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Huge Artistic Egg Hatching
Here at Old Stone House
Exactly how do family members get along, despite their differences? Melinda Wallach and her mother, Mary, have found a near-perfect method¾they create art together.
It might be unusual art, to be sure, but it’s art nevertheless.
Most recently, their combined work has given birth to a whole new “family” made up of what they call biomorphs. Some of these truly strange sculptural creatures resemble oversized organisms that might have hatched beneath the deepest ocean -- or inside the darkest dream -- while others look friendly, welcoming, even all-warm-and-fuzzy.
Beginning July 18th, they’re all dressed up to greet you in person at The Old Stone House in Hasbrouck, NY. The exhibition -- Incubation. Creation. Community. -- opens that Saturday with a reception from 6-9:30 pm, and will be open 12-4 pm on the following day, plus the following Saturday and Sunday, or by appointment on weekdays till the end of July.
The two artists gave birth to their biomorphs using everyday objects and supplies, including items discarded as trash, or on the way to the dump. One relative enjoys dismantling machines, and passes along interesting pieces. Bubble wrap, thrift-shop clothing, scraps of fabric, and odds and ends from yard sales, all find places in this unusual new family’s DNA.
For the Old Stone House show, some ‘morphs will be shown “socializing” together, nurturing their young, searching for food, and engaging in other activities typical of, well, any other suburban biomorph family. From time to time, some of the family might even shift positions, as though living real lives in ultra-slow motion.
In a separate installation, visitors may interact directly with one species of biomorph and experience what it means to be truly “touched” by art. A few additional art pieces, called “incubators,” promise to surprise even the most jaded art enthusiast.
“Our show celebrates creation itself,” says Melinda Wallach. “It stems from the Big Bang of biomorphs and, once their little universe expanded, shows them experiencing daily existence just like us, with all its assorted joys and sorrows, conflicts and resolutions.”
Within the real Wallach family, decades of art collaboration has come with surprising tranquility.
"When I was young,” says Melinda, “my mother told me she didn't really have an artistic bone in her body. But then, in her fifties, she started creating these awesome collages that I thought were fantastic.” Their initial biomorph sculptures “tended to be different,” she says. “Hers were a bit smaller, prettier and more decorated. Mine were bigger, uglier and, uh, hairier.”
Despite artistic differences, says her mother Mary, "we haven't really encountered any serious disagreements, and that may be because of our good relationship...and the fact that we share genetics.” Fortunately, she adds, “neither of us is very controlling.”
It doesn’t hurt their relationship that Mary Wallach is a highly trained professional therapist with a thriving private practice. She holds a series of degrees -- SUNY, Rutgers, Westbrook -- up to and including a doctorate in the field.
Daughter Melinda started her own career in nursing, co-authored books on women's reproductive health, then spent several years freelancing. She took workshops with internationally known artists Genie Appel, Worf Kahn, Eydi Lampasona and Betty Edwards, whose 1979 best-seller, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, set new art-world standards. A Stone House exhibit of Melinda’s extraordinary work last year generated record-setting attendance.
Together, mother and daughter eventually took creative painting workshops at the Boca Raton School of Art in Florida. “We decided to work on one painting at the same time,” says Melinda, “to see how it would be with both of us creating the same work. Almost immediately, we began cross-pollinating each other’s ideas.”
The result is this delightful, if genuinely exotic, family of newborn biomorphs, made of scraps, trash, and bits-and-pieces of junk. But, artistically, they’re 100% human.
Previous Art Shows
June, 2015“Naughty, but Nice” Art Show
Turns Old Stone House
A Little Risqué for Just a Day
In a dramatic departure from the Catskill area’s customary art shows, the Old Stone House of Hasbrouck is presenting a one-time, one-day-only exhibit of kinky and erotic sculpture, paintings, books and other items, many highlighting the hidden world of fetishes.
The adults-only show on Saturday, June 27th, is a fund-raiser for the community arts and education center, a 501(c)3 organization. Admission requires a $25-per-person suggested contribution, including a gourmet reception, with the doors open from 5-10 pm.
It’s all being organized and underwritten by one of that hush-hush world’s most respected members, Constance S. Slater, whose 1997 book “Kaleidoscope: Sex, Healing and S&M” set a new standard for understanding the psychology of sexual practices. Citing its “originality of approach,” Secret Magazine said the book adds “a new dimension to the way many people think about their sexuality.”
For several years, Slater operated Dressing For Pleasure, a popular New Jersey shop with a dozen elegant showrooms offering such items as leather and latex clothing, stiletto high-heels for both men and women, maid uniforms made of the finest satin, and other “accessories” of the industry. Even the New York Times, in a 2003 article on the growing fetish fashion craze -- most obvious in popular movies and TV shows -- recognized her expertise as a keen inside observer of such fashion and social trends.
