Strength through beauty

Photographers Dave Hebb, Charise Isis & Tanya Marcuse lecture this Saturday at Dorsky Museum at SUNY-New Paltz

by Paul Smart
September 22, 2011 12:09 PM | 0 0 comments | 1058 1058 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Dave Hebb’s Dry Dock, 2010
Dave Hebb’s Dry Dock, 2010
You could hardly ask for three more disparate photographers to represent our area than those speaking at the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art this Saturday, September 24 in support of this year’s full-throttle and incredibly exciting compendium of regional artistic talent, “Hudson Valley Artists 2011: Exercises in Unnecessary Beauty.”

Dave Hebb makes his home in the Catskills; has a mountain-man appearance; went to grad school in Montana and won a Fulbright Fellowship to Iceland. He makes photos, videos and installations that explore the dissonance between Nature and man-made pop culture with a unique sense of underlying “terrible beauty,” as the poet William Butler Yeats would have put it.

Charise Isis lives in Kingston, between Midtown and the Rondout, and radiates softness, acceptance. Originally from New Zealand, she is self-taught, shooting photo essays about strippers before moving on to start a business helping women find their own sensuality via her Boudoir Series of photos. Now she has embarked on an ambitious project documenting survivors of breast cancer. Her works imply the mood of a Sharon Olds poem, the world of a Margaret Atwood.

Tanya Marcuse is raising a family in Dutchess County; is busy, professional. She got her Bachelor’s at Oberlin, her MFA at Yale; is a Guggenheim recipient; teaches photography at Bard College’s Simon’s Rock School in the Berkshires. She has become known shooting armor, lingerie, vegetables, wax bodies. Her works resemble both still-lives and prose poems. They’re also about resilience, strength. They feel postmodern, like a William Carlos Williams snippet crossed with Frank Lloyd Wright.

“I observe and document the contrast between the organic natural processes of growth and decay with the strict geometric forms of our technological infrastructure,” says Hebb in his Artist’s Statement. “Issues of permanence versus entropy, obsolescence and the impulse to control and sanitize are contrasted with the regenerative power and cyclical structure of Nature.”

“I love the humble ambitions of the models,” Marcuse has said. “I try to somehow pull them to another place where they can become lyrical or ironic.”

All three artists will speak with “Hudson Valley Artists 2011” curator Brian Wallace at 2 p.m. in the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art on the SUNY-New Paltz campus. Talk about getting at the idea of this show directly: that oddness in the idea that any beauty might be considered unnecessary.

For further information call (845) 257-3844 or visit The show stays up until mid-November.

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