Newburgh, NY had its 2nd Annual Open Studios this past weekend. The event was sponsored by Newburgh Art Supply, a great little store that is expanding. Gerardo Castro, a co-owner of the art store also exhibited his mixed media paintings of colorful religious Afro-Cuban imagery. I should note also that his partner is an antiques collector and the picture below is just one of their many incredible rooms in their house. Also, aside from the three artists that I chose to highlight from the event (FYI I only visited a fraction of the participating artists), Kevin Kearns, Stefana McClure, and Jill Baroff, I should also mention Rosalinda McGovern who created the Elvis spaceship/coffin sculpture (see video).
|Gerardo's living room|
Newburgh has a reputation as being rough around the edges. But make no mistake that this is a Hudson Valley city with a bright future. Newburgh Art Supply is one of many local businesses that have found value in preserving the historical value of the city while offering services to the growing arts community. According to the City of Newburgh website... "Along with a few colonial specimens, the buildings of Newburgh provide a virtual encyclopedia of 19th-century eclectic styles: Federal, Greek Revival, Italianate, Carpenter Gothic, Queen Anne, High Victorian, Second Empire, Romanesque Revival, Gothic Revival, Picturesque, and Shingle Style are all represented!" The cost of buying one of these historic homes is probably cheaper than anywhere else in the Hudson Valley. More over the view of the Hudson River with Beacon Mountain and the Highlands in the distance is another quality that makes Newburgh so enticing. I also hear that the city has excellent Mexican food because of the large population inhabiting this river town.
|View of the Hudson from Front Street Newburgh, NY|
|Regal Bag Factory with artist studios on the waterfront|
Kevin makes his landscape paintings by use of imagination. He prefers abstraction to realism. Although only a few paintings were shellacked over their surface, most of his work in his studio was not shellacked. I prefer his work without a glossy finish. I also appreciate the large size of most of Kevin's paintings because they enhance the grandeur of the subject matter.
Stefana calls her work conceptual and language based. I love the minimal character of her art and it's tactile materiality. Even the "early color blind tests" with holes punched through their surface (second image down) turns this otherwise 2-dimensional work into a sculpture. Similarly, the way Stefana presents this work lying flat on the surface of a table adds to it's 3-D material quality.
I cannot get enough of her works on paper. I forgot the exact name of material that she uses (it's some kind of Japanese collage paper), but the simple way she "draws" with it instantly transports my mind into a contemplative state... especially the way she uses the square boarder as a variable to play with and create some tension or pressure in the composition.