Once upon a time, artists had to go to a major city if they had any hopes for discovery—and even then chances were slim. But those were the halcyon days of galleries, when art collectors, wealthy individuals, and everyday aesthetes would buy pieces straight off the walls and, if you did get picked up, you were golden.
Like everything, the art world has been disrupted by technology. On the one side, digital connectivity has made it easier for artists to work remotely and sell their work worldwide with an online portfolio. And on the other, recognition can be even harder when you are lost in a digital sea of millions.Luckily, the Hudson Valley has managed to nurture a thriving art scene—from Dia: Beacon which displays the work of Contemporary titans to the slew of Main Street galleries in every small town from Gardiner to Hudson showing the work of local artists.
Here are seven contemporary local artists to watch out for, shared by local gallerists, in their own words.
1. Melissa Schlobohm
Selected by Carla Goldberg, Beacon Artists Union (BAU)
2. Kyle Cottier
Selected by Karlyn Benson, Matteawan Gallery
Kyle Cottier is about 25 years old and is making great work. He's in the current exhibition "Time Travelers" at the Dorsky Museum, on display through November 11. I met him in January 2017 when he was involved with the Dia Staff show hosted by Matteawan Gallery. Cottier’s work exposes the patterns shared by the natural and human worlds and calls attention to the relationship of our bodies to our environment. His recent sculptures are composed of reclaimed wood cut into small sticks that are connected with rope in a labor-intensive, meditative process akin to weaving. *The high level of craftsmanship and multi-layered subject matter in his work are very advanced for a young artist. Kyle was born in Louisville, Kentucky, and received a BFA from the Art Academy of Cincinnati. He currently lives in Newburgh, NY.
3. Alexis Elton
Selected by Carl Van Brunt, Woodstock Artists Association & Museum (WAAM)
4. Cody RoundsSelected by Milkweed
Cody Rounds is a contemporary visual artist whose work explores perception and identity through video, projection and performance. By combining existential explorations with technological mediums, she produces work that accentuates the coexistence of parallel realities through the lens of conscious identity and subjective experience.
Cody Rounds has studied art in both the United States and France, and is currently based in the Hudson Valley. In 2017, she received a Pollock-Krasner Fellowship through the Under-Recognized Artists Award facilitated by Arts MidHudson, using the funds to research indigenous spiritual artforms in the Amazon Rainforest. Paralleling her artistic practice, Rounds co-founded and continues to direct and curate DUSKLIT: Interactive Art Bazaar with her partner Olivia Baldwin.
5. Elsa MoraSelected by H
annah Frieser, Center for Photography at Woodstock (CPW)Elsa Mora looks at a piece of plain paper and sees an intricate insect, a delicate piece of lace, a sea creature. While also a photographer, she expands the two-dimensional plane, scratches into the surface, embellishes with paper, thread or other objects to create playful narratives. The resulting images are emotional and tender, arresting and whimsical in their expression of creativity, joy and passion. Her repertoire of media now includes photography, paper, animation, porcelain, drawing, paintings and more. The magic happens as soon as she sets her heart on it. The results are nothing short of stunning.
6. Carl Grauer
Selected by Linden Scheff, Carrie Haddad Gallery
We would love to recommend Poughkeepsie-based artist Carl Grauer. A native of rural Kansas, Grauer is perhaps best known for his portraiture and paintings of the human figure. Recollections is a series of nostalgic figurative paintings that trace scenes from childhood and a general fading memory of the “American Dream”. But it was a recent painting of an altarpiece of Judy Garland as Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz that granted him two artist residencies in the summer of 2018. His goal is to develop a series of historical and surrealist paintings that honor and ‘sanctify’ the activists who helped the LGBTQ movement advance the level of equality and acceptance shared today. Look out for the complete series in Spring 2019.