KINGSTON, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Center for Photography at Woodstock (CPW) will be the recipient of a $1.5 million Restore NY grant that will enable it to begin rehabilitation of its future home. Its new hub, according to a press release, will be the historic Van Slyke & Horton cigar factory.
CPW is a community-based and artist-oriented organization dedicated to illuminating contemporary culture and society through photography, a spokesperson for the center said in a written statement. In late 2021, after 45 years in Woodstock, the nonprofit moved to a small gallery in Kingston.
In its larger city, CPW has begun expanding its exhibitions, programming, workshops, and digital lab services. But this new vision entails occupying more space, hence its bid to purchase the cigar factory.
Constructed in 1907, the four-story, red-brick Van Slyke & Horton building is a 40,000-square-foot industrial space in Kingston’s Midtown Arts District. It has open-floor plans, 12-foot ceilings, and windows on all four sides, with unobstructed views of the Catskills.
In its Kingston home, CPW aims to build a new model for photography and visual art organization that is an anti-museum, anti-gentrification space. CPW will do this by meeting the needs of emerging artistic voices, and by effecting social change through innovative public events, engaging online media, stimulating courses and workshops, and provocative exhibitions and publications, according to the release.
Once renovated, the space at 25 Dederick Street will be used for exhibition galleries, a digital media lab, classrooms, community meeting rooms, staff offices, a film screening theater, and a state-of-the-art collection storage vault.
“The intended uses will create a significant cultural hub in an economically distressed area targeted for revitalization in the City’s Arts and Culture Master Plan,” said Anna Van Lenten, a spokesperson for the center. “The building is located close to Kingston City Hall and the Kingston High School, and one block away from the Empire State Trail and the newly redesigned Broadway-Grand Street intersection, a key part of the City of Kingston’s recent business corridor improvements.”
The welcoming sights and sounds of the holidays can be found at the corner of H and Cypress. Along with the towering city Christmas tree and the gazebo decorated with lights, is the Cypress Gallery, full of gifts.
Our artists have created a myriad of little jewels for you to choose from this month. Hand-crafted objects of personal adornment glitter in their cases, luscious little paintings and glassware glisten on the walls and pedestals.
A Christmas tree is hung with ornaments made by creators. And a smiling yellow moon, crafted from a wooden bowl by Linda Gooch, adds a most welcome dose of whimsy and good cheer.
The gift items are placed throughout the gallery, and offered to art lovers in a variety of price ranges, all of them holiday wallet-friendly.
Carol Wood has an entire wall of small exquisite oil paintings on display. Still-life, florals and landscapes, of isolated objects and scenes, are painted with deft paint strokes and jewel tones that are irresistible.
Kathy Badrak, using the malleable gourd as her medium, transforms what is essentially a plant into objects of art. Delightful figurines, vessels, and even a hanging lamp are on display.
Larger works by your favorite gallery artists deck the halls as well.
Neal Abello’s nature photography is breathtaking. The artist’s excitement of searching for and finding his spellbinding subjects is evident. We feel the wonder of a breaching humpback whale, and of a snowy egret making contact with its prey.
Charlton Heston as Moses makes an appearance too, in a powerful predominantly white acrylic by Douglas Clark.
“Holiday 2022” by Michael Corob, is a peaceful pastel of seasonal lights, incorporating the artist’s personal iconography of doves and their wings.
The Cypress Gallery is indeed a place of contrasts.
We are especially proud of our jewelry selection, with pieces not be found elsewhere. It is a joy and honor to wear the polished and cut stones of nature, the painstaking bead work, and hand-wrought metals created by gallery artisans. That they make great gifts is an understatement.
A marvelously large and wonderful door decoration by Chris Jeszeck is probably the most unique piece in the show. Come and see for yourself this three-foot Christmas ornament, if it is not already sold! We’re fast approaching the halfway mark of December.
Few artists boast a style and subject matter so singular that three separate specialists would use the same word to describe them: “strange.” Yet that’s exactly what happened when Smithsonian magazineasked a trio of scholars about Dora Maar, a 20th-century French photographer and painter whose oeuvre in many ways defies explanation. Almost all of her artworks capture a certain uncanniness in their surroundings, bringing to light the strange in the mundane.
One of Maar’s most famous works—the 1936 photograph Père Ubu—is a perfect example of this phenomenon. It’s the kind of art that requires repeat viewings, all of which yield something new. There’s something inscrutable about the subject’s scaly body, its one slightly open eye, its barely outstretched claws and its ear flaps clouded by shadows. The viewer is left to question whether the figure is alien or something found in nature; they want to know more, but at the same time, they’re slightly disgusted, says Andrea Nelson, an associate curator at the National Gallery of Art (NGA) in Washington, D.C. Donors gifted a print of the Surrealist image to the museum in 2021.
