Coxsackie Artist Ruby Silvious “Went Viral” Internationally for the Recycled Teabags on view in her Solo Show, “Tea and Alchemy” at Greene County Council on the Arts
“363 Days of Tea,” a project by Ruby Silvious that has garnered instantaneous international attention from the social media world this fall, will be on view in “Tea and Alchemy,” her Solo Show at Greene County Council on the Arts this January. Silvious has been exhibiting in the Hudson Valley and Capital Region since 1986. Recently, her hard work has been paying off in spades; her mixed-media paintings on used teabags went viral at the end of October on blogs and publications including The Guardian, Metro Russia, Viral Nova, Bored Panda, Design Taxi and Art Exhibeo. “Tea and Alchemy” will be on view from January 16th through February 27th, with an opening reception on Saturday, January 23rd, immediately following GCCA’s Annual Membership Meeting at 4pm. Greene County Council on the Arts, 398 Main Street, Catskill, NY.
Silvious was born in Tacloban City, Philippines and currently lives in Coxsackie. Her award winning work has been exhibited internationally and is included in institutional and private collections. She won the “People’s Choice Award” at GCCA’s 40th Anniversary Party at the unveiling of the “40 Years/40 Artists” Collection. Her winning submission is from her series “363 Days of Tea” where she draws, paints and collages moody, evocative and cheerful daily scenes in a tea-stained travel journal on dried, used teabag paper.
Silvious has always been creative, but did not identify as an “artist” until she moved upstate in 1986. She studied architecture and fine arts in the Philippines and joined her family in New York City in 1977. For a number of years, she attended $2 figure drawing classes at the Art Students’ League while working in an administrative capacity at Bergdorf Goodman. In 1986, she moved to Athens to join her then-husband and worked as an architectural draftsman for firms in Albany. Her employers funded her next two degrees: AS Business Administration from Columbia Greene Community College and BS Marketing Management from Siena College. She joined Greene County Arts and Crafts Guild in the early 1980s, exhibiting alongside Regina Petrosky and Dot Chast. In Albany, she joined the Colonie Art League, Upstate Artists Guild and Albany Center Gallery for more exhibition opportunities.
Looking back, she considers two group shows to be her artistic turning point: one at Albany Center Gallery in 2012 and another at Atlantic Gallery in Chelsea, NY last year. These shows inspired her to expand her artistic discipline. On January 3rd, 2015, she committed herself to post a tea-themed art piece on social media every day. “At first,” Silviousrecalls, “10 likes per day was a really big deal.” She noticed that people responded most strongly to the paintings on recycled teabags. The excitement was encouraging; she began sending out more applications to shows and residencies. She mailed in a few images and a statement about her project to ArtistsInspireArtists.com, and within a week of being featured on their website, the teabags were picked up by a variety of web and print publications.
The number of followers on her Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr pages has increased exponentially. Some of her fans send her photos of their artwork on recycled teabags. When people ask her questions about her techniques and materials, she shares her best practices and failed experiments. “I’m not discouraging anyone,” she says. “Go ahead, try it! Everyone should try it!”
Her enthusiasm about the project is visible in the images. They are fun, optimistic, colorful, dark and visceral. Viewers can see the fibers of her many careers and interests in the images: fashion, architecture, delicious meals, everyday scenes, figures of family and friends and her recent trips to France and Italy are all a part of the series. “There are endless possibilities in what you can do on this small, repurposed canvas.”
Please join us to applaud our new local art celebrity at her reception for “Tea and Alchemy” on Saturday, January 23rd from 5 to 7pm at Greene County Council on the Arts at 398 Main Street, Catskill, NY. All of us in Greene County can say we knew her when…
“Ten Artists: One Group Show.” January 16th to February 27th. Opening Reception, Saturday January 23rd, 5-7pm, following GCCA’s Annual Membership Meeting at 4pm. GCCA Catskill Gallery, 398 Main Street, Catskill, NY. Gallery Hours: M-F 10-5, Sat. 12-5. FREE, www.greenearts.org, 518-943-3400.
