On the Bright Side: Utica gallery to feature work of Hartwick artists

Richard WalkerA 1,000-square-foot chalk drawing by Hartwick College assistant professor of art Richard Barlow is shown at Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute in Utica in this undated photo. The drawing is part of an exhibit called “Elemental: The 64th Exhibition of Central New York Artists.”

The artwork of two Hartwick College professors will be featured this weekend in separate exhibits at Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute in Utica, officials said Thursday.

On Saturday, art professor and sculptor-in-residence Terry Slade will see his exhibit, “Dreams and Apparitions,” open at 5 p.m. at the Institute’s Edward Wales Root Sculpture Court.

The same day, a reception will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. for assistant professor of art Richard Barlow, who is one of eight artists featured in “Elemental: The 64th Exhibition of Central New York Artists.”

“Elemental," which opened Feb. 27 and runs through May 1, showcases the work of eight Central New York artists whose expression is of or about earth, fire, water and air. Barlow’s contribution is a 1,000-square-foot site-specific wall drawing made with white chalk on blackboard paint. The piece covers all four walls of a gallery, Barlow said.

"It feels fantastic to have my art displayed at this jewel of a museum," Barlow told The Daily Star on Thursday. "I moved to this area 2½ years ago, so I'm happy to have found good opportunities in the area."

Barlow said the massive drawing is based on photos he took of what remains of a small group of trees near where he grew up in Harlow, a town in Essex, England. Barlow, who moved to America with his family in 1977, recently revisited the spot, where he used to play and spend his days, and at least half of the trees had been cut down, he said. His drawing attempts to reconstruct his memories of the site by suggesting that the viewer is surrounded by the trees, still standing tall and in their glory.

It took Barlow more than 100 hours to complete the drawing, which will eventually be erased, he said.

"It is temporary," Barlow said. "And if people brush up against it, they could damage it. There are already a couple of hand smears. Its ephemeral nature creates a profound experience, and kind of echoes having to let things go." Barlow said he will make sure the piece is well-documented with photographs.

Slade’s installation, “Mantra for the Survival of the Earth,” is a large collection of 365 brightly colored fused-glass concentric circles, hung from the ceiling of the Sculpture Court to resemble Earth. Each circle is intended to induce contemplation and transformation of the senses, Slade said.

For more than 20 years, Slade has researched and documented ancient monuments, stone circles and burial chambers throughout the British Isles and Brittany in northwestern France, according to Hartwick officials. His interest in pre-history has resulted in many drawings titled "memories of history,” as well as numerous sculptures in cast bronze and installations in wood and mixed media inspired by his research trips.

Slade is also interested in traditional sculptural materials, and his work has included the use of found objects, wood, paper, stone, bronze and glass. He produces works ranging in size from small objects to large indoor and outdoor installations.

“Dreams and Apparitions” will run through Oct. 16. On May 6, Slade will present a discussion of his work at noon at the Institute.

"The exhibit is meant to evoke contemplation of our place as humans in the universe," Slade said, "and just how fragile that place is."

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• More local arts news. Page 8

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