“It’s compelling but repellent at the same time,” Nelson says. “You don’t quite know what it is, and you’re trying to figure it out. It’s surprising, it’s mysterious, it’s completely bizarre and it’s grotesque. It still maintains that power.”
The same could be said of Maar herself. Born Henrietta Théodora Markovitch in Paris in 1907, the artist split her childhood between Argentina and France. From a young age, she was determined to be an artist, studying everything from decorative arts to painting to photography and attending prominent Paris schools like the Académie Julian and the École Technique de Photographie et de Cinématographie (Technical School for Photography and Cinematography). At one point, Maar even trained with French Cubist painter André Lhote.
As her abilities grew, Maar began a career as a commercial photographer and later a painter, winning renown in her own right. Today, however, most mentions of the artist reference her mainly in relation to her most famous lover: Pablo Picasso, who featured her in the 1937 portrait series Weeping Woman. Her “career and accomplishments were overshadowed during her lifetime by the details of her affair” with Picasso, notes Encyclopedia Britannica.
Maar’s own work was both influenced by and had a real influence on Surrealism, a cultural movement that rejected rationalism in favor of art and literature informed by dreams and the unconscious mind. In fact, Père Ubu is “one of the most iconic artworks of the movement,” Nelson says. But it doesn’t really resemble prominent Surrealist works, nor does it look like Maar’s other art. The artist’s photographs tend to be either beautiful in an almost supernatural way or heartbreakingly realistic, capturing the realities of poverty. As the Morgan Library and Museum points out, Père Ubu stands out from the rest of Maar’s work precisely because of its “repellent qualities.”
Even when the portrait was displayed at the “London International Surrealist Exhibition”in 1936, it stood out from the stylized world of Maar’s fellow Surrealists.
“Ubu … would have acted as a small, sharp puncture in the exhibition’s exuberant display of the Surrealist imaginary, asserting its connection with the world beyond the gallery,” writes photographic historian Ian Walker in the catalog for a 2019 Maar retrospective co-organized by Paris’ Centre Pompidou, London’s Tate Modern and Los Angeles’ J. Paul Getty Museum. “For these images were based in the documentary nature of photography while also exploiting the medium’s Surrealist potential.”
What adds meaning to the snapshot is its title, which references Alfred Jarry’s 1896 Absurdist play, Ubu Roi. The drama’s main character, Père Ubu, is a greedy figure who does whatever it takes—including killing members of the Polish royal family—to achieve his goals. But Maar’s Père Ubu is hard to reconcile with that description. Is this an innocent creature or one primed to commit harm? With a “sagging belly and bulbous nose” that mirror the distasteful appearance of the play’s title character, the portrait conveys the “vulgarity and slothfulness” of its namesake, according to Walker.
Jarry’s creation is “savage and malicious, truly threatening as well as ridiculous,” the historian adds. “Maar’s Ubu lacks that overt savagery, but in its place is an ominous stillness, as we are pitilessly observed by the creature’s black, depthless eye, like that of a shark or reptile, while its claws … might also be about to metamorphose into Ubu’s sinister ‘nearole-incisors.’”
The photograph raises a more pressing surface-level question, too: What exactly does it depict? The subject is hypothesized to be an armadillo fetus, but definitive proof is hard to come by, as Maar would never confirm its identity.
Interestingly, the catalog for a Paris Surrealist exhibition where the image was displayed classifies it as an “interpreted found object.”
“It is evidently the thing that is depicted in the photograph that is the [‘object’]: a neutral term that serves to disguise whatever was its original nature,” Walker writes. “It is also significant that it is described not simply as ‘found’ but also ‘interpreted’—an acknowledgment perhaps that Maar’s photograph not only documents the thing but also re-presents and transforms it.”
Emma Lewis, a former assistant curator at Tate Modern, offers a more concrete answer, citing a visitor to the major Maar retrospective, which she co-curated. The individual was so interested in the photo that they asked a senior veterinarian from the London Zoo about the creature. The vet identified the subject as an infant or fetal armadillo based on its claws and underdeveloped osteoderms, or bony deposits. Exactly where the artist would have encountered this animal is unknown.
From Ubu’s otherworldly likeness to 29 rue d’Astorg, in which a glamorously dressed, nearly headless figure sits in a cavernous room, to a snapshot of a model with a cutout star covering her head, Maar’s art evokes a sense of uneasiness, strangeness even, amid beauty.
