Author: Mellor, Carl
Date published: January 25, 2012
Brighten up winter's monotony with visits to two distinct art exhibits
Marking an impressive anniversary, Associated Artists Celebrates 85 Years, on display at the Manlius Public Library, delves into the group's past and present, referencing its history of presenting individual and group exhibits, including an annual juried members' show. The current display draws on the past 40 years and honors a dozen artists who served as president of Associated Artists during that period.
On one hand, the exhibition clearly has an organizational imprint. On the other, the show has its own identity, one derived from a mix of artistic styles and media. Put simply, Associated Artists has 50 members, and they take diverse artistic approaches. The show moves from Marcia Ferber's fused-enamel pieces to Helga Gilbert's collage "Ithaca Tapestry," from Sandra Abraham's nicely detailed "Passion Flowers" to Mimi George's acrylic "Fog Bank," with its rough surface.
It easily encompasses Ute Ostreicher's "Lincoln Park Stairs," depicting trees and bushes and the stairs running through the middle of the piece, and Sallie Bailey's fine work commemorating her grandmother. Bailey combines images of her "granmere" in youth and old age with subtle depictions of flowers.
That's not the only instance of "memento mori" within the exhibit. It displays works by several artists who have died, including George Welch and Roger Morris, both of whom showed their pieces in a variety of local venues.
The exhibit also displays an assortment of paintings by the late Alfred Bollinger. Initially, there were plans for a solo show focusing on his artworks but that format was expanded into this larger show with 12 artists.
Bollinger created varied pieces, and the exhibit provides a good sense of his work. "Sheep, Yorkshire, England," for example, demonstrates an ability to skillfully integrate the elements of a landscape. Indeed, Bollinger merges sheep, portrayed on a small scale; trees, which loom large; a farmhouse surrounded by a broken-down fence; a nearby hillside; a field that dominates the painting's foreground.
The show kicks off a year in which Associated Artists celebrates its birth in 1926 and all that's happened since then. The group will stage both its usual schedule of exhibitions at the library and a large retrospective show at the Onondaga Historical Association, 321 Montgomery St. Mimi George, Associated Artists' current president, says the exhibit will span eight decades, featuring works by winners of the juried competitions. The retrospective is slated to open during the spring.
In the meantime, visitors to the library will see ample evidence of its commitment to art. Associated Artists has long rented space there for its exhibitions. In addition, the Manlius Public Library does art programming on its own, running an art-rental project. It's possible for someone to take a piece home for two months after paying a fee and signing a rental contract. If the renter really likes a work, she or he can discuss purchasing it.
Artworks available for rental are displayed on an ongoing basis. The current selection includes Karen Kozicki's black-and-white images, James Skvarch's etchings and Elizabeth Hueber's watercolor, "Midnight Marauder," among other works.
Associated Artists Celebrates 85 Years will run through Feb. 4 at the Manlius Public Library, 1 Arkie Albanese Drive, near the swan pond. The library is open Mondays to Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sundays, 1 to 5 p.m. For more information, call 682-6400.