Richard Freeman announced as featured artist in Saratoga Arts-funded Fulton Montgomery Art Show

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Richard Freeman, a Johnstown painter and mixed media artist, will be the featured artist at the Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts’ 2019 Fulton Montgomery Art Show. His pieces will be displayed alongside work from artists who live and work in Fulton and Montgomery Counties as well as the work of students from the region’s elementary, middle and high schools.

The third annual Fulton Montgomery Art Show, which opens on April 4, was made possible in part due to a Community Arts Grant from Saratoga Arts. The grant supported this show as well as an upcoming project to build a labyrinth on the arts center’s grounds. The show will hang until May 1, with a Meet the Artists Opening Reception and Awards Ceremony on Thursday, April 11, 6-8 p.m. Admission to the reception is free, while regular gallery admission through the rest of the show’s run is $5 or free to members of the Nigra Arts Center, children under 18 and artists who have work in the show.

Richard Freeman is a frequent entrant into the Nigra Arts Center’s exhibitions, having had his work featured in six shows there since 2016. Born in Mount Pleasant, PA, he moved to New York as a small child and attended kindergarten in Fonda. He later went to school in Perth and Johnstown and attended high school in Amsterdam. After his schooling, Freeman worked at the Townhouse restaurant, formerly the Rainbow Restaurant, in Johnstown for more than 22 years. After it closed, he worked at Sam’s Seafood and Steakhouse, then the kitchen at Fulton-Montgomery Community College. Freeman’s work experience has allowed him to cultivate a love for the culinary arts as well as the visual.

Throughout his life, Freeman has loved art and sought opportunities to experience it in different forms and cultivate a personal style. He has devoted much of his free time over the years to exploring different aesthetics and experimenting with new techniques in search of ways to bring new elements into his work. Largely self-taught, Freeman also improved his skills through classes with Lexington’s Creative Expressions program and, more recently, at the Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts.

“I have always loved art,” Freeman said. “It gives me a great sense of satisfaction to see a piece completed. Art helps me relax and forget about the stress of life.”

Freeman uses oil paint for some of his pieces, preferring it over other media for its blending ability and the time it offers him to work through ideas and color combinations. His true focus, though, is in mixed media. His signature style involves using glue on a surface to create texture, then coating the piece in multiple layers of paint for depth. He finishes his pieces by rolling the raised areas with metallic paint to mimic metalwork. The results are unique, industrial-looking, dynamic pieces with a beautiful display of both visual and physical texture.

Freeman’s artwork has been featured in a number of galleries throughout New York, including the prestigious Arkell Museum in Canajoharie, the Sagamore Hotel in Bolton Landing and Northville Public Library. One of his pieces was selected to be featured in the Arkell’s 2017 The Art of New York: Annual Juried Art Show, an exclusive exhibition featuring the work of artists from across New York. Several of Freeman’s pieces have earned awards at exhibitions, including a fourth place award at a 2013 Arc New York show at the Sagamore and an honorable mention at the 2018 Voice! exhibition at the Martin Mullen Gallery at the State University of New York in Oneonta. Freeman has participated for several years in SVAN Art Trails and was a featured artist at Gloversville’s Micropolis gallery in 2012.

Nigra Arts Center announces award recipients for 2018 Fulton Montgomery Art Show

The Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts is proud to announce the award winners for its second annual Fulton Montgomery Art Show and Sale. The show is a recreation of the former Fulton County Art Show that the Congregational Church in Gloversville held for many years. It includes work from artists who live and work in Fulton and Montgomery Counties and a special exhibit of the work of featured artist Rhea Costello, a painter and ceramic artist from Gloversville. The show also features work created by students from Boulevard, Kingsborough and Park Terrace Elementary Schools, Gloversville Middle School, and Canajoharie, Gloversville and Mayfield High Schools.

The public opening reception for the 2018 Fulton Montgomery Art Show was attended by Miss Fulton County Chelsea Cirillo and Miss Montgomery County Sara James, who presented the awards to the winners. Pictured, clockwise from top left, are Melissa Ellis with Sara James; Katelyn Frisch with Sara James; Paul Steenburgh with Chelsea Cirillo; “Avery” by Paul Steenburgh;   “Ceci N’est pas une Pomme” by Katelyn Frisch; and “Sea Salt” by Melissa Ellis.

The public opening reception for the 2018 Fulton Montgomery Art Show was attended by Miss Fulton County Chelsea Cirillo and Miss Montgomery County Sara James, who presented the awards to the winners. Pictured, clockwise from top left, are Melissa Ellis with Sara James; Katelyn Frisch with Sara James; Paul Steenburgh with Chelsea Cirillo; “Avery” by Paul Steenburgh; “Ceci N’est pas une Pomme” by Katelyn Frisch; and “Sea Salt” by Melissa Ellis.

Awards were presented at a public opening reception on Thursday, April 19. The reception was attended by hundreds of artists and members of the community.

