Meet the Artists in Faces & Facades

Group exhibition
On view June 11 – July 23, 2016
Greene County Council on the Arts
398 Main Street, Catskill NY
(518) 943-3400


Scott Michael Ackerman
Scott Michael Ackerman is a self-taught artist living and working in Kingston, NY at his new studio known as ‘The Church’. For the last 15 years, Scott has shown his artwork extensively throughout the Hudson Valley and New York State, in addition to numerous shows across the country. His paintings have also been exhibited internationally with shows in both Germany and Holland.

Bright demons, playful poetry, and the wild nature of humankind are frankly expressed on Ackerman’s canvases of old wood, glass windows, and large found doors. A self-taught “outsider” artist, his paintings are celebrated for being honest and relatable as well as colorful and aesthetically pleasing. Although he continues to develop as an artist, he still delivers the spiritual and emotional impact his early work is known and loved for.

Living in Kingston at his newfound ‘Church’ space has only had a positive impact on his creative spirit. He asserts that working in a large and beautiful space, gardening, his three cats, and his gal are what inspire him to paint.

Joel Artista
World-renowned muralist Joel Artista transforms plain walls into not just works of art, but also social works primarily in acrylic and aerosol to create elaborate paintings and public murals that explore social topics and reflect a wide array of artistic influences. He has facilitated community mural projects in Syrian refugee camps, juvenile detention centers in the U.S. and shantytowns in Kenya, India and Brazil; worked with street children, people with mental and physical disabilities, refugees fleeing from conflict, as well as with Palestinian and Israeli youth in Jerusalem. His images are as powerful and moving as the story behind their creation.

William Barnds
Born in Staten Island, NY in 1950 when the island was mostly farmland, William recalls the great road builder Robert Moses paving the way for families like his to explore the Tri State area. Eventually landing in Brooklyn NY, William attended Fort Hamilton High School where his art teacher Mr. MacHower encouraged his art exploration and artist development.

Most days William would take his lunch money and hop the subway over to Manhattan Island where his passion for art was nurtured through visits to The Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Natural History and the Planetarium. William would spend days at the 42nd Street library looking up artists and studying different genres of art.

As a self-taught artist William has been able to paint freely with no preconceived notions of what is in vogue. When asked about his work, William replied “I love pushing paint on canvas!” His love for painting has landed him shows from East Hampton, NY to the Hudson Valley in NY. William currently resides in Catskill, NY where he works part time at the Greene County Council of the Arts.

Lucy Blaire
After receiving her BFA in Photography from the Art Institute of Boston, Lucy Blaire began working as a seamstress in a custom drapery workroom which eventually lead to her current career in the world of pattern design and craft writing. You can find her work in the pages of sewing books and magazines, in her appearances on PBS’s Sew It All TV, her series of online classes for Craft Daily, and through her line of easy to follow children’s sewing patterns. When not whipping things up in the studio Lucy spends her time with her husband and daughter in Catskill, NY.

Fabric and thread first started to creep into Lucy Blaire’s work while she was still in college studying photography. At first it was exposing images on light sensitive fabric, then embroidering right on top of photographic prints, but over the years fabric and thread have taken the place of paper and silver all together. Now the finished picture, processed in thread on a substrate of fabric, isn’t to be seen as a separate entity to her photograph but instead an alternative way of printing. It represents a different and more tactile way of interpreting the image where you can see both the subject and the hand of the photographer.

Jackie Branson
Sculptor Jackie Branson’s work is autobiographical in nature. Using imagery and materials that explore identity and appearances, she is particularly interested in understanding the idea of armor and examining what it is protecting, often considering themes of self, identity, domesticity and insecurities. Drawing from her Armenian heritage, she often mixes rugs, a symbol of Armenian culture, with saw blades and electronic parts, which represent her present surroundings. The way she combines these materials creates certain patterns, styles and colors reminiscent of an oriental rug, but in a way that transforms their traditional masculine and feminine characteristics.

Maxine Davidowitz
Maxine Davidowitz had a career as a creative director for consumer magazines spanning over 30 years, but in 2008 she stepped away from full time creative direction to focus on her first love – painting.
Her recent work focuses on a slightly hallucinatory view of the natural world, and a loose, painterly approach to mark-making. The work titled “immersion/emerging” and “there/not there” are an exploration of the meaning she finds in the translucent dialog between natural forms and children, with their not-quite-soiled presence in the world. Maxine finds interest in issues of scale, and the power that a relatively large size gives to the human face, particularly those of young children. And a series of very small pieces (8″x8″), with their intimate scale, engage the viewer in a different way. She has been a watercolorist for many years as well, and recently included monotype printmaking in her practice.

Davidowitz is an active member of The Woodstock Artists Association, and has shown her work at many galleries in the Hudson Valley, including The ArtBar in Kingston, Unison Arts in New Paltz, Oriole 9 in Woodstock, The Wired Gallery in High Falls, and Gallery Lev Shalem in Woodstock. Her work has been featured in print (The Artist Magazine), online on, and on the WAAM blog, where she was recently named “Artist of the Month.” She lives in West Shokan, NY, with her husband Dan White.

Shelley Davis
Shelley Davis is an internationally exhibited artist eager to leap out on a limb. She channels her passion for artistic diversity and out of the box materials into a fantasia of sensual imagery! Davis’ multi-faceted creative approach incorporates materials for their beauty and potential, which then come alive in her mixed media paintings, altered art, photo-fusion, mobiles, talking sticks, art angels, jewelry and assemblages. Imagination and heart abound in her magical studio, surrounded by a lush old world garden.

