Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Gourdlania Comes to Skaneateles

Graham Ottoson will be at Gallery 54 on Friday,
November 4, from 5 - 8 pm.

“I start with a gourd, a gourd is in the middle and I end up with a gourd. And, I try not to mess it up.” So says gourd artist Graham Ottoson by way of describing the artwork that will be featured by Gallery 54, here, beginning on the First Friday of November, November 4.

It's safe to say that Graham isn't overstating her creative efforts. It's equally save to say that those who visit Gallery 54 for November's First Friday opening of Graham's Gourdlandia show will likely find themselves standing in wonder at the creativity of a unique artist.

Graham was introduced to gourd-crafting by a fellow midwife who was dabbling in guard art. “Then, one day,” she recalls, “some gourds at a roadside stand caught my eye. I had to have them.” The very next year she was growing her own gourds and the rest is history. “The way my husband tells it, 'I came home one day and she was making a lamp out of a gourd,' “ she says.

Graham was attracted to gourd art by what she calls “the compelling shapeliness of gourds.” Some are perfectly round, others somewhat elongated, some pear-shaped, and some can only be described as irregular in shape. While the shape is certainly a key element in the design of the final work, how Graham adds her creative instincts to achieve the final product is really the soul of each presentation.

I get a particular joy out of creating lamps with my gourds,” she says. The special collaboration between her and each unique gourd is where the beauty of each creation is to be found. “To my knowledge, I'm the only person who is persistently making lamps where gourds are both the base and the shade of the lamp,” says Graham.

The work is so interesting,” she adds, “. . . growing, designing, waxing, scraping, carving, beading, etc. etc... I get to use skills that I've developed over a lifetime of dabbling, all in one medium. They (the gourds themselves, keep me interested. And then, there is the moment of turning on a lamp for the first time . . .”

Graham will be on hand at Gallery 54 to meet guests and discuss her work from 5-8 pm on Friday, November 4. Her work will be featured throughout the month of November.

Light refreshments will be served. Gallery 54 is located at 54 E. Genesee St., Skaneateles, NY.

November gallery hours are Sunday through Thursday, 10-5 and Friday and Saturday, 10-6. 315-685-5470.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Gallery 54 artist makes it BIG

Jay Seaman and his eagle
There's more than one way someone can interpret the phrase "making it big" and, when applied to the latest piece of metal sculpted Jay Seaman, both are appropos. Jay, whose work has long been exhibited and available for purchase at Gallery 54 in Skaneateles, not only sculpts very large pieces of various metals, his work is fast becoming a cause celebre as evidenced in the newly landed American Bald Eagle at the Montezuma Wildlife Refuge, near Seneca Falls, NY.

On Tuesday, October 11, with the assistance of the refuge staff, the eagle "landed"  and Jay's reputation as a fine art metal sculptor took off . . . to even greater heights than before. Now Jay's bald eagle overlooks New York State's "main street," the Thomas E. Dewey Thruway, from its perch in the refuge.
The Eagle, just before "landing" at Montezuma
Wildlife Refuge
With a wingspan of 22-feet and weighing in at 1,300 pounds, Jay's eagle stands as a tribute to the efforts the refuge has made in the recovery of "America's bird" from near extinction in Upstate New York.

Jay began work on his large masterpiece early in Spring this year and was on hand to secure his creation into position in the wildlife refuge.  "We started out," recalls Seaman, "planning to sculpt a 10-foot eagle." Behind his home in Trumansburg, NY, he admits to having taken "some artist's license." As the individually hand-cut and hand-forged feathers began to pile up, he finally arrived at the point where each feather would be welded to the sculpture. That's when the eagle really spread its wings.
The Eagle lands at Montezuma 
An American Bald Eagle sculpted by Jay Seaman
To see more of Jay's creations visit Gallery 54, at 54 E. Genesee St. in Skaneateles, NY. The gallery is open Sunday through Thursday from 10 am to 5 pm and Fridays and Saturdays from 10 am to 6 pm.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Lisa Jane Smith is October Gallery 54 Guest Artist

A quick visit to tells you what's important to know about Lisa Jane Smith. It's simple. It's clean. It's whimsical. It's fun. That pretty much describes her art, too.

Lisa Jane Smith
Lisa Jane refers to herself as “artist and maker of stuff.” How fun is that?

