10 Exhibitions to See in Upstate New York This March

The often-moody month of March welcomes longer days and a hint of spring elation to come, inspiring renewed energy for encountering art around the Hudson Valley in Upstate New York. This month, a host of intellectually fiery exhibitions indicate that spring fever is on the horizon. A pair of exhibitions at September Gallery in Kinderhook and one at Turley Gallery in Hudson provide playful visions of female agency and lighthearted considerations of dissolving worlds, respectively. An evolving installation by artist-in-residence Jean-Marc Superville Sovak at Ann Street Gallery in Newburgh addresses the painful history of the city’s “Colored Burial Ground,” while Sean Hemmerle’s series of stoic photographs of empty basketball courts at Front Room Gallery in Hudson invite hope that they’ll be filled. And whereas Will Hutnick’s glitchy paintings at Geary Contemporary in Millerton explore atypical temporalities, Taj Campman’s abstract works at Distortion Society in Beacon are distinctly grounded. In ancient Roman history, March was a turning point that marked an irreversible change of fate — let us revel in this month’s latent powers, and seek artistic destinies that motivate and modify our sensibilities!

Nell Brookfield: Humans of course are animals and In the pale moonlight

This month, September Gallery in Kinderhook presents two “overlapping” exhibitions that celebrate female pleasure and play. Humans of course are animals is a solo show of bright, psychological paintings and drawings — with a touch of surrealist magic — by United Kingdom-based Nell Brookfield, while the group show In the pale moonlight includes a range of entertaining works on paper, paintings, fabric works, as well as a video by 10 women artists, that unabashedly revel in fun. Prime examples are Sarah Lee’s “A puppy’s first birthday tea” (2021), a spiritualist-inflected painting depicting the titular scene, and Allyson Mellberg-Taylor’s “We Can All Learn To Be Still” (2024), which features a splayed-out woman with a cat resting on her back as three yellow snails slither around. Taken together, both shows conjure flirtatious visions of frolicking via themes such as self-love, existential pondering, and cheeky adoration among friends and animals. 

September Gallery (september.com)
4 Hudson Street #3, Kinderhook, New York
Through April 7 

Kevin Ford and Daniel Herwitt: you think, you know and Mark Joshua Epstein: Burgers for Breakfast

Gallery owner, curator, and artist champion Ryan Turley is known for his peppy and provocative exhibitions at Turley Gallery in Hudson. Currently on view are a dual exhibition and a small solo that explore three distinct aesthetic approaches to merrymaking. In the main space, you think, you know presents a series of neon-hued cartoony environs by Daniel Hewitt that appear to melt with dystopian entropy into environmental ruin. Paired with Kevin Ford’s hazy, slightly hallucinatory paintings that capture body parts, pets, and objects in states of multicolored dissolution, we are tossed between Herwitt’s caricatures and Ford’s smoky ambiance. In the back room, exquisitely retro works on paper by Mark Joshua Epstein are utterly charming for their nostalgic graphic quality. 

Turley Gallery (turley.gallery)
98 Green Street, Hudson, New York 
Through March 17 

Will Hutnick: SATELLITE

Will Hutnick explores topographies and time through a distinct painterly practice that layers acrylic, wax pastel, colored pencil, and spray paint on canvas. His solo show SATELLITE at Geary Contemporary in Millerton presents a series of works with curious titles such as “Hideaway” (2023) and “Shake the Sheets” (2023). Hutnick describes his work in the press release as “glitch-type spaces” that are inherently queer, and flush with imaginative potential. His larger work “Photopsia” (2024), for example, is a rich layering of abstract shapes, purple hues, and a rugged black and white pattern that appears to magically warp the entire right side of the painting. 

Geary Contemporary (geary.nyc)
34 Main Street, Millerton, New York
Through April 7

Sean Hemmerle: HOOPS

In some places, sports are a form of religion. HOOPS, at Front Room Gallery in Hudson, presents a series of documentary-style color photographs by Sean Hemmerle that extol the mighty power of the basketball backboard and its surrounding court. Hemmermle focuses on the international presence of the American sport, presenting humble and raw visions of courts in locales such as Venice, Shanghai, Paris, Hebron, Beirut, and Baghdad. Although his photos are free of the jostling players and the physical basketball itself, the pounding energy of the sport can be felt in the pulsing voids of these stoic images. 