Davis’ work has been exhibited worldwide. She is well known for her avant-garde “photo-fusion” (a union of photography, painting and sculpture).

“To create from the soul, to have fun, to express, to share what I create with others, is the force that drives me. Anything that can exist in life, can be recreated with beauty & wonder. As an artist I make constant decisions that bring life’s beauty and wonder to a visual conclusion.”

Ann Morris
Ann Morris is a ceramic artist living in the Hudson Valley. She has been working in clay for 40 years and is mostly self-taught but has worked with various artists in NYC and Ulster County. Ann’s first love was wheel-thrown, purely functional work but in the late 90’s she began to branch out into handbuilding. Her pieces have an organic and highly textural feel. Lately, Ann has been focusing on masks, contemplative goddess figures and sculptural pieces that are abstract and ancient in feel. Some pieces, like the one in this show, are bisqued and then pit fired, allowing the smoke to decorate the clay. She works in high fire stoneware, carves, stamps, and imprints her surfaces. Her fingers are her favorite tools. Pieces are spontaneous rather than highly pre-planned, resulting in a dreamlike and emotional quality.

Paul Mutimear
Photographer Paul Mutimear’s subjects tend to be whatever he sees in his environment that interests him. In his street photography he is primarily looking for contradiction, surprise or abstraction. He particularly likes images with multiple layers in a single exposure or a disorienting perspective that are a challenge, both for him to achieve, and for the viewer to see. His photographs challenge our sense of what is interior vs. what is surface, what is a reflection vs. what is real.

Alessandra Piquero
Alessandra Piquero’s work is a culmination of the nostalgia and foggy memories of adolescence. She renders forms of children in nightmarish scenes where illusory horror can be seen in their expressions. The images of children serve as a tool for remembering the naiveté of youth while contrasting the irrational fears children experience, real and imaginary. The monsters from her own childhood imagination, insects and spiders are all reoccurring narratives in my work as metaphors for anxiety. Malformed creatures haunt the children in the dark sanctity of their bedrooms, during moments of perceived serenity. She intends for her work to impart the feeling of hair standing up on the back of your neck for seemingly no reason.

The lurid and brilliant colors in her work starkly contrast the subject matter. She uses watercolors, acrylics, and colored pencils, in combination to create the images. Fabric, thread and sewing techniques add palpable lines and details to the surreal scenes. She focuses on the dichotomy of the delicateness of the children’s faces and gruesomeness of the other harrowing forms through illustrative rendering. She intends to leave the viewer feeling as though of a wave of memories have washed over them, reminding them of their frightening and youthful imagination.

Matthew Pleva
By breaking down his illustrations into separate layers, diorama-maker Matthew Pleva found that he could play with the depth and focus of his compositions, giving them new dimensions. Over the years, the diorama containers themselves have become more of an integral part of the process/piece, many times dictating what the theme will be. Sometimes it’s the decorative outside or its original function; a connection will always be made from the host container to the finished piece. The dioramas have become smaller and more elaborate over the years, as Matthew has become fascinated the idea of having something so precious being hidden inside of something that is already precious itself.

Jamie Sanin
Jamie Sanin is a visual artist currently located in the Hudson Valley, New York. Through her artwork, Jamie documents what she sees – she imagines each work of art she creates as a snapshot inviting viewers to share in her own experiences and to view the world through her eyes. Jamie believes that sharing experiences is vital to the human experience and to history as a whole and hopes that her artwork sparks viewers to think and share ideas.

Jamie received her B.S. in Visual Arts Education from the State University of New York at New Paltz in 2014. Her interest in teaching sprouted from her own interest in the arts; in addition to visual art, Jamie has studied dance, music, and theater from a young age. Each experience has provided Jamie not only with a breadth of knowledge but also the opportunity to discover the importance of arts education.

Amy Silberkleit
Amy Silberkleit makes detailed drawings of natural objects. Using graphite, carbon dust and colored pencil, she focuses on the texture, structure and diversity of forms found in nature. In her studio, feathers, leaves, bones and twigs are carefully arranged to promote relationships between the specimens. Dramatic lighting further animates the composition. Often larger than life size and precisely rendered, the beauty of each object is highlighted. Holes in leaves, peeling bark, marks on bone from weather or scavengers are all integrated into the design and refer to the passage of time.

Born in New York in 1956, Amy received a B.A. from Stony Brook University where she focused on printmaking. After graduating she was the artistic director of The Rod and the Rose Puppet Theatre which performed throughout the Northeast for a decade. In June 2016, she will receive her Certificate in Art and Illustration from The New York Botanical Gardens.

Leslie Yolen
The ceramic masks in the Faces & Facades show are raku fired stoneware. Clay became Leslie’s chosen material because of its seductive responsiveness. There is an astonishing directness in the manipulation of wet clay, yet it retains its own inherent strength and beauty. Her greatest influences have been the universal forces of generation, growth and decay. Her primal fascination with the power of fire led her to explore raku, sagger and pit firing. These low temperature smoke firings bring out ethereal, ephemeral qualities, the same qualities that attracted her to encaustic. Both these processes share a serendipitous nature that makes discovery as significant as intention.

Leslie Yolen lives and works in rural Albany county, New York. She has worked predominantly in clay until recently when encaustics became her favored medium. She earned a BFA from Bennington College and an MS in Arts Education from the College of Saint Rose. Her career in arts education has provided a broad perspective in how meaning is made from the visual experience, and what that contributes to our shared humanity. She is preparing new work for an upcoming solo exhibition at the Guggenheim Gallery of the Cary Center, Rensselearville, NY in August.


Become a CREATE member today! Your support allows us to provide rich programming, curate exciting gallery shows and be your community arts council