This year MERGE has been extremely proud to showcase and focus on brilliant woman artists, neighbors in our very own midst.
Each artist, S. Lillian Horst aka Susan Ross, Millicent Young, and Kathleen Shaver, live and work in Upstate New York, only a stone's throw away, right here in Stone Ridge.
ALTER ALTAR | 20 Years
Sculpture and Site Responsive Installation
accompanied by Gerald Ross
Exhibition Walk-through & Conversation with Millicent Young and acclaimed art director Gerald Ross who headed two decades at the Maryland Institute College of Art, through the Upper & Lower barn spaces, in an open dialogue about the site responsive pieces.
Millicent Young are evocative on all levels from their conception, to how they are made and how they are experienced. Emotional, provocative, visceral, her pieces are spatial, to be only truly understood by interacting with them through their invitation to question and reflect. Her expansive talent of weaving, stitching and threading to nailing, casting and joining her pieces into art forms is a delight for wonder; to react, and ponder our human experience and our engagement with the world and our environment. Millicent's talent to fold memory and history into materiality is transformative. In all of her sculptures, one senses the human hand that forms, touches and engages.
A compendium of her work over 20 years exploring Alter Altars responded to the array of our agrarian spaces, coaxing a dialogue with her pieces and the historical barn structures, that in contrast to the paradigm of a neutral white box space, and perhaps bridging the time and space the buildings themselves have known.
My works ask of the viewer a slowness of seeing and offer in return, visual poems about vulnerability, brutality, fragility, resilience, and the confounding, irreconcilable endurance of awe and beauty amidst the unfolding catastrophes of the Sixth Extinction. They ask the viewer to become witness: to become still, permeable: to be with what we wish to turn from. In this regard my artwork is a liminal space between what has been and what could be. They are forms in search of a new mythology in the time of apocalypse. Each is an altar: a site for listening: a space for the possibility of transmissions, however incomplete, to occur.
I make my forms by hand with simple tools and invented processes. Some of my methods are informed by vernacular ways of crafting that I have learned through observation and apprenticeship. All labor is a powerful ritual, a physical engagement with the unknown and as such is a contemplative practice. The record of this labor becomes content.
My materials are in equal measure substance and symbol, ecological and cultural. Many are gathered, salvaged or repurposed. All are ordinary and mostly of my specific place. Their intrinsic qualities and the memory they posses are central to the content.
My artworks respond to specific events: wildfires and burning oceans; the wars in Syria and Ukraine; billions of dead birds; indigenous language extinction; refugees; South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission; the Bosnian rape camps. As outcomes of our disastrous paradigms and long in the making, they are also and equally matters of soul. My work is concerned with unbuckling the boundaries that, falsely defined as immutable, separate us from imagination and the possibility of healing.
What divides us – within our own being and kind; other beings from our own; our own existence from the telluric - the paradigms that foster this splitting, the violent outcomes, and the possibilities of different ones has been the focus of my work for the past 28 years. Natural processes of transformation, practices and principles of conflict healing, spiritual ecology, and the notion that the source of change is from within undergird my practice. To be changed is to create change.
Midsummer Art Evenings
Three Women Artists from Stone Ridge
Paintings and Sculpture Exhibition
Midsummer Art Evenings, an exhibition format for paintings and sculpture which highlights that cherishes the seasonality of the late summer afternoon through the early golden hours of sunset, a framework for the gallery visitor to experience the art in an intimate relationship with the landscape and barns.
unveiled & untapped paintings from S. Lillian Horst aka Susan L. Ross
oil paintings from Kathleen Shaver
sneak preview of Millicent Young's upcoming fall exhibition
S. Lillian Horst aka Susan L. Ross large scale oil and acrylic paintings, an all new ensemble to follow her Spring Exhibition. Her sage works are a torrent of color that will astound, thrill, and engage you.
Kathleen Shaver’s abstract large scale oil paintings on canvas and smaller paintings on evolon. Her paintings, a symphony deft brushwork and color evoke the primal experience of sensory perception.
Millicent Young’s work, installed in the Upper Barn offered a preview of the Fall Exhibition. Her evocative sculptures have a timeless quality and quietude that challenges; the hand is present to thread, stitch, join, forge, hammer, weave, and enrapture you in its mythology.
