Curator’s Choice

I never before saw a gold (actually brass) diaphragm, but there it was enshrined center stage at the Katonah Museum of Art winning first prize in Art to the Point, their juried show of artists’ works from around the region. This conceptual work is by Beacon artist Robert Brush who made it as part of his “Whole Lot of Love” series, which also includes a seven foot IUD. He has transformed these birth control devices into works of art that are both provocative and mysterious. But don’t look for the artist’s meaning Brush warns us. It’s all “in the eye of the beholder.”

All musing aside on the meaning of art, for me, the first prize goes to the Katonah Museum for its tradition of mounting an exhibition of emerging artists inviting a renowned artist (this year Donald Sultan) as a jurist/curator. For one thing it gives artists an opportunity to show their work in a museum. That’s no small thing in the life of an artist. But it gets better…it goes on their vitae forever. As an artist, building a professional record of where you’ve shown is important to one’s career…and being in a museum show is kind of a badge of honor. So kudos to KMA for putting artists on the map.

But lest I drift, getting back to the show at Katonah, there were a few other pieces memorable to me. These include: So Yoon Lym’s acrylics on paper of heads with African braids; Barbara Rachko’s brilliant colored pastels on sandpaper; Shiela Hale’s “maidenhair” graphite on gesso; Kevin Falco’s graphite and colored pencil on paper, and Marlene Siff’s “In Perpetuity.” Neil Watson, Director of the Museum, thinks the show is one of the best they’ve ever done. “These are serious artists at the top of their game,” he said. “Sultan loves well crafted objects and this is evident in his choices.” As for Watson, he is wowed by the work of Dan Cohen –”I really love the photograph of George C. Scott as General Patton. The large-scale image is constructed of green army men and hangs together as a real image when viewed from a distance, but when you get closer, the viewer realizes that it is made entirely of toy army figures. It is a funny and resonant work of art.” The show is on view until February 19. Two other not to miss shows of artists from the region are Piecing it Together at ArtsWestchester through March 17, and Satish Joshi opening February 23, at the Blue Door Gallery in Yonkers.

Now that we know Donald Sultan’s first prize, Neil Watson’s favorite and my best picks, see the show and tell us yours in the comments section below.

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