At first glance, you might not realize that Patricia Wilder's work is photography. This is because of the abstract nature of her photographs. Her images are extreme close-ups of flat surfaces--walls, for instance, are a popular subject--that focuses the image on color and shape.
Wilder seems to have an interest in the act of tearing away. Her photographs have a real active energy to them, because they are often capturing shapes creating by layers removed. Swoops of graffiti show up, but it is always writing and becomes part of the symphony of shapes and lines. Some photographs speak of decay: what appears to be rust frames one sky blue surface. But in other photographs the torn away pieces of material speak of a world that changes constantly. Whatever the appearance of the scene, there is no judgmental gaze implied.
Wilder cites the Abstract Impressionist painters as a main influence. She prints her photographs on traditional darkroom chemistry, and does not manipulate anything about the images she shoots. However, her work is not simply some sort of found photography. Her framing of the everyday, her eye for the interaction of shapes, is unique and compelling. In creating abstract images, Wilder aims to allow viewers to find their own engagement and answers in a work. The Armonk Outdoor Art Show judges have enjoyed the answers they've discovered in Wilder's work, and awarded her in 2013 with the 1st Prize award in photography.
Wilder is joining us from Victor, New York, a small town near Rochester.
Brian Toohey Leather/Metal
Brian Toohey makes luxurious leather belts. Toohey's work shows that simplicity is desirable. Each belt is made of Italian calf leather and has a silver or gold (brushed or matte) buckle. The belts are on the slimmer side. The slimmest belt has a width of one inch, while the thickest belt had a width of two and one-eighth inches. This is part of their simplicity, but these are belts that will stand out no matter what, and the buckles are a big part of that. The buckles vary in design, but all curve appealingly. Toohey says he has symmetry on the mind when designing the buckles. The buckles compliment and highlight the leather, while standing out as the centerpiece. He utilizes fold-over closure to control belt tabs.
For each belt, Toohey offers different leather colors: black, brown, saddle, and white. There are belts designed for women and men, in a wide breath of sizes for both. There are up to seven fit holes on belts to allow them to be worn at the waist or the hips. Toohey also makes leather wristbands, which are similar in appearance to his belts.
Toohey describes his designs as "quintessentially American" and aims to create work that goes beyond trends. These are belts that can be worn for years, both because of the quality and the design. Toohey is a local artist, joining us from Port Chester, New York.
Tom Snyder's photographs highlight shapes and patterns in our lives. Popular subjects include buildings and boats, but also birds and trees. He'll zoom in on a boat's sails, as the wind pushing each sail into a different shape. Another photograph has two power lines crossing against a blank sky, framing the isolation of the house set back on the horizon. People rarely show up, and when they do, they're a small part in a grander scene.
Snyder practices altered photography. Some of his photographs, at first glance, appear to be paintings or drawings. He shoots in black and white as well as color, and he has a handful of wide angle panoramas. Snyder is not one to be limited in his expression.
Snyder shoots throughout the country, from Arizona to New York City. He lives in Baltimore, so the Chesapeake region is a popular setting. He photographs nationally known landmarks, locally known landmarks, and quiet rural scenes with equal attention and skill. When it comes to nature, Snyder has an eye for the quietly dramatic--a lone tree with barren branches haunts in "One Tree", or lurching water is foregrounded in a black and white photograph of two boats. All of his works are brimming with mood, as if they are settings in a novel. Even when he returns to the same subject, each photograph has a different feel to it. "Domino Sugars III", of the Domino Sugars buildings in Baltimore, is almost idyllic with a blue sky and clouds behind the Domino Sugars sign, whereas in "SoBo" the same buildings are in the background of a neighborhood shot and the mood is more bustling, with red brick buildings jostling against one another.
Jaclyn Davidson's striking jewelry look like something a medieval queen may have worn. Some of the necklaces and cuffs look armor inspired. Other necklaces curl extravagantly. This is not jewelry for shrinking violets.
