The End of Something, acrylic and pastels on Bristol by David Drake
The paintings in Close by: Catskill were all made within the last year in David Drake’s home studio in Catskill. They are about place and process—how he sees things, how he puts things together. They are informed by living, driving, and walking around Catskill and Hudson, but especially by the view from his studio window high on a hill. While he often works with photographs, these paintings are in no way intended to be photographic but rather about the feeling of his world and where he resides.
Some of his process can be seen in his small, rapidly painted gestural sketches. It is apparent in the larger pieces how color—and the emotions of color—emerge as central to the work. Fascinated by the idea of the mobility of the mark on the surface of the painting—pentimento—Drake’s use of pastel, almost incised lines, reveal his thought process as he adjusts, changes his mind and adjusts again.
David Drake of Catskill NY, and longtime resident of Hudson NY, received his BFA in printmaking with a minor in photography from the Cleveland Institute of Art where he studied with Carroll Cassil, Ralph Woehrmann and Robert Jergens. After graduating, he taught photography in Cleveland Public Schools and began a lifelong practice of painting and drawing.
Drake’s work is represented in private and corporate collections throughout the country. Previous solo exhibitions include Davis Orton Gallery, Hudson NY and Cabane Gallery, Phoenicia NY. Among the galleries he has exhibited are the Maryland Federation of Art, Annapolis MD; Neville-Sargent Gallery, Chicago IL; Southern Vermont Art Center, Manchester VT.
While earning his degree in printmaking, Drake waited tables and bartended, skills that have carried him through the financial ups and downs of life as an artist. Currently, he works at Swoon Kitchenbar, Hudson NY.
Dawn Watson, Solastalgia
In the Silence Deep, Grove from triptych, Witness series, 57×36″, pigment print panel by Dawn Watson
Solastalgia…is the “lived experience” of the loss of the present as manifest in a feeling of dislocation; of being undermined by forces that destroy the potential for solace to be derived from the present…” Journalist Zoe Schlanger referencing philosopher Glenn Albrecht, Quartz post, 2018
Early mornings Dawn Watson often sits by the shore of the Hudson River as the sun rises. These moments of peace by the river are a balm to the soul and ground her. For Watson, this estuary known as the “river that flows both ways” serves as a metaphor for the push/pull of our global circumstance. Her years moving intuitively through space as a dancer developed a heightened sense of physicality which informs her process of manipulation and intervention. Subverting form and content, she explores themes of perception, adaptation and transformation as a response to our changing environment in this era of the Anthropocene.
In Solastagia she shares excerpts from three different yet related bodies of landscape imagery that morph from alarm to overwhelmed disconnect to finding balance and healing in the beauty that remains.
Visual artist Dawn Watson, formerly a professional dancer, shifted her artistic practice to photography finding affinity in the visual storytelling offered by the photographic image. Her former career continues to influence her art, as does her deep connection to nature.
Watson has exhibited her photographs and artist books throughout the United States and Europe. Solo exhibitions include: The Griffin Museum of Photography, the Los Angeles Center for Photography and Rhode Island Center for Photographic Arts. Group shows include: the Albrecht-Kemper Museum, Center of Photography at Woodstock, Gallery Valid Foto, LACP Gallery and Tang Teaching Museum. Her photography and artist books have been featured online and in print, including in Diffusion X Magazine, Elizabeth Avedon Journal, Lenscratch, South x Southeast Magazine and What Will You Remember.
Watson, of Hastings on Hudson, has deep roots in the Hudson Valley. She is a longtime supporter of Columbia Land Conservancy and serves on the board of regional environmental group Scenic Hudson, Inc.
Portfolio Showcase: Alternative Visions of the Natural World
Selected through our Portfolio Showcase International Call for Entries
Connie Lowell, Broken Landscapes
Split Lands, pigment print from glass negative by Connie Lowell
Connie Lowell constructs her Broken Landscapes from decades old photo dry and lantern glass plates which she has scorched and broken through controlled oxidized combustion. She then develops the two halves of each plate independently and ultimately, reassembles, collages and/or layers them into compositions.
The aged plates, often riddled with organic and inorganic artifacts impressed in their silver gelatin emulsion, reflect our precious and fragile world, subjected to its own seen and unseen forces – with or without us. She chose sparklers to burn and break the plates. Typically associated with celebration, she has uses them here to resemble a fuse…with the resulting damage. The broken plates, reassembled into constructed landscapes, suggest our human impact on the world and mourn our broken connection to the physical world.
As Lowell says, “The ‘party’ that these plates have survived in the past 50 -100 years, is now over.”
A native New Englander, Connie Lowell has spent much of her adult life in a cubicle, staring at a screen or if fortunate, out a window. Feeling isolated from the outdoors, she developed a passion for nature’s systems and frequently finds herself preoccupied with the myriad of changes humanity has introduced to the environment. Lowell reflects on the natural process selecting from a variety of aging and contemporary cameras, plates and other means to create her photographic art.
Lowell’s works have been selected for numerous juried shows across the US and beyond including the Glasgow Gallery of Photography, Scotland, The Griffin Museum of Photography, Winchester MA, Midwest Center for Photography, Wichita KS and the Praxis Gallery, Minneapolis MN. Her photographs have appeared in Shots Magazine, Artscope Magazine and the Boston Globe.
Lev L. Spiro, Fugitive Light
Invitation, pigment print by Lev L. Spiro
Lev L. Spiro thinks of his gardens as filled with mystery, wonder and visions of loveliness. While they do serve him as a refuge and an escape into the natural world, he notes that they often fail him. Thus, in his series Fugitive Light, as he records fleeting glimpses of ephemeral beauty, they are frequently interrupted by unsettling intrusions. Many of his photographs reflect depths of darkness which Spiro sees as both projections of his own subconscious fears, as well as his attempts to assert mastery over them.
Lev L. Spiro is a Los Angeles photographer and filmmaker whose fine art photography alternates, often with humor, between two visions of our humanity: the mystery and wonder of the natural and anthropogenic worlds and the tragedy of the human condition. In his recent work he turns this attention to the intimate landscape of his gardens.
Lev’s photographs have been chosen for multiple group exhibitions including: the Midwest Center for Photography, Rhode Island Center for Photography and the Cleveland Print Room. They have also been published in Art Ascent Magazine and the blog, What Will You Remember.
Lev is best known as director of over 165 television episodes, pilots and features, including the Emmy-award winning series Orange is the New Black, Modern Family, Weeds and Arrested Development. His film “Minutemen” won a Director’s Guild nomination for Outstanding Directorial Achievement; he received the Emmy Award for Outstanding Children’s Program for his film, “Wizards of Waverly Place The Movie.”