From ambitious large-scale solo shows to thoughtfully curated smaller exhibitions, this was a promising and exciting year for Ithacan artists. Below, in no particular order, are some of our favorites from 2010.
Eric Serritella, Ceramic Trompe L’oeil, Walking with Softer Steps, String Room Gallery, Aurora (September 1 – October 7, 2010)
Who couldn’t appreciate a teapot that fools you into believing it’s a log? Serritella’s masterful work consists of ceramic vessels that mimic weathered birch wood and bark. His one-of-a-kind sculptures have been exhibited in galleries and museums from coast to coast and in Asia, and they can also be found in permanent collections such as the Everson Museum of Art, known for its world-class ceramics, and the Kamm Teapot Foundation, which boasts the world’s largest private collection of teapots.
DDArt Enterprises, The Shack at Signalcamp (2010)
We would be remiss without offering a nod to MFA David Dixon’s yearlong program of art shows, happenings and video art screenings taking place in his private art studio while he was doing his MFA at Cornell. These included paintings exhibited by Leslie Brack, sculpture by Robert Andrade, and animation art by visiting artist Stefan Gruber. Fortunately, David and crew are still going strong with programming and events at Cathouse FUNeral (his studio in Brooklyn: www.moonlighterpresents.com), but now that he and John Criscitello have moved on to greener pastures, they have left behind a void, and we think someone needs to fill it by taking the lead on showing video art in Ithaca.
The Dot and the Line, Barbara Page, CAP Art Space (November 2010)
We loved Barbara Page’s exhibition of drawings and collages based on the construction of imaginary networks, locations, and situations. We especially admired the “Live Wires and Dead Ends” series, where she uses technical drafting tools on vellum to record a progression from order into chaos. Very cool.
(Read more here: “Flatlands,” Arthur Whitman’s review of “The Dot and The Line.”)
Erica Pollock, State of the Art Gallery (April 2010)
Although she recently relocated to San Francisco, where she’ll have endless opportunity to explore her preferred subject matter of urban street scenes, the local art scene will surely feel the loss of Erica Pollock, who leaves behind a veritable generation of artists who aspire to paint in her unique style of urban realism.
Post Decade, CSMA Gallery (March 5 to April 30, 2010)
Curated by CSMA Director Robin Tropper-Herbel, this show featured works by local artists working in a range of media, who responded to events, circumstances, and experiences of that first fateful decade of the 21st Century. We love it when local galleries arrange thematic and relevant shows, and we hope to see more of this on the horizon.
(Read more here: “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow,” Danielle Winterton’s review of “Post Decade.”)
The Art Behind the Scientist or The Secret Life of Scientists, Tompkins County Public Library (April 2010)
This intriguing series of exhibits at Tompkins County Public Library featured the work of local artists ordinarily known for their scientific work. Including sculpture by Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Francis Charles Moon, photographs by Assistant Professor of Physics Richard Robinson, and whimsical Calder-esque mobiles by physics researcher Werner Sun, these artists get a big round of applause by helping to bridge the divide between science and art.
10 Years of The Ink Shop (May 7, 2010 – June 22, 2010)
This year marked the first full decade for the Shop, a working studio for local print artists and host to one of the strongest exhibitions programs in town. Their current location – on the second floor of the Community School of Music and Arts building – is their third, following a fire that gutted their State St. space at the beginning of 2008. This was a generously sized show spilled downstairs into the CSMA’s lobby and featured print and book artists from around the world as well as many of the Shop’s current and former members.
(Read more here: “Time, Ink,” Arthur Whitman’s review of “10 Years of The Ink Shop.”)
Karen Brummund’s video installation at the Waterburg Plaza (Sept 18th, 2010)
The IT girl of the Ithaca art scene, Brummund has had one whirlwind of a year. After being named a 2010 NYFA Fellow in Architecture/Environmental Structures, Brummund exhibited in Atlanta, New York, at the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, the Burchfield Penny Art Center in Buffalo, and in Ireland, where she was an artist-in-residence at the Sirius Art Centre in Cobh. We are giddy with anticipation to see what tricks she has up her large-scale-conceptual-performative-installation art sleeve in 2011.
(Read more here: “Chapel Reimagined,” Danielle Winterton’s review of the installation at Waterburg Plaza.)
Michael Ashkin, Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art (April 3 – July 11, 2010)
We were thrilled that Ashkin’s first solo show at a museum took place here in Ithaca, where he exhibited sculpture, photography, video and poetry that explored marginalized and post-industrial landscapes as sites for utopian promise. Arguably Ithaca’s biggest art star, Ashkin’s work has been widely exhibited, including the 1997 Whitney Biennial, at Secession in Vienna, and the Weatherspoon Art Museum at the University of North Carolina, not to mention his prestigious fellowship from the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. We adore this artist’s work, and we love that he’s local.
(Read more here: “Invisible Cities,” Wylie Schwartz’s review of Ashkin’s exhibit.)
Landscape and Memory, Tompkins County Public Library (April 2, 2010 – May 28, 2010)
The library has established itself as a bastion of thoughtfully curated group shows; as indicated above, this can be something of a rarity when it comes to local artists. Curated by Tim Merrick, whose etchings and oils were included, “Landscape and Memory” featured a range of media and approaches and emphasized the unexpected over the cliché. Some standouts: Kent Loeffler’s panoramic digital photographs of local scenery, Craig Mains’ droll and visually inventive disaster monotypes, Suzanne Onodera’s lushly romantic oils, and Ralph Turturro’s roughly textured paintings.