Davidson's materials of choice include 18k gold, enameled glass, and weathered carbon steel. Born and raised in Pittsburgh it is perhaps unsurprising that she was drawn to working in steel, although it wasn't a material she initially worked with. Davidson divides her work into several different themes, including "Controlled Chaos", "Waterjetting", and "In the Garden", but all of her work has a cohesive feel of dark romanticism.
While necklaces seem to be her preferred style to work in, Davidson also makes bracelets and cuffs, earrings, pins, and rings. The details are often nature-based. Golden gingko leaves criss-cross over the front of one necklace, red glass berries are sprinkled on another, while small silver and gold birds are in flight on a third. Leaves are indeed the most popular detail in Davidson's work, and she makes them very expressive. They dance as if blown by the wind, lay neatly as if newly fallen from branches, sit plump as if they were gathered up. The details and the main shape of each work compliment each other--sometimes the details are the main attraction of a work, and on other works the details are more subtle while the metal curls energetically around and around. Even the rare work without gold, glass, or stone, dazzles, such as an inky black necklace in the "Controlled Chaos" category. The steel provides texture to each work.
Davidson is another exciting new artist to the Armonk Outdoor Art Show in 2015. She has been handcrafting jewelry for thirty years. She received her BA and MFA from Kent State University. While she had a studio in Pittsburgh for some time, she relocated to Vermont, where she currently resides.
The first reaction on seeing Mark Lewanski's glass sculptures is: whoa. Lewanski's woven glass wallhangings are colorful and exuberant. The surfaces undulate pleasingly in waves. Each work is one of a kind. There is "Chroma" with a rainbow of colors where each color is blocked, but also a thread of yellow shoots through the purple section while a thread of blue goes through the orange. That's the thing about Lewanski's work, there's a pattern but he doesn't quite stick to it and that creates a beating heart in every glass weaving. "Venezia" is inspired by Venice and is made up of greens, yellows, blues, and purples. A cool detail is that several times in a weaving, one thread will be covered with small crumblings of glass that look like crunched up candy--an apparently smooth surface from far away reveals itself to have a more complex texture.
Up close, other threads reveal to glitter, or to have several different colors within it. Many of the weavings are large in size, but Lewanski doesn't lose sight of the details. "Xerxes" has a more subdued main color palette of white, black, and gray, with the vertical glass threads spanning the rainbow again. Lewanski is always open to work on a custom order with a patron's requested colors and size, and it's easy to imagine that even if a work was just done in black and white it would still be jumping off the wall with excitement.
Lewanski is a new artist to the Armonk Outdoor Art Show in 2015, joining us from Portland, Michigan. He started the Glassboxguy Studio in 2000 with the goal of reviving the art of stained glass, and became known for his glass boxes and mosaic mirrors. His glass weaving is a more recent venture, and we look forward to seeing them at the Art Show this year.
Carol Hearty's bags are chic meets fun. Hearty's designs are all about shapes. Using zippers in innovative ways each style of bag can be unzipped to a flat piece of leather that's just as interesting a shape as the bag when it's ready for carrying. For instance, the ZapKit style is a square when unzipped, and then zips up into a slim clutch. The design is simple but the result is fresh. Some of the other shapes are more obviously quirky, such as the Tornado, a spiral shaped bag that some of her customers nicknamed the "Neo-Guggenheim." Unzipped, the Tornado flattens into a spiral. The zippers add a great energy to each bag.
Hearty works mostly in leather, but some of her bags are also made out of material like recycled vinyl billboard. Her bags come in a variety of different colors: black, gray, purple and orange, brown, blue, and more. Some bags the texturing is smooth, while others have repitilian-like scales.
