Women's Exhibit, 5/6 to 6/17/ 2023 *Upcoming Show
Come explore a Torrent of Flor as expressed by eight talented women artists at our first-ever Women’s Artist Exhibition.
The exhibit features artists:
Join us on Saturday, May 6, for the Opening Reception, 2 – 4PM. Free and Open to the public.
Meet the artists, view their works and enjoy the brilliance of spring from each artist’s perspective – from the first buds to the explosion of color in all different artistic mediums.
Robert Coppen Exhibit 3/25 to 4/29/2023
The Mohawk Valley Center for the Arts invites you to explore beautiful landscapes by Robert Coppen at 401 Gallery in Little Falls, NY. Coppen lives in central New York and is a self-taught artist who started at a very early age. His first work of art was drawing on his crib sheet with a ball point pen when he was between one and two years old. Today he has a incredible portfolio of work.
Coppen latter became a regionalist landscape painter. “What I am trying to do with my work, regardless as to the medium used, is make the ordinary look extraordinary. The medium is the message, the land is.” Meet the artist, view his work and share his amazing artistic journey.
John van Orsouw ‘Can You See the Music’ 8/13/2022
by Carly Proulx
I’ve no doubt that had my preteen self lived in Little Falls, NY, back in 97’and came across the work of artist John van Orsouw, it would have fashioned itself the forerunner in my mind’s category of “cool.” That was the year MVCA hosted Orsouw’s first big show, and that was just the beginning of his sojourn into the art world.
On August 13, MVCA is once again honored to present the work of the self-taught painter and native of Southern Netherlands. Less than a fraction of Orsouw’s wall-to-wall, current work will fill the gallery, transforming the MVCA into a night out on the town and transporting attendees to an older era, one reminiscent of 125th St. in NY or the French Quarter of the “Big Easy,” in New Orleans, LA. The show titled “Can you see the music?”, is a collection of wildly electrifying paintings and sculptures that will show you everything you or your Gen-X kids missed out on. If Orsouw’s art wasn’t such a party, it might run the risk of invoking that old-time film nostalgia.
Like any good artist, Orsouw draws his influences from the world around him and his own life experiences rich in culture, scattered with colorful characters, creatures, objects, and places. His hometown is ‘s-Hertogenbosch in Holland, but Orsouw has lived in both NYC and New Orleans. He offered up, “I don’t have the patience for oils,” reasoning his use of acrylics only. Orsouw’s work is uninhibited and often a tribute to the Jazz Age, a reflection of his love of the music that came out of that era. Whether it’s a lyric, a recipe, a tune, or a band, this work is for the living, those that choose to celebrate life and capture that roaring feeling of an endless night. If you were one of many a kid who had to hide your 1960’s B.B. King’s “Live & Well” or Rolling Stones’s “Let It Bleed” record from your parents, those folks convinced rock & roll was the devil’s music, Orsouw’s outright fun, and most unflinching art could very well activate that sneaky thrill of youth.
In the early eighties, Orsouw took over an existing bar restaurant in Canajoharie, NY, called Ernie’s. After meeting John, I wasn’t the least bit surprised to learn from some old-time locals that Ernie’s was a melting pot of people, a “go-to” place for all kinds of folks. Orsouw confessed, “I loved to cook, and at the time, I couldn’t afford to buy nice art to put on the walls. So I painted a nice scene or two to hang up, to give the place some color.” Setting the trajectory for days and nights spent in his studio, month after month of loading his van flush with paintings, John would hit the road for show after show, staking his claim in the art world here in America as well as in Europe. Orsouw uses cardboard, old wood, tin, and just about anything he can get his hands on that he deems fit for a canvas.
Orsouw has been creating and selling his art for 25 years. His more recent exhibitions are the Outsider Art Fair in New York and Paris, the 6th Annual Outsider Art Exhibition at Galerie Belage in West Hampton Beach, New York, Musee de la Creation France, and van der Plas Gallery in New York City. Hardworking and humble, Orsouw is more comfortable referring to himself as a doodler than an artist. To me, Orsouw is the purest kind of artist, one of those rare art world gems. Unapologetic, spontaneous, imaginative, and in that twinkle-eyed child-like way, Orsouw is still discovering, still marveling at the world.
In Nov. 2019, he was the featured artist in Outside Art Magazine. Outsider Art, a term created in the 40s, coined in the 70s, but not yet celebrated until the 90s, is used to describe art made by self-taught artists, typically with little to no contact with the conventional art world. Orsouw derives a lot of his inspiration from children’s toys, folk & indigenous art forms, and the European avant-garde movement known as CoBrA (an acronym for Copenhagen, Brussels, and Amsterdam). His art is song and dance, its syncopated rhythms, its history, its story-telling, its poetry, and it’s wildly energetic. Orsouw’s paintings are always ready to sing if your eyes are willing to listen.
