CALENDAR OF EVENTS
4pm • 24th Annual CHAIRity Art Auction
2pm • Community College, Information Technology Building, Room #225 (MVCC Cultural Series)
5pm • Works in Progress Reception
Holiday Show and Sale
7pm • 14th Annual Mardi Gras Party
HIGHLIGHTS Joe Silberlicht, Incoming President
POSTSCRIPT Victoria Mele Zacek, Outgoing President
ARTIST IN RESIDENCE Casey Curran & Roberto Loring
EYE ON THE STUDIO Summer Interns Erika Craven & Megan Wickens
ALUMNI Patrick Cuffe & Aimee Tarasek
DONOR Steven R. Kowalsky – Empire Recycling Corp.
PERSPECTIVE ON PUBLIC ART The Season of Sculpture
For the last six years, I have had the privilege of serving on the board of Sculpture Space. During that time, we have welcomed over 100 creative, talented, and thoughtful artists to Utica. Our community has been enriched by their presence and enthralled by their work. Now That I have been elected President, I am excited to undertake the new responsibilities and face the challenges that accompany this honor.
Sculpture Space has advanced substantially during the relatively few years I have served on the board, and I expect continued progress under the guidance of our new executive director, Monika Burczyk. While our primary focus remains on attracting and supporting outstanding sculptors from across the country and around the world, we will also develop initiatives to make certain that the presence of these artists provides tangible and visible benefits to our community. Projects involving temporary or permanent installations of public art can enhance our streetscapes and our neighborhoods. We will be involved in developing creative solutions to mitigating the visual blight that accompanies the reconstruction of the Arterial. We will further our efforts to provide opportunities for local artists, students, and the community to interact with our artists in residence and their work.
Neither I, nor Monika, nor our board can Accomplish these goals without your help and your involvement. Please join me in helping Sculpture Space secure its position as one of the premier residency opportunities for sculptors in the country. Come to our Works-In-Progress receptions to see what our visiting artists are creating. Attend CHAIRity on September 28th and start or expand your own collection of contemporary art with a purchase from our auction. Take advantage of an invitation to one of our “Meet the Artists” potluck dinners for a personal introduction to our creative and engaging guests. Volunteer to help out at one of our events or special projects. Consider serving on the board. Our artists work hard when in residence. It is up to all of us to make sure that they have the tools, the space, and the experience that enable them to bring their inspiration and efforts to fruition.
I look forward to greeting you at Sculpture Space sometime soon, and thank you for your interest and your support of the arts in our community.
Of all of the events and happenings with which I have been involved during my three years as President of the Board, the Advocates for the Arts Tributes we have hosted for the past two years stand out as truly memorable. In June 2012, we honored John von Bergen, co-founder of Sculpture Space, long-time board member, artist and community presence extraordinaire. The many toasts and speeches on that wonderful night made it clear what a special individual John is.
This June, John and Mary Gaylord Loy were our honored guests at the Fort Schuyler Club. This second tribute was just as marvelous as the first: good food punctuated not only with accolades but also some hi-jinks provided by the Loy’s daughters Alison and Jessica, who presented a notsoon-to-be forgotten slide show of a childhood shaped by their creative, dynamic and visionary parents. The impressive accomplishments of both John and Mary continue to inspire us as their belief in the value of art and artists remains central to their life and work.
We plan to continue this tradition, hosting an annual “enchanted evening.” If by any chance you were not the winner of one of the Tribute raffles, John, John and Mary will be donating pieces to CHAIRity as they have done for years. Don’t miss this opportunity to participate in the bidding and possibly take home a remarkable piece of art made by a remarkable artist – I know I won’t!
in conversation with Monika Burczyk, Executive Director, Sculpture Space
Monika: Can you tell me a bit about your inspiration and motivation for “Thistle” — the piece you graciously donated for this year’s CHAIRity Art Auction?
Casey: It was an experiment in motion for a later project: this particular piece is a little study of how to animate a flower blooming.
M: Your sculptures occupy an interesting juncture between the machine and the organic, can you talk about this?
C: Well, if you think of nature as a system, with innate and inherent rules, it’s not so different than the physics that rule the mechanical world. For instance, a lever can move far more weight than a stick, because it uses a fulcrum, right? Well, plants make a molecule called ATP in their mitochondria that works like a lever, helping them store energy while at the same time they are creating fuel from light and water. For me, these two systems are not so different. My goal is always to create the most organic forms but through mechanical means.
