subtlety: Helen Suters Music to my Ears.
By David Brickman
Suter: Works on Paper
Gallery, through May 16
Spring has sprung, and the valley will soon fill with weekenders
and summer people. It’s a good time to beat the crowd and
take a drive to Hudson, where a number of art venues await,
from the rootsy ’60s-flavored Time & Space Limited to
the slickly successful Carrie Haddad Gallery. Perhaps unjustly
overlooked among them is little A.D.D. Gallery, surely the
region’s only private art space devoted to the minimalist,
Though the name may bring kids on Ritalin to mind, it actually
stands for Art Design Digression Ltd.; it is the personal
project, since 1998, of interior designer-artist-curator Jeff
Snider, a New York City native, weekender since 1980 and full-time
resident of Hudson since 1994. Snider is committed to a certain
kind of art at a very high level of quality, and the current
show of combines by Helen Suter and painted sculptures by
John Greene provides an excellent window into that quirky
The space itself is always part of the show—formerly a restaurant,
it has been stripped of all but the most essential elements
and recast as a purely functional display space, small but
uncluttered, brightly lit but not glaring, hard-surfaced but
somehow warm. The movable wall suspended from steel I-beams,
bare light fixtures mounted to conduit and angle iron and
expertly poured concrete floor are all calculated to create
an atmosphere ideal for showing and enjoying the art—and,
like the machinery of industry that inspired the style, it
Greene has rather few pieces in this exhibition, but they
are nicely showcased. There are several small, square, deep
paintings on canvas that emphasize his strict focus on pure
paint and reduced color, as well as three elegant wall-hung
sculptures consisting of geometric found objects that have
been altered. An additional painted wooden sculpture sits
on a tabletop; it is gestural but tightly geometric, spare,
painted red—like a delicate three-dimensional Malevich.
Greene’s other sculptures (all untitled) have wit and warmth—characteristics
that Suter’s work positively effuses. Her pieces, all wall-hung
and mostly framed, are lyrical combinations of found objects
and simple materials, carefully organized and presented in
a lightly ponderous manner. If that sounds self-contradictory,
so is the work—in a very successful way.
Augmented by particularly thoughtful and evocative titles—Landscape
(think), Canned Future and Don’t Tailgate (flash)
are a few good examples—Suter’s witty, understated pieces
invite interpretation and reaction. They are not merely reductive
like a lot of minimalist art seems to be. A Swiss native now
living in Germantown, Suter has carried with her a European
tradition of concerned cynicism that is in fact very pleasantly
engaging (think, for instance, of her countrymen Jean Arp
and Paul Klee).
A number of the framed works on paper are presented as apparent
series in varying sizes; they build one upon the other to
create a mood. Additionally, there are several pieces hung
directly on the walls, often consisting of separate elements
that activate the white space between and around them. Two
favorites of mine are hung together—both Blitz-pillow (talk)
and Music to my Ears make the humblest of materials
speak most eloquently. Simply put, Suter is a marvel.
A.D.D. Gallery is open Saturdays and Sundays from noon-5 and
by appointment. Call 822-9763 for more information.
wrapped up: Boo Boo by Shannon Phinney.
26th Annual Photo Regional Exhibit
Street Gallery, through May 15
Since the invention of photography not quite 200 years ago,
the evolution of technology and the nature of artistic curiosity
have greatly expanded its use: From strictly recording events
and communicating information, it has evolved to include the
more complex roles of telling stories, conveying meaning,
changing perceptions, and creating realities. Each spring,
our local galleries take turns presenting the annual Photography
Regional Exhibit in honor of this evolution.
The Photo Regional was created 26 years ago, in reaction to
the exclusion of photographic art from the Mohawk Hudson Regional
Exhibit. This exhibit is a tradition born of the insistence
of photographic artists on having a voice, and on being taken
seriously as a creative force in their community. Of course,
the Regional has long since come to accept photography as
fine art, but the Photo Regional remains the preeminent showcase
for regional contemporary photography.
Hosted this year by the Fulton Street Gallery in Troy, organized
by Susan Myers, and juried by (photographer, Yale graduate
and Bard professor) Tanya Marcuse, this show has more points
of interest than I can address in this limited space. It’s
worth a look.
The 71 pieces (by 44 artists) hanging in the Fulton Street
Gallery represent a fairly broad range of styles, modes and
concepts—without much danger of falling over the cutting edge.
(Every piece is a two-dimensional wall-hanging pictorial image.)
There are a surprising number of traditional, chemically processed
prints, including silver gelatin, cyanotype and liquid light
to balance the less surprising plethora of digital images.
The work ranges from crisp and contemporary to dreamy and
nostalgic, from choreographed to serendipitous, from austere
The top prizes, not surprisingly, go to some of the area’s
most noted photographers. Dedee’s View, Coinand France
by David Brickman won first place. The color image shows
a view out an open window, of a French vista, its lush vegetation
and moody sky both anchored and juxtaposed by the angular
frame of the window.
Mark McCarty was the second-place winner, with his Jean,
a poignant black-and-white portrait of a woman of advanced
age. Her eyes are closed as she holds her face in her brittle,
aged hands in an intense moment of reverie.
The third prize goes to Jeri Eisenberg for her dreamy, (very)
softly focused, high-contrast black-and-white image of lakeside
trees. Lake Edge evokes a feeling of being between
states of consciousness, in a realm of fantasy or memory.
As it happens, all the prize-winning photographs, and an honorable
mention or two, are within 15 feet of the front door. Interestingly,
the prizes were awarded (by the juror) after the exhibit
was hung (by the curator.) Is this coincidence, or subtle
It is clear that a good deal of attention went into the presentation
of this exhibit, from the clever, spacious groupings, to the
PowerPoint presentation of the “salon.” It is a thoughtful,
cogent and well-paced exhibition—an honor to the show’s history,
and a welcome upswing for a community gallery run largely
by artist volunteers.