Step into a mini-color emporium, both smooth and raucous, mellow and ear-splitting, and let the music take you. The more you look, the louder it gets until the line between the art forms of music and painting are entirely blurred. From a statement in the spring of 97’ entitled “A Considered Response to a Spontaneous Art” by the late local artist Forbes Whiteside and friend of Orsouw, “Ask yourself, after absorbing and processing the visual cues, “What do I make of it?”
Edwin Falk Exhibit 6/16 to 7/28/2022
LITTLE FALLS — Edwin Falk has been creating art for more than 40 years. You can see his work on display at the Mohawk Valley Center for the Arts, beginning Thursday, June 16.
Falk is a self-described “dabbler in everything” which is plainly evident if you’ve ever visited his homestead where you will find various works adorning his acreage – from whimsical and functional yard art to octagonal structures of recycled materials to energy power systems that operate shop and home to organic gardens and orchards.
Discarded scrap steel appeals to him in a creative way. Once seen, a piece may take a year, perhaps waiting for that certain item to come along to finish the personality of the sculpture. He professes the 3 R’s – recycled, renewable and rusty.
Falk has participated in many art exhibits in the North Country over the past 30 years and has received several prizes and awards for his works.
Falk’s opening at the Mohawk Valley Center for the Arts coincides with the Art Walk in Little Falls. He will be at the gallery at 5:30 p.m. for the Artist’s Talk.
John Fitzsimmons “Current Circumstances” 3/26 to 4/29/2022
by Carly Proulx
On Saturday, March 26th MVCA’s new director, Mary Ellen McGillan introduced the work of John Fitzsimmons, a Syracuse-based artist who has been painting and showing his work worldwide for over twenty years. The show consisted of 12 figurative oil paintings and 9 etchings, a body of work that filled the room with bright light and dark shadows, a range of restless tones, and a variety of colors from vibrant yellow-greens to marigold, from deep reds to flesh tones.
Growing up in Upstate New York, John Fitzsimmons developed a fondness for “the hard, low winter light and heavy massed forms over which light has to fight its way around.” This affection becomes evident when one stands in the gallery with his paintings. Fitzsimmons’s technique of incising and cross-hatching to model forms results in quite the iconic effect. Modifying edges and adding detail as he goes, Fitzsimmons leaves behind a body of work that is cohesive on both a technical and aesthetic level, yet with each painting in demand of its own reverence. “When I’m working on a painting, so much of the time spent involves reduction, simplifying form and color until the painting starts to feel right. Sometimes these paintings take a very long time, sometimes months.”
The canvases are life-size compositions where we see Fitzsimmons’ interest fluctuate between painting the individual figure and groups of figures. One eye-catching panoramic view is a painting of multiple figures of the same woman, all loosely wrapped in red drapery standing barefoot in the grass. Equally striking is the tonal antithesis where two standing figures of the same model, cloaked in red, cast a warm light amid the dark. The most peaceful painting, a nude horizontal of a blonde woman lying on her side hangs on the back wall. Peaceful perhaps, but still tension hides behind her eyelids as if to convey that even in sleep this woman’s work wasn’t nearly done. Another woman stands outside next to a tree, their shadows talking among themselves. The woman’s gaze is sloping downward, the window of her eye’s expression closed. Conversely, the viewer is stopped in their tracks after meeting two green eyes peering out from a red cloak. A dark-haired woman, nestled within a gray background in the painting titled “Then and Never” is most captivating, but what’s behind this woman’s gaze remains a mystery.
Ambiguity is a big part of the theme. The excavation of both the action of the artist when creating the work, and the onlooker’s search for meaning is perhaps one and the same journey. “When I am painting, I am digging, looking for a kernel, a seed, an essence that is there; I just need to find it.” What’s left after the digging is done isn’t any one thing. It is left open for interpretation.
Fitzsimmons offers us a different perspective with his etchings. Inky and unlit these prints are seductive in a different way, the mood rendered being more somber. Fitzsimmons’ emotional state when creating his work might be subconscious, a way of transcending this world’s over-analytical plight, but fortunately for the viewer, the end result isn’t quite as subtle. He informs that his art is “unspeakable,” or rather that these images are more about “what’s not being said.”
What little description Fitzsimmons describes to his work is most accurately portrayed in the two side-by-side vertical paintings of a buxom red-haired woman. He says many of his works are about a “conflicted dual nature, arguments with himself, right brain vs left brain, ideals vs pragmatism.” On the right, she appears lost in thought and her hand is on her heart. Is she about to surrender? And on the left her gaze is forward, her footing firm. Is she empowered?
This show pokes and prods at the structures of our emotional life, reminding us what it is to be here, to feel things we don’t always have a name for or a personal connection to; to scratch, sometimes uncomfortably so beyond the surface to reveal that something unknown, that great big mystery that links us to one another, and to keep making that discovery. See this work and let yourself feel whatever it is you will feel, unspeakable or not.
401-403 Canal Place
Little Falls NY 13365
Thursday – Saturday: 12 pm – 4 pm
Sunday – Wednesday: Closed
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