Tag: cross contemporary art gallery

Weekend in the Catskills – 6/17/2016

This weekend:

  • Playing Mozart as Mozart Would Have Played Mozart at the Doctorow Center for the Arts in Hunter;
  • Poetry with Geoffrey O’Brien, editor-in-chief of Library of America, at Cross Contemporary Art Gallery in Saugerties – Ellen Kozak’s oil paintings are currently on view;
  • And a tour of the Woodstock area gardens.

Learn more at  Upstater.com.

Weekend in the Catskills – 4/29/2016

This weekend:

  • Window Quartet performs at the Hudson Opera House;
  • New art show opens at Cross Contemporary Art Gallery in Saugerties (the show made the front page of the NY Arts Magazine earlier this week);
  • And, Rosendale Theatre presents The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged).

Learn more at Upstater.com.

Featured Destination: Cross Contemporary Art Gallery

Jen Dragon is the director of Cross Contemporary Art in Saugerties, a gallery dedicated to showing mid-career artists with a connection to New York City, the Catskills and Hudson Valley regions. Dragon has background in online marketing, but she’s also had an extensive career in the arts – over the years she has curated numerous exhibits for non-profit spaces, and organized various community-wide art projects. Dragon holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Purchase College.

Winter IV by Katherine Bowling. Contributed photo.
Winter IV by Katherine Bowling. Contributed photo.

Simona David: Please, talk a little bit about your background, your education, and interest in art.

Jen Dragon: I studied at Purchase College in the early 1980s. And there I was trained as a printmaker and painter. I also had a scholarship to study fine arts in Italy for a year. I was trained there as a restaurateur of antique maps and prints. Afterwards, like many artists, I was drawn to the Catskills. Together with my ex-husband I bought a tavern to use as a studio – we fixed it ourselves; this was near the Phoenicia area. I lived there until about a year and a half ago.

SD: Talk about your curatorial experience, and your vision when it comes to putting together a new art show.

JD: I got into curating with non-profit spaces like the Kleinert / James Center for the Arts in Woodstock, and under-utilized spaces like this place at the Emerson Resort that at the time was not being used. It was a challenge, because I was interested in showing large abstract art, and in the country, like where we live, it’s very difficult to find houses that have really big high-ceilings. I was always on the look-out for a loft, a good space to show big paintings. A year ago I had the opportunity to take over a lease on a gallery in Saugerties. It’s tiny – it’s only 650 sq ft, but it has high ceilings, and it has a lot of wall space. And I am now able to show the kind of art that I have always been passionate about. I much prefer to be in the gallery and act as a docent introducing people to art rather than trying to rally everybody behind a large community arts project.

Reverse Painting with Silver by Catherine Howe. Contributed photo.
Reverse Painting with Silver by Catherine Howe. Contributed photo.

SD: Talk about the curatorial process: where do you start, what is your vision, and how do you get where you want to be with a project?   

JD: It’s interesting, because I get to live with an art show for about a month – each show is four week long. And I really get immersed in the artist’s work. At the end of each show I can probably write a dissertation on it. A lot of my choices are governed by the location of my gallery. Given the fact that I’m in Saugerties, which has extraordinary landscapes, I don’t feel like it’s appropriate to show urban art. The artists I tend to choose have an obsession with nature, and I also look for human drama. In sum, the criteria for choosing art have to do with where I am, but I also consider myself as some sort of an educator. It’s more about creating a beautiful show than being a salesman. I encourage the artists to really own the space, and create an installation.

SD: How do you look for artists, or is it the artists who approach you?

JD: I’m always looking at art. It’s important for artists to have their art seen. Because of my limitations, I can only show as many artists. But I keep a file, and I also refer artists to other places. A lot of time artists that I show are referred to me by other artists. The artists that I have been generally showing are in museum collections, or have shown in museums, and to show with me is a certain investment on their part. And they take very seriously who they want to be seen with. And they also refer people to me that they think that I would like. Sometimes I come up with something that I discover on my own. I have shown over eighteen artists so far. I’ve only done one group show.

SD: I like what you said before, that artists like to be seen in the company of other artists, and that’s why art communities are so important. We often judge people by their associations or affiliations, or by the company they keep. Are there any commonalities of themes or styles amongst the artists that you’ve shown? You did mention before that you looked at art centered on nature or human drama.

JD: Yes. I also have a sweet spot for printmaking. I was trained as a printmaker when I was in college in the 1980s, and what was trending back then were these Neo-Impressionist like prints. There were these intense, dynamic painters like Julien Schnabel, Gregory Amenoff, Richard Bosman – these guys were powerhouses. In retaliation to the abstract art, they were going back to figurative painting. And just like the German expressionists, they were also into printmaking. What I learned from artists like these is that the power of the wood cut supports the power of the painting. I knew I was doing something right with my gallery when I approached Gregory Amenoff and Richard Bosman, who were like my rock stars when I was a student, and they agreed to show their work with me.

Labrador Sea by Gregory Amenoff. Contributed photo.
Labrador Sea by Gregory Amenoff. Contributed photo.

