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A rose by any other name


February 3, 2011

I’m pretty sure that it’s not just the dry weather that has me scratching my head. As I dug out the truck and headed off to the Alliance Gallery ( ArtsAllianceSite.org ) in Narrowsburg, NY, I was struck by how quickly another year has elapsed. Once again, love is in the air—but not for me. “Be Mine Also,” a group show celebrating love, kicked off a three-week exhibit, curated by Mary Greene and Rocky Pinciotti, with poetry, “found art” and enough romance to easily last me another 12 months.

It’s not that I don’t appreciate the sentiment, but after being bowled over by the show last year, I was hoping for something that would pick up where that left off. Instead, though the place was packed and the crowd enthusiastic, I still found myself a little bit, well... let down. Maybe I’m jaded, possibly bitter but (IMHO) the whole affair was a bit of a retread and my search for romantic enlightenment continues. Oh, Romeo...

Wherefore art thou?

Having missed the reception last week at the CAS Arts Center ( catskillartsociety.org ) in Livingston Manor, NY, I did a quick drive-by to check out the new show “Figure/Ground,” featuring the work of artists Richard Brachman, GG Stankiewicz and Richard J Kreznar. Kreznar’s artist statement informs the viewer that “If someone is going to spend time studying my paintings, it’s my obligation to give them something challenging to see. In the end, the work has to justify itself. If it succeeds, it is because I reacted to the painting and led it along to where it wanted to go.”

Granted, I did not spend a lot of time “studying” the various works, but left the beautiful gallery still unchallenged, still scratching, still searching, still seeking a way for the work to justify itself.

Can you say Dada?

Yes, I can, but even (way back) in college, when studying Dadaism, I didn’t want to—and frankly, still don’t.

Also in Livingston Manor, Claire Colemans’ latest group show, “Dada,” at her Main Street emporium, the Plunk Shop ( facebook.com/pages/The-Plunk-Shop ) is, if nothing else, challenging. Discussing the “movement” (which began in Zurich, Switzerland during World War One and peaked between 1916 and 1922) with Coleman turned out to be stimulating and provocative and I was a bit relieved to have the show elicit a response from within.