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Elements

Betsy Weis, Mark Safan, Linda Cross and Patrick Jolley and Reynold Reynolds

Reception: Saturday April 29 from 6 to 8pm

April 27, 2006 through June 4, 2006

ELEMENTSAir, Water, Earth and Fire

Curated by Melissa Stafford

April 27 – June 4
Reception: Saturday April 29 from 6 to 8pm



Betsy Weis
Mark Safan
Linda Cross
Patrick Jolley and Reynold Reynolds

Carrie Haddad Gallery is pleased to announce their spring exhibit – ELEMENTS. Work that attempts to capture the essence of the four basic elements, Air, Earth, Water and Fire, through style and free interpretation will be presented by artists Mark Safan, Betsy Weis, Linda Cross, Patrick Jolley and Reynold Reynolds. Their styles range from literal representations to the use of conceptual works. A reception for the artists will be held on Saturday, April 29 from 6 to 8pm.

Many ancient philosophies use a set of archetypal classical elements to explain patterns in nature. The Greek version of these ideas, which dates from pre-Socratic times, persisted throughout the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance, deeply influencing European thought and culture. Although scientific understanding of the elements has grown substantially since the time of the ancient Greeks, the mystical connection between humanity and the elements of nature remain. Even in popular culture the classical elements are often used together thematically in modern fantasy, literature, movies, television shows and even comic books.

The exhibit at Carrie Haddad Gallery continues this connection between the elements and modern mythology with the artistic interpretations of Cross, Reynolds, Jolley, Safan, and Weiss.

The Film, Burn, by Patrick Jolley and Reynold Reynolds and produced by Melissa Cliver, is a stunning evocation of those unspoken, unconfronted some-things, those secrets, worries and lies, forming a force which is always a part of the fabric of everyday interactions; at first niggling at the edges, then - provoked by a word or a gesture - suddenly searing through everything and everyone in its path. Darkly poetic and not without humor, Reynolds and Jolley's captivating collaborations are by turns disturbing, ravishing, absurd; they are infused with a startling, literally elemental presence.

The film is a series of similar domestic sequences in a living room, bedroom, and kitchen, except the rooms are on fire, and then the people catch on fire, too. "The motion of the people is similar to The Drowning Room, in that they're not responding to the fire. They're on fire and the walls are on fire, but they're not reacting to it," says Reynolds. In terms of the stylistic similarities, he notes, "The Drowning Room was slow because it's hard for people to move fast under water. In Burn we shot it all in slow motion." No people were hurt, nor furniture harmed in the production. The set was built out of sheet-rock in the middle of Reynolds's Brooklyn apartment, where the smoke wafted up through a skylight. A thin layer of flammable acetone was sprayed on all the surfaces, which in turn had been fireproofed, so it was only this coating that was burning.

Artists Patrick Jolley (Ireland) and Reynold Reynolds (Canadian/American) have collaborated often since attending school together. Their film/video/photography collaborations include "Seven Days 'til Sunday", "Burn" and "The Drowning Room". Their work has been seen extensively in Europe and at various film fairs in the United States and abroad.

Artist Linda Cross’s work in relief allows her to combine aspects of both painting and sculpture, deliberately creating an ambiguous nature in which the physicality of the sculptural objects is combined with hints of illusionistic painting and shifting viewpoints. This continual interplay between abstraction and verisimilitude reflects both her interest in paint and sculptural complexity and her ever increasing affinity for the land. Although Cross’s work has never depicted specific places, these reliefs seem to be transitioning from geographical imagery to a more personal vision. Dark mounds protruding from the surface combined with bold outcroppings are turned on end in a dizzying perspective, creating a visceral dialogue between illusion and reality. 

Betsy Weis has been refining an abstract language in which the luminous, textural and fluid qualities of nature are described in her work. Using both Painting and Photography as her medium she describes illusive landscapes of water, light and color. Weis strives to convey the feeling of being in, under, looking at water. Water and the light that reflects it, according to Weis, function as a psychological allegory for sleep where the unconscious is immersed in a world of its own invention. Her abstractions in sepia tones and luscious gradations of black and white are deeply ingrained in the romantic tradition of 19th Century paintings of J.M.W. Turner and George Inness. However, freed from the depiction of the empirical world, these symbolic translations of water provide a metaphor in nature that penetrates beneath the material surface of things and extracts a spiritual essence.

Mark Safan’s skyscape paintings are intimate and ephemeral. Enshrined in and under, among and around any number of strata, reality and dream mingle, frequently culminating in constellations reminiscent of clouds. And where do the clouds come from in Safan’s paintings? In the artist’s own words it’s simple: The only way in which the mind can escape in Manhattan is upward. Safan’s combination of found cardboard and conventional oil painting is a technique developed after he moved to New York City where there was a true abundance of the material littering the SoHo sidewalks. Tied up in bundles or saturated with rain, it was as natural to the city as trees to the forest from which it came. Cardboard married to canvas gives way to cumulus, stratus and other cloud formations of the dreamiest quality. 

Carrie Haddad Gallery is located at 622 Warren Street in Hudson, New York. Gallery hours are Thursday through Monday from 11am to 5pm. For more information please call 518.828.1915 or visit the gallery online at www.carriehaddadgallery.com


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