M: The movement in your work animates them with what seems like an almost magical or fantastic element, both surprising and astonishing; your hinges and gears move so smoothly at first I see the motion and forms as natural but then realize its all artificial – like watching elapsed time videos of plants growing – can you talk about this experience as the maker rather the viewer?
C: There is a surreal time element embodied in the work, especially the larger pieces: an experience that occurs between the viewer and the piece that creates an imaginative space where you can watch flowers bloom or wings flap that you would need stop-motion for in nature. If I really wanted to, I could do gear reduction that would make the flower bloom much more slowly over an entire day and you would have to turn the crank the whole time too to make it work. But I don’t really want to do that, I like the drama and perception of time compressed.
M: I love all of your hand-crafted parts — where, when and how did your devotion to cranks begin?
C: Alexander Calder’s “Fishbowl” — my high school art teacher showed us this simple wire piece of a fish circling a bowl and I could really see exactly how Calder made it move. I got so excited because I had been using wire to make things for a while already by then but hadn’t even thought about making things move. I thought: “Oh my god, there is so much more I can do!”
in conversation with Monika Burczyk, Executive Director,
Monika: I am intrigued by “Delftware” — the piece you graciously donated for this year’s CHAIRity. Both the process and the finished piece are so beautiful and also so strange: first you made a mold of a tortoise shell, then you cast it in porcelain, and then fired on a blue glaze and traditional motifs. I know that Delftware is the name of blue and white pottery first made in the Netherlands around the 16th century, and that tortoise shell, despite being banned in the 1970s remains a high-priced material for luxury goods. What was your inspiration?
Rob: I am fascinated with objects people collect and even more so with collectables in display cases, whether Hotwheels cars or my grandmother’s fine china. I am also interested in the ideas and issues that surround commoditization: what gets valued, for how much and who determines its value.
M: In addition to this embedded social critique, you also combine — in exceptionally novel ways — influences from both high and low art. Can you talk about the intersection of the museum and the Dollar Store in your sculptures and installations?
R: The ever-present daily reality of socioeconomics is a recurrent theme. I am interested in how our consumer-driven society manipulates and uses value systems. Capitalism creates a hierarchy of desire, prestige and worth that defines our money-conscious culture. The emphasis on objects, pleasure and self-satisfaction seems to me to be an essential element of our times. I use recycled materials — basically other people's trash — to add a paradoxical element.
M: You also teach art at a public school: how do your students influence you?
R: Working as a teacher forces me to consider aspects of the human condition and the conflicts we face daily. As artists we should talk about our experiences; as a teacher I feel an urgency about current controversies in schools: whether it’s testing, discipline, shootings or armed teachers. For my students and I, art functions as a means for thinking about and posing questions while also providing answers that may further complicate or deepen the dialogue.
The term ‘diversity’ often conveys a sense of rich promise and variety. At Sculpture Space, we have witnessed multiple examples of ‘diversity’ in terms of imagination and concepts, tasks and skills: the workload here is big and the vision is even bigger — after all, Sculpture Space defines itself as a ‘laboratory’ for creativity.
As a cultural hub, Sculpture Space invites artists with diverse backgrounds and experiences to enter its creative sphere. We have learned that creativity is not one-dimensional, it doesn’t occur in a single place or at a precise moment. The artists in residence are the stars that Sculpture Space orbits around, they provide the fuel that keeps everything in motion. With programming that is designed to encourage interaction and a collective spirit, Sculpture Space’s artists get to know one another by living and working together, sometimes in close collaboration.
During our time at the studio, we watched Roberto Loring work alongside Utica-based artist Tony Thompson to create a house of windows, a dynamic and colorful neighborhood beacon that stood undisturbed on the front lawn for weeks.
The simple wooden frame supported glass panes of different sizes that in turn served as the canvas for Tony’s inspired narrative paintings. Thrillingly dark and graffiti-esque, we were able to watch the metamorphosis of this piece: its assembly, disassembly and reassembly, the outdoor installation adding an exceptional dimension to its presence. The way the light reflected on the windows throughout the day became a metaphor for the ways in which collaborative projects, and artwork in general, draw much of their meaning from their surroundings context and content is affected by placement as well as audience. The final phase of “Untitled (Glass House)” as well as the partnership between these artists, was marked by Tony’s rock-throwing performance, for him a catharsis and exorcism of past trauma and declaration of future hope. For us, the artworks that were created consequently from the wreckage became poignant testaments to the power of art and of communion with others.
