August 4, 2011 —
By ROCKY PINCIOTTI
I believe that inquisitiveness, creativity and the need to communicate are basic human qualities. They are qualities that separate us from all other forms of life on earth. These are also qualities that truly define the role of an artist in the development of mankind. If you look at history, art is the pivotal marker that defines the centuries of mankind.
From man’s early beginnings, we have made marks, built structures, arranged objects, told stories and reflected on the marvel of nature and the world around us. This is what artists do. In Walter Herzog’s new movie titled “Cave of Forgotten Dreams,” he explores early man’s creative spark dating back to 31,000 years ago in the Chauvet caves of southern France. Creativity is in our very DNA.
Today the tools may have changed, but this longing to create is the same.
What is this need that drives us to build, describe, picture, explore, illustrate, arrange and re-arrange this physical world around us?
Whatever the reason, this deep-seated desire and drive to create is what builds our cities, designs our products and tells our stories, recording and sharing the beauty, peculiarity and mystery of both the real and imagined world around us.
In the Upper Delaware River region we are fortunate to have a large population of visual artists among us.
They have come here for the beauty of the landscape, the quiet rolling hills and the clean water and air, where they can concentrate on their own unique creative processes.
We have photographers who capture the perfect mist on a cow pasture or find beauty and personality in a crumpled pie tin. There are sculptors who turn clay, felt or twigs into objects of desire, balance and usefulness. There are painters, illustrators and conceptual artists that create images and ideas that make us take a second (and third) look at the world around us.
The assorted area galleries and art centers exhibit only a small amount of visual art that is produced in Sullivan and nearby Wayne counties. These exhibition spaces are, in a way, temples of creativity that give us a tiny glimpse into the wide variety of artists that we have living among us.
Over the years, it has been my job as gallery director at the Delaware Valley Arts Alliance (DVAA) to curate, cajole, support and exhibit many of the artists in our region. Solo exhibitions are a way to focus on one artist’s creative process and individual vision. Group exhibitions, member shows, small works shows and events like RiverFest are also a way to explore many creative endeavors at once.
Being an artist is a complicated pursuit. It is an essential part of our society while at the same time a profession that quite often looks outside it. The world needs artists because they show us not only what is around us in exacting or new light, but also things, places and objects that are yet to be imagined.
I envision a community that supports these artists by exhibiting their work, buying their wares, and engaging in a dialogue of their artistic journey, making the Upper Delaware a unique, creative and forward-thinking place to live.
[Rocky Pinciotti is gallery director at the Delaware Valley Arts Alliance in Narrowsburg, NY. He also curated the recent Art on the Edge show at the Hawley Silk Mill for the Wayne County Arts Alliance.]