Artists who submitted work to the Fulton Montgomery Art Show selected the winners of the Community Artists’ Award from the work submitted by high school students. Katelyn Frisch of Mayfield High School won first place with her oil painting “Ceci N’est pas une Pomme.” Juliana Buyce, a senior at Mayfield High School, won second place with her painting “The Storm.” Louie Hand, a senior at Canajoharie High School, won third place for his drawing “Hands.” The runner up in this category was Naomi Liebers, a freshman at Mayfield High School.

Local artist and former art teacher Kathie W. Raneri sponsored and selected the Kathie W. Raneri Award for 3-D Design, given to a student who shows skillful and creative use of form and space. The winner in this category was the soapstone sculpture “Untitled” by Zoe Spanga Santoro, a senior at Gloversville High School.

Local artist and former art teacher Cindy Sheeler sponsored the Cindy Hood Sheeler Award, given to a student whose 2-D or 3-D work shows vivid, imaginative use of color. The winner in this category was the painting “Is This Love?” by Sierra Luck, a senior at Mayfield High School.

The Traditions Award, given by local artist and former art teacher Kathryn M. Zajicek, was presented to a young artist whose work shows the inspiration, creativity and excellence that best reflect the tradition of this show throughout the years. The winner in this category was the painting “Sea Salt” by Melissa Ellis of Johnstown.

The winners of the Best in Show categories among the community artist exhibition are as follows:

Best in Show – Photography
First Place: “Just Intonation” by Jane Riley
Second Place: “Cattails” by Bob Buck
Third Place: “Predator at Square Falls” by Sandra Peters

Best in Show – Drawing
First Place: “Avery” by Paul Steenburgh
Second Place: “New Years Eve at Fallingwater” by Thomas Armstrong Third Place: “Farm Days” by Lynda Naske

Best in Show – Other Media
First Place: “Mergansers on the Mohawk” by Karen Slezak
Second Place: “Nesting Bird of Paradise” by Kathryn Bartscht
Third Place: “Brown Trout” by Jonathan Swartwout

Other artists featured in the show include Amy Andujar, Jeffrey John Ardizzone, Christine Biche, Linda Biggers, Margaret Bromford, Joshua Brooks, Ross Carangelo, David D’Amore, Richard Joel Davis, Francis Dempsey, Katherine L. Ehle, Melanie Fay, Richard Freeman, Katey Germain, Warren Greene, Dolores Haberek, Deborah Handy, Carol M. Hesselink, Alexandra Higgins, Linda Hinkle, Jack Horning, Michele Johnsen, Nancie Johnson, Carl Jurica, Gail Kessler, Juliet Konieczny, Marion Kratky, Nancy LaPorta, Maria Licciardi, Garlyn MaGinnis, Carrie Moxham, Christian O’Callaghan, Laura Penge Burda, Sarah Ralson, Thelma Senecal, Cindy Sheeler, Sandra Ann Sparks, Beth Spraggs, Julie Takacs, Paul Valovic, Lynne Vokatis and Kevin Wright.

The Fulton Montgomery Art Show and Sale will hang until May 14 at the Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts, 2736 State Highway 30, Gloversville. The majority of the pieces on display are for sale. The public is welcome to view the show throughout its run Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon. The admission fee for the gallery is $5 per person. Members of the Nigra Arts Center and artists who have work in the current show are exempt from the admission fee. For more information, please call (518) 661-9932 or visit www.pncreativeartscenter.org.

Saratoga Arts made this program possible with a Community Arts Grant funded by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Saratoga Arts made this program possible with a Community Arts Grant funded by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

 

 

Rhea Costello announced as featured artist in Fulton Montgomery Art Show

Rhea Haggart Costello, a painter and ceramic artist, will be the featured artist at the Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts’ 2018 Fulton Montgomery Art Show. Her pieces will be displayed alongside work from artists who live and work in Fulton and Montgomery Counties as well as the work of students from the region’s elementary, middle and high schools.

Rhea Costello

Rhea Costello

Originally from New York, Rhea saw her first glimmer of wonder in the glittering Tappan Zee Bridge on the Hudson River, which she could see from her family’s apartment. From there they moved to upper Westchester County, where the backyard was a wonderland of woods and brooks to explore. Art was a constant presence in Rhea’s childhood.

“Mom constantly kept my sister and me busy with projects,” Rhea said. “The focus I had on completing them, done as well as possible, left an impression. In school, we were especially fortunate with the art department’s projects, even in elementary school. I still look back on them with appreciation.”

Rhea moved with her family to northern California in 1970, when she was 13. Her journey as a serious artist started there, as art classes became her sanctuary and she focused on her craft. Rhea credits her upbringing in the open skies of California for inspiring the characteristic and oft-praised depiction of light in her paintings, but also believes that “anywhere an artist travels adds to their mind’s eye of light, color and composition.” In addition to many beautiful places in the United States, Rhea has had the opportunity to visit Italy, Greece, Germany, France and Switzerland.

