The month of March has brought yet another exciting and eclectic art exhibit to the RIVAA (Roosevelt Island Visual Arts Association) gallery on Main Street. Vernissage XVIII opened on Saturday night, showcasing the work of a broad and diverse range of local artists. The gallery space, chock-full of people as well as art pieces, percolated with energy and the enthusiastic admiration of viewers coming out to support art and artists.
For those who attended the opening, I recommend returning a few times when it's quieter to really take in and appreciate all that the works have to offer. The exhibit will be on display through April 14, Wednesdays and Fridays 6:00-9:00 pm, and Saturdays and Sundays 11:00 am-5:00 pm.
The show encompasses a broad range of styles and mediums. Enchanting, digitally created images by Tony Vita are on display, from exquisitely detailed mandalas to a woman in a sweeping red dress, as well as a video installation; beautifully executed realist drawings of the human form; intriguing and beguiling sculptures wrought from wood, by Victoria Thorson. One tall piece pivots on a rustic steel base and I was fascinated by the way it inserted itself into the space, asking to be touched and manipulated. It was carved and stained in the most minimal way, toying with the idea of man playfully interacting with nature.
The whimsical and joyful humor of Connie Tanner, whose caricatures of women in amusing situations make me smile and want to do something unexpected, like jump rope, or ride an oversize bicycle. Laura Hussey’s lifesize, colorful portrait of two girls in a doorway – I love the meatiness of her work – the large, fleshy forms seem to come off the canvas and beckon the viewer toward another world.
One piece was a collage of sketched faces. As I stood looking at it, I heard someone behind me say, “These heads all used to have bodies attached to them. But then I just decided to cut off the bodies and put all the heads together.” The artist, Rachel Garrick, perhaps the oldest presenter in the show, amazed me with the boldness of this decision. A willingness to let go of so much, and reinvent the pieces in a wholly new way, is the mark of a true artist. Certainly seeing the array of different faces juxtaposed in one piece creates a certain dynamic that would have been lost had the heads remained on their bodies.
Be sure to stop in to view the work while it is up!
Art from the Vernissage XVIII Exhibition
Also, the Curatorial Team of the Figment Arts Festival will be hosting a Meet and Greet at the Gallery space on Friday, March 29, from 6:00-9:00 pm. For anyone who is thinking of submitting an art piece for the festival, but may be hesitating, or have questions about how to make their art “interactive,” this will be an opportunity to have all your questions answered before the Submission deadline of April 7.
The team at Figment, led by founder David Koren, want to encourage everyone to take the plunge, step out of your comfort zone, and join the fun! Even if you don’t think your work is “interactive” they will help you find a way to make it so.