FOCUS: A Different Kind of Now

Filed in Exhibitions, Past Exhibitions by on August 7, 2020
About the juror –

Douglas Culhane is a visual artist and writer who works in drawing, sculpture, poetry, and hybrid forms. His work has appeared in the Colorado Review, Viz. Inter-Arts (UC Santa Cruz), Broadsided Press, and in galleries and alternative spaces nationally.  He recently exhibited his installation “Ghost House” at the Chesterwood Historic Trust in Stockbridge, MA. He is the recipient of awards from the New York Foundation for the Arts, MacDowell, Yaddo, and the Pollock-Krasner Foundation.  He holds a BA from Colgate University and an MA from the University of Iowa.  He teaches drawing, image, and text and sculpture at Amherst College.

Focus Online: A Different Kind of Now
Exhibition Dates: September 24 – October 31, 2020

Fern Apfel
Lila Bacon
Lucille Colin
Maxine Davidowitz
Gina Dominique Hersey
Ginny Howsam Friedman
Mary Katz
Ekaterina Khromin
Carmen Li
Harriet Livathinos
Jerry Michalak
Susan Phillips
Betsey Regan
Amy Silberkleit
Joyce Washor
Crystal Yang

“Suddenly our lives were changed. Perhaps not all at once, but eventually everyone had to respond to the new reality. Most significantly it involved quarantine, lockdown, isolation. Faced with the urgency of keeping ourselves apart from others, we have adapted with new routines and habits, new ways of working, and socializing; and we have had to adjust our inner lives to the feelings of dread, grief, and anxiety that have pushed to the forefront of our psyches.

Art is good for this. In creating work we continue. It allows us to look at the many new pressures and difficulties, live with them, and sometimes get a glimpse of a world bigger than this current catastrophe. 

In reviewing the work for this show I was taken with the many responses individuals have had to this common experience. Some of the approaches that I am seeing include the creation of worlds away from this one, expression of complicated emotional realities, meditations on personal and collective history, and a deep examination of our suddenly smaller day-to-day environments. 

When things change again, the artwork made during this difficult, disturbing and profoundly strange period may allow us to remember what we felt, how we lived, and what these days and months were really like. 

I am grateful to the many artists who submitted work, and to the Woodstock Artists Association & Museum for the opportunity to be part of this exhibition.”

– Douglas Culhane, September 2020

About the artists:
Fern Apfel:

Fern Apfel has exhibited widely in the Hudson Valley & Capital Region of New York 

where she lives. Apfel is a two-time recipient of the Individual Artists Grant from the New York Foundation for the Arts and studied at The Art Students League of New York and SUNY New Paltz. Her work was featured in the Sept-Oct 2019 Issue of Art New England Magazine. She was a Fall 2019 finalist for The Hopper Prize and a 2019 grant winner from the Martha Boschen Porter Fund, a Fund of the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation. 

In 2020, her work has been in Fish & Dish: A Fresh Take on Still Life curated by Jason Andrew at the Woodstock Art Association & Museum in Woodstock, NY, the Cambridge, MA Art Association’s National Prize Show, juried by Sharon Butler (Two Coats of Paint), the South Bend Museum of Art’s Making a Way(South Bend, IN), a virtual exhibition chronicling the pandemic, and The First Street Gallery’s National JuriedExhibition, juried by Andrew Arnot, owner and director of the Tibor de Nagy Gallery in New York City.

Apfel was just awarded Best in Show at the Art Center of the Capital Region’s Fence 2020, juried by Ian Berry, Dayton Director of The Tang Teaching Museum & Art Gallery at Skidmore College. In addition, two of her pictures are in the 2020 Artists of the Mohawk Hudson Region at The Albany Institute of History and Art. Her work is in the permanent collections of The Hyde Collection, The Tang Teaching Museum, The Albany Institute of History & Art, State University of NY Albany Museum, The Shaker Museum Mount Lebanon, The Columbia County Historical Society and Museum and The Art Students League of NY.

