Where things come from has become important to all of us. The world of food has seen a heightened awareness of location. Locavore, a person who consumes locally produced food, has become an accepted means of filtering toward excellence. We think about place in an attempt to heighten our connection to quality, to bridge the gap between maker and object, to remove the mass produced and to ask for accountability. In these ways farmers and the vegetables they grow are very similar to artists and the work they create. Both benefit from a strong connection to place. The show “Place” will acknowledge the location of the Re Institute, a gallery located in a converted hay barn, coexisting with two organic vegetable farms.
Ryan Frank takes photographs and then places them within three dimensional objects, such as light boxes, windows, doorways, and other architectural spaces. His photographs often portray the rural landscape of Upstate New York and Connecticut where he lives, or destinations where he has travelled. His photographs are not straightforward prints on paper or jpegs on a screen; rather, they are three dimensional recreations of how he physically captured an image. Viewers are often required to contort their bodies in order to view his photographs -- bent over, standing on their toes, looking straight up or down.
For the exhibition at the Re Institute, Ryan will present an installation of large scale light box sculptures that reference the architecture of the gallery space and the rural setting in which it is located. In addition, he will create a site-specific performance piece, in collaboration with a choreographer and dancer, that explores the physicality of taking photographs and the movement required to view his sculptures.
Sara Nesbitt’s drawings use appropriated images to create scenes expressing our evolving view of the landscape and how it reflects our society. The images are mostly drawn from the 18th century, a time, like now, that has an ambivalence about reason and naturalism. She finds herself living in the Hudson Valley, a place with a rich historic connection to landscape. The landscapes depicted in her work cross between the present and the historic.
Guy Walker sits in his studio, a potting shed, at a table and looks out two glass doors at the stream below. The water bubbles by. Guy paints and folds paper, then paints and folds more paper, over and over. The process is contemplative; we see an inner landscape of the mind. The folds of his brain mirror our own thoughts. The repetitions produce variation. The variations depict the turning of ideas. All the while the stream below his studio babbles on, mirroring the work.
Guy addresses the question of what his work is by asking questions. “Do we have to be so damn literal all the time? Isn't there room for what is floating around in our minds? If it doesn't come out like from a dream and if it isn't something we don't just inherently like, then why not simply produce widgets? Does what is most intimate to us need to be spelled out all the time? My greatest happiness is when I am in a sort of somnambulist state where things just come out. Why does it need to be so identified? Isn't poetry about what cannot be described in words using words? Why then do we force each other to subscribe to these means of modern manufacturing?”
Paul Chaleff starts with the earth but then makes the sky. His studio sits on a hill and he also looks out onto the far distance. His wall plaques freeze atmosphere onto land. They transfer the vapors of air into the transparencies of mineralized glass fused to the weight of the earth. These Rosetta Stones are translations of the transparent. Their power is intensified by their physicality.
Henry Klimowicz sees some part of the landscape out of the corner of his eye. This fleeting image goes into his subconscious and then out through his hands. He works by building small parts up into new fields of pattern. The mass of the reproduced repetition creates a landscape that the viewer moves toward and then enters into. He creates a new place from the bits of his own place.
Susan Wides: The mountain view from my Catskill home, a favourite painting location of the Hudson River School painters, inspired me to research and then seek out their painting sites and re-imagine them from a 21st Century perspective. Using a 4x5 camera with its movable lens, I manipulate the focal plane of the image as a way of simulating contemporary perception. The camera lens calls the viewer to experience the perception of place - to soak up its light, its spaces, its history, its potential – and to see it anew. I depict marks of environmental degradation, as well as beholding the area’s the persistent sense of place in need of preserving. Something about the works shown: Contemplation expands the moment. The photograph's energy and blur reflects the constant movement of nature and time as moments dissolve into memory. Walking lets us know the world through the body. Place is not as solid as landscape; a sense filtered through feeling, it is something interior and mutable. What you directly experience in a landscape and in a photograph often opens your engagement beyond the delineation of things.