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Skidmore College

Unconventional interpretations of landscape to be featured at Schick Art Gallery

March 22, 2016

Skidmore's Schick Art Gallery will present Scenes and Variations, an exhibition of works by Christian Carson, Terry Conrad, Gina Occhiogrosso, Ken Ragsdale, and Jake Winiski, regional artists who use the conventional theme of landscape in unconventional ways.

The exhibition is scheduled Thursday, March 24, through Saturday, April 30. Two special events are planned for March 24: an artists’ talk from 4 to 5 p.m. and an opening reception from 5 to 7 p.m. Both will be in the Schick Art Gallery; admission is free and open to the public.

Jake Winiski, Terrified Heir
Jake Winiski, Terrified Heir, India ink on Kodak Endura
pring, 2012

For these artists, landscape imagery can be a stage set, a metaphor, or a tradition of bucolic imagery to be questioned and countered. All five artists observe the mediated and uneasy ways we experience landscape in our time, and their works reflect our attempts to control it as well as our impacts upon it, both planned and inadvertent.

Chris Carson has contributed older and newer works, including selections from his painting series Leaf Piles. At once classically beautiful, peculiar, and slightly ominous, Carson writes that these works represent “an attempt to explore the natural environment versus the constructed environment, and how, as artists, consumers, and property owners, we manipulate and arrange nature.…” Carson is and assistant professor of art at SUNY Brockport and has shown his work throughout the region and the country.

Terry Conrad works primarily in printmaking, but his practice extends into sculpture, collage, and writing. In Scenes and Variations, Conrad presents letterpress prints describing accidents or events that leave extraordinary physical marks upon the landscape. He also will present three ‘bale’ sculptures, dense cubes made by exerting pressure upon found, trash-like materials. Conrad has shown his work regionally and nationally, and is recipient of the 2015-16 Grant Wood Fellowship in Printmaking at the University of Iowa.

Gina Occhiogrosso, Caught
Gina Occhiogrosso, Caught, oil on canvas, 2013

Gina Occhiogrosso’s paintings and drawings explore insecure spaces, both of the personal and the global variety. She refers to a childhood fraught with uncertainty, and she is concerned with economic and environmental instability, often using photos of natural or manmade disasters from news media as sources. The resulting abstract works evoke turbulent energy, rather than specific narrative. Occhiogrosso is an associate professor of art at the College of St Rose. Among her many recent shows are exhibitions at Pierogi Gallery in Brooklyn, NY, and the Painting Center in New York, NY.

Ken Ragsdale grew up in ranching and logging country of the western United States and uses this remembered landscape as a setting for his work. He builds meticulous landscape scenes out of white paper, and photographs them using colored filters, creating enigmatic works that are obviously artificial, yet convincingly ‘real.’ Ragsdale’s latest solo exhibition was in December 2015 at the Oregon Center for Photographic Arts' Blue Sky Gallery in Portland. He teaches at RPI and is represented by Front Room Gallery in Brooklyn, NY.

Jake Winiski is a researcher who studies fungi and develops biomaterial for commercial uses, an occupation that complements his art-making. Like Ragsdale, Winiski uses hand-built sets–in his case, constructed from garbage; he photographs these and then paints on the photographs with ink and airbrush, using a free-associative approach. The final images are apocalyptic visions of mystery, decay, and regeneration. Winiski has shown his work at Collar Works in Troy, Saratoga Arts Center in Saratoga Springs, and other venues in the region and beyond.

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