Lila Bacon:

Ms. Bacon graduated from Parsons School of Design/ The New School in 1973, where she had the opportunity to study with many talented artists, including William Clutz and Pat Steir. She then moved to Woodstock, with the plan to pursue her art. Soon after she met Norman and joined him in his flourishing pottery business, where she added her creativity and helped develop an “innovative” series of work based in hand painting. Throughout this time she continued her own work, as well.  She was part of a three person show at the Woodstock Artists Association.  She studied with noted teacher and artist Nicholas Buhalis, who had the uncanny ability to not only give her more “tools of the trade”, but, even more importantly, the confidence to keep creating.  At the Buhalis Gallery, in Kingston, N.Y. he sponsored a show of her work. She has had a one person show at Lifebridge Sanctuary and  shown at Oriole 9, as well. In 2017 she was the recipient of the prestigious Harriet Tannin award for best in show.

In 1981, Lila and Norman opened the Sweetheart Gallery, in Woodstock, N.Y., devoted primarily to the showing of fine American arts and crafts.  This space provided a venue for her own work, as well. Although she has concentrated on different media, including charcoal, pastels, and watercolors, for the past fifteen years, she has been working primarily in acrylics.

Lucille Colin:

Lucille Colin received her BA from Brooklyn College in 1970 with a Major in Painting and a Minor in Mathematics. She continued to study on the graduate level in both Painting and Mathematics. She was accepted into the MFA program at Hunter College but did not graduate. 

Lucille Colin did a summer residency for six weeks at YADDO. She also had residencies at VCCA, Konstepidemin (Sweden) and in France. She spent many summers in Byrdcliffe both at the Valletta (three times) as well as in many of the 5-6 month cottages. Lucille curated a show of the Byrdcliffe residents at The Tom Fletcher Gallery and juried an Abstract Painting Show at WAAM. Colin’s One Person Shows include -The Little Gallery Brooklyn Museum, Gallery St.Catherine (Rodez, France), Ann Harper Gallery, East Hampton NY, The National Gallery, Costa Rica (Drawings on Film/Curated by Dunia Molina). Group Shows include WAAM, Postmaster’s Gallery Chelsea, Pat Hearn Gallery Chelsea, Save Sag Harbor (curated by April Gornik), Children’s Museum Soho, Sandi WebsterGalley Philadelphia, and Ille Arts Amagansett. 

Maxine Davidowtiz:

Davidowtiz’s career as a painter began in 2008 after a successful 30+ -year stint as a magazine creative director for national consumer magazines: among them Redbook, TV Guide, Parents, Health, More and Modern Farmer.  Rather than return to school for an MFA, she chose to study with various artists whose work she admired, taking workshops in many locations around the world with Annie Lapin, Claire Sherman, Donald Elder, Ilana Manolson, Kate McGloughlin, Nuala Clarke and others.

Gina Dominique Hersey:

Gina Dominique is best known for works that merge contemporary abstraction and feminist ideas with spiritual concepts. She has a national exhibition record, and has received several grants, honors and awards. To date, Dominique has had more than one dozen solo shows, and has exhibited her work in over 50 group shows. Her paintings, prints and sculptures are part of several private and public collections in the United States and South Africa. Her awards include the Corcoran Gallery of Art’s Alma Thomas Award for Painting, and for creating five outdoor public murals, the Seattle Metro Outstanding Public Achievement Award. Her sculptures are included in two Michigan sculpture park permanent installations. During November 2019, she was one of four visiting artist-in-residence at Santa Monica’s 18th Street Arts Center. Since 2013, she has been an Associate Professor of Art at City University of New York’s Lehman College. Gina Dominique earned an MFA from the University of New Mexico, and a BFA from Carnegie-Mellon University and George Washington University’s Corcoran School of Art. She lives and maintains studios between Manhattan and Olive, New York.