Throughout her active career, Slater amassed a huge array of art objects related to those decades in the industry, many of them now taken from her private collection for this unique public showing. “There’s nothing that reasonable people could call pornographic,” she says, “but words like exotic, sexy, kinky, risqué and erotic would all easily describe the exhibit.”
After all, she points out, “there’s a hit musical on Broadway named ‘Kinky Boots,’ a title basically related to a fetish for certain footwear.” On display, in fact, will be a historic poster of shoes that were part of famous Broadway productions, as well as another poster, advertising an erotic ballet, ripped from a Paris train station many years ago.
“If you search for ‘fetish’ on Amazon,” Slater says, “twenty pages of products show up, along with 100 pages of books. It’s more mainstream than many people are ready to admit.” In addition, she notes, there are several hundred organizations, in almost every state coast to coast, that devote their activities to supporting erotic and kinky practices.
In recent years, Slater has been a significant local presence in both theater and philanthropy. She has directed and acted in several major Sullivan County Dramatic Workshop productions, while consistently and strongly supporting numerous other local arts and community institutions.
For more information about the show, call Constance Slater at (845) 436-6309. The Old Stone House of Hasbrouck, at 282 Hasbrouck Rd. in Fallsburg, NY, is conveniently located near Monticello, Liberty, Grahamsville and Ellenville, and also not too far from Middletown. And be sure to visit their web site, www.TheOldStoneHouseOfHasbrouck.org.
OIL AND WATER
Watercolors by Janet Campbell
Oil paintings by David Munford
September 1–30, 2014
The Old Stone House
282 Hasbrouck Road, Woodbourne, NY 12788
Artists' reception: Labor Day—Monday, September 1st, 2-4 pm
Gallery hours are Saturdays and Sundays, from 12-4 pm, or by appointment
A Broken This, a Shattered That,
All Add Up to Innovative Art
Many artists use traditional oils, while others will chip away at huge hunks of marble. A few employ somewhat more peculiar media, such as scraps of old packaging, broken bits of plastic, the inner parts of shattered machines, and other assorted flotsam and jetsam.
Melinda Wallach, whose mixed-media work will be displayed at the Old Stone House of Hasbrouck throughout October, will use “almost anything” in her art, she says, especially “modern garbage,” the discarded debris of contemporary life.
“One of my passions is to look at mundane objects, especially things that have been thrown away,” she explains, and “re-purpose them as elements in pieces of art.”
Because viewers will likely linger on those small, unusual elements -- indeed, she challenges them to identify the origin of each component -- she titles the show “There’s a Method to Her Madness,” reminding them to open their eyes wider, step back a bit, and contemplate the larger integrated piece. “I hope every visitor becomes intrigued by the interplay of the elements, and enjoys the overall energy emerging from the whole composition.”
Her exhibition -- including a wide range of her styles and media -- opens with a free Saturday evening reception at the Old Stone House, from 6-10 pm on October 4th, to be catered by Chef Austin from the Grant House Country Inn in Bethel, NY (www.granthousecountryinn.com). The art can be viewed thereafter on Saturdays and Sundays, noon-4 pm, through Oct. 26th.
Born on Long Island, Ms. Wallach’s early artistic endeavors dealt with silk, cotton and wool creations. One grandfather had painted in oils, the other had been a naval architect who also worked in sculpture and drawing, and her mother created collages and painted furniture. Her own career, though, led her into nursing, and a BA in psychology. She later became a medical writer in the pharmaceutical industry, co-authored books on women’s reproductive health, and spent several years freelancing.
Then, more recently, her art career blossomed. She began studying in earnest while living in Florida, joining ArtServe of Fort Lauderdale and exhibiting in group shows there and throughout the area. And she took Masters Level workshops with internationally known artists Genie Appel, Eydi Lampasona and Wolf Kahn, and worked privately with Betty Edwards, whose 1979 best-seller “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain” set new standards throughout the art world.
Her artistic plan, so to speak, was to avoid at all costs having any artistic plan. “I start a piece without an end goal, letting the work speak to me as it evolves, and discovering whatever the creative, intuitive process shows me. I’ll blend elements of realism with abstraction, using pastels, acrylics, oil, collage, mixed media, and sometimes those ‘found’ objects.”
There are visible influences in her art from Austria, Vietnam, the Netherlands and Bali, plus dozens of other spots she’s visited, along with signs of her enthusiasm for pueblo pottery, graffiti, Chinese calligraphy, and even images from the Hubble Space Telescope.
When not traveling, or wintering in the south, she shares a Loch Sheldrake home with her husband, amid a substantial selection of her own ingenious art. An enthusiastic practitioner of meditation, she often ponders modern physics and astronomy because “they reveal how our universe works, how energy manifests every object, thought and action, and how we see only the tip of the iceberg, with most of existence going on under the surface.”
Viewing her art, she hopes, may well make visible some measure of what’s normally so hidden.
For more information about the show, call Melinda Wallach at (954) 815-9398.
We are still accepting applications for 2015 exhibitions. Please contact us for more details.