Art is an important act of storytelling and the stories, voices and backgrounds of the Hudson Valley are ones that will not be silenced. Such is the sentiment reflected by the Samuel Dorsky Museum’s choices of two new artworks for their permanent collection purchased through the 12th Annual Hudson Valley Artists Purchase Award Program, funded by Alice and Horace Chandler.
The pieces selected to receive this award are chosen from the annual Hudson Valley Artist Exhibit which invites regional artists to submit work that responds to a specific theme. This year’s theme is “Madness in Vegetables,” chosen and guest-curated by Alyson Baker and Candice Madey.
“Hats off to the curators of this exhibit for including me and also acquiring my work!” said 2019 Purchase Award recipient Libby Paloma, “[It’s] a clear way of including stories and works from people who have largely not been included across the industry. [It’s] a place to start in terms of broader representation.”
Paloma’s piece “Chingona AKA Libby,” 2017 is an assemblage self-portrait that represents the artist “standing firm” in her Mexican American as well as queer identity. Composed of symbolic glass beads, miniature objects and a vernacular photograph of the artist, Paloma’s piece tells the story of the “intersection” of her identities, which she feels are generally underrepresented.
“We need to hear everyone’s story,” Paloma said. “Everyone’s voice is necessary and if you’re moved to honor your culture, we’re listening.”
The Dorsky is certainly listening and dedicated to a future of representation and inclusion within its collection.
“When Wayne Lemka and I were considering candidates for the Purchase Award we were really thinking about works that pushed the permanent collection in ways we want it to go,” said Curator and Exhibitions Manager Anna Conlan. “So having two artists of color was [an] important factor to take into consideration [as well as] the content of their work.”
The content of another 2019 Purchase Award recipient Jean-Marc Superville Sovak’s “A-historical Landscapes” series, 2019 is that of sharing stories that have been silenced through omittance in history. Sovak uses traditional 19th century landscape prints of the Hudson Valley and prints scenes over them from abolitionist literature. It seems incongruous to the piece at first glance, but actually represents what was happening at the time, such as the Fugitive Slave Act.
“Hopefully it encourages a level of scrutiny when you go elsewhere and look at historical markers, monuments or anything really [and ask] what’s missing?” Sovak said.
Both works are currently on display in the Alice and Horace Chandler and North Galleries as a part of the “Madness in Vegetables: Hudson Valley Artists 2019” exhibit until Nov. 10. The pieces will continue to be on display in the Sara Bedrick Gallery from Feb. 8 to July 12, 2020, as a part of the “Collecting Local: Twelve Years of the Hudson Valley Artists Annual Purchase Award” exhibit.
The Dorsky is open Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., excluding holidays.