AUBURN — Many of artists featured in “Made in NY 2023,” which opens March 25 at the Schweinfurth Art Center in Auburn, have been inspired by nature.
For some, such as Maureen Church, of Rochester, the goal with her piece “Erie Canal at Dusk” is to capture the beauty around them.
“These paintings are part of a series based on my recent plein air landscape works,” Church said in her artist’s statement. “I use rich colors and wild brushwork to represent the beauty I see in nature.”
Other artists focus on a particular aspect of nature. Henry J. Drexler, of Norwich, still lives near the dairy farm where he grew up. His artwork “Bovine Madness XXXV” begins with images of cows that he manipulates to eliminate depth.
“Whether painted in black and white or fanciful hues, I strive for playful, abstract works of bovine madness,” he said.
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Artist Joyce Hertzson, of Pittsford, actually uses bits of nature in creating her artwork “After the (F)fall,” printing leaves and branches on rag paper.
“The finished print is always full of surprises,” she said in her artist’s statement. “Even using the same set of elements and process, I am never guaranteed the same outcome.”
Other artists use their creations to warn of humans’ abuse of nature. Saranac Lake artist Barry Lobdell’s photograph “Chevron Sky” was taken Nov. 6, when the temperature reached 70 degrees.
“Not a normal temperature for Saranac Lake in November,” he said.
While the weather made for a beautiful photo, he asked: “Is this beauty only skin deep, hiding within it the danger which is inherent in our unnaturally warming planet?”
Bill Hastings, of Ithaca, is a naturalist and gardener who is acutely aware of humans’ impact on nature.
“Every action has an impact,” he said. So with his piece “Sway,” he does his part to reduce, reuse and recycle by “utilizing a ubiquitous material that seems unavoidable in contemporary culture: plastics.”
Concern for the environment led Cyndy Barbone, of Greenwich, to alter her art-making material for her work “Our Rights Are Protected in New York State.” Conscious of the growing water crisis, she decided to stop dyeing her yarn.
“I have replaced color with white or natural by using varying thicknesses of linen to explore how transparency and density in weave structure can convey images, thereby eliminating the vast amount of water used in dyeing,” she said in her artist’s statement. “The illusion of light in the resulting work is a powerful metaphor for the human spirit.”
A total of 320 artists submitted 480 entries for this year’s “Made in NY” exhibition. Jurors Gary Sczerbaniewicz, Theda Sandiford and Kevin Larmon selected 81 pieces from 79 artists for the show, which will run Saturday, March 25, through Sunday, May 28, at the Schweinfurth. The free opening reception will be 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday, and prize winners will be announced at 6 p.m.
Cayuga County-area artists in the show include Mnetha Warren, of Aurora (“Wonder Bread,” 2022), Denise Moody, of Skaneateles (“Her Trunk,” 2023) and Donalee Wesley, of Marcellus (“The Revelation,” 2023).
The exhibition is funded, in part, by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.
The exhibition will open along with two others at the Auburn gallery: “Triggered, Truth & Transformation” exhibition by New Jersey artist Theda Sandiford and “Positive, Negative, Shallow, and Deep,” by Oswego artist Tyrone Johnson-Neuland. (Editor’s note: Each exhibition will be featured in an upcoming edition of The Citizen’s entertainment guide, Go, and on auburnpub.com.)
Maria Welych is marketing director for the Schweinfurth Art Center in Auburn, a multi-arts center that opened in 1981 thanks to a bequest from Auburn-born architect Julius Schweinfurth. The center’s programs include more than a dozen exhibitions each year and educational programs for children and adults, which feature local, national and international artists. For more information, call (315) 255-1553 or visit schweinfurthartcenter.org.