SD: And I should add that when people think nature, they shouldn’t necessarily think representational art or landscape painting. It could be non-objective art as well. Take for instance Heather Hutchison, who you’ve shown in your gallery.      

JD: Yes. What’s fascinating about Heather Hutchison is that her subject matter is light, so she is probably more of a landscape painter than anyone else that I’ve shown. Even though it doesn’t look like landscape, and it looks like a box that is constantly changing colors because of the way the light is coming through it, Heather’s literal subject matter is the changing light itself.

Sleepy Golden by Heather Hutchinson. Contributed photo.
Sleepy Golden by Heather Hutchison. Contributed photo.
More Like the Weather by Heather Hutchinson. Contributed photo.
More Like the Weather by Heather Hutchison. Contributed photo.

SD: Her work has been shown in many prestigious locations like The Smithsonian in Washington D.C., and she’s also received numerous awards including The Pollock-Krasner Foundation Award.

JD: Yes. She’s also very active locally. She’s in the James / Kleinert Center for the Arts in Woodstock. Her husband Mark Kanter teaches at Columbia University. All the artists that I show are actually very active in the community. In addition to being educators and making art in their studios, these artists are also great art communicators.

SD: What kind of experience do you want your visitors to have when they visit your gallery?

JD: What’s really interesting about showing all these artists is that they work so well together – I can easily have a group show with any of them. Even though they have different styles, they all seem to have the same sort of fascination, the same sort of obsession with art. The common denominator is that they all create amazing spatial environments that the viewer can occupy. That’s my criterion for what I consider art. The mark making is also terribly important. A gestural mark is a brush work with intention, and a certain kind of velocity to it, and these kinds of creations need to form a space that you can inhabit. If art doesn’t have gesture, and it doesn’t have space, it becomes illustration, which is a fine thing, but it’s not deep enough for me. What I look for in art is the space, the intent, and the passion. What I find beautiful is the thing that changes me by looking at it, and changes my relationship to where I am.

SD: You hosted recently a show by Iain Machell. Let’s talk about that.    

JD: Iain Machell is the head of the Visual Arts Department at SUNY Ulster. Last summer he got a grant to study at Platte Clove arts residency near Saugerties. And created all these drawings, and paintings, and even some photographs enameled in metal, that were inspired by Platte Clove – he did it in a very short period of time as well. The show at Cross Contemporary Art Gallery included close to thirty pieces of art that Iain created at Platte Clove this past summer. It was an installation – some sort of meditation of ground and water and rocks and crevasses.

Platte Clove Lens Installation by Iain Machell. Contributed photo.
Platte Clove Lens Installation by Iain Machell. Contributed photo.

SD: I do want to mention that Platte Clove played such an important role in the formation of the Hudson River School of Painting in the 1820s. What is your next show?

JD: My December show is Shira Toren, an Israeli-American artist, who works in New York City, but also has a place in Great Barrington, MA. She does abstract paintings, and also makes prints. Her show is called “Eternal Return.” It opened December 5, and will remain on view through December 27.

Nebula 2 by Shira Toren. Contributed photo.
Nebula 2 by Shira Toren. Contributed photo.

SD: What are your plans for the holiday season?

JD: I have been invited to participate in The Decorator’s Holiday Show at the Senate House in Kingston. The Senate House Museum owns a large Victorian house that is being made available to interior designers to decorate it for the holidays. I am the only gallery that was invited to participate. The grand opening was December 4 as part of The Snowflake Festival. I am featuring artists that I have shown over the past year.

SD: What are the gallery’s hours?

JD: The gallery is open from Thursday to Monday from 12 noon to 5 pm. And also by appointment.   

For more information about Cross Contemporary Art Gallery, visit

http://www.crosscontemporaryart.com

81 Partition Street, Saugerties, NY 12477

(845) 399-9751

 

© 2015 Simona David

Weekend in the Catskills – 12/04/2015

This weekend:

  • A Holiday Design Show at the Senate House in Kingston;
  • Ulster Ballet Company performs a Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens at UPAC in Kingston;
  • And, the 19th annual Hudson Winter Walk takes place in Hudson, topped with a fireworks display.

Read more at Upstater.com.

 

Weekend in the Catskills – 5/8/2015

Mother’s Day this Sunday, May 10: it’s going to be gorgeous weather in the Catskills. Our choices for this weekend are: Lady Day’s centennial concert at Fisher Center, a Balkan Dance Party in Staatsburg, and several art opening receptions in Woodstock, Saugerties and Roxbury.

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Fisher Center

The Aaron Diehl Trio is paying tribute to Billie Holiday this Friday, May 8 at the Fisher Center in Annandale-on-Hudson, Dutchess County. Cécile McLorin Salvant, a Grammy-nominated vocalist, will be joining the trio in a performance that will honor Holiday’s legacy, and celebrate her centennial. Billie Holiday, also known as Lady Day, was born in Philadelphia in April 1915. The centennial concert, sponsored by the Catskill Jazz Factory, begins at 8 p.m. tonight. For more information, visit http://fishercenter.bard.edu/calendar/event.php?eid=128233.