The Greene County Council on the Arts is proud to present work by ten stellar artists in a group show called “Ten Artists: One Group Show.” The show is the next in a series of events to commemorate GCCA’s 40th Anniversary. Artists Richard Armstrong, Lauren Simkin Berke, Dot Chast, Allen Grindle, Eva Melas, Giselle Potter, Kate Hamilton, Jim Krewson, Amy Siberkleit, and Jersey Walz were selected by a jury for this exhibition opportunity and to reproduce one piece each as a fine art print edition of five. The show will be on view from January 16th through February 27th, with an opening reception on Saturday, January 23rd, immediately following GCCA’s Annual Membership Meeting at 4pm. Greene County Council on the Arts, 398 Main Street, Catskill, NY.
These artists were selected from over eighty other submissions of landscapes, contemporary abstractions, photographs, portraits, and whimsical illustrations by GCCA members. Jurors Julie Lohnes and Tony Iadicicco chose a cross-section of their favorite pieces from each of the genres that were submitted. Lohnes, the Curator of Art Collections and Exhibitions at Union College, and Iadicicco, the Executive Director of Albany Center Gallery, are both artists and arts leaders in the Capital Region. Forty chosen works were produced into a set of postcards called the “40 Years/40 Artists” collection. Proceeds from the postcard set and the 10/10 artist prints will benefit GCCA’s Visual Art Program. To purchase a postcard set ($30) or print ($30 unframed/$40 framed), please call GCCA at 519-943-3400 or go to https://www.createcouncil.org/40-40/
The ten chosen artworks for “One Group Show” feature still, transitory moments: a woman shifting into a Tai Chi position in Giselle Potter’s goauche; Allen Grindle’s antlered figure stepping forward with the left foot; two people facing each other with mouths closed, as though awaiting the next statement in a conversation in Lauren Simkin Berke’s mixed media painting. Jim Krewson’s illustration depicts Thomas Cole’s imagined Grindr profile, as if Cole were alive today and still living in the area. Grindr is a dating website for gay men, and Cole is depicted as “Paintrbttm,” stoically staring off into space, only 1.2 miles away from the viewer. This playful site specific reference to the art history of the Hudson Valley suggests that Cole is waiting for someone special. Inanimate objects stand waiting as well, an open safety pin ready to be used drawn by Kate Hamilton, a paper coffee cup covered in careful calligraphy by Eva Melas: These objects are defined by their ability to hold things for a short period of time.
Several artists employ the repetitive build up of line work found in illustrations. The emphasis on draftsmanship carries the eye through the calm, graphic scenes. Dot Chast and Amy Silberkleit detail the texture of tree bark and tree leaves with care. Pattern and attention to detail are another common theme: even the photographs have a repetitive line quality: the strong vertical lines in the architecture in Jersey Walz’s photograph pull our eye downward, emphasizing the light stand, which casts a gentle light on the back of a cat approaching the camera out of the darkness. In the collage made from photographs by Richard Armstrong, we see bathing suit clad bodies lounging on a pool deck made from an irregular grid of white stones.
Richard Armstrong has achieved significant acclaim in both of the art forms he practices: visual and performing art. In addition to his vibrant and hyper-real paintings and collages, he is also an internationally sought-after performance coach. His life’s work is the subject of “The Voice Teacher”, a feature length documentary film to be released in late 2016.
Lauren Simkin Berke is an American artist and illustrator. Starting in 2005, he has made one ink drawing per day from found photographs, yielding a collection of thousands of source drawings which he transforms into paintings, assemblages, mixed media collages, books and illustrations. His work has been published in The New York Times, The Advocate, and O Magazine, among others. “Regardless of scale or media,” Berke writes, “my interest is in combining intuitive play with the study of how people document their lives in photographs and ephemera, as expressed in line.”
Dot Chast has been active in the Hudson Valley art scene since the 1970s, when she started making prints at the Greene County Arts and Crafts Guild. Her work is a staple in many juried shows in the area. Her career has included fifteen solo shows in venues such as the Greene County Council on the Arts, Prattsville Museum, Tivoli Artists Gallery, Columbia Greene Community College, Congregation Ashe Emeth, and the Cornell Cooperative Extension Center. She has been a long time member of Greene County Council on the Arts and an active member of the Woodstock Artist Association and Museum (WAAM) for more than thirty five years
Allen Grindle’s CV is long, and his artist statement is short. He concisely notes, “I want my images and methods to be basic, direct, and uncluttered.” One look at his impactful austere prints confirms that he has realized this objective. He has exhibited worldwide in Serbia, Canada, Czechoslovakia, Finland, Ireland, Italy, China, Spain, the Republic of Macedonia, Poland, and Germany. His work has also been in group and solo shows across the country, including several impressive printmaking collections.
