Catskill, NY – GCCA Presents a New Exhibition on the Art of Storytelling, Featuring Burton C. Bell’s Graphic Novel “The Industrialist”
Calendar Entry: Greene County Council on the Arts’ “Words and Images: the Art of Storytelling” Exhibition. April 23 through June 4, 2016. Opening Reception, Saturday April 23, 5-7 p.m. GCCA Catskill Gallery, 398 Main Street, Catskill, NY. Gallery Hours: M-F 10-5, Sat. 12-5. FREE, www.greenearts.org, 518-943-3400.
The Greene County Council on the Arts is proud to present a new group exhibition dedicated to the art of storytelling called “Words and Images.” Featuring the work of over a dozen local and international artists, the Words and Images show will include animated short films, graphic novels, illustrations, sculptures, photographs, zines, as well as mixed media. At the center of Words and Images is the international debut of the entire graphic novel “The Industrialist,” story by Burton C. Bell, lead singer of heavy metal band Fear Factory, and illustrations by British illustrator Noel Guard. The Industrialist novel is intended as a companion piece to Fear Factory’s latest concept album The Industrialist. Bell and Guard are joined in the exhibit by artists Aaron Augenblick and Mati Kütt, Abigael Puritz, Alicia Burnett, Brian Dewan, Dina Bursztyn, Joanne Van Genderen, John Akre, Joseph Reilly, Laura Loving, Matt Bua, Matthew Pleva, Paul Barton, Robert Tomlinson, and Scott Keidong. The show will be on view from April 23 through June 4, 2016 with an opening reception on Saturday, April 23 from 5-7pm at Greene County Council on the Arts gallery, 398 Main Street, Catskill, NY.
Each chosen artwork for Words and Images explores a narrative theme, whether through multiple images, a single image, or the story that inspired the artwork.
Abigael Puritz, a graphic novelist, painter and printmaker originally from Oneonta NY, depicts in her graphic memoir novel “The Climb” a memorable summer trip to Europe. Originally influenced by Manga, aka Japanese comic books, Puritz later delved into the wordless books of Frans Masereel and Lynd Ward, among others. A devotee of the ideas of comic book theorist Scott McCloud, Puritz considers the exploration and perfection of the art of narrative images her highest priority as an artist. The themes of her work usually center on personal journeys with characters always either on the move or acutely stuck.
(Read about Pardon My French)
Laura Loving’s acrylic and collage piece “Pardon My French” was her creative response to an annoying art critic who ruined her Friday night with an unexpected and unhelpful studio visit. The French words in “Pardon My French” literally translate to “put it in your butt and make an airplane.” With a slight tweak, it’s easy to appreciate why this is Loving’s playfully poetic and discrete (slang French not everyone can translate) “move forward mantra.” Known as a bold and vibrant painter, Loving’s work has shown at Lincoln Center’s Cork Gallery, Pratt Institute and New York Mercantile Exchange, as well as the Wonderwall Gallery in Cirencester, England, and Chaleurs du Sud in Nice, France.
Other pieces are inspired by a story, as in Matthew Pleva’s six-part illustration “Arrowhead,” which depicts multiple angles of the exterior of Herman Melville’s Pittsfield, Massachusetts house where he wrote his masterpiece Moby-Dick, along with an illustrated scene from the book. In 2012, “Arrowhead” hung in the barn of the Herman Melville House during the Moby Dick Anniversary Show at Arrowhead, Pittsfield, MA.
Dina Bursztyn’s small mixed media pieces were born out of her mission to conceptualize art as contemporary artifacts for a democratic mythology that includes spirituality and sensuality, as well as politics and humor. Bursztyn, whose work has been featured in the New York Times, the Daily News, Village Voice, NPR, Double Take and in numerous books, journals and catalogues, says she is interested in breaking categories and linear hierarchical systems, in marrying cultures, times and ways of thinking. She currently divides her time between NYC and Catskill, NY, where she co-owns the Open Studio gallery.
Joseph Reilly’s longtime interest in hand bookbinding led him to the world of artists’ books, three of which will be on display in Words and Images. Reilly, a member of the Book Arts Roundtable, has given workshops on making books by hand in many libraries and museums in New York and New Jersey. He is currently on the faculty of the Rosendale School of Arts, teaching classes in making books by hand.
Scott Keidong’s photograph “Small Business” shows a child-sized chair and wagon with a “Rocks for Sale” sign on it pointing to half a dozen dusty rocks of various sizes placed on a small table. Keidong, a graphic artist, illustrator, copywriter, photographer and fine artist, explains that he took the picture when his five-year old daughter decided to sell rocks at the end of their dirt road in Middleburgh “for fun and profit.” Scott Keidong’s photography and artwork has appeared in numerous exhibitions in New York, New Jersey, online, and elsewhere.