Wassail Balkan Dance Party

Wassail Balkan Dance Party will celebrate its 19th anniversary this Saturday, May 9 at 2 p.m. at Breezy Hill Orchard in Staatsburg, Dutchess County. A twelve-piece brass band will perform Macedonian and Bulgarian dance music. Steve Kotansky will also lead a Balkan dance workshop. Balkan cuisine, including lamb roast, will be served, as well as a variety of artisanal products from local farms. Balkan music originated in South-Eastern Europe, and it’s known for the complexity of its rhythms. For more information about this event, visit http://www.hudsonvalleyfarmhousecider.com/.

Woodstock Artists Association and Museum (WAAM)

Woodstock Artists Association and Museum (WAAM) is hosting Far and Wide, the seventh annual juried art exhibition this Saturday, May 9 at 4 p.m. featuring the works of over thirty regional artists. The event will take place in the Main Gallery. In the Founders Gallery, there is an exhibit of small works. Also, artist Lynn Herring is featured in the Solo Gallery. For more information about these events, visit http://www.woodstockart.org/.

Cross Contemporary Art

Cross Contemporary Art Gallery in Saugerties, Ulster County, is also hosting an opening reception this Saturday, May 9 at 6 p.m. featuring the works of artist Portia Munson. The show called Little Suns, Hollow Bones, speaks about Munson’s interest in environmental issues, and includes works whose subjects range from floral arrangements and blossoms to bones and animal corpses. Munson is an accomplished visual artist whose work has been reviewed in numerous publications including Art in America, The New Yorker and The New York Times. For more information about this show, visit http://www.crosscontemporaryart.com/portia-munson-little-sunshollow-bones/.

Roxbury Arts Group

Roxbury Arts Group (RAG) in Roxbury, Delaware County, is hosting an artist talk this Saturday at 2 p.m. Artist Lisbeth Firmin, whose show Working the Light is on view in the Walt Meade Gallery at RAG, will be talking about her work as a painter and printmaker. Firmin is a realist painter whose work explores the relationship between humans and space. Street scenes as well as a more abstract interpretation of light and shadow are visible in her works. For more information, visit http://roxburyartsgroup.org/2014/08/26/may-9-lisbeth-firmin-artist-talk/.  

Also, this Saturday, May 9 Albany will celebrate the 67th anniversary of its immensely popular Tulip Festival, which speaks about the city’s Dutch heritage. For more details about the Tulip Festival, visit http://www.newyorkupstate.com/albany/2015/04/guide_to_the_2015_albany_tulip_festival_schedule_and_events.html.

Have a fabulous weekend!

Weekend in the Catskills – 2/13/15

We’re celebrating Valentine’s Day this weekend, leading into the Presidents’ Week – a traditionally good time for skiing in the Catskills.

Roxbury Arts Group

Roxbury Arts Group in Delaware County will celebrate Valentine’s Day this year with poetry and music. From 1 to 3 p.m. poets Rebecca Andre and Esther de Jong will be on site talking with visitors, and in response writing short poems for the posterity.  From 4 to 7 p.m. Three Friends – Ed Marris and Franziska Rauch, accordion, and Jeanne Palmer, violin, will perform a free concert that will integrate a variety of styles. For more information, visit http://roxburyartsgroup.org.

Catskill Art Society

Catskill Art Society in Sullivan County is hosting an opening reception Friday, February 13 at 4 p.m. Piece Together for Peace exhibit features artworks by artist Cynthia Strunsky McLean. Designed as an interactive show, this program will engage viewers as curators as well. For more information, visit http://catskillartsociety.org.

Cross Contemporary Art Gallery

Cross Contemporary Art Gallery in Ulster County has on view works by five New York artists: John Berens, Jeffrey Bishop, Mike Cockrill, Jared Deery, and Shira Toren. A multi-media exhibit that includes paintings, drawings, and sculpture, Take 5 showcases a variety of styles and approaches. The common theme appears to be the attention paid to intimate details. The exhibit, which opened on February 7, will be on view through March 1. For more information, visit http://www.crosscontemporaryart.com.

Olana

Olana mansion in Columbia County, the home of famed painter Frederic Edwin Church, is hosting Just Desserts: Coffee and Creations this Saturday, February 14 at 2 p.m. Artist Jill Obrig will be leading an acrylic painting workshop inspired by Jim Dine’s works. A painter, printmaker and illustrator, Dine is known for incorporating common objects in his work, and playing with color in an expressionistic manner; he is sometimes associated with the Neo-Dada movement. Just Desserts: Coffee and Creations is open to students of all levels – no prior painting experienced is needed. An assortment of desserts and hot beverages will be offered throughout the class. For more information, visit http://www.olana.org.

New York State Museum

The New York State Museum in Albany is hosting the annual Gem, Mineral and Fossil Show this weekend February 14 – 16, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The show is organized in partnership with the New York Academy of Mineralogy and the Capital District Mineral Club, and features thirty exhibitors showcasing a variety of minerals, fossils, gems, jewelry, and other items. The New York State Museum has its own permanent collection of fossils and minerals. For more information about this show, visit http://www.nysm.nysed.gov/programs/minerals/.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

The Catskills, Upstate New York
The Catskills, Upstate New York © Simona David