We were introduced on our first day to Casey Curran, whose work falls at the other end of the spectrum. However, despite that Casey was working on an appreciably smaller scale than Rob and Tony, there was nothing ‘small’ about his ideas. When we met, he was sitting at a table molding and cutting brass sheets into intricate floral-like forms. In front of Him was a considerable amount of blondish-grey hair, neatly laid out on a long piece of paper. We were somewhat surprised initially to find out this was his father’s beard hair, however, as pheasant skins and human ribs began arriving in the mail, we soon became accustomed to the eclectic mix of materials that Casey incorporates in his work. Aside from serious art making, the shared studio invites other creative activity as well: a bench press made of stacked sheets of paper and various other innovative and homemade pieces of exercise equipment that materialized in July as friendly competition sparked. These sorts of happenings really do encompass the unique “I can’t put my finger on it” atmosphere that exists at Sculpture Space. Artists come in and out, work within themselves and grow with the inspiration of their surroundings. It is clear the process is valued as much as the product.
In addition to being a part of the artists’ daily life in the studio, we were busy doing all sorts of things: from painting the tool room to planting flowers, from researching images at the Oneida Historical Society to archiving artists materials from the files. After returning to class this Fall, we will miss the surprises And lessons from our summer as well as all of the people who work together to make Sculpture Space distinctive: artists, staff, community and Board members alike.
by Victoria Mele Zacek & Susan D. Kernan
It was quite a treat for us two 60-something ladies and veteran CHAIRity Committee members to visit Pat and Aimee’s studio and discuss making art. Both Pat and Aimee are long-time contributors to Sculpture Space’s annual art auction. Pat has been donating work since 2001 and Amy since 2003. We noted that every piece they have contributed is, without fail, of the highest craftsmanship and showcases how to integrate a variety of materials that become beautiful, elegant and imaginative (not to mention professional!) sculptures.
In studying the works in progress at their studio, we noticed that while wood is a shared element, they use it to dramatically different and sometimes surprising ends. As participants in the “Earth Day Collection” (sponsored by Empire Recycling), they have only missed one year of CHAIRity: in 2007, time was devoted instead to another wonderful collaboration: their son Lucas Patrick Cuffe, born on August 16th. They currently await the birth of their second child this fall.
Pat is no stranger to the greater Utica area. He received his Associate’s degree from Mohawk Valley Community College when the Art School of Munson Williams Proctor Art Institute was still aligned with the SUNY system. In 2004, he was awarded a fellowship at Sculpture Space and then continued to the College of Saint Rose in Albany to finish his Bachelor’s Degree. Meeting Aimee there, they both graduated (Pat in 2002, Aimee in 2004) with a concentration in Sculpture. In 2005, Aimee was also awarded a residency at Sculpture Space. They continued onto graduate school receiving Master of Fine Arts degrees (Aimee in 2007 from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University and Pat in 2007 from SUNY Albany).
Returning to Utica, they married shortly thereafter with the ceremony taking place at (where else?) the Sculpture Space studio. As Pat remarks, “Sculpture Space is one attraction that brought me back to the Mohawk Valley after I completed graduate school. There is such a great exchange between the artists and the community. I continue to volunteer my time and donate to CHAIRity because it is liberating to make something different from my day-to-day work, as well as being both challenging and fun.”
Of her work and process, Aimee reflects: “My work develops from the conscious and subconscious thoughts that exist from life’s experiences. Forms are drawn in space from intuition and conceptual acts of layering, laminating, and dissecting. Memory serves as a trigger and a grounding point from the time of conception. Wood, bronze and drywall are all materials I manipulate to transform bits of memory into three-dimensional realities. The viewer is able to walk away with his/her own interpretation of the experience.”
