Here are the artists presented in the Arts Nest Gallery from November 18, 2023 through January 26, 2024.
Jessica Adamson | Gail Tuchman | Judi Varnai Aronson | Maya Malioutina | Liz Huntington
William Landau | Dori Kunstmann | Ramona Jan | Jodi Sibilia | Lucy Sardonia | Kevin Gref
Curator Statement: Catskill Artisan and Fine Art Exhibition 2023
Welcome to the Catskill Artisan and Fine Art Exhibition, a curated celebration of artistic diversity and profound creativity. As the curator of this captivating showcase, I am honored to present an ensemble of masterful works that reflect the vibrant spirit of our local art community.
This exhibition serves as a testament to the boundless creativity within our midst. Each piece on display has been carefully selected for its unique voice, contributing to a collective narrative that transcends conventional artistic boundaries. From bold strokes that evoke raw emotion to subtle nuances that invite introspection, the artists featured in this exhibition invite you to embark on a visual journey that challenges, inspires, and resonates.
One of the strengths of our local arts scene is its diversity, and this exhibition is a testament to the multitude of perspectives that make our community so rich and dynamic. From seasoned artists whose works have graced prestigious galleries to emerging talents making their mark, the Catskill Artisan and Fine Art Exhibition is a salad bowl of creative expressions that bridge generations and genres.
As you wander through the gallery, immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of colors, forms, and textures. Feel the pulse of the artists' intentions and explore the interconnectedness of their creations. From striking sculpture that demand attention to intricate details that beckon you closer, every piece has a story to tell, waiting to be discovered.
This exhibition is not merely a display of artworks but an invitation to engage in a dialogue with the artists and fellow enthusiasts. Attendees are encouraged to participate in discussions, gaining insights into the creative process, inspirations, and the stories behind the art. This interactive experience adds depth and meaning to the visual feast before you.
Thank you for being a part of this extraordinary journey through the Catskill Artisan and Fine Art Exhibition. May the beauty of these creations leave an indelible mark on your soul and inspire your own artistic exploration.
Jodi Sibilia, Curator
Jessica Adamson, a Catskill Mountains native, is a versatile artist, designer, and filmmaker known for her diverse creative talents. With expertise in painting, embroidery, sewing, interior design, sculpture, photography, film, and graphic design, Jessica's multi-disciplinary approach pushes creative boundaries. Her background in filmmaking includes contributions to HGTV and Breaking Glass Pictures, enriching her storytelling skills through visual art. Notable collaborations, like assisting Mixed Color in the creation of their "Mystical Stitches" book, showcase her commitment to sharing artistic wisdom. Jessica's work graces local businesses and prestigious galleries, such as the Delaware Valley Arts Alliance (DVAA). Her paintings, inspired by nature and characterized by abstract surrealism with realistic touches, are known for meticulous metallic paint details, creating an ethereal quality. Jessica Adamson's art is a testament to her ongoing creative exploration. Explore her captivating portfolio at jessicaadamson.art.
Gail Tuchman has had a notable, dual career in the publishing world both as a publisher and as a prolific, award-winning author of children’s fiction and nonfiction. Two of her lifelong passions—writing and making artwork—intrinsically influence one another. What Gail loves about making photographs is seeing, feeling, and capturing a transient “moment” in time—for all time—creating a visual, experiential, emotional memory- keeper to revisit, to share. In her photography, she speaks to the beauty, strength, and fragility of our natural, cultural, and political environments. The bioluminescence of fireflies, the rising moon—whatever inspires or influences her, she photographs. She looks for the essence, the heart of the natural element—light dancing off a surface or contrasting dark shadows unbound by light—exploring a subject, then often capturing one aspect that embraces the spirit of the whole.
Judi Varnai Aronson
I was born in Budapest, Hungary, a country that has rich traditions in ceramics. I began my love affair with ceramics 50 years ago, the minute my hands touched clay. I have studied ceramics at the Brooklyn Museum, at Greenwich House Pottery, and at Parsons School of Design, till I opened my own ceramic studio in Brooklyn with two other potters in the late 70’s. My work has been on display at the Brooklyn Museum, at the Armory Art Center in West Palm Beach, Highland Beach Library in Florida, at the Delaware Valley Arts Alliance in Narrowsburg, New York and at the Brooklyn Women’s Exchange in Brooklyn. This summer, a ceramic raku wall hanging was selected to be in a juried show, called “Smoke and Mirrors “in Sullivan county, New York.
My pottery is quite diverse….from functional pieces to contemporary ceramic sculptures. I especially love the organic process of making raku pottery and many of my pieces are examples of Raku. I love collecting seaweed, feathers, moss and other organic artifacts that I use with my sagger and horsehair pottery. You never know the results that you’re going to get when doing Raku. And that factor of surprise when you pull your Raku pottery out of the fire is simply exhilarating.
This vase is an example of Raku. Notice the incredible colors and hues that you can only get when you pull a vase out of a hot kiln and put it in a container with combustibles where the fire surrounds it. I created the texture by using sodium silicate and then stretching the clay out. And this process creates a unique one-of-a-kind piece.
Malioutina’s work reflects the fascinating complexities of her biography. Her art has been strongly influenced by the many European countries she has lived in and traveled to, including Italy, Greece, Russia, and Germany. These experiences have taught her to accept impermanence and embrace the beauty of things that are imperfect and incomplete, which is a key element of her work. Maya's innovative use of gold leaf and antiquing techniques beautifully accentuate her meditative works, making them eye-catching and sophisticated. She currently lives in the Pennsylvania Countryside, where she paints and teaches.