Yet the word “strange” carries a certain connotation that doesn’t fully reflect the scope of Maar’s work. Rather than being whimsical or fanciful, the artist’s photographs are tinged with darkness, Lewis says, a Gothic quality often characterized by stylistic experimentation.
“She contributed to making the everyday strange,” the curator adds.
Maar’s commercial work helped her craft this unusual style. In 1931, she opened a photography studio with set designer Pierre Kéfer, working on commission for fashion houses like Chanel and designers such as Elsa Schiaparelli and Jeanne Lanvin. She often employed a collage technique, overlaying images “from her own work, including both street and landscape photography,” instead of using newspapers or magazines, per Tate Modern.
“These commissions had good budgets a lot of the time. They had good circulation, and they reached interesting audiences,” Lewis says. “Every image that we see by Maar is either about her pushing what she can do with staging, light and composition or her taking the components of the image and cutting and pasting and reworking that within her studio.”
A key example of Maar’s collage technique is a 1935 photo titled The Years Lie in Wait for You. In it, a woman clasps the bottom half of her face with her manicured hands, which are visible but almost hidden behind a superimposed image of a spiderweb. Thought to be a face cream advertisement, the work was never published, notes Lewis in Photography, A Feminist History: Gender Rights and Gender Roles on Both Sides of the Camera.
Maar enjoyed great commercial success with her studio, adding an experimental lens to many of her commissions. She could, “at roughly the same time, produce high-end fashion photographs, artful advertising pictures, flattering studio portraits, figure studies, soft-core pornography, … gritty street scenes, documentary shots, politically inflected images, rigorous formal compositions, and the complex, disturbing, and beautifully crafted Surrealist photomontages that are her most memorable creations,” wrote art critic Richard Kalina for Art in Americain 2020.
Though the vision of independent womanhood conveyed by 1920s and ’30s advertisements was “largely an alluring commercial fiction … Maar and her friends actually lived such lives,” Kalina added. “And they put their exceptional autonomy to use” by documenting social inequality and advocating for political reform. Maar was a left-wing political activist involved with revolutionary groups, and her politics were “inextricable from her work as an artist,” Lewis says.
Today, Maar’s work is often referenced only or primarily in connection with Picasso, whom she met in the mid-1930s, when she was in her late 20s and the famed Cubist painter was in his mid-50s.
“So often the first sentence you read about [muses] is that they were the muse of Pablo Picasso” or a similarly prominent man, says Nelson. “But in the case of Dora Maar, she was a really successful and interesting photographer for years and years before she … even met Pablo Picasso.”
Aside from her collage work, Maar was known for using the camera to document reality and capture street life. Through her style and gaze, she was able to transform what she saw into something altogether different.
Many of Maar’s snapshots have never or rarely been seen by the public. The 2019 retrospective, which featured more than 200 works by the artist, highlighted some of these little-known photographs. And earlier this year, Paris auction house Artcurial placed roughly 750 photographs from Maar’s estate, the majority of which had previously been unpublished, up for sale.
Spanning the late 1920s to the end of the 1940s, the images included uncharacteristically informal photos of Picasso, a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of his 1937 painting Guernica and self-portraits of Maar, as well as vignettes from major European cities, like a bookseller in Paris, a series of blind musicians in Barcelona and beggars in London.
“We have essentially retained from [Maar] to this day the strangeness of some of her compositions or collages, which bring their own score to the Surrealist movement,” says Bruno Jaubert, director of Artcurial’s Impressionist and Modern Art Department. “But it is also, to another extent, her way of capturing reality that goes beyond Surrealist aesthetics.”
While Maar’s work did not experience a major stylistic shift in the collection’s roughly 30-year span, Jaubert says her eye became more trained and refined.
“[The cache] shows a maturity in the look that immediately reveals a scene, a presence without seeking decorative effect,” he notes.
Throughout her life, Maar found herself caught between painting and photography, never able to choose just one. For years, particularly during her relationship with Picasso, she focused on painting, in love with the art form she had first taken up as a teenager. It was only toward the end of her life that she inhabited fully once more the world of photography.
“We don’t know that she ever stopped photographing, per se, but certainly in her later years, she returned to darkroom experimentation,” Lewis says. Maar died in 1997 at age 89.
