a free and fast evening artist talk. In the darkened upstairs community room a small group of young emerging artists, all current participants of ChaNorth’s art residency, share 5 minutes of their work history and current focus using words and slides. Recently seven artists ranging from locales down the road in Chappaqua and Brooklyn to further away in Atlanta and Rancho Cucamonga, and across the seas from Japan, joined a handful of locals in the audience to share what drives their artistic focus. Painters were followed by sculptors and the evening was capped by an award winning performance poet, Mia Willis. The artist’s concerns were personal and political, humorous and scientific. The event felt like a vibrant injection of energy and stimuli for the wondering soul. Plus, the librarian always makes great brownies!
The next opportunity to follow up with the current artists will be at the free open studio on July 28th at the Spruce Farm off route 199 just west of the village. It will allow us to see in real time the product of the artist’s month of investigations.
ChaShaMa  supports artists by partnering with property owners to transform unused real estate into spaces for artists to create, present and connect. These monthly events are free. A new batch of creative’s will be in the library August 16th at 7pm.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Open studios in the country

Artists in Residency programs are supposed to stir things up, focus like a laser beam, and create work that makes us think. Today, the last Saturday in June, artist studios in both Chasama North (Pine Plains) and the Wassaic Project were open for inquiring visitors.
Lucha Rodriguez studio
The vibe at Chasamsa North was friendly and generous. Each artist had a live work space that blended with other residents, or not. They were eager to share their stories, and laugh over their results. Lucha Rodriguez, (a Venezuelan living in Atlanta), showed us her technique of carving paper, and shared how the weekly trips to McEnroes' farm stand to work the fields helped bond the group. Susan Morelock from Allentown PA, who says her practice is compelled by both beauty and theory, had mapped out a forensic study of her new home in Pennsylvania that once belonged to a notorious murderer. Corey J. Willis' drawings, done on the floor of a writers studio, presented a litany of moods, yet mostly political satire, with two goofy cartoon characters, one red, one blue, each playing, manipulating, mirroring each other and blowing happy face bubbles. He brought down the politicians in his line drawing and yet the expressions he gave them was of a human frailty that was most lovable. Jodie Mim Goodnough shared her photographic process, and KT Duffy, from Chicago, impressed us with descriptions of her study into a new software, and though it was way over my head, her colorful woven collage of computer images danced across the screen in hypnotic trance inducing undulations.  I had to snap myself out of it and make our way over to the Wassaic Project barn studios, which are literally in barn stalls.
I remember when the barn was a real working animal auction house. It is wonderful to see it transformed by artists. Some really clever artworks can be found, left behind by past artists who played with the building's history.
anonymous photo installation at Wassaic.

Over and over again residents told us that the building was a living thing, that they had to work with it, and that it effected their practice. Many of the artists were creating work that dealt with the landscape. Right away we fell into conversation with Jacob Rivkin, from Philadelphia, who presented a work in progress about the river. Photographs and video collaged the natural world and projected onto a mosquito net that fluttered in the breeze and lent the work and his barn stall studio an ethereal quality. One artist from Maine was using dirt from the area, burned wood ash and bees wax from a local farmer to coat strips of drop-cloth that were crudely torn and re-sewn together. Another young lady was researching notorious buildings her grandfather's now defunct construction company had built, such as Indian Point Nuclear Facility, and the current reactions, and comments, found on Google. Then Kelley Obrien, from Cleveland, fascinated us with a video projection that had local area landmarks superimposed on handwritten notes about the iron ore industry, the geology, and current local real estate development politics ... Having just moved here and being hungry to know more, I pressed her but she says the work is not finished and needs another 2 months. Unfortunately, the artists are packing up and leaving tomorrow. As I drove home, past the river and some of the recognizable sites from the art, I thought how, fortunately, there will be a whole new set of artists arriving at both residencies soon and I can't wait to visit them.
Sink in the Wassaic studios