Livingston Arts hosts 50th annual members’ exhibit

Livingston Arts is celebrating their 50th anniversary with their annual members’ exhibition entitled “Freedom of Expression.” The show strives to represent a large variety of artists, mediums and themes, and it features some of Livingston County’s most inventive artists. (Annalee Bainnson/Assoc. Photo Editor)

Livingston Arts’ latest exhibit is one of their most dynamic yet. “Freedom of Expression” is the center’s 50th annual members’ exhibit that shows the work of its members. 

Founded by late Geneseo professor of art Bertha V. B. Lederer—for whom the Lederer Gallery on campus is named after—the center has been holding members’ exhibits from its inception in 1967. 

Livingston Arts’ bicentennial coincides with that of the Lederer Gallery, which held its own anniversary gala and exhibition in the fall.

“In our 50th season, we continue to expand the media represented and the geography of our artists,” Executive Director of the Livingston Arts Center Betsy Harris said. “We welcome all two and three-dimensional works in traditional and digital media for our exhibit.” 

One look at the exhibit and any visitor can see that this is unequivocally true. Filling both the New Deal Gallery and the Apartment One Gallery, the pieces ranged from beautifully crafted paintings to groundbreaking sculptures.

This year’s title and theme derives from former President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Four Freedoms” speech in which he outlines the four “essential human freedoms:” freedom of speech and expression, freedom of every person to worship God in his own way, freedom of want and freedom from fear. This, of course, stays true to the New Deal Gallery—which presents Works Progress Administration artists’ works from FDR’s New Deal—and connects to recent political issues. 

One notable piece in the show is Dan DeZarn’s “Winter Wood and Heat Study,” a sculpture composed of wood fired terracotta pieces engrained with fossilized leaves and mounted on the wall via steel rods. 

Interestingly, the piece is presented as a whole, but its pieces can also stand alone. DeZarn is the director of the Office of Sustainability and a former professor of sculpture at the college. He has ties with the annual Ephemeral Arts Festival, which aims to promote the concept of nature as art. 

Meanwhile, Mark Calicchia’s “Metamorphic Moments in Time” is another standout as a dollhouse packed to the brim with miniatures, buttons, pins and other objects. The sculpture can be seen from 360 degrees, with something new to observe at every angle. 

Some rooms of “Metamorphic Moments in Time” have a theme, such as Christmas or art, but others are compilations of various objects. The roof is adorned with smaller houses and the outside of the house is surrounded with pictures with accompanying observers, resulting in our own realization as viewers that we are outsiders looking in on this sculpture. 

While the exhibit boasts its fair share of traditional media—such as Julia Stewart’s expertly crafted “Silent River” and Ted Wetherbee’s “Clock Without Hands,” which is a series of “nursing home paintings”—some pieces likely cannot be seen elsewhere. David Missel’s “2 Dolphins” and “Golfer” are carvings done on pieces of bracket fungus and Patrice Case’s “Scoop” and “Stir” are exquisite sterling silver spoons that she handcrafted with carvings and cutouts, but are still completely usable. 

Tucked up on the top of Murray Hill, the Livingston Arts Center is an unassuming and small building among a community of larger structures—but waiting inside is the work of some of Livingston County’s best artists, creators and innovators, proving that Livingston County has its fair share of artistic genius. 

“Freedom of Expression” is on display until March 18.