ArtBeat: Upstate II @ Nicole Fiacco Gallery, Hudson

Allyson Strafella: belly dweller (left) and aerated passed
Allyson Strafella: belly dweller (left) and aerated passed

We’re not sure how we’ve managed to miss the Nicole Fiacco Gallery in Hudson for the past two years, but somehow we did.

And when we finally walked in recently we were puzzled for a moment to be standing in a teeny-tiny gallery. Ah, we finally realized, this is the foyer – the main gallery space is down one flight of stairs, in the lower level of the building. And what a space it is, with a huge ceiling, more reminiscent of a Chelsea gallery than the typical storefront exhibition spaces of Hudson.

The current exhibition, “Upstate II” is an interesting mix, combining the work of four local mid-career artists whose work has not been exhibited much locally.

It would be easy to overlook the small works of Allyson Strafella, as we initially did, as they an overwhelmed by the size of the other artists’ work. But a closer examination revealed that Strafella’s oh-so-delicate and ephemeral paper works were the most richly rewarding of the exhibit. Small pieces of colored carbon paper are simply pinned to the wall with ordinary straight pins, wafting in the breeze with the passing of each gallery-goer. Each small piece of paper has been run through a typewriter repeatedly, not only leaving marks on the paper – a kind of typewriter drawing – but often eating all the way through, leaving lace-like holes in the paper – referencing the typewriter as more of a sculptural tool. Simply fascinating…

 Melora Kuhn: Refugee & The captain's daughter
Melora Kuhn: Refugee & The captain's daughter

Catherine Mosley’s organic collaged paintings are built up from layers and smaller components to form organic, softly geometric patterns.

Erik Schoonebeek’s colorful, abstract paintings “attempt to give abstract forms the context of place.”

And at first glance, Melora Kuhn’s paintings appear to be mere turn of the century portraits, but a closer look reveals that she slyly juxtaposes her portraits with unsettling historic backgrounds, placing the calm, serene sitter in front of images of sinking ships, bombed-out houses and hurricane-laden skies.

The “Upstate II” exhibition continues at the Nicole Fiacco Gallery in Hudson through Saturday, June 5.

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