BEHIND THE SCENES
S. Lillian Horst aka Susan L. Ross
MERGE was thrilled at the reception of the retrospective of the work of a multi-talented tour-de-force, (Susan) Lillian is not only an accomplished painter but whose illustrious career at George Lucas Digital Films, ILM - Industrial Light and Magic as a lead viewpainter, supervisor, texture mapper, and modelmaker has created images sealed in our imaginations.
Paired perfectly in the barn setting , her exuberant and powerful large scale paintings enthralled the gallery visitors. We are thrilled to showcase further unseen works during Midsummmer Art Evenings;
The retrospective covered her career as an artist, the early years and the later years hyphenated and influenced by her prodigious and creative years at ILM.
The early years
Lillian, was an early experimenter of Acrylic Rhoplex and worked often in large format 6' x 6'.
My interest lies in the interior world, how we process thought, the decisions we make. Knowing that we take in all we see, hear, and feel, initially with no censorship, and out of this information we develop a story which may or may not make sense, based often on little or no preceding information or from beliefs or feelings we already have, provides the starting point of my inquiry.
George Lucas Film- the ILM Years
Lillian's career at ILM, then known as Susan Ross, began in the model room and she was promoted to lead viewpainter of digital textures in the paint department at a nascent time of digital animation, of which Lucasfilms was at the forefront and the pioneer of the technology.
Lillian created the painting texture maps that brought to life the digital Chewbacca of Star Wars fame and the dinosaurs from Lost World and worked in the visual effect department creating fantastical worlds for Star Wars and many others.
The Later Years
For twenty years I worked in the special effects industry, first building models using real materials and for the last twelve of those years I painted creatures for the movies using the computer. By zooming in for greater realistic detail, I found at some point the pixel paint became completely abstract but within the abstraction, recognizable images emerged.
In my own work, I find scribbling with brush and paint while continually turning the canvas, encourages the same unconscious behavior, and out of this, the images appear that with a few strokes become visible to a wider audience. When this happens, the seeming disparate elements that form are already speaking clearly to an issue before I have become cognizant of it. This is the moment that fascinates me, the discovery that my unconscious state has already organized the information in a particular way that makes sense.
A completed painting confronts and explores issues that I am concerned with. The characters are not so much referential to humans as to a working thought process that allows me to explore questions concerning family relationships, and our relationship to the culture and world within which we live. The issues focus on the state of things, how we communicate, live, and love. My paintings are the visceral connection I have with the questions and exploration of what it means to be human.
The viewer, when confronted with my work, brings their own unique experiences and history which informs the way in which they perceive and understand my painting. I am not interested in them having my experience but rather that together we inform each other in another way of seeing. I hope that my painting brings questions, dialog, elicits an emotional response that makes one think.
John McDevitt King
MERGE presented the exquisite work of John McDevitt King in a solo exhibition. The show, encompassing his encaustic paintings and works on paper allowed the gallery visitor a window into the unique gaze of the artist who has a led a parallel life as an expert in precious gems for over many decades. His enigmatic and exquisite pieces evolve from the eminence of light to bright crescendos to the near absence of light and evoke an otherworldliness and intensity of a wise and discerning eye.
John McDevitt King lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. He received his BFA from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, his MFA from Hunter College, City University of New York and holds a Graduate Gemologist diploma from the Gemological Institute of America. Mr. King exhibits regularly in the United States and abroad and his work can be found in numerous public and private collections, notably the Brooklyn Museum, Yale University Art Gallery, Harvard University Art Museums, Zimmerli Art Museum and the Weatherspoon Art Gallery. He is the recipient of a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship Grant, and a Vermont Studio Center Artist Residency. In his gemological work he has written and lectured extensively on colored diamonds and laboratory practice and has graded some of the world’s most famous diamonds, including the 45-carat blue Hope diamond at the Smithsonian Institution, the 128-carat yellow Tiffany and the 273-carat Internally Flawless and Colorless Centenary Diamond.
In Your Moment, 2021 Colored pencil on paper
Quality of Light. Light reveals itself through a myriad of gradations and glimmers from shadowed hints to shining in bold clarity, counterpoints that form the foundation of King’s work. Through many layers of translucent encaustic wax, depths of color and scintillation are created that alters appearance with physical movement, its relay back and forth, near and far, never still and different from every vantage point. King’s drawings in graphite, black lead or colored pencil, carry this same quality by employing the roughness of the paper with the chosen drawing medium. This sharp, edgy, vivid, honed quality of light has been long present in King’s art, as meditation on light as transmitted through diamonds.
