'After the Storm' to open at SUNY Cobleskill 

SUNY Cobleskill will host an opening reception for “After the Storm,” an exhibit of original works created by local artist Kristen DeFontes, at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 3, in Grosvenor Art Gallery.

Inspired by the impact of Hurricane Irene, the exhibit features mixed media assemblage sculptures and prints.

Through relief sculpture created from construction debris, stone, natural wood slabs and elements of cast bronze, a media release said DeFontes explores the dimensional interplay between physical weight, depth and structure. According to the release, DeFontes cites flooding caused by Hurricane Irene and its impact on her family in the area as pivotal to the evolution of her work and the conceptualization of “After the Storm.” 

“My (exhibit) encompasses the work I have been making over the past four years and the expansion of my practice to sculpture,”  DeFontes said in the release. “Grosvenor Gallery provides ample space to connect with the (communities) of this region and beyond. As an educator, I am excited to exhibit my work at a campus rooted in its community so that students can interact and visit the show at their convenience.”

Individual works included in the exhibit range in scale from 7-by-21 inches, to 78 inches in width; they consist of materials discarded during the reconstruction of DeFontes’ home and from rough-cut tree slabs and other organic materials.

Associate Professor and Grosvenor Art Gallery Director Kayla Cady Vaughn is organizing the exhibit in collaboration with the Institute for Rural Vitality’s Center for Arts and Culture and DeFontes.

“She is able to poignantly capture the destructive power of nature and juxtapose it with the quiet process of rebuilding — a life, a home and community — forever transformed and reassembled into something new and beautiful,”  Vaughn said in the release. “Hurricane Irene certainly resonates with members of our community to this day, and I am confident the juxtaposition present within this exhibit is something those in this region can connect with.”

Members of the public are invited to attend the opening, which is free. Free on-campus parking is available. Light refreshments will be served, and a cash bar will serve drinks to those age 21 and older. Those unable to attend the opening are encouraged to tour the gallery from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, as part of SUNY Cobleskill’s annual Homecoming & Family Weekend celebration. For more information, contact Vaughn at 518-255-5355, or vaughnkc@cobleskill.edu

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