The Dorsky will be challenging the often discussed, seldom examined subject of beauty in its new exhibit, “Hudson Valley Artists 2011: Exercises in Unnecessary Beauty,” until Nov. 13.
The exhibit features pieces by artists living and working in the mid-Hudson Valley and their perceptions of beauty.
“Beauty is a theoretical construct, a know-it-when-you-see-it essence, a goal and a goad, an absolute, a relative and ineffable characteristic, a historical battle zone,” said Curator Brian Wallace, regarding the complexity of the exhibition’s broad subject matter.
One particular installation is called “Picturesque Flora: Wallaceana” by Scott Serrano. The faux-island features plant life that mirrors the tragic lives of figures from the 19th century. Included in this is a cactus inspired by Olive Oatman, a woman known as America’s only white Mohave, surrounded by multiple flowers, named for her lost family members, that shift from white to red, reflecting her multiple backgrounds.
“For some, it sits, seldom used and heavy, yet still lending weight to the whole enterprise.” Wallace said. “For others, it’s like a pair of Vise-Grips — often used, but never acknowledged. For still others, beauty is an indistinguishable unit — both means and finished product.”
The Hudson Valley Artists exhibition series is open to emerging and mid-career artists from Columbia, Dutchess, Greene, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester Counties. There is no application fee.
The Hudson Valley Artists Annual Purchase Award will be used to buy pieces from the exhibition for the Dorsky’s permanent collection for the third year in a row. The $3,000 Purchase Award is made possible through the Alice and Horace Chandler Art Acquisition Fund.07