Archive for October, 2009

Dutch Artists Complete Residency in Ulster County

In early September, eight Dutch artists arrived in Ulster County for their month-long residency, in time for the opening of the group show of their work at SUNY-Ulster on Sept. 10. For the next month, they worked on projects at the various art venues where they were based, adapting their media and sensibility to the different environment of their temporary home.

Helma Kuijper, a ceramist and sculptor from Alkmaar, said she normally works in soft, pliable materials when making sculptures, so when she first encountered the chunk of bluestone that was her assigned medium at the Woodstock School of Art, she was flummoxed. (Kuijper and Greta Cune, a mixed media artist from The Hague, were both working at the school for their residencies.) She came up with a novel solution: break the bluestone into small pieces, which were then tied together with plastic twisties to create a kind of blanket. The soft structure out of hard rock is displayed on the school’s grounds, draped over a low slab of rock located in a small clearing in the woods. The white plastic ties resemble delicate hatchings of white lines, giving the piece a graphic quality, as if it were a drawing on the rock.

Marya Vleugel

Marya Vleugel in her studio at Women's Studio Workshop

Marya Vleugel, an Alkmaar-based print maker who showed inky, photographic images of bridges in Europe at the group show at SUNY-Ulster, spent her residency photographing local bridges and printing them on hand-made paper at the Women’s Studio Workshop, in Rosendale. “The bridges here are so wonderful and different,” she said. “We don’t have high bridges like this in Holland.” Vleugel captures the unique character of her structures by photographing each from different angles and focusing on idiosyncratic details. She also experimented with using colored inks. By shellacking the backside of the paper, she created delicate, retro shades of pink and yellow. She took over 600 photos while in the U.S., fodder for future artworks. Vleugel, who like most of the other artists had never traveled to New York before, said she was amazed at the nature. “There’s so much wild nature,” she said. “With us, it’s all structure, and there’s not a lot of space. Everything here is four times bigger.”

Pe Okx, a multi-media installation artist from Alkmaar, showed two video installations in Kingston: Vallicht, still life and landscape images projected onto the four walls of an abandoned garage on the Kingston waterfront and accompanied by inventive sounds and fragments of a Poulenc piece, and Sung Glass, the projection of an image of a male singer through hanging shards of glass set to the soundtrack of an operatic voice emitted through a glass sheet, at the Shirt Factory. The two pieces, which aired respectively Sept. 19 and 20 and October 3, were theaters of the surreal, turning conventional notions of time and space on their heads. “I’m not satisfied with the way we see reality,” Okx said. “I want to surprise and mystify myself.”

Marit Dik, who is also from Alkmaar, showed her large, colorful, psychologically charged acrylic canvases of figures in a landscape at the Arts Upstairs Gallery in Phoenicia. Dik, who was a psychologist before an exhibiting painter in 2000, transformed a room of the gallery into an installation, “This is a love song,” the fable of an adolescent girl’s transition into womanhood through a romantic encounter with a young man. The narrative was told through a series of paintings loosely connected by pastoral charcoal drawings on the walls and accompanied by a recording of a Dutch nursery rhyme, in which a robin—stand-in for the man–knocked on the door of a cabin to come out of the cold, stayed the winter, then abandoned the girl in the spring. “I started to draw on the wall for context, to make a story without words,” Dik said. “The paintings I brought with me, and the drawings are all impressions from here.” They include depictions of animals she encountered for the first time in the mountainous woods around Phoenicia, such as raccoons and flying squirrels.

Dik’s painterly style and subject matter, reminiscent of Eric Fischler, convey a sense of tension, both in the extreme animation of the landscape—paint strokes suggest eyes and other features lurking in the forest—and the vulnerability of her protagonists. In one painting, a tough-looking adolescent girl, her midriff exposed, is unaware of a large bear that lurks in one corner; the girl, however, seems less at risk of becoming a victim than the bear. In another canvas, a girl in military garb lifts a knife over a fallen boar. “There is no line between her and the landscape,” said Dik. “My painting is a kind of camouflage. I obscure and reveal.”

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October 9, 2009 at 5:17 pm Leave a comment


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