TimeOpen daily through November 10am to 6pm, text 315-941-9607 or call 607-547-5327 for viewing appointment
Legacy Artists: Figures, Plus
Outsider Art “Haints,” Ghouls & More at the Art Garage Opens Friday Cooperstown, NY—The Art Garage will open a new show, Legacy Artists: Figures Plus, Friday October 23 with scheduled visits on Opening Day, 3:00PM-5:30PM. In step with the season, the exhibition and sale includes a witch, ghosts, goblins and even folks in coffins.
Legacy Artists: Figures Plus features figurative art from the estates of Alice Hudson (1922-2013) and Lavern Kelley (1928-1998), both native New Yorkers. Hudson created figures from scraps of fabric and Kelley from carved and painted pine. The show also features Mississippi self-taught artist Sulton Rogers (1922-2003), whose Southern heritage inspires his “haint” carvings. All three artists’ works are found in various museums either coast-to-coast or throughout the South. The Kelley portion introduces several NEW Kelley discoveries from Texas (!): two female figures carved in 1993, a woman on horseback and a photo with Kelley’s unmistakable handwritten text. The “Plus” part of the show features two artists “who are still very much alive and working away!” noted Sydney Waller of the Art Garage: Tracy Helgeson, luminous paintings, and Louis Sherry, colorful “birdhouse” sculptures.
Visitors may contact the gallery for a 15-minute viewing slot for their pod on Opening Day. Otherwise they are welcome to stop by and maybe wait a few minutes until the gallery is clear. They can always enjoy the two art-filled open bays while waiting.
The show will be open daily, 10am- 6pm though November with a text or phone call. “If we re in, we’ll come out!” Waller noted. The usual covid-cautious guidelines apply. There is ample parking on gallery lawns. The art is mostly installed in the enclosed Main Gallery. Selected pieces by Kelley and Sherry inhabit the other two airier, more open bays. Images at Facebook/ArtGarageCooperstown To contact the Art Garage for a Preview or to make a 15-minute appointment for Opening Day, Friday October 23, text 315-941-9607 or call 607-547-5327.
More Information About the Artists:
Alice Hudson (1922-2013) grew up near Buffalo NY. She studied at SUNY Buffalo to be an art teacher. After marrying she moved to Long Island to raise her daughter, Elizabeth, and taught at various venues such as The Museums of Stony Brook. On Long Island Hudson developed her signature quirky and enchanting aesthetic, creating tiny textile figures, using found objects, wire and bits of cloth. Ms Hudson exhibited her work in galleries including Gallery North. Also while on L.I., she created two elaborate sculptures teeming with figures, The Cultural Center with the Mysterious Locked Room and A Palace for Wednesday, both for the Museum of the City of New York. Later the Mingei Museum, San Diego, purchased A Palace for Wednesday and remains one of their most popular pieces. Recently the Mingei Museum also bought The Procession, another major Hudson piece. Her whole life she worked obsessively – her daughter, Elizabeth Bronson, said she had “CCD – Compulsive Creative Disorder!” Hudson moved to Norwich, NY to be near family and lived Upstate for the last happy decades of her life. The Chenango County Historical Association, Norwich, NY is organizing a major solo exhibition to open in 2021, that will encompass Hudson materials from the NYS Archives and rarely seen bodies of work including her puppets. The Chenango County Arts Council exhibited Procession in the late 1980s, a large installation of colorful clusters of parading pods, in their newly renovated visual arts gallery. She exhibited extensively at Gallery 53 Artworks, and more recently, the Art Garage presents her work regularly, including in the 2015 solo show, Tiny Worlds. The Mingei International Museum, San Diego, CA, owns her major works that teem with multiple figures. Ms Hudson’s work is in numerous private and public collections including The Museum of the City of New York and the Louvre. The Art Garage, Cooperstown, NY represents her estate.
Lavern Kelley (1928-1998) lived and worked in Otsego County on a family farm at Kelley Corners. He is arguably Otsego County’s most famous artist. Kelley began carving at age 7 when he was given a pocketknife at the hospital where he was convalescing from an appendectomy. The present became his lifelong tool of choice. His father did not approve of art-making since they had a big farm to run, with all kinds of animals and various crops. However, as children they still wanted to play, and created crude toys for their toy farms. Kelly’s carvings of trucks grew to become so technically accomplished that by 1998 they appeared to be perfectly scales metal models. When young Mr. Kelley also made two-sided drawings on long winter nights after chores, through the early 1950s. Mastering yet another art discipline, in the mid-1950s he began to photograph his finished work in carefully staged photographs composed outdoors and that made the trucks look ‘real’. His photographs are now as collected as his other work. During the last 12 years of his life Kelley became something of a sensation in the folk art world. The State Council on the Arts recognized him as a Master Folk Artist and awarded him several grants. He gave demonstrations locally as well as in New York (New York-Historical Society) and Santa Fe. His work has been featured in The New York Times, Art and Auction and Kaatskill Life. Many private and public collections own his work, including The Smithsonian, The Museum of International Folk Art, Santa Fe, Fenimore Art Museum and the National Baseball Hall of Fame Museum, which owns his ner-do-well ball team, The Tinkerville Tomcats. The Art Garage in Cooperstown represents his estate. His work was most recently displayed at the Catskill Arts Society, Livingston Manor, 2016 and Hanford Mills Museum in East Meredith, in the Catskills Folk Connection show, Folk Art in Wood, 2020. Sulton (sic) Rogers (1922-2003) left his home in Mississippi to settle near Syracuse NY where he worked the night shift in a chemical plant. He returned to the South towards the end of his life, when he enjoyed widespread recognition as an accomplished vernacular outsider artist. His work is now in numerous museum collections including the African American Art Museum, Dallas, TX, American Visionary Art Museum, Baltimore, MD, the Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson, MS, the High Museum, Atlanta, GA, and the University Art Museum, Lafayette, Louisiana. Locally the Art Garage offers a representative selection of his work. Rogers learned how to whittle by observing his father and evolved into an accomplished master carver with his own unique and flowing aesthetic that included wood-burned touches and paint on layered wood. Rogers was especially proud that his smart and impeccably dressed carved figures always stood straight and firm, despite incongruous protuberances that could easily have knocked them off balance. The wild imagery his work often presents came from “things in my mind I want to do,” he noted in a written interview. Accomplished and prolific, he enjoyed carving vampires, “haints” and gorgeous people, beautifully detailed and meticulously decked out — in coffins. “That is when people look their best!” he explained to curator, Sydney Waller, on her Syracuse studio visit in the late 1980s. On the practical level, he also discovered that his more ghoulish subjects stopped his fellow-workers from stealing his work when he was on his rounds – otherwise, he noted, “if it was anything else, they’d take it. ” He exhibited work regularly at the legendary Gallery 53 Artworks, and now at the Art Garage. Paul D ‘ Ambrosio, then Chief Curator at Fenimore Art Museum and an expert in folk arty, made the critical introduction. ###