The Dorsky will be springing into this semester head-on with their newest exhibition “Mary Reid Kelley: Working Objects and Videos.” A multimedia mixture of painting, film, history and theatrical performance, the exhibition opened on Wednesday, Jan. 22 and will run until Sunday, April 13.
“We were interested in showing Mary Reid Kelley and her husband, Patrick Kelley’s work because they’re extraordinary artists who are just beginning to receive acclaim for their work,” Sara Pasti, Neil Trager Director at The Dorsky, said. “It encompasses so many different disciplines. The narrative is intellectually interesting, funny, serious and sensitive and it covers a lot of different emotions. It’s very rich in what it offers to the viewer.”
Mary Reid Kelley and her husband collaborated on the exhibition, using everyday and found objects, as per the exhibition’s name, painted them black and white and used them as props for their videos.
The videos reenacted historical events or time periods from a different lens than most commonly viewed, be it feminist, comedic or with a contemporary twist.
Exhibition curator Daniel Belasco brought this exhibition to New Paltz because he said it would be interesting for a Hudson Valley-based artist to gain recognition in her own area.
Being that this is the first time the props used in Mary and Patrick’s videos will be on display, Belasco said the exhibition will be of particular interest to students because it shows the artists’ creative process.
He said although The Dorsky has shown many multimedia exhibitions before, this one might be a different take on an average Dorsky exhibition and will be something film and art students will appreciate.
“The museum has a strong program of showing contemporary art that’s significant,” Belasco said. “Mary’s work has rich content that relates to history and gender studies, literature and theater, so it would be of interest to a wide variety of students. It’s as much an intellectual literary experience as it is a visually aesthetic experience.”
The exhibition will also be on display at the University at Albany Art Museum on the SUNY Albany campus beginning this July.
Representatives from Albany had been interested in Mary and Patrick’s work for a while and took up the opportunity to exhibit it with Belasco as the curator after hearing about New Paltz’s involvement in it.
Curator and Associate Director of the University at Albany Art Museum, Corinna Ripps, interviewed both artists about their work and said she loved talking with them because it showed her how immersed they are in their work. She said they incorporate their family into their videos and are “real role models to students and curators to have that level of dedication to their vision.”
Because of the different nature of the museum space at Albany, the exhibition will have a different feel when it is shown on the Albany campus, Ripps said.
“Mary’s work is compelling and multi-layered and it’s magical no matter where it is but we have an open space,” Ripps said. “It’s almost theatrical when you come into the space, you see everything at once. It’s like a stage and that’s one of the things we’ll be working on. We’ll kind of use our space to create an exciting and dramatic backdrop in Mary’s videos.”
Ripps is currently working on compiling a catalogue about “Working Objects and Videos,” which will include her interview with Mary and Patrick, an essay by Belasco and basic information on the nature of the exhibition. It will be released while the show is still open in The Dorsky.
“The exhibition brings an appreciation of history and contemporary art,” Pasti said. “It includes a heightened sense of the past to bring awareness to the future. I have not appreciated Sophocles until I saw her videos.”