Prelude: FEAR NOT
FEAR NOT - The Stone Gallery
Works from 1984 - 2021
In the spring oof 2022, Merge presented an exhibition of selected artworks by Stephen Zaima curated by Reinhold Spiegler and Lisette Wong.
Merge was very pleased to present a local artist, from Stone Ridge. Stephen Zaima has lived in the Hudson Valley for the past three decades and we are fortunate to have him as part of our cultural landscape. We enjoyed the opportunity to enrich the community through presenting his artworks at Merge in a forum where people learned about his work and engaged in discussion with him, people of all ages!
Zaima was born and raised in California and received his BA from California State University at San Jose and his MFA from the University of California at Davis. He also studied at the School of Visual Arts and Pratt. Zaima’s work has been exhibited in numerous shows in the US and abroad. He has been an educator at several art schools across the United States and since 1980 at Syracuse University where he was head of painting and also served as associate dean for global programs and initiatives.
As a graduate student in art at UC Davis from 1969 to 1971, Zaima was taught by an eclectic faculty of influential working artists such as William T. Wiley, Robert Arneson, Roy De Forest, Manuel Neri, and Wayne Thiebaud, along with semester composer-in-residence John Cage. Significantly, there were no set disciplines, allowing students to explore different art forms and methods, and instilling in Zaima a flexibility that allowed him to avoid being wedded to any particular style, method or approach to making art. As Zaima has recalled, it was a heady time that he likes to think of as a “Black Mountain College moment”, best exemplified by one of his favorite quotes, from Francis Picabia: “Our heads are round so our thoughts can change direction.”
Through these grounding influences in art, Zaima has never been confined to a box, either in his medium or his ideas. He works in a wide a variety of mediums from oil on linen, paper, wood, and jute to encaustic painting, mixed media, collages, installation works on scrim, photo composites on translucent fabric, and dye-sublimation photos on aluminum.
Center Street Studio
35 Years of Printmaking 2021
Prints, Paintings, and Sculpture 2022
Merge hosted the renowned Center Street Studio, in Fall 2021, New England's premier printer and publisher of contemporary prints. 35 years of printmaking were presented in the Stone gallery and Pass-through.
Thrilled for the return of Center Street Studio this past summer of 2022, a fascinating show which delved into the group of Center Street Artists' relationship of each artist's printmaking pieces to their primary mediums was met with great enthusiasm.
Featured CSS Artists:
MARK COOPER - BILL THOMPSON - CARRIE MOYER - CHARLIE RITCHIE -ELTONO - EVA LUNDSAGER -
EVA MUELLER - GEORGE WHITMAN - JAMES STROUD -JANINE WONG -JEFF PERROTT - JOHN WALKER -
JOHN WILSON - LAUREL SPARKS - LESTER JOHNSON - MARKUS LINNENBRINK - MARK COOPER -
MATTHEW CARTER - NELL BLAINE - PARKEHARRISON - RAUL GONZALEZ III - RACHEL PERRY (WELTY) - '
RICHARD RYAN - ROBERT TIBBETTS - TEO GONZALES - WILLIAM STEIGER
A brief ode
For Font Aficionados, a selection from Center Street Studio
on Matthew Carter's work produced in collaboration with Center Street Studio
a-z (2017) Mathew Carter
Andy Freeberg Photographs
Guardians | Art Fare
Curated by Reinhold Spiegler & Lisette Wong with Andy Freeberg
Feast at Stone Ridge
convergence is a site specific collaborative concept developed by Marina Sartori of which the Feast at Stone Ridge was the third happening in a series.
Curated by Marina Sartori with co-curators Lisette Wong and Reinhold Spiegler, the happening is an immersive participatory performance dinner created by a collaboration of artists. The dinner and the guests are integral to the performance and the art. The point of departure is the specificity of the space and its sense of place; the compound of barns and its agrarian setting. Themes explored are inspired by the traditional harvest and the seasonal cycle of four seasons through food and gathering, hand-crafted ceramics, art, video, poetry readings, and sound design.
Serlachius Museum in Finland acquired 12 of Andy Freeberg's pieces of work following his solo exhibition this past March.
Joenniementie 47, 35800 Mänttä, Finland
MERGE is an alternative art space and gallery in the Hudson Valley that supports artists by providing a platform to encourage discussion, collaboration and community in a rural landscape of restored historical farm outbuildings.
BARNS AS STAGES FOR SHELTERS OF ART & GATHERING