The artist’s shift from painting to photography and back again wasn’t unusual for the time. As Nelson argued in the 2021 NGA exhibition “The New Woman Behind the Camera,” photography became a way for women to make money and express themselves creatively during the 20th century. Many followed a path like Maar’s, studying art in a traditional setting before pursuing photography in the 1920s and ’30s, as the medium was growing and changing.
For Maar, photography was a way to carve her own path in a business sense. She certainly wasn’t alone in that.
“For some women, photography was a very viable career where you could actually see yourself making your own money, earning your own income and becoming independent,” Nelson says.
When Nelson curated the NGA exhibition, she knew she wanted to include Père Ubu. Yet she had a difficult time determining where to place the photograph. It was such a strong composition, so different from the other pieces in the exhibition’s “Avant-Garde Experiments” room, that it didn’t quite work next to anything else.
Eventually, Nelson came up with a compromise: putting the photograph next to the room’s wall text. There, it wouldn’t overshadow other works but rather help start a conversation. It could only exist as Maar likely intended it to—on its own.
Monday, 5 December 2022, 5:37 pm Press Release: Hamilton City Council
New Zealand photographer is the guest of honour for the
opening of theworld-renowned Wildlife Photographer of the
Year exhibition at Hamilton’s Waikato Museum Te Whare
Taonga o Waikato.
On tour from the Natural History
Museum in London,Wildlife Photographer of the Year will
open on Friday 9 December and marks the first time Hamilton
has been home to this exhibition of the world’s most
“Wildlife Photographer of
the Yearis the most prestigious photography award of its
kind, and the competition has provided a global platform to
showcase the best of photography talent formore than55
years,” said Liz Cotton, Director of Museum and Arts,
“It’s an honour to be
the first New Zealand hosts for this year’s exhibition,
particularly as the award-winners include stunning images by
New Zealander photographer Richard Robinson, highlighting
the work being done to protect our population of tohoraa
[southern right whales].”
“We look forward to
welcoming visitors from around the country to Waikato Museum
to see these incredible images over the summer, including
those with a passion for photography, the environment, and
our natural world.”
Speaking from London, the
Director of the Natural History Museum, Doug Gurr,
“We are thrilled to see our prestigious
Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition reaching
audiences in this part of New Zealand for the first time.
What could be more fitting than the setting of the Waikato
Museum, on the banks of the biodiverse Waikato River? We
hope every visitor leaves the exhibition feeling inspired to
protect and celebrate the natural world.”
in 1965, todaythe annual Wildlife Photographer of the
Year competition receives entries frommore than 90
different countries,highlighting its enduring appeal.
This year’s award-winning images are on an international
tour thatwill allowthem to be seen bymillions of
people all over the world, including here in
An international panel of industry
experts selected underwater photojournalist Richard
Robertson as the winner of the category, Oceans – The Bigger
Picture. His award-winning image ‘New life for the
tohorā’ captures a hopeful moment for a population of
New Zealand native whales that has survived against all
odds. Another of his photographs, ‘The right
look’ was also Highly Commended in the Animal
Another New Zealand photographer
was also recognised by the judging panel, with D’Artagnan
Sprengel’s photograph ‘Frost daisy’ receiving a
Highly Commended award in the 11-14 Years Old category for
Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year.
Winner of the
Grand Title award was ‘The big buzz’ by Karine
Aigner, shot with a macro lens to show the frenzy of Texan
cactus bees competing to mate. This captivating image, and
all other prize winners, will be among the 100 photographs
on display at Waikato Museum until 23 April
Craignair Gallery invites the public to a Holiday Open House December 7 from 4 to 7 p.m. to celebrate the opening of “Tide to “Pine”, a photographic exhibition by Justin Smulski and works by Clark Island artists Shelley Nolan, fused glass; Susan Baines, small form; Mary Gaudette, nature photography; Lesley Dangerfield and Gayle Bedigian, ceramics. Refreshments will be provided.
As a freelance photographer, Smulski’s photography addresses what it means to live, explore and work in Maine from the perspective of one who is “from away.’
Hailing from suburban New Hampshire, the photographer eventually moved to Washington D.C., Boston and finally Portland, Maine.
“My photography is about ditching those unhelpful monoliths and building a shared vocabulary of exploration,” said Smulski, in a news release. “There is a thoughtfulness, intimate and deeply honest, to how we orient ourselves in relation to the places we are drawn to for solitude and exploration.” I
“Tide to Pine” is on exhibit through Jan. 3. Works by Clark Island artists remain on exhibit throughout the year. The Craignair Gallery, located at 5 Third Street in Spruce Head, is open daily from noon to 5 p.m. For more information, contact email@example.com or visit craignair.com/gallery.