One of the best things about being a curator is when an artist you don't know comes into your field of vision with work that has something special going on. In our region, we have more than our fair share of artists who fit that description. We also have the good fortune to have many talented curators here who can recognize an especially creative artist when they see the work of one.
We asked seven curators from our region to select an emerging artist who they considered worthy of more attention. I also chose an artist—bringing the total to eight. (Kirsten Dierup's work is featured on the cover.) Our working definition for "emerging artist" was: an artist who has already created a consistent body of work demonstrating originality and talent deserving of wider recognition and who has the potential and seriousness of purpose to continue developing their art over the long run.
The choices the curators made reflect the variety and diversity of the art being created in our region now. Artists selected include an especially promising high school student, a street photographer from Peekskill, and a practitioner of architectural interventions. Also included are a painter breathing new life into abstraction, an artist born in Malaysia, a transgender artist, a Surrealist, and an artist who creates visual narratives challenging conventional thinking.
I thank the curators for the time and talent that they brought to this project. They and the artists they selected are representative of the fact that our region is also emerging—as a distinctive and important art center.
—Carl Van Brunt
In her first one-person exhibition, "Far and Wee," inspired by the E.E. Cummings poem "In-Just Spring," 16-year-old Natalie Horberg presents a series of drawings, paintings, sculptures, and photography that are sophisticated and sensitive beyond her years. Think Yoshitomo Nara—but with a compassionate, rather than sinister, voice. Horberg's art reveals a deep and careful observation delivered in works that are joyous, quirky, tender, humorous, and full of pathos. Horberg sees the extraordinary in the ordinary. She hinges deeper meaning in small details and her simple lines convey emotional complexities. This young artist is one to keep watching.
Natalie Horberg's exhibition at the Woodstock Artists Association and Museum, "Far and Wee," which closed in November, is part of the WAAM's education program Future Visions series.
Janice La Motta is the executive director of the Woodstock Artists Association and Museum.
These words by artist and writer Marisa Malone capture the value I see in Padma Rajendran's art: "Narrative is key in Rajendran's work. The flatness of her imagery is reminiscent of hieroglyphics or cave paintings and it functions in a similar way—combining the decorative with the descriptive to tell a story. Depictions of fruit, domestic settings, and ritual are central focuses that supply a view into an interior world. Presenting us with daily ephemera, we begin to see (or imagine) their journeys and the symbolic contributions that punctuate our cultural make-up." This fall, Rajendran's work was exhibited as part of the "Young Hudson Biennial" at September gallery.
Erin Zona is the artistic director of Women's Studio Workshop in Rosendale.
In Caramagna's rigorous hard-edged geometric paintings, one can grasp a language that seeks to transcend the materiality of paint. Caramagna explains that the vision for each painting is channeled from a source of pure consciousness, and she works as an artist in the service of said consciousness to bring forth images—where viewers are able to bask in the vibratory field of the consciousness that informed the creation of the painting. She views her paintings as spiritual machines—made manifest to awaken humanity into a state of non-dual awareness. Caramagna's newest work will be presented in a two-person exhibition with Brian Belott at Mother Gallery from May 30 through June 28.
Paola Oxoa is the director of Mother Gallery in Beacon.
Photography continues to evolve, as nearly everyone now has a device capable of capturing and storing high volumes of digital images, which can easily be layered, altered, and computer enhanced. I still respond the most, however, to simple photos that capture a basic, but often poignant, moment of human connection. From the first moment I started seeing Ocean Morisset's photos appear on social media in Peekskill—capturing community events, everyday interactions between parents and kids, conductor and commuter shots—I have been struck by the visceral connection Ocean has helped me feel with this diverse and special community. His series "Daddy Day" and "Subway Stories" are brilliant representations of the subtle and often underrepresented moments of sublime beauty and grandiose love on a normal day's journey.
Katie Schmidt Feder is the executive director of the Garrison Art Center.
Alison McNulty uses salvaged and organic materials to create ephemeral and interactive sculpture, architectural interventions, site-responsive indoor and outdoor installations, video, photography, and works on paper. Her Hudson Valley Ghost Columns are built from bricks and sheep wool, materials important to the region's geological, social, and industrial history. McNulty's work was recently included in the "Terrain Biennial Newburgh" and group exhibitions at Wilderstein and the Dorsky Museum of Art. In 2018, she had a solo show in the Beacon Project Room at BAU Gallery in Beacon. In 2020 her work will be included in "Ineligible: Art/Archeology," at the International Museum of Contemporary Sculpture in Santo Tirso, Portugal.
Karlyn Benson is a curator and co-president of BeaconArts.
Jean-Marc Superville Sovak
Jean-Marc Superville Sovak's work takes many forms but, whatever technique he employs, there is always a compelling story that is effectively conveyed through material and process. Whether constructing with bricks that have been salvaged or created, adroitly using drawing or printmaking methods, altering found objects, repurposing building materials, or scripting and producing a video, Superville Sovak adeptly engages his chosen medium and approach to craft narratives that can question societal and historic conventions and generate the evocative interventions that infuse both his teaching and artistic practice.
Examples of his most recent body of work—the "a-Historical Landscapes"—will be exhibited in "Collecting Local: Twelve Years of the Hudson Valley Artists Annual Purchase Award," which opens February 8 at the Dorsky Museum.
Alyson Baker is the founder and executive director of the River Valley Arts Collective.
I first saw Palmeri's work when I was gallery director at Woodstock Artists Association and Museum. I was immediately struck by its visceral nature, revealing a sensibility wrestling with the challenges of abstract painting in a way that communicated something serious about her life. Palmeri is unafraid of color and delves into its mysteries in a way that is recognizably her own. Her compositions find resolution through passages of tension and imbalance. Forms jangle up in corners and roll into knots. Her paint application scratches for life. There's lots of smarts in her work and a ton of heart.
Carl Van Brunt is a curator and frequent Chronogram contributor.