“Ridge & Tower” Opens at Roost Studios

The money generated from the “Ridge & Tower” exhibit will be cycled back into the community via funding the Lenape Elementary School Amphitheatre project, as well as extras to ensure the theatre’s safety and overall design.

Coming off the heels of “CelebrateWomxn845,” the Roost Studios at New Paltz has been hosting a new exhibit titled “Ridge & Tower.” 

In partnership with the New Paltz Arts in Schools Association (NPASA), the exhibit was curated by Roost Studios founder Marcy Bernstein and Roost Studios artists Matthew Maley and Susan Slotnick. Roost artist Lauree Feldman also assisted in the creation of the exhibit by being the primary hanger for the exhibit. 

The exhibit showcased artwork inspired by the Smiley Tower on the Shawangunk Ridge, the Ridge itself as well as the natural beauty of the Mohonk Preserve. The artwork was created by both local and Roost Studio artists. The exhibit opened on Feb. 7 and will be closing on March 3. The art pieces featured in the gallery are all on sale.

The idea for the exhibit began in August when Jennifer Voorhis, co-chair of NPASA, approached the Roost, having been inspired by the “Shark in Park” project in Chatham, Massachusetts, located in Cape Cod. Local artists in Chatham created artwork on wooden panels shaped like sharks and the proceeds were cycled back into the community. 

“I had been holding on to an image created by our elementary school students for their yearbook cover: a view of the ridge made with recycled bottle caps. This piece of art is sensational and I wanted to share it and wondered if it would be marketable,” Voorhis explained. “When I saw the exhibit on the Cape, I found the market. The Roost was excited to collaborate and the initial plan was to connect artists to us and help us manage the show and exhibition. However, they took it in a different direction and it became what you see today.”

Indeed, money generated by the event will be put back into community through funding the New Paltz Amphitheater project at Lenape Elementary School. According to the project’s website, the proposed amphitheater will be a “multi-tiered, semi-circular structure [and] will be surrounded by stonework and natural landscaping. It’s been designed to work for smaller groups as well as serving its full 500-person capacity and will feature a portable, storable bandshell.” 

Money will not only go to the construction of the amphitheater but also to funding extras after the theater’s completion.

While Bernstein and Slotnick co-curated the exhibit, Maley was heavily involved in the creation of the exhibit. 

“I was a co-curator, I was a liaison between the artists and [the] Roost. Marcy asked me to take more of a leadership role in this just because I had experience with both camps,” Maley said. “But again, it’s really a collaborative effort, which is fantastic.”

The exhibit generally consists of paintings inspired by the Ridge and tower on literal and symbolic levels. “Mosaic” and “Mohonk Majesty” by Rosalind Bank are small pastel paintings of the Ridge, “Boulder of the Gods” by Doug Ferguson is a bright oil painting of an outcrop of rocks in the Shawangunks. “The Ridge: An Autumn Sunset” is an acrylic and paper painting of the Ridge during an autumn sunset, with the paper giving the piece an off-kilter layering effect. “New Beginnings” is one of the most abstract pieces in the gallery, with the landscape of the piece representing different stages of one’s emotions.

Photos are also featured at the exhibit, printed in a wide variety of mediums, such as on metal or canvas. Photographer Bill Winter printed “Cold Moon Fairy Tale” and “Winter Haiku” on metal; both are photographs of the Smiley Tower being eclipsed by the moon on two seperate nights. “Route 44/55 Rorschach” by Jeff Goldman is a black and white aerial shot of a sharp turn on US 44 and NY 55 in the Shawangunks digitally edited to look like a Rorschach inkblot test. 

Finally, there is artwork that does not fit into these categories. “The Skytop Tower” by Surelle Cutler is a hybrid piece of stone chips shaped like the Smiley Tower and a painted acrylic background. “Ridge View” by Kaitlyn Niznik is an intricately cut paper and foam view of the Ridge and Tower and Maley’s pieces, “Sentimental” and “Cloud Break,” which are acrylic renderings of the Smiley Tower during winter and spring on barnwood.

Bernstein hopes that New Paltz becomes more in touch with the artistic community, as well as making themselves more open to the artists of the Hudson Valley. 

“I hope that they become more aware of how many incredible artists are in our midst,” Bernstein said. “Lots of people are making art but they don’t really know where it can be shown or they don’t put the effort into really looking for galleries. So to have something right here that puts out a call for art on a particular theme… just so many people have been showing up.”

The Roost’s next exhibit will be “Figures, Portraits and Local Places” by Martin Davis, and its opening reception will be hosted on March 9 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The exhibit will open on March 7 and end on March 31. The Roost will also be offering scholarships for art students within the next few weeks. Check online at https://www.roostcoop.org for more details. Pieces that are not sold while the exhibit is open will be sold online through “Bidding For Good” in the late spring, as well as other pieces that NPASA has acquired.