Inspired by the sculptures of H.C. Westerman and Francis Cape, Pat sees his process as arising out of a very different place, in distinct contrast to Aimee: “Reaching back into my personal history to ground myself; it is within this searching process that I find comfort in the real, the hand made. As society moves in the direction of virtual culture, I feel that people are losing contact with the tactile sense. People purchase things that cannot be passed down to the next generation. In a “here today, gone tomorrow” society, there seems to be a lack of history in the objects that are being produced. I intervene on behalf of the well made, making things that are impossibly perfect. Constructing with sheet rock allows me to build cheaply and rapidly, much like today’s industry. In contrast I use bronze, steel, and mahogany in a traditional manner to replicate the pioneering industry.”
Of Sculpture Space, Aimee reflects: “It is very inspiring to be among other artists that share your same love for materials, tools, good food, fun, and of course the local brew. Being a local of the Mohawk Valley makes it easy to continue to support Sculpture Space.”
We can’t wait to see what this dynamic duo brings to this year’s auction!
by Michelle McCarrick Truett
It’s an unlikely pair – a scrap metal yard and fine art – yet with the right vision, a strong, creative relationship has emerged and stayed strong throughout the years between Empire Recycling Corporation and Sculpture Space.
Steven R. Kowalsky is the president of Empire Recycling Corporation — one of the nation’s premier metal and paper recyclers, with 11 divisions across New York State. Empire is headquartered in North Utica on Genesee and Lee Streets, just over a mile from Sculpture Space, processing millions of pounds of material each week including: non-ferrous metals (copper, brass, aluminum, zinc and alloys), ferrous metals (iron, steel and stainless steel), scrap paper and confidential document destruction. They serve major manufacturers, municipalities, individuals, small and large businesses and other organizations. Additional customers include independent businesses, trades people and other recycling companies. Empire’s finished products then ship to mills and foundries throughout the United States and the world.
Empire has a long, unique relationship with Sculpture Space that began even before the inception of the organization. Steven’s cousin David Weitzman was close to Charlie Fisher of Utica Steam Engine and Boiler Works, Inc., who donated the building where Sculpture Space operates. Charlie, himself an artist, wanted to help the art scene in Utica and was joined by his friend David on the board of the new organization. David, who was working at Empire at the time, became the first board president of Sculpture Space.
Even before that, Empire had always been available to artists who needed material for their work. The scrap yard provides an endless array of possibilities where the artists feel very much like “kids in a candy store” as they sift excitedly through huge volumes of scrap materials, metal objects, and household and industrial items. Steven’s father, William Kowalsky, became friends with John von Bergen, one of those early artists. A large sculpture of a “reclining woman” made out of scrap metal is permanently on display at Empire and was the result of collaboration between the two in the early 1970s.
Ten years ago, Steven and Sydney Waller (the executive director at the time) worked together to create the first formal Earth Day Collection. Artists are invited to the Empire yard each year on Earth Day to select various materials to sculpt a piece that is then auctioned off at the CHAIRity Auction each fall. Dozens of pieces have been created through this partnership and thousands of dollars raised to support Sculpture Space’s efforts. Today, the relationship that was forged over 35 years ago continues.
Steven (a drummer and musician) and his wife Monica (a fine artist) are also personal supporters of the arts in our community and dedicate their time and efforts to various organizations. Steven serves on the boards of Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute, Jezreel International (a humanitarian aid organization) and the Rescue Mission; he is also president of the Safety Insurance Group of Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. (ISRI), on the Foundation board of Sitrin and formerly on the board of the Stanley Center for the Arts.
It is important to the Kowalsky’s to support the arts in our community, particularly by helping to bring art appreciation and education to the diverse community in which they live. They believe art should be accessible to all residents and an important part of enriching everyone’s lives. Steven is working to help the art community make that recognition. To that end, Steven enjoys the atmosphere of Sculpture Space – connecting with the people and patrons and being able to get into the mind of the artist. He shares, “When I play music — it’s in a way very similar to an artist creating a piece of work that’s expressive and personal. There are no boundaries, no limits to what can be explored and created.” Three adjectives that come to his mind to describe Sculpture Space are: exciting, revolutionary and progressive.
Of the many artists Steven and Monica have met over the years through Sculpture Space, John von Bergen, Jonathan Kirk and Daniel Buckingham stand out; they have sculpture from each of them in their personal collection.