Ginny Howsam Friedman:

Ginny Howsam Friedman received a BFA with Honors from Pratt Institute.  In addition she has studied at the  92nd Street Y/Eric Fischl Master Class, the Woodstock School of Art, the Center for Contemporary Printmaking/Norwalk CT, the New York Studio School with Graham Nickson, the JVS Project Space with Julio Valdez and the Art Students League.

Mary Katz:

Mary Katz was born in South Dakota, graduated from Smith College, and studied at the Rhode Island School of Design, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Woodstock School of Art. After a career in graphic design she returned to painting in recent years. She has had several solo exhibitions. Her work has received awards, been exhibited in many gallery and juried exhibitions, and appeared in publication and on the sets of two television series. 

Ekaterina Khromin:

Khromin received my FMA diploma from Russian Imperial Academy of Art and started working as an illustrator for the most prestigious publisher of books for children in Russia – ”Detgiz.” Khromin illustrated more than fifteen books for children and also worked as an illustrator in three children’s magazines,  work for the music publishing house “Composer”

Carmen Li:

The pull of art in Carmen Li’s life has always been evident, both to her and those who know her. As a young girl living in her birthplace of Hong Kong, Carmen would eagerly await her father’s return from work because it signaled the chance to do what she loved — create art. Her experience as a daughter in a son-preferenced family would later evolve into the themes of opposition towards gender inequality in her work. 

Although she was one of three daughters and a single son within a son-preferenced family, Carmen’s father noted her natural artistic inclination and fostered it, stealing paper for her to draw on even amid his exhaustive workday. These gestures of support gave her an escape and a space of her own in a family of seven living within 400 square feet of public housing — even if that space was only on paper. 

Before Carmen made the journey from Hong Kong to the United States that would go on to influence her work, she obtained her degree with honor from the Swire School of Design of Hong Kong Polytechnic University in Design Communications. Though Carmen frequently travels back to Hong Kong for inspiration from her birthplace, she left before its handover in 1997, making New York City her adopted home. 

Carmen was recruited and sponsored by the Madison Ave agency Adler Boschetto Peebles and Partners, cementing her place in the city that has expanded her artistic practice and ascent into a vibrant culture of art. Carmen Li now focuses more on creating work from her studio in Woodstock, where she uses the medium of mixed media collage to explore concepts of identity, migration, communist oppression, and gender inequality.

Harriet Livathinos: 

Born in Texas, living and working in Kingston, NY. Received MA in painting and printmaking at Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, studied at Art Students League, NYC and Woodstock School of Art. Was juried into membership of National Association of Women Artists. Livathinos has had solo and group shows in Greece, Texas, and New York, and has several works included in the collection of the U.S. Embassy in Athens, Greece. In 2018 produced an 11 panel installation in the Carter Burden Gallery, NYC. In 2014 she was given a solo show at the Woodstock Artists Association & Museum. She received the Sally Jacobs/Phoebe Towbin Award for Outstanding Artist of 2013, and NAWA Works on Paper Award for 2015 and again in 2017. In 2019, Livathinos received WAAM’s Yasuo Kuniyoshi Award for outstanding achievement in her genre. 

Jerry Michalak:

“Over the past several years I have painted compositions that are a mixture of seasonal colors, shapes and textures of neighboring  woodlands. They are usually a comment on nature’s pushing and pulling and the disarray that is brought about by the ravages of time. These broken, trampled, frozen and distorted images  are the elements that became the foundation for many of my paintings.

More recently, I have been working on a number of paintings from images of waterfalls in the Lower Hudson Valley and surrounding areas. Some are narratives,  either obvious  or obscure, while others lean toward different forms of abstraction. For this exhibit ‘A Different Kind of Now’, I have essentially taken apart my waterfall images and reduced them into isolated fragments and shapes that continue to remain in their specific wooded environments.” – Jerry Michalak

One of my favorite artists is the American Modernist, John Marin:  

“I did something I rather like, a disorderly orderly sort of thing…painting disorder under a big order (disorder being the chaos of the visible world).