Maya holds degrees in English and Russian literature from Hunter College and has also completed the Pre-Med Post Bac program at Columbia University. Despite her interest in science, Maya realized that her true passion was in painting, which she pursued with great success.
Her work has been featured in numerous publications, including Nancy Reyner’s book, Acrylic Illuminations: Re-active and Luminous Acrylic Painting Techniques and she was also included in articles such as Innovations in Art and Art Marketing in the Professional Artist Magazine, and she has been selected as a featured artist in Manhattan Arts International Artist Showcase Gallery. Her artwork has been exhibited in many galleries and shows, and she is represented by UGallery.com. In March 2018, she was the featured artist at Williams Sonoma. Her artwork is popular among collectors, and it can be found in private collections throughout the United States and Europe.
Liz Huntington has been collecting and stringing things together since she made her first strand of love beads in 1966, when she was 10. Her current fascination with making exquisitely small, portable, and jewel-like game boards is a wish to encourage people of all ages to enjoy the ancient pleasure of creative, strategic play together, whenever they can, wherever they are. No electronics necessary!
Born in Rockland County, NY, Dori Kunstmann is a lifelong weekender to this area, just across the border in Pennsylvania. After raising 3 children, running a housecleaning business, and fostering countless rescued pregnant dogs and puppies in Hunterdon County New Jersey, she became a full-time resident of Northeast PA in January 2023. Self taught as an artist other than high school art classes, art, animals and nature have always been Dori’s passions, and these 3 are combined in the ancient art form of batik.
Batik involves the dying of natural fabric or other fibrous materials using melted wax as a resist. Dori’s own designs are sketched freehand onto the white or light material, then melted wax is applied to protect the areas that are to remain white or light. The fabric is then dyed in the lightest color of the design, dried, then waxed again to protect the areas where this new color is to remain. Darker colors are added and waxed in this fashion until the design is complete. A hot iron is used to remove the wax from the finished design between layers of newspaper and paper towels, revealing the finished design. Along with the batiks on sheet music and fabric presented here, Dori also upcycles clothing using reverse batik, giving new life to garments found at thrift stores and yard sales. Another outlet for creativity is painting, and continuing with the upcycling theme, she renews old wooden boxes and other natural objects and antiquities with nature-themed paintings.
Local artisan, Ramona Jan, began hand sewing at the age of five. By the time she turned eleven, she was making lined jackets, skirts with zippers and bound buttonholes. She has been collecting vintage fabrics and sewing for over 50 years. These all cotton aprons are one-size-fits-most. They are pre-washed and made with love.
Jodi Sibilia was born and raised on a sheep farm in Northern Vermont, where she graduated from Johnson State University in 2009 with a BA in Studio Art. Motivated to help others, she moved to upstate New York in 2010, where she earned her Emergency Medical Training Certificate and started working for an ambulance company. During the next several years, Sibilia would go on to work with the Barrett Art Center, running a photography darkroom as she continued to grow her artistic vision. In addition, Sibilia started offering children's classes in her home studio and, in 2013, moved to Pittsburgh to complete a Master's Degree in Teaching from Chatham University. Returning to New York, Sibilia continued diligently on her art portfolio while continuing her education in wellness and yoga. She opened her yoga studio, Yoga By The Lake, which blends art and wellness in the summer of 2015.
After years of teaching art in public schools, Sibilia left education to pursue a full-time career in wellness and creative design. In 2021 she was selected to curate The Narrowsburg Union Galleries, where she continues supporting local and upcoming artists in curating themed exhibitions. In Lake Huntington, New York, Sibilia owns a yoga studio that supports the local community by focusing on the healing arts and giving her clients a safe space to practice. She joined the Cochecton Volunteer Ambulance Corps in 2021 and works with her team to run fundraising and outreach events on wellness. Her current volunteer projects include spearheading a sensory garden in the Cochecton Volunteer Ambulance Park for community use.
Lucy Sardonia, is a local Delaware Valley artist, whom draws upon the serenity and inspiration of the area to create and paint. Experimenting in a wide variety of mediums particularly watercolors, pastels and marker she does everyday scenes with a twist, common farm animals, landscapes and scenes from her native Caribbean. She portrays confident bold women and sisterhood with bright colors, beautiful headdresses and fashionable accessories.
Born in the Dominican Republic, she immigrated to the US with her family at a young age. While in high school her talent was recognized by her art instructor who trained and encouraged her. Although she took incidental courses in art and fashion at Syracuse University she is primarily self taught.
While she dabbled in her art while raising a family in New Jersey, it was after an unspeakable tragedy she poured herself into her work for healing and catharsis. She recently moved to Jeffersonville, NY, where encouraged by other local artists that she has continued to create.
Kevin Gref received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree FA from the University of Buffalo, specializing in Sculpting. After retiring from a career as a carpenter, he returned to his artwork with the opening of his studio Jeffersonville Steamworks in 2013 where he began to experiment with steam-bent white oak, cherry, and other hardwoods. His work has appeared in group shows at the DVAA, Catskill Art Society as well as the Broadway production of Harold and Maude. Gref is presently working out of the studios of the late abstract painters Elizabeth Harms and Douglas Craft in the village of Jeffersonville.