In 1978, Rhea moved back to New York, to the Adirondack Mountains that have provided a backdrop for so much of her work. She continued perfecting her art while working at other occupations and teaching private art classes. Teaching gave Rhea an avenue for growth in her own work as well as a network of friends who encouraged her to take it further. She took their advice, and in 2001 Adirondack Rustics Gallery became the first to accept a piece of her work. The piece sold within two weeks.

That first sale started a momentum that has carried Rhea through the past 17 years. Work sold quickly to homes across the country, and Rhea worked continuously to produce detailed, “experiential” art on commission. She became involved with Adirondack Experience’s Rustic Furniture Fair, collaborating with woodworkers to embellish their furniture and commissioning them to build unique rustic frames for her paintings. Since 2005, she has been one of five painters juried into the Rustic Furniture Fair, as well as a returning artist in residence.

She was also invited to show work and be an artist in residence at the Lake Placid Lodge. After the original Lodge was lost to fire in 2005 and re-opened in 2008, she worked with John Graham to produce its signature painting and The Cabin Collection. In 2015, Graham invited Rhea to be an artist in residence and instructor at Twin Farms, where she created landscapes of the beautiful Vermont property as well as a special style bowl for Chef Nathan Rich. Other commissions of note include the signature painting Rhea produced for Clear Path for Veterans in 2011 and artwork The Point requested for their 80th Anniversary.

Along with those previously mentioned, Rhea has also exhibited original work and prints at the Adirondack Museum Rustic Furniture Fair, William Coffey Gallery, Adirondack Rustic Expo, Southern Adirondack Art Show, Gold Mountain Gallery, Old Forge Center for the Arts, Adirondack Living Show, Adirondack Art Society Show, Western Design Conference in Cody, Wyoming, and many more galleries and shows. 

Rhea’s landscapes and wildlife oil paintings exemplify the Adirondack Rustic Art genre. Her style combines intricately orchestrated detail with subtle open space to create the movement and silence found in nature. Working in the studio allows Rhea the time for this meticulous work, but she is also an enthusiastic plein air artist. When she paints in nature, her brush flows loosely to capture the essence of the day and place she experienced. 

“I focus on landscapes, wildlife and historical interests,” she said. “I enjoy expressing richly rooted traditions and capturing the movement of trees, depth of details and luminous light.” 

Rhea’s work is her own vision, resulting from the time spent studying the beauty of the outdoors, but it has been compared to the Hudson River School artists. Her paintings are often finished with unique natural-edged frames made by her son, Larry Costello.

The first time Rhea touched clay was in December of 2013. Her incentive for taking pottery lessons was to find a new canvas on which to print original oil paintings, through ceramic decals. She couldn’t find pottery that matched her vision, so she decided to try to make her own.

“At that first class, I felt the overwhelming sensation of my hands opening to a new ability, as well as the discovery of a life-altering gift,” Rhea said. 

In January of 2014, after only three classes, she bought her own wheel and set up a pottery studio in her own home. A kiln followed that February and she began spending every spare moment experimenting and discovering her own unique style. The idea of creating decals faded fast as she developed a look that celebrated the clay’s natural structural beauty.

“Clay has memory,” Rhea said. “It takes on movement of its own. With every step to change its configuration, you get the opportunity to feel what it wants to turn into. Its areas of strength and weakness are enhanced the more you work with it, and this enables it to move as a body. It’s like a dance, feeling the clay move between my hands and allowing it to make the next move.” 

Rhea’s ceramic work combines throwing pottery with carving to create imitations of leather and metal paired with sculptures of animals and elements of nature. She has sold countless mugs, pitchers, pie plates, vases and bowls to buyers around the country, as special gifts and collector’s pieces as well as for simple everyday use.

Rhea’s paintings and pottery together tell their own biography of Rhea’s life. Her history is not only contained in a progression of education and exhibits, but also in the everyday life of immersion in her work and joy of discovering new techniques. Her work reflects hours of hiking with her son and dogs, or staying up late into the night at her easel or sculpting pedestal. The concentration of intricate detail in her work, such as sparkling light shining through leaves, pebbles lying under the flow of a brook and snake-like roots coiling at the base of a tree, speaks as much to Rhea’s lifetime as an artist as it does the grand scale of her subject – the natural beauty that inspires her to devote long hours in the studio in the first place.

The Fulton Montgomery Art Show will run from April 11 to May 14 in the Nigra Arts Center’s gallery at 2736 State Highway 30, Gloversville. The public is invited to an opening reception on Thursday, April 19, 6-8 p.m., to meet Rhea and the other artists and view the works free of charge. After the opening reception, the public is welcome to view the show throughout its run weekdays 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays 9 a.m. to noon, for a $5 admission fee. For more information, visit www.pncreativeartscenter.org or call (518) 661-9932. For more information about Rhea, see www.facebook.com/rheacostelloart or www.paintingsbyrhea.com.