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In the Gloaming

Dusk is a magical time, and Art Omi is celebrating those enchanted moments ’tween the day and night with a new sculpture exhibit titled In the Gloaming. We surely have many things to explain.

Gloaming is another word for twilight or dusk.

Art Omi is an artists’ retreat/exhibition space/performance venue in the teeny town of Omi near Ghent (like that helps; Ghent is near Chatham)—a happening that has taken place under our very noses since 1992. It’s situated in a lush country setting with 200 acres of rolling farmland and wooded hideaways. Most of the indoor work takes place in a converted 1830 farmhouse.

Art Omi provides a residency program for artists in various media from all over the globe—the retreat has hosted more than 400 residents from 50 countries—and offers three specific programs: the Art Omi International Artists’ Colony, which invites 30 artists for a three-week span in July; the Ledig House International Writers’ Colony, which backs 40 to 50 writers and translators for as long as two months a year (there’s a spring session and one in the late summer); and the Music Omi International Residency, which brings together 12 to 15 musician-composers for collaboration and performance.

All artists are provided room, board and a space to create, and Art Omi is similar to many traditional artist retreats in that it is located in an idyllic country setting for the inspiration, peace and quiet that many artists seek. And each discipline offers public interaction, via readings from the visiting writers (this year’s readings took place a couple of weeks back), the Open Day studio for the visual-arts section (July 20), and a concert performed by Music Omi participants (Aug. 16). But due to the proximity to New York City, Art Omi also offers its participants the chance to network, as publishers, gallery owners, curators, critics, publishers agents, collectors and the like are frequent guests.

Back to the gloaming. Art Omi is also the home to a 300-acre sculpture park, the Fields, curated by Kathleen Heike Triem and Peter Franck. The Fields, open year-round, has been in operation since ’98, and works by such artists as Donald Lipski, Charles Ginnever, Beverly Pepper, Dewitt Godfrey and Mathew McCaslin (pictured is Ginnever’s Sculpture) are featured. There are paths for wandering amid the sculptures, and various site-specific works are included as well.

In the Gloaming—guest-curated by Koan Jeff Baysa—is part of 30 new installations at the Fields, and it’s the third part in the Ignoring Boundaries series. “In the gloaming, the air stills,” states the press literature, “birds sound their final calls of the day, and the light often turns golden; we find ourselves introspective as our visual perceptions, attitudes and pace of life shifts.” The show will run for a year, enough time for viewers to return to observe the work at different times of day, in different seasons and during varying weather—as the works have been chosen for their ability to “frame light as a tool that shapes ideas and philosophy in contemporary culture by studying the phenomenon of light in the landscape, and the physiological aspects of light and perception in twilight.”

In the Gloaming will open Saturday (May 31) with a reception and a preview of many of the installations from 5 to 8 PM. Art Omi International Arts Center is located on Letter S Road (off County Route 22, off Route 9H) in Omi (very near Ghent). It’s tricky to find, but you can do it. Go to www.artomi.org for detailed directions, or call 392-7656 for information.

Ted Leo/Pharmacists

‘It’ll be interesting to see what it’s like, because it’ll be the first time that I’ve gone on tour kinda riding this wave of mainstream interest.”

When Ted Leo made this comment to a Seattle journalist two months ago, he was modestly referring to the recent, intense attention paid to him, his band (the Pharmacists), his highly regarded new album (Hearts of Oak) and his rousing live shows, by such rags as Spin and Rolling Stone. After years in the trenches with a succession of bands (Citizens Arrest, Animal Crackers, Chisel), Leo is finally earning the notice of a wide array of music fans—as well as the mainstream rock media. His politically charged lyrics are often compared to the work of Billy Bragg and Joe Strummer, while his music earns hushed references to golden-era Elvis Costello and the Attractions. It’s all been (please forgive us) a prescription for success.

Joining Mr. Leo/company at Valentine’s will be three swell combos. Dischord Records artists El Guapo perform a brand of “brash art-punk” that has elicited comparisons with such iconoclasts as Gang of Four and Afrika Bambaataa (connect those dots). Jai Lai Savant are a band shrouded in mystery—in other words, Google didn’t turn up any info. The Amazing Plaid are from Albany and sound an awful lot like the Amazing Plaid.

Ted Leo/Pharmacists, El Guapo, Jai Lai Savant and the Amazing Plaid will perform an all-ages show tomorrow (Friday, May 30) at 8 PM at Valentine’s (17 New Scotland Ave., Albany). Tickets are $8 in advance, $10 at the door. For more information, call 432-6572.

Michael Joyce

Michael Joyce—who will discuss and read from his latest novel, Liam’s Going, at the Bethlehem Public Library on Sunday—is best known as the author who engineered the demise of books as we know them.

As one of the designers of Storyspace, a program for writing hypertext fiction—that is, inherently nonlinear, computer-based fiction—Joyce and his collaborators facilitated the eradication of the traditional dramatic arc and, with it, everything you know about the mechanics of storytelling. Or so skittish cultural conservatives would have it.

As it happens, traditional narratives still hold sway years after the release of afternoon, a story (Joyce’s famed hypertext debut, and the genre’s central canonical work). And Joyce himself still is content to dabble in the ancient printed, right-to-left, flyleaf to “finis” format from time to time. Liam’s Going is a traditional novel relating the story of the interaction of Liam and his mother as they drive south through the Hudson Valley to bring Liam to college, and of Liam’s father, who has remained home only to have an extraordinary encounter with an elderly widow. Critic Claudia Ricci calls the book “visceral, demanding, detailed and very compelling.”

Michael Joyce will read from Liam’s Going at the Bethlehem Public Library (451 Delaware Ave., Delmar) on Sunday (June 1). The free reading begins at 2 PM. For more information, call 439-9314.


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