Utica-based artist opens exhibition on campus

Grace Sgambettera
Staff Writer

Student's view Kirk's exhibit during Friday's reception.By Grace Sgambettera | The Hudsonian Student Newspaper

Student’s view Kirk’s exhibit during Friday’s reception.

The work of Utica-based artist Jonathan Kirk went on display last Friday at Hudson Valley, in a new sculpture exhibit entitled “Studio Maquettes.”

The British-born sculptor hosted an artist talk in the Bulmer Telecommunications Center on Friday afternoon, where he described his background as an artist, the process behind the creation of his pieces and the sculptures themselves at length.

The exhibit itself was later opened in the Teaching Gallery, located on the first and second floors of the Administration Building, and a reception was held for the artist, students, faculty and members of the Hudson Valley community to view and discuss Kirk’s work.

The pieces currently on display in the gallery are some of the artist’s smaller scale models, or maquettes, of the larger sculptures he’s created. The models are made up of varied materials such as steel, cast iron, bronze, painted wood and cardboard.

Jonathan Kirk’s abstracted sculptures are intended to bring to mind architecture of both the industrial and natural worlds, with elements such as steam engines and sea creatures appearing often simultaneously in his work.

Kirk said working with the smaller models was an obvious choice when putting together the exhibit, citing lack of space as a limiting factor for the bigger pieces.
“They really are rather big,” Kirk said.

“I know that Jonathan’s work is good and consistent, but it’s also incredibly built,” said Tara Fracalossi, assistant professor in the Fine Arts department and founding director of the Teaching Gallery.

Fracalossi said she invited Kirk to exhibit his pieces on campus because she wanted Hudson Valley’s art students to have exposure to sculpture, a medium that’s not otherwise available to them at Hudson Valley.

She said she plans out the types of art exhibits featured on campus to give art students variety in their time here at Hudson Valley.

“Students are going to be here for two years (ideally) and I want them to maybe get some [exposure to] painting, some new media, [and] maybe get something super conceptual in here as well,” Fracalossi said.

The non-arts members of the Hudson Valley community are also encouraged to visit the exhibit. Fracalossi said the pieces aren’t necessarily finished and the way they were made is visible.
“I think even on the most basic level, they’re interesting to look at,” she said.

Although Kirk said he doesn’t like to go into detailed explanations of the meanings behind the pieces, he mentioned “mankind’s hubristic attitude, carbon footprints and unquestionable right to consume” as some of the ideas he draws on in his work.

“I hope that when people look at my work, they get the sense of what I’m talking about,” Kirk said.

Studio Maquettes runs from September 14th to October 14th in the Teaching Gallery on the ground floor of the Administration Building. The exhibit is free and open to the public. For gallery hours and more information, visit the Teaching Gallery’s official website at http://www.hvcc.edu/teachinggallery/index.html

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