Front Room Gallery (frontroomles.com)
205 Warren Street, Hudson, New York
Through April 7 

From the Ground UP

American history is fraught with cultural wounds — and contemporary art is filled with those who dig deep within it to tell current and future stories of healing and hope. Jean-Marc Superville Sovak, the current Artist-in-Residence at Ann Street Gallery in Newburgh, activates the exhibition space with a series of installations and events that honor the Black people buried in Newburgh’s “Colored Burial Ground.” Active between approximately 1832 and 1867, the cemetery was built over by a school in 1908. In 2008, renovations to convert the site into a courthouse led to the uncovering and disinterment of the remains of more than 100 individuals that are still awaiting reburial.

Curated by Superville Sovak and Gallery Director Alison McNulty, this evolving exhibition, entitled From the Ground UP, currently includes commissioned works by Lillian Alberti, Michelle Corporan, Stevenson Estime, Donna Francis, Shani Richards, and Edwin Torres. This selection of artworks, along with archeological documentation and more recent records, is a living memorial that has inspired an expressive display of offerings and messages from the community in Newburgh.

Ann Street Gallery (annstreetgallery.org)
104 Ann Street, Newburgh, New York
Through March 31

Adrianna Ault: Levee

Raised in New Orleans and based in the Hudson Valley, photographer Adrianna Ault investigates themes of transformation, anguish, and memory in a series of moody photographs. Her solo exhibition, Levee, at the Center for Photography, has been organized in conjunction with the release of her monograph. In both the book and show, Ault captures an atmospheric sense of existence in the face of oblivion: Haunting visions of lonely landscapes and desolate domestic moments are balanced by colorful and intimate photos of her adolescent daughters in states of repose and play, as documented during a series of road trips from New York to Louisiana. 

The Center for Photography at Woodstock (cpw.org)
474 Broadway, Kingston, New York
Through March 17

Taj Campman: A Hidden Quiet

I love the clever ways in which artists tinker with naming, sometimes resulting in titles that seem antithetical to the appearance of the work. In A Hidden Quiet, Taj Campman does just that. Featuring a series of bold mixed-media artworks on canvas completed during the last five years, Campman’s style is anything but silent. In agitated paintings such as “War” (2022), “Shelter” (2022), and “Monuments” (2024), Campman has organized abstract chaos into lavish compositions that grapple between controlled tension and all-out explosions of chromatic force. 

Distortion Society (distortionsociety.com)
155 Main Street, Beacon, New York
Through April 6

Hudson Valley Artists 2024: Bibliography

The ever-broadening digital sphere now accommodates the onslaught of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology, rendering physical books a relic of our changing society. Curated by Sophie Landres, Hudson Valley Artists 2024: Bibliography celebrates books — and what the website for the show deems the “visualization of non-visual phenomena” — as realms of imaginative play for artists and thinkers alike. Featuring paintings, prints, video, sculpture, sound, installation, and mixed-media works by 13 artists and one artist duo who either live or work in Upstate New York, the loose curatorial baseline for Bibliography lets the medium of the book shine as an ever-giving muse. While some artworks in this exhibition integrate actual books, other artworks suggest that nearby books placed in vitrines act as footnotes to their work. 

The Dorsky Museum of Art at the State University of New York at New Paltz (newpaltz.edu)
1 Hawk Drive, New Paltz, New York
Through April

Meg Webster

Pioneer earth artist Meg Webster takes inspiration from the Minimalist and Land Art movements of the 1960s and ’70s to create sculptures and large-scale installations that praise the power of natural forms. Webster cultivates raw material including soil, sand, salt, and trees, then shapes them into geometric formations and simple monochrome paintings that amplify their essential presence. Active as an environmental artist since the 1980s, Webster debuted her architectonic sculptures at Donald Judd’s Spring Street studio before her inclusion in the 1989 Whitney Biennial. Her works, however, also speak to current ecological concerns in the form of nuclear threats and rising environmental awareness. This long-term exhibition of Webster’s work at Dia Beacon marks her as one of the most important eco-feminist artists of her generation. 

Dia Beacon (diaart.org)
3 Beekman Street, Beacon, New York

Extra/Ordinary, a group exhibition featuring artists from the region whose work expresses both fine art and craft qualities, is presented by Opalka Gallery in Albany in collaboration with The Albany Public Library (Pine Hills Branch). A viewer can encounter works made from a range of materials and techniques that expand upon so-called “domestic” approaches to artmaking, such as braiding, sewing, quilting, embroidery, felting, tufting, and needlepoint tapestry, in common spaces throughout the library. Works such as “Hot Mess 2” (2023) by Kathy Greenwood (a colorful sculpture made of discarded clothing) and “Sail on June” (2022) by Lori Lawrence (a natural scene made of embroidery and paint) highlight the impressive diversity of craft as a creative outlet.

Opalka Gallery and the Albany Public Library (albanypubliclibrary.org)
Pine Hills Branch, 517 Western Avenue, Albany, New York
Through May 11

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