Eva Melas is primarily a ceramic artist that uses other unconventional mediums such as paper coffee cups, found cigarette packs, and buttons to comment on themes recently involving environmentalism and feminism. She has exhibited at a number of venues including the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, The Westchester Arts Exchange, and the Armory SOFA show. An installation was shown in the NY times Art section in June 2015. Her work appears in, Art/Industry Collaboration and Revelation (Ruth De Young Kohler), Confrontational Ceramics (Judith Schwartz), TedXGowanus Talk 2013, and the NY Times (Westchester) review 2008.
Using equal measures of whimsy and desolation, Giselle Potter creates an illustrated world of magical realism as nuanced as the unabridged Grimm’s Fairytales. A boy with tears streaming down his face holds a box of chocolates while his disconcerted dog looks on helplessly in one image. In another titled “Witch,” a woman is facing away from a row of frowning figures in animal masks with their paws raised at attention. Her inventive imagery allows space for a viewer to fill in the details of the tale, activating imagination. Potter has published over 25 children’s books and illustrations in The New Yorker, National Geographic and exhibited at the Society of Illustrators in New York and Los Angeles, the Katonah museum, the Eric Carle Museum and Storyopolis in LA.
Kate Hamilton is a sculptor, costumer, and designer who works in the mid-Hudson Valley and New York City. Her practice explores the architectural details and the experience of clothing through pieces ranging in scale from miniature to room-sized. Hamilton’s ephemeral sculptural work has been shown around the US, and her costuming has appeared in art performances, operas, and theatre in New York, Berlin, and Zurich.
Jim Krewson is a multimedia artist with an out scale sense of humor and ability to make the mundane profane. Although airbrush paintings on canvas are his main focus, he has also been a professional Bluegrass musician, Erotic Cake maker, and regular illustrator for early issues of Vice magazine. His work has been shown mainly with Gavin Brown’s Enterprise and he has been a frequent participant in Rob Pruitt’s Flea Market. He makes the kind of work he wants to see, and writes, “often my work is a reaction to boring, annoying and/or stifling art trends and memes.”
As the artistic director of The Rod & The Rose Puppet Theatre, Amy Silberkleit began her career acting, writing scripts and making puppets and sets. She has fabricated 20-foot-tall rod puppets by commission and smaller puppets to show in several galleries in New York, ACC craft shows in Dallas and Atlanta, and the WBAI craft fair at Columbia University. Recently, she has begun representing the natural world in rapt detail, creating panels and shadow boxes using fabric and thread. These have exhibited at highly-competitive craft shows, including Philadelphia Crafts show, Crafts at Lincoln Center and at various Artrider shows and in galleries in Hunter and Hudson. Amy is currently working on a botanical art illustration certificate at the NY Botanical Garden in the Bronx.
Jersey Walz was born in New York City and raised in Rome, Italy. Her photographs reveal a mastery of composition with heightened sensitivity to both architecture and the human figure. She captures her subjects in stark, under sung moments, elevating quotidian gestures to fine art portraiture. She received a BFA from Purchase College, has exhibited work in numerous group shows in New York City, and has been published in the World of Interiors, I-D, and SOMA magazines. She currently works at Bard College and resides and photographs in the Hudson Valley.
Five of the artists, Richard Armstrong, Lauren Simkin Berke, Allen Grindle, Eva Melas and Giselle Potter, were selected by the jury to be featured in our 40th anniversary advertisement campaign. A professional photographer will photograph each of them in their studios for a multi-platform print and social media campaign.
For updates on the 40 Years/40 Artists collection, please visit https://www.createcouncil.org/40-40/. To purchase a boxed set or fine art print, please contact 518-943-3400 or click on the link above. Join the artists at the reception for “Ten Artists: One Group Show” on Saturday, January 23rd, immediately following GCCA’s Annual Membership Meeting at 4pm. Greene County Council on the Arts, 398 Main Street, Catskill, NY.