February 11, 2005 

Gallery crams space for salon exhibition

By Nicole Edwards
Poughkeepsie Journal

If you didn’t catch one or more of the exhibits at LoRiver Arts Gallery in last year, you’ve got a second chance.

Gallery director Kathleen Cooley has fashioned a show that includes art by 20 artists she’s featured at the Beacon space throughout the year.

‘‘A 21st Century Salon,’’ which is open through March 25, mimics the style of the late 19th- and early 20th-century Paris salons. 

LoRiver is almost completely covered from floor to ceiling with large abstract works by artists such as Marko Shuhan, frescos by Rieko Fujinami, photography, figurative paintings and more. Cooley plans to have around 90 items hanging before the opening reception on Saturday.

‘‘I kind of picked the best of all the artists and there are some new works,’’ Cooley said.

The earlier salons would at times take place in huge exhibit halls, she said, and featured work of French as well as American artists. These meetings were typically organized by wealthy women and were said to be career boosters for artists. Invited were dignitaries from the church, politicians and other notable figures.

A look back

Cooley is presenting somewhat of a wrap-up of work by community artists and others before kicking off 2005 with new exhibits. Look for abstract paintings by Susan English in May. June will feature new work by Rieko Fujinami. 
Another Robert Motherwell exhibit will be in October, among others throughout the year.

Jessie Fisher and Scott Seebart, who live in Iowa City, Iowa, were part of LoRiver’s ‘‘Flora/Fauna’’ exhibit last September and are in the current show. 

Seebart’s figurative landscapes focus heavily on color, while Fisher’s animal paintings are oddities, such as a goat with several eyes. The idea stemmed from her undergraduate studies at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis when she began reading about Florentine Renaissance art theory and the grotesque.

‘‘It became the pinnacle for an artist to create 

A visual ideology rather than rendering a likeness... to create a new animal or ideal persona or ideal beauty,’’ Fisher said.

As she talked about her work, the topic of paintings by Ron Cohen surfaced and how the term ‘‘realism’’ becomes tricky when discussing art. Cohen is another exhibiting artist and one of Fisher’s professors at the University of Iowa, where she obtained her graduate degree. Cohen’s work includes human figures and fantasy elements — themes that could actually apply to most of the work in the show, from the images of public baths depicted by Melissa Furness to Emily Orling’s paintings of humans balancing pigs on their feet.

LoRiver is at 530 Main St. in Beacon. Winter hours are noon to 6 p.m. The opening for the salon show will be Saturday from 5 to 9 p.m. All events are free and open to the public. 

Call 845-831-7660 or visit www.loriverarts.com for information.

Nicole Edwards is the arts writer for the Poughkeepsie Journal.

Write her c/o Poughkeepsie Journal, P.O. Box 1231, Poughkeepsie, NY 12602, call (845) 437-4881, or e-mail nedwards@poughkee.gannett.com.