New Exhibit “The Co-Lab Lab” Focuses on Collaboration

"Dear Unica" Multimedia performance. Drawings/Text by Molly Stinchfield. Choreography by Suzanne Beahrs. Photo credit: Lynne Fried

“Dear Unica” Multimedia performance. Drawings/Text by Molly Stinchfield. Choreography by Suzanne Beahrs. Photo credit: Lynne Fried

GCCA presents a new eight-week exhibition centered on the theme of collaboration. Co-curated by artist Robert Tomlinson, the “Co-Lab Lab” exhibition features artwork by teams of two or more people, presenting a unique, multi-perspective opportunity for a deep exploration of the concept of “working together.” While some artists are creating collaborative projects specifically for the exhibit, other artists are installing pieces in the gallery and inviting community members to participate over the course of the exhibition. The eight-week exhibit will also feature a series of live performances, lectures, workshops, and student projects focused on collaboration. The public is invited to join the artists and participate in several on-site collaborative pieces at the opening reception on Saturday, July 29th at the GCCA Catskill Gallery, 398 Main Street, Catskill, NY.

The definition of collaboration is “the action of working with someone to produce or create something.” This sets the stage for GCCA’s new exhibition “Co-Lab Lab” which asks artists to step out of their solitary pursuits and work with others to create something that is greater than the sum of its parts. Submissions were accepted from groups of two or more artists and open to all mediums. The chosen projects fall into a variety of mediums and collaborations—artists working with artists, non-artists, anonymous, and public collaborators.

Musician and visual artist Ryder Cooley and sculptor John Cooley’s collaboration “Double Helix” is a project that explores the notion of family genes and heredity. Using twenty-three pairs of “lucky” horseshoes (representing the twenty-three pairs of chromosomes that human DNA forms) and the impending results of their DNA tests, which they ordered for this project, the father-daughter team will present a science-fiction exploration of genealogy, luck, fate and creativity.

Multi-media artist, photographer and social justice activist Molly Stinchfield and dancer Suzanne Beahrs collaborated on “Dear Unica,” a nine-minute video in which Beahrs dances against a projected backdrop of Stinchfield’s live-feed drawings inspired by the surrealist German painter Unica Zurn. During the performance, a recording of Stinchfield reading letters she wrote to Zurn plays in the background. The piece is intended to be both a homage to Zurn and a dialogue about her work and how she was recorded in history.

International sculptor Vahap Avsar and writer Pınar Öğrenci will collaborate on a project inspired by Öğrenci’s 2015 arrest following a peace march from Istanbul to Sur, Diyarbakir a Kurdish region under siege by government forces. Öğrenci’s news prompted Avsar to watch the events unfolding in Sur where government forces were attacking houses and forcing people to fight or flee. Avsar will display a maquette in the gallery of “Living House,” (pictured right) an installation inspired by a photo from those times and subsequent conversations with Öğrenci, who will contribute to the piece with sound, video and text.

Polish artist Agnieszka Maksyś created the book “Small Thoughts from a Big World” (page pictured below) with fellow students at a Hudson Library second language class. Feeling homesick, Maksyś got the idea to ask a couple of students to write a short text about what they missed the most about their home, or something they wished to share with Americans about their home, and then created illustrations to accompany the texts. The final product is a collection of creative images illustrating interesting stories from around the world.

Other collaborative teams include visual artist and graphic designer Ruby Silvious and watercolor artist Erika M. Klein, painter Sarah Barker and writer Margaret Tomlinson, painters and siblings Kim Bach and Kirk Deffebach with their mother Bonnie Deffebach, sculptors and spouses Maryna Bilak and Maurice Haughton, sisters Marlea Keidong, Ania Keidong, and Zoe Keidong, photographer Adam Deen and painter Zachary Laine, artist and musician Brian Dewan and sound artist Jillian Sutton, textile artist Gillian Nash and poet Gary Burns, and photographer Fawn Potash and her eleven-year old son Milo Smart.

work by Ruby Silvious
work by Erika M. Klein

Rounding out the collaborations are two projects made with strangers that will be displayed in the gallery. Robert Tomlinson’s piece “Take Cover” is inspired by the notations and drawings of previous, anonymous, book owners. Tomlinson treated each cover as an individual work, using various materials, including pencils, paints, fabrics and objects, to add his own interpretation to the original image. The resulting piece appears like chapters in a novel, and will displayed, collectively, as one piece, with many components.

The second anonymous collaboration is Deena Lebow’s piece “Collective Atlas.” Lebow will leave a container of strips of paper beside some tempting pencils in GCCA’s gallery with a question about place, “a memory of a place, a place that has special significance or meaning, a favorite place, an imagined place.” Lebow invites the public to write her a note or draw her a picture, and deposit it in a second container. She will come to the gallery every other day and sew the strips together adding some of her own drawings and writings, thus growing and changing the piece into “a composite community image of place” over the course of the exhibit.

The July 29th opening reception will also launch “Say What You Will/ Won’t,” a public poem inspired by co-curator Robert Tomlinson, who will type one line on a white sheet of paper on a typewriter to be displayed in the gallery. Anyone who comes to gallery during the exhibit is invited to type one more line and, at the end of the exhibit, whatever is written will be read on Tomlinson’s monthly radio show Purple House: A Monthly Forum for the Arts in Greene County (90.7-FM WGCX).

The GCCA Catskill Gallery is located at 398 Main Street in Catskill, NY. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturdays from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. GCCA is closed on Sundays, and will be closed on Tuesday, July Fourth. For more information on upcoming exhibits, events, artist and grant opportunities, visit or call 518-943-3400.

Photo Captions:

“Dear Unica” Multimedia performance. Drawings/Text by Molly Stinchfield. Choreography by Suzanne Beahrs. Photo credit: Lynne Fried

 Page from book “Small Thoughts From a Big World” by Agnieszka Maksys and students

 “Living House” maquette by Vahap Avsar, collaboration with writer Pinar Ogrenci

 Work by artists Ruby Silvious and Erika M. Klein, who will collaborate together.

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