The latest exhibition to open at the Albany Center Gallery dives deep into dreamscapes both mystical and earthly.
Called “Visions,” the exhibit features work by six local artists, who were inspired by the human subconscious.
For Christopher Murray, it’s a layered thing, with bits and pieces of memory and melancholy shining through. In his mixed media work “The Smell of Marigolds,” the artist writes “It always reminds of the end of summer” and “precious scars” in the background, amidst splashes of yellows and gold glitter.
Not too far away is Virginia Bryant’s “0179,” an abstract that seems constantly in motion. With its wispy brushstrokes, mixing black, red and blue, it feels like one is stepping into a strange new landscape. Across the room is another piece from Bryant, featuring swirling shades of golden yellow, colliding with an orb-like figure. Called “0198,” the work echoes the movement of music.
Jon Gernon’s work also transports the viewer, though to realms they may have read about. Many of his paintings feature floral backgrounds or foregrounds with a powerful central figure, sometimes taken from mythology, as is the case with “Ariadne.” The artist captures only the three-quarters view of the figure’s face, surrounded by flowers and falling petals. In one of his other works, called “Metamorphosis,” the central figure’s face is completely turned away from the viewer, with only their interlaced arms and back visible. Deep blue butterflies, possibly blue morphos, dot the figure’s back, representing some hopeful future change.
While Gernon looked to nature and mythology for inspiration, Andrea Hersh looked to familiar fabrics, transforming them into fantastical beings. With “Mossy Puff,” large white flowers made from t-shirts hang above a cloth basket filled with other large flowers made of yarn. In another playful piece called “Passioned,” the artist brings together stalks of blue, red, orange, yellow and white fabrics, encircling them in a comforter-like white material.
Each of her large, whimsical installations touches on the wastefulness of our society.
Her works certainly stand out from the rest in the exhibition in terms of style, though she’s not the only artist to present three-dimensional works.
Sculptor Diane Golden presents assemblages of repurposed objects, including compasses, stamps, and driftwood, all tucked inside display boxes or containers. Many of her works are speckled with insects, from bright green beetles to more demure orange ones. The recycled objects are all things one might have around the house, though the way that the artist reworks them transforms them into something somehow foreign.
Perhaps the most familiar or down-to-earth works in the exhibition are Robert Morgan’s paintings. Each of his large works is striking and surprising. While he uses watercolor, his canvases hold the vibrancy of richer paints. With a closer look, one sees that the artist also cuts out and collages pieces of his works together to create strong divisions between different planes.
"French Carousel over Mass Turnpike," one of the first Morgan paintings featured in the exhibit, features a sweeping carousel with horses, bright lights and spires one would see on a castle. It looms almost menacingly over a highway, lighting up the indistinct shapes of cars dotted along the pavement.
In “Resilience,” Morgan pulls together a mountainous background, with a row of townhouses or apartment buildings lining the middle ground. A river covers the foreground and a natural dam of branches and twigs separates it from the townhouses behind it. The work is done in varying shades of yellows, oranges, browns and whites, which adds to the juxtaposition of the natural and humanmade elements of the landscape.
With its variety of dreamscapes and sculptures, “Visions” is an escape during an otherwise stationary summer. It will be on exhibit through Friday, August 28 at the Albany Center Gallery (488 Broadway, Suite 107, Albany). It’s free to visit and masks are required. For more information visit albanycentergallery.org.