Bags are great for everyday usage, and several are also ideal for traveling, such as the Zygo Travel Bag. There are many different styles here: handbags, travel bags, backpacks, even a pet carrier (for smaller animals). She also makes belts. Hearty puts great thought in to the practical design of her bags, not just in their ability to unzip (which is great for storage purposes), but also in how the bag's details can help the individual, such as on the Wings Backpack/Handbag. When the Wings are in backpack mode (where they resemble butterfly wings) the zippers to open the bag are on the inside, against your back, preventing any potential pickpocketing. Another practical consideration is the velcro used to close the belts, a choice Hearty made for being "airport friendly."
Hearty has been making bags since the nineties, when she started with her Zygo design. Hearty has recently moved to Beacon, New York, an artist-friendly community about sixty miles north of Armonk.
Eugene Perry's geometric sculptures do not approach shape delicately. They stand like bold scoops of metal. He largely works with neutral colors such as brown, gray, and silver, but there are also blue, red, and orange sculptures. And while Perry's sculptures are largely abstract, he sometimes plays around with sculptures of lipstick or high heels. These more representational works are just as much about shapes, such as how a silver spiral circles around the lipstick sculptures, suggesting the twisting and untwisting of a lipstick tube. Perry controls the mood of each work through the finish: some sculptures shine while others are smoky. Perry creates both indoor and outdoor sculptures.
No matter the subject or look of the work, Perry has a keen eye for putting shapes together. In one sculpture, squares and circles are stacked together. Each square has a circular cut out in its center, and one has a ball seemingly floating inside the cutout. A look Perry returns to often is a curving sheet of metal topped by a large ball. It is a spirited look, like someone dancing. On his creative process, Perry speaks of movement and flow. Within each work, the shapes certainly interact elegantly. Some sculptures are very minimal, but no less engaging.
Perry was born in Liberia and moved to the United States at age 10. He first learned welding at his job as a steel fabricator. He began working with a mentor, sculptor Jung Park, collaborating on works before becoming a full time artist on his own. Perry cites his faith as an important inspiration for his work. He is joining us from Philadelphia for his second year at the Armonk Outdoor Art Show.
Samuel Whitehead is a painter with an eye to the past. His oil paintings are done in a realistic style, whereas the subject matters are realistic with a twist. For instance, "After the Tea Party" is a still life of items on a countryside window sill, including an open book, a tea cup and saucer, and a small statue of the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland. Is the owner of these items just a huge Lewis Carroll fan, pausing in the middle of their read? Or is it Alice herself, surrounded by remembrances of her time in a strange land? Having both options open is a delight.
While Whitehead paints well on many subjects, his main theme for 2015 has been baseball, that great American past time. With this theme, he is still focusing largely on the past. There's Babe Ruth gripping his bat and staring out at you, Carl Hubbell just after releasing a pitch, Ted Williams about to throw a ball. In addition to greats of the game, there are still lifes, such as "Trompe L'oeil #1" which shows a kid's collection of baseball paraphernalia. For these works, Whitehead says he was inspired by the look of vintage baseball cards. He isn't aiming to just copy cards, but to create a new image. The players are frozen in time, but not so that they looked paused, but as if their movements are continuing on forever, a nice tone in line with the cyclical nature of baseball. The runner will always be sliding into home plate, and Williams will always be throwing balls back to the infield.
Whitehead worked for many years as a freelance illustrator for magazines, newspapers, and various other clients. At the same time, he painted in his free time for pleasure. He only started showing his works publicly in 2011.
September 27, 2015 The 54th Armonk Outdoor Art Show exemplifies the truth of the statement “One Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words”.
It took hundreds of hours to create thousands of pieces of original artwork by the one hundred and eighty-five artists who received a warm reception from thousands who traveled from few to many miles to attend the art show over the beautiful two-day weekend.
Michael McKee's pastel paintings have a sense of grandeur to them. They feel as if they've burst off their canvases. McKee does this by having a space of tightly collected strokes of different color, and then shoots off from there with large swaths of color. McKee's paintings have movement and energy. He uses color in delightful ways, as well: blue, orange, and yellow in the vibrant "Rush", or gray, purple, and mint in the more subdued "Qualm."