THE SEASON OF SCULPTURE
Following the successful grant from the Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council and the New York State Council for the Arts (NYSCA) for its “Season of Sculpture” initiative, Sculpture Space opened the call for proposals for two commissions in Rome, New York at Griffiss International Sculpture Garden and at the Marcy SUNYIT Nanocenter in May. We were thrilled to receive over 100 online submissions from around the world, including some from alumni as well as local and regional artists. After much deliberation (submissions included many exceptional proposals), both finalists chosen specialize in large-scale public art.
Osman Akan’s proposal for the Marcy site (as yet untitled) will be constructed in steel and stand 16’ tall. Drawing inspiration from the crystalline structures of nanotechnology, it imaginatively incorporates colors from the surrounding landscape in surprising ways.
For more information on Osman’s work, go to: www.osmanakan.com
Howard Kalish’s proposal for the Griffiss International Sculpture Garden site “Persephone” is a definite crowd pleaser: monumental, iconic and colorful, it will light up the night sky with its 24’ aluminum towers. For more information on Howard’s work, go to: www.howardkalish.com
Sculpture Space, along with our partners at Mohawk Valley Edge, the Griffiss Park Landowners Corporation and NYSCAREDC are excited to host these artists in Spring 2014 as they complete and install their sculptures, and will present multiple opportunities for community participation and engagement through a variety of events and programs.
For ongoing updates, check out our Facebook page and website.
» In June, Juliana Cerqueira Leite had her first solo show in Sao Paulo, Brazil. This August, she will also be exhibiting new sculpture and drawings in a group show at the Not Vital Foundation in Engadin, Switzerland.
» In June, Rachel de Joode had a solo show at Diablo Rosso Gallery in Panama City, Panama and was also part of a collaborative exhibition in Mexico City. Beginning in July, de Joode will be an artist in residence at Governor’s Island in New York City.
» In July in Berlin, Anna Kubelik exhibited her finished piece, Well-Tempered Hygrograph, a kinetic sculpture made of 4000 parts that reacts to changes in humidity. Created out of wood and horsehair, Kubelik began work on this piece while in residence at Sculpture Space in March and April 2013.
» Artist and Sculpture Space board member J.D. King’s solo exhibition “Pretty Poison” will be at the Edith Langley Barrett Art Gallery of Utica College in Utica, NY through October 25th. Opening reception is Monday, September 9th from 5-7pm.
» Priscilla De Carvalho has been commissioned to paint a mural for the 40th anniversary of the Bronx Museum of the Arts. Her works have been selected to be part of the APT Global Collection (a non-profit organization providing emerging and mid-career artists with a long-term financial planning program). Asuka Goto was recently awarded a Travel and Study Grant from the Jerome Foundation to travel to Mongolia for four weeks.
» Kathy Bruce will be exhibiting at The Gallery at FOUND in Ithaca through July and August. Kathy received a Lower Manhattan Cultural Council grant to teach a bamboo workshop at the Manhattan Academy of Technology during the month of September and will also have an exhibition in Mandelieu, France in Winter 2014.
» Jessica Segall will be attending the Bemis Art Center and the Triangle Studio residencies next year. Work from her recent residency in Alaska will be shown in the group show “Material” at the Storefront Bushwick, opening September 7th through October 13th. (For more information, go to: http://storefrontbushwick.com.)
» Christine Heller’s exhibition Line/Body/Action/Time will open September 6th at Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia where she will also be in residence.
» Meghan Gordon will be featured in an exhibition in Merano, Italy in September through November and is currently in an exhibition at Davidson Contemporary in New York, through August 30th.
» Hayoon Jay Lee (FNA Jong Sun Lee) is currently in Korea working on a solo exhibition at the Okgwa Museum.
» Deborah Simon was accepted into the Marie Walsh Sharpe Space Program and will be exhibiting her work at the Packer Schopf Gallery in Chicago from November 1st through December 31st.
» Yeon Jin Kim will be an artist in residence at I-Park in East Haddam, Connecticut in October and will be a visiting artist at Columbus State University, Georgia in 2014. Her piece, Spaceship Grocery Store, was recently selected for the permanent collection of the International Collage Center. (See: http://www.yeonjinkim.com/index.php?/video/spaceshipgrocery-store).
Handtools (new or in good condition)
Large garbage bins
Conference table and chairs
Large dining room table and chairs
Folding chairs (good condition)
Grill and accessories