Matt Bua’s book “Talking Walls: Casting Out the Post-Contact Stone Wall Building Myth” presents the crossroads of Bua’s book, regional history and para-political investigation with the oft-repeated story of the origins of the Northeast’s famed stone walls. Were 252,000 miles of stone walls—enough to reach the far side of the moon—in fact built by European colonists in a period of roughly 100 years—or are they perhaps much, much older? Employing a mountain of testimony from archaeology, art and popular histories, and other fields, Bua’s book draws closer to a profound new reading of our shared landscape and its ancient past. Talking Walls includes a foldout map and a case study of a stone wall complex in Kiskatom, a region located on the western edge of Catskill.
Photographer Paul Barton’s photograph series “By the Sea” depicts a brief but poignant moment in a couple’s relationship. An older man and woman ride bicycles on the beach. The woman watches as the man decides to ride his bicycle backwards, falls and gets up again. In the last couple of frames, the couple embraces in laughter.
Memory and perception, place and absence, intuition and intention are themes in Robert Tomlinson’s sculptures, which incorporate language as mark-making at the boundaries where the visual arts merge with poetry. “Lost at See” uses mirrors pray-painted gold, with words written or stamped on them with ink, then acrylic paint. The mirrors are broken into fragments and presented with golden seashells over scratch paper on which poems and alphabets of biomorphic shapes have been inscribed. “Lost at See” explores the durability and fragility of words and glass, how fragments presented in a circular world reorient themselves into new episodes of meaning. Similarly, his piece “Melody” depicts 45 painted LP record albums, rimmed with fingerprints in black paint with two words each scribbled across the surface. One of the two words incorporates a reference to sound. The second word is a subconscious response. The two together are a poetic invitation to wander in the world of your imaginative reactions.
Joanne Van Genderen, another mixed media artist, says she tries to “provoke conversation, raise awareness, and affect change of social issues” with her artwork. Her piece “Don’t Stereotype Me,” which depicts women and girls along with words related to female identity made of scrabble letters, was influenced by the Japanese tradition known as Wabi-Sabi, or the “art of imperfection.”
In her short animated video, “Everything and Nothing,” Alicia Burnett uses the decontextualized language of Vogue Magazine covers from the 1950s as a way to explore the thematic patterns of language communicated to women by the beauty industry.
Another short animated film “Spacemen from Brookstonia” was a collaboration between Brooklyn based animation director Aaron Augenblick and the legendary Estonian animator Mati Kütt, commissioned by the 2013 Ottawa International Animation Festival as the signature film.
John Akre’s animated short “First Eyes of the Moon” recalls the narrator’s childhood memories of watching man’s first space trips to the moon. The Minnesotan animator, videomaker, teacher and co-owner of Green Jeans Media, a small animation and video production company, thinks that animation is the ultimate art-form, because it combines many kinds of art practices to create entire worlds out of pure imagination.
Brian Dewan’s short filmstrip animation “Spilled Milk” tells the tale of loss, waste, responsibility and self-governance. Dewan, a Catskill resident, has been making filmstrips since 1986 that combine drawing, narration and music. His filmstrips have shown at The Whitney Museum, The New Museum, The Brooklyn Museum and The Museum of Jurassic Technology, as well as been commissioned by The Sundance Channel, The Untitled Foundation and Wave Farm.
The animation portion of Words and Images was co-curated by Lisa Thomas, a producer who is currently producing the animated feature The Adventures of Drunky starring Sam Rockwell, Steve Coogan, Jeffrey Tambor, Nina Arianda, Tyler the Creator and John Leguizamo. Thomas was the producer on the upcoming musical feature Thirsty, which was shot upstate, as well as the supervising producer on the hit, animated series, Ugly Americans for Comedy Central and the Adult Swim animated series, Xavier: Renegade Angel. She has worked for NBC, PBS, HBO, Maysles Films and Augenblick Studios.
The centerpiece of the Words and Images exhibition is the graphic novel by Burton C. Bell entitled “The Industrialist,” which has never been displayed before. A fan of science fiction television shows like Twilight Zone and Star Trek and science fiction authors like Robert A. Heinlein since the age of eight, The Industrialist represents a dream-come-true for Fear Factory singer Burton C. Bell. Fear Factory’s album The Industrialist is the soundtrack to this novel and follows the story within its pages. Together with Noel Guard, a comic/fantasy illustrator and tattoo designer from Reading, England, they created a powerful post-apocalyptic tale of a free-thinking automaton struggling to find his place in a futuristic society where laws protect the elite and powerful oligarchies dominate the masses. Bell and Guard will be available for a Catskill book signing as soon as Fear Factory’s current U.S. tour ends (mid-May). The exact date will be announced soon.
Join the artists at the reception for “Words and Images: the Art of Storytelling” on Saturday, April 23rd from 5-7pm at Greene County Council on the Arts, 398 Main Street, Catskill, NY. For more information on GCCA Visual Arts Program and this exhibit visit www.greenearts.org.