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Art and History Exhibition


Gallery hours: Saturday and Sundays 1-4pm and by appointment.
June 7th through August 11, 2013

Curated by Carrie Feder

Athens Cultural Center
24 Second Street, Athens, New York 12015
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ICE logo by Robin Read
Photos by Nora Adelman

In this era of melting glaciers and looming extinctions, the Athens Cultural Center presents a multi media exploration of the many meanings of ice in history, popular culture and the artists' imagination. Curated by Carrie Feder, the show is a visual examination of diverse artifacts and imagery relating to ice in all its forms: polar exploration, the ice industry, sports, utilitarian products, advertising, literature, decorative objects, the environment and art.

Currently, several art exhibits in NYC and around the country are focusing on our changing environment. "ICE," at the Athens Cultural Center takes a very different and original approach juxtaposing historical artifacts with original art that interprets that history and comments on our environmental conundrums.

Thirteen artists, all with Hudson Valley and many with NYC connections, present their own interpretations of ice. Diverse mediums and styles include figurative and abstract paintings, sculpture, photography and video. The artistic approach ranges from the descriptive to the conceptual, from the intimate to the broadly environmentally conscious. One installation piece in the exhibit actually makes ice. "It'll Blow Over, World View from the Arctic" by Austrian/Brooklyn artist Mathias Kessler is a virtual inside out refrigerator which generates ice and condensation on a mirror etched with a map of the arctic circle. Kessler's other piece is a computer generated rendition of Caspar David Friedrich's famous painting "Das Eismeer, Die Gescheiterte" (The Sea of Ice, The Wreck of Hope), an impressive work that illustrates the challenge and romantization of 19th century arctic exploration.


Kahn & Selesnick's large printed bank note and painting of an iceberg are from their 2008 series "Eisbergfreistadt," a fictitious history of a temporary city state founded on a errant iceberg and populated by those fleeing the hyper inflation of 1920's Germany.






Renown for her environmentally concerned work, Christy Rupp's beautifully rendered encaustic Walrus and Narwhal Tusks from her "Fake Ivory Series," are decorated with hydrocarbon chains and greenhouse gases rather than the traditional scenes on scrimshaw, a pointed reference to the loss of habitat due to pollution and oil drilling.








Claudia McNulty's painterly depiction of an iceberg inspired by a Frederic Church painting is overlaid by the ominous charting of HAARP, a weather controlling technology currently being researched. Bob Braine's watercolor of a plan for a solar powered glacier and Nora Adelman's photos of a receding glacier in New Zealand comment on current and future environmental changes.




Ruth Hardinger's photographs, Kirsten Bates video of ice formations in a stream, and Ellen Kozak's luscious abstract paintings are meditations on the visual forms that ice make. Sam Sebren comments on corporate greed with an interactive coloring piece, Jenny Feder creates her own "Ice House" and Randall Evans sculpturally refers to ice in a personal reflection on his past.








Linking into the local historical aspects of the show, Sebren also presents a photograph and short film on ice boating on the Hudson River and Hudson Talbott illustrates local ice harvesting with an original page from his book "River of Dreams."








The mood of the show ranges from the playful to the reflective. Using Athens' own history of involvement with the ice industry as a jumping off point, the exhibit displays artifacts relating to ice including everything from ice tools to ice buckets, ice skates and plans for ice boats.





Vintage postcards, magazine covers, advertising illustrations, trade cards, postage stamps and the like illustrate the pervasive presence of ice in our culture. In the decorative arts, ice has found its way into color, pattern and design, in language and literature the use of ice as metaphor is pervasive. In particular, the "Cracked Ice" pattern found in Asian decorative arts is explored as a demonstration of how pervasive ice is as a motif and also as an exemplification of how pattern based in nature develops into abstraction.

"Global warming and the changing environment is on everyone's minds these days. We live in a water world. approximately 10% of that water is frozen in the form of ice. From time immemorial observing and conquering ice in nature has been a source of entertainment, awe and challenge. As the world warms, the vitality and importance of ice in our world becomes ever clearer." Carrie Feder, Curator.


The curator and designer of the show is Carrie Feder of Athens Architectural Workshop, an architectural designer and Historic Preservation specialist with a background in the fine arts and art history. She has been involved with several other shows at the Athens Cultural Center as well as with the restoration of the building. Carrie is also a Trustee at the Thomas Cole National Historic Site in Catskill, N.Y. and has spearheaded the research to recreate the interiors there and is responsible for their present decoration.

This event is made possible (in part) with public funds from the Decentralization Program of the New York State Council on the Arts administered through the Community Arts Program by the Greene County Council on the Arts, as well as the Peckham Foundation and Diana Abadie.


For those interested in learning more about the history of the ice industry in Greene County, the Greene County Historical Society located at the Bronck House in Coxsackie, N.Y. has opened their new permanent exhibition on the Ice Industry. The exhibition will be open regular museum hours. gchistory.org


Exhibition dates:
June 7th through August 10, 2013

Gallery hours: Saturday and Sundays 1-4pm and by appointment.

Information: Contact Carrie Feder at 518 421-3443 or stonloon@mac.com

Athens Cultural Center
24 Second Street, Athens, New York 12015
Google Map & Directions


Contemporary artists included in the exhibit:
Nora Adelman
Kirsten Bates
Bob Braine
Randall Evans
Kahn & Selesnick
Mathias Kessler
Ellen Kozak
Claudia McNulty
Christy Rupp
Sam Sebren
Hudson Talbott



Interesting links about ICE

"Some say the world will end in fire.
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice Is also great
And would suffice."
-Robert Frost

"Beauty like ice, our footing does betray. Who can tread sure on the smooth, slippery way. Pleased with the surface, we glide swiftly on, and see the dangers that we cannot shun."
John Dryden

"Mirrors are ice which do not melt: what melts are those who admire themselves in them."
Paul Morand

"You never know your friends from your enemies until the ice breaks."
Eskimo Proverb

"Thou are all ice. Thy kindness freezes."
-William Shakespeare

"A woman at 20 is like ice, at 30 she is warm and at 40 she is hot."
-Gina Lollobrigida

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