McKee will be showing his abstract work at the Armonk Outdoor Art Show, but he also paints landscapes and cityscapes. This shows in his abstract works, as many of them could be abstract representations of a landscape. And sometimes a work's title showed the origin of the work, such as with "Coastal" where smudged boxes of green are surrounded by dark and light blues. McKee calls his work "abstract impressionist landscapes." It is also of note that McKee lives in Arizona--the Southwest being known for their dramatic landscapes.
McKee grew up in Ohio, in a musical family. Early on he learned an appreciation for art's place in life. His role as an artist has evolved over time: portrait artist, illustrator, graphic designer, art director, creative director. After many years in the commercial art world he wanted to spend time on more personal expressions. The deserts of the Southwest not only inspired him subject-wise, but medium-wise also. McKee tells of admiring a sunset on a trip to New Mexico with his wife, and being moved to touch the powder of the red earth, which struck him as feeling exactly like pastels. This led him to start experimenting with soft pastels, which he says have allowed him to use colors in exciting ways.
Richard Stalter divides his paintings into several categories: landscapes, cityscapes, seascapes, still lifes, and figures. He works in a muted color palette when creating his Americana impressionism. People don't show up as subjects as often as buildings, nature, or boats, but the presence of humans is felt--and not just through the things they've built. Stalter's paintings look like the scene you would capture from a peaceful day when you felt you just wanted to remember what you were looking at for forever, so that the sense of looking is important here, both in a painting of a group of boys on a beach and in a landscape of a brook in wintertime. As a viewer, you feel like that brook is a walk's distance behind your house, or that you're the parent of one of the boys.
As his work is so tied to nature (even in the cityscapes), Stalter presents each season skillfully. He subtly portrays moods, and they are never the cliche of a season. "Church on the Green" shows a white church in the background of several bare trees. That late autumn/early winter time of the year in the northeast is often symbolically tied with endings or things fading away because of the leaves dying off the trees. However, "Church on the Green" pulses with excitement and potentiality. Something about this painting suggests that the church is full of people--families making up their community--and it might be that the quietness outside just shows that people will spend more time inside with their loved ones at this time of year.
Stalter was born and grew up in Ohio, where he first came to love art. He worked briefly in advertising after graduating college before meeting impressionist Bernard Lennon in the late 1950s. Shortly after meeting him, Stalter moved to Connecticut in order to study with Lennon, and he has stayed in Connecticut ever since. Stalter paints his subjects from life, and he seeks out scenes in his surrounding area in Litchfield Hills, Mystic, Stonington, Provincetown, and Cape Cod.
Christine Schub Oils "Brooklyn Shipyards circa 1953"
Christine Schub's oil paintings are deceptively abstract. Her colorful geometric canvases are actually city and landscapes. This rendering works well, a compelling take on the patterns of our daily lives. Schub considers how you can look at a city from any angle, and will be greeted by repeated images. Schub creates a jaunty mood, by using many different shapes, including slightly different sizing for the same details. Her color palette is largely mustard, white, and gray, with red, black, and blues making appearances. Sometimes she portrays a specific city, such as New York City, but also shows universal city scenes. She'll even portray specific filters of a city, such as in "Charlie Chaplin's New York", which are as much about capturing the idea of a place as its actuality.
Schub works out of two studios, one in Amelia Island, Florida, right by the Atlantic Ocean, and the other in the Blue Ridge Mountains in northeastern Tennessee, so she certainly has an appreciation for the rural way of life as well as the urban. These quieter lives show up in her art, such as in "Prarie Station", where a ribbon of buildings curls into the snow-blanketed background, and quickly disappears.
Schub is a self-taught artist who has been working professionally for thirty-five years. Many of her earliest memories include making art from her mother's button collection or drawing on the cardboard inserts from her father's shirts. For her current paintings, she says she starts without any concrete plan for a scene but follows splashes of color or distant memories. She also has a Master's Degree in Clinical Psychology from the University of Florida.