On Friday, October 7 Gallery 54 in Skaneateles will welcome a very special month-long show of Lisa's “therapy” product. In her own words, “Illustrating and painting have such a relaxing effect on me, it's my daily therapy.”

Hailing from Webster, NY, Lisa was raised in a creative environment by her seamstress and master carpenter parents to “be creative and imaginative with insane attention to detail. My Mom was the most creative person I ever met and was never afraid to try new things, but more importantly, she wasn't afraid to fails at them.” Both Lisa Jane's imagination and attention to detail can be readily seen in her art.

It would be difficult to be more straight-forward in describing her work than she is herself, calling it “sophisticated doodling,” she adds, “I think it make the ordinary seem a bit more interesting.”

Lisa's art is often available at Rochester area art festivals. She also licenses her art to manufacturers and had her kitchenware debut this past summer. If not already, her work will also be available in a collection of fabric this fall.

The artwork included in the Gallery 54 show will feature illustrations of common fruits and vegetables along with the tea towels and books regularly available in this popular upscale gallery of fine art and crafts. All, her work is sure to find its way into Central New York homes.

Lisa Jane will be on hand at Gallery 54 to meet guests and discuss her work from 5-8 pm on Friday, October 7. Her work will be featured throughout the month of October.

Light refreshments will be served. Gallery 54 is located at 54 E. Genesee St., Skaneateles, NY.

October gallery hours are Sunday through Thursday, 10-5 and Friday and Saturday, 10-6. 315-685-5470.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Finger Lakes Impressions

Adriana Meiss
Gallery 54 presents "Finger Lakes Impressions: Pastels and Oil Paintings by Adriana Meiss" opening September 2 from 5 to 8 pm and running through Sept. 30. 

Adriana is a plein air painter with many of her paintings painted on Otisco, Skaneateles, and Canandaigua Lakes. Meet Adriana and enjoy music by Chris Molloy and his Electric Blue Harp. 

Light refreshments will be served. Gallery 54 specializes in fine art and craft by Central New York artists and is located at 54 E. Genesee St Skaneateles. September hours are Sun-Thur10-5 and Fri-Sat 10-6. 315-685-5470

Monday, August 1, 2016

Coming, coming, coming . . .

We don't often get to see the work of our most popular artists, unless it's in the gallery in finished form.  Certainly that's the case with artists like Sallie Thompson. Recently, Sallie provided us with a photo of some of here pottery designs at a mid-way point . . . ready to be fired. I'm going to ask her to give us a photo of this work in its final form so we can see the transformation.
"New designs awaiting the fire of transformation"
Sallie  is from Skaneateles Junction and she combines her love of nature, printmaking, and pottery to create pieces influenced by the diversity of form and texture found in the Finger Lakes region. 

She studied pottery at the Oregon School of Arts & Crafts and earned a B.F.A. from the N.Y.S. College of Ceramics at Alfred. She was a 2006 Ceramic Artist in Residence at Byrdcliffe Arts Colony in Woodstock. She has taught pottery at Clayscapes and Veterans Administration 
Community Care Center in Syracuse, New York.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

4 Ethical Brands You Can Totally Rock This Summer

Below is a article that features one of the artisans from Gallery 54, Renee Stawicki of Songbird Sewing Co.  Be sure to stop into Gallery 54 and see Renee's work, to full appreciate it.

Being born into a society that values low price tags and high fashion, it can be difficult (and let's be honest, nearly impossible) to keep up with the trends of an ever-changing fashion industry. After countless hours of shopping, hands tired from perusing through racks, back aching from bending over to try on those delicious new Steve Madden sandals from the 2016 summer collection, there is no better feeling than finding a great deal on, well, anything. But what are you really paying when you find that perfect floral sundress for $7 at the mall? Too often we buy items that are cheap, easy, and have a low impact on our everyday lives without giving a second thought. What we, as a society, neglect to question is what happens on the other side of the transaction. Most of the products we purchase in the U.S. are still made by the hands of slaves, both domestic and international. Sure, an inexpensive dress sounds good to your wallet, but by supporting mass producing companies without researching the origin of their products, you are also supporting the sale and use of slaves in the industry. So how can you combat these unethical practices? Shop consciously! Here are four brands that slay when it comes to creating a more socially sustainable fashion industry.