Susan Phillips:

Susan Phillips is an artist who resides in NYC and Woodstock, NY.  Her mediums are photography and collage. She has exhibited in both locations, as well as throughout the US, and has works in corporate and private collections. 

Ms. Phillips appeared in the book entitled Best of American Photographers, Volume II.  Photographs were selected for the 2018 Autumn edition of Art Ascent.  Last summer she was selected for an Art Residency at Arte Studio Ginistrelle, in Assisi,Italy.

In New York City, Ms Phillips is The Gallery Coordinator For The National Association of Women Artists. She was chosen as the Featured Artist in the Feb 2020 Edition of The Catskill Mountain Region Guide. Some of her photographs were displayed on the Dorsky Museum site entitled”Stay Home, Make Art”, at the start of the Pandemic. Her work can currently be seen  online at Emerge Gallery in Saugerties NY, and at the WAAM online exhibit entitled “A Different Kind of Now”.

Betsey Regan:

“My father was a Colonel and I made a living working for the Army. Although I didn’t want the military culture to seep into my mind and my art, it did. I wanted my current work to depict the sense of frustration and entrapment I felt, but equally, to depict my overriding feelings of self-respect because I performed the tasks required to defend our nation.

When the pandemic started, I continued the military theme, but this time the soldiers wear gas masks. I became obsessed with researching old military gas masks. Slathering plaster onto paper and then sanding, gouging, massaging and scraping are actions that cause pain and release pain at the same time. The process echoes the message.” – Betsey Regan

Amy Silberkleit:

Silberkleit was born and raised in New York and received a B.A. from Stony Brook University where she focused on printmaking. She was the artistic director of The Rod and the Rose Puppet Theatre, which performed throughout the Northeast. She has sold puppets and fabric collages in craft festivals. Silberkleit received a Certificate in Natural Science Art and Illustration from The New York Botanical Gardens. The technical nature of that work prompted her to return to drawing and lithography. Her lithographs and drawings have been in juried shows, galleries and museums. She is a member of Longyear Gallery in Margaretville, N.Y. and The Society of American Graphic Artists. 

Joyce Washor:

Joyce Washor lives and works in Woodstock, NY. She received a BFA from Rutgers University and further instruction at The Woodstock School of Art  and The Art Students League.  Joyce has been featured in Workshop Magazine, Leisure Painter Magazine, International Artist Magazine and multiple articles in American Artist Magazine. She is the author of Big Art, Small Canvas published by North Light Books, 2006 and its updated edition Think Big, Paint Small, 2016. She self published four eBooks: Watercolor Harmony, The Tao of the Complementary Palette, 2012, Oil Painting Harmony, The Tao of the Complementary Palette, 2013 and  Easy Painting, Learn to Watercolor with 3 Colors, 2014.  Joyce has been collected nationally as well as in Israel and Japan. She is represented by Mark Gruber Gallery in New Paltz, NY. and Wired Gallery in High Falls, NY.  She served on the WAAM board as secretary from 2014-2019. Joyce teaches watercolor to individuals and groups in her home studio.

Crystal Yang:

Originally from Taiwan, Yang graduated from Chinese Culture University with a major in Western painting, and later, came to the United States to earn an MFA in painting from Radford University and a Ph.D. in art education from University of Georgia. In 2018, after spending 14 years as an art professor at the University of North Dakota, Yang moved to Poughkeepsie, where she now works as an independent artist in the scenic Hudson Valley. For thousands of years, Chinese scholars and artists have nostalgically pursued spiritual life in the mountains. Away from the mundane world, they have searched for an ideal life in unity with nature—as did 19th-Century American writers Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, along with the Hudson River School painters. For Yang, residing in the Hudson Valley is, in some ways, the realization of an idyllic life too. She therefore created a series of Neo-Hudson River paintings to reflect my new life in the scenic Hudson Valley. 


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