1. rePURPOSE Accessories

With an array of hair accessories, scarves and apparel, rePURPOSE has become a powerful platform for combating human sex and labor trafficking (while taming my crazy summer hair). The brand was founded by Jessica Burt and features products that are all domestically hand-made by refugees. All of their beautiful products are created from fair trade and thrifted fabrics. And the best part? 100 percent of the profits made are sent to three organizations that benefit the cause: Exodus RoadMake Way Partners, and The Thirst Project.

2. Alex and Ani

This well-known and loved jewelry brand was founded by Carolyn Rafaelian and continuously creates innovative, energy-packed pieces with eco-conscious roots. From Alex's Lemonade Standto Global Fund, the Charity By Design collection at Alex and Ani has donated to non-profits all over the world. And as if you need another reason to hit up their website, all of the jewelry is made right here in the United States!

3. Songbird Sewing Co.

*Swoon.* Let's talk about handbags for a minute. Whether you're in the market for a new wallet, clutch, or tote, Songbird Sewing Co. has got you covered. Founder Renee Stawicki creates each unique piece in her home studio, which guarantees that your products are being made with love and fair labor. Songbird Sewing focuses on small batch orders and selling one-of-a-kind accessories to match every outfit.

4. LuLaRoe

Founded by DeAnne StidhamLuLaRoe is an apparel brand that does nothing but impress. Made from the softest material you will ever feel (yes, you heard me right) the bold printed leggings, skirts, dresses, and tops are a must-have for fashion lovers of every age. Produced without the use of slave labor, the brand has become a success across the country, offering loyal fans the opportunity to sell LuLaRoe themselves.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Mentalist/Artist is August Guest Artist

 Renowned singer Tony Bennett told Gallery 54's guest artist for August painting “. . . will help you with all aspects of our life . . . I paint every day and you should as well.” Fortunately Bob Lawson, mentalist and abstract painter, took Bennett's advise to heart.

Lawson's artistic roots are definitely in Central New York having apprenticed working with scenic design for the Famous Artists Theater in Fayetteville, NY as a youth. “The idea of creating something that would bring people happiness was always what gave me the most satisfaction,” he says.

Lawson loves abstract because, “it gives me the freedom to express what I feel inside and to truly create from scratch.” While many of his friends are realists and very good at painting what they see, he enjoys the opportunity to create something “that has never been seen before I painted it.”

In addition to his paintings that have been regularly exhibited at Gallery 54, August will also feature free standing “sculptures”. “I have so many people,” says Lawson, “who have loved my work but didn't have wall space for more of it.” His abstract sculptures became free standing pieces that are paintings that stand alone on a table or on a shelf in different sizes and shapes. He call this his “Off the Wall Series.”

Lawson points to one of Syracuse's great artists, the late Jans Junga, who he took water color classes from, as one of his inspirations for the work he does today. He also studied art with John Morrow of Ogdensburg, NY.

I love to paint, to have something in my mind and to be able to put it on canvas and make people react in a positive way, to make people happy, to reach that innermost place inside them . . . that gives me joy,” he says, adding “To me, this is the most rewarding thing in life.”

That also explains why Lawson likes doing his theater shows. “I get do take people on a journey into places they have never been, to see things they have never seen or done before, amazing things, pretty much like art,” he adds. Lawson was mentored by the late Joan Fontaine, who opened many doors for him in theater including his opportunity to become a technical adviser to the TV show, The Mentalist for six years.

Gallery 54 is in pretty elite company as it features Bob Lawson's art. He also has work in such prestigious venues as the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Fine Art in Tarpon Springs, FL; the Wandering Eye Gallery in Ybor City, the National Historic Landmark City in Tampa, FL as well as the Galeria Berata in Venice, Italy. In addition, Lawson's work was part of the set for the major motion picture, The Bastards, starring Owen Wilson. His work was also part of Joan Fontaine's collection auctioned for charity by Christies in New York.

Lawson's show, titled The Colors of My Mind will open at Gallery 54 on the First Friday of
August, August 5, with a meet-the-artist event from 5 to 8 pm. It will continue on display throughout August.

Light refreshments will be served. Gallery 54 is an upscale gallery of fine art and crafts, located at 54 E. Genesee St., Skaneateles, NY.

August gallery hours are Sunday through Thursday, 10-5 and Friday and Saturday, 10-6. 315-685-5470.