Casting Faith

by Paul Smart
February 17, 2011 11:00 AM | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Gillian Jagger
Gillian Jagger
“What is it that matters? Is there something we could do that would really matter?,” asks the artist Gillian Jagger — who juried the group show of Recent Work up at the Woodstock Artists Association & Museum this month, and is set to speak following the screening of a film about her this coming Sunday, February 19. “How can I get out of myself, and what is there out there that can integrate what is true — emotionally, spiritually, intellectually, physically?...I don’t think we are whole much of the time; I think we’ve become fragmented. But while making art — I’m talking about the entire process, no matter how long it takes to create a piece — you’re whole.”

Casting Faith, the one-hour PBS documentary about Jagger by award-winning filmmaker Barbara Gordon, a WAAM member, and art writer/filmmaker Richard Schlesinger, follows Jagger through the woods on her property, where she finds the mammoth trees and animal remains that become the material for her monumental sculptural art installations.

Jagger, who has lived in the Kerhonkson area for years, is an iconic artist, having worked a strain of humane brutalism forth from her late 1950’s start under the arm of Andy Warhol. Her signature works incorporate desiccated animals and ripped tree trunks, suspended farm implements, and a looming sense of both danger and fragility. At the same time, she also turns out to be a master at drawing…and overall, a true thinking man’s artist.

She and Gordon will answer questions about the film, and Jagger’s singular vision of the arts as a modern vestige of ancient heroism, following Sunday’s screening.

Believe me, she’s a delight…and sure to have you thinking deep for weeks, months and hopefully years to come. It all kicks off at 5 p.m. Sunday, February 20 at WAAM, 28 Tinker Street,  just off the village green in Woodstock.

For further information call 679-2940 or visit

WAAM awards

A few weeks back, the Woodstock Artists Association & Museum (WAAM) announced the recipients of their various awards for 2010. Herewith, the full list: Fredericka Ribes — The Harriet Tannin Award; Ian Worpole — The Andrée Ruellan Award; Harriet Livathinos — Juror’s Choice for Drawing (March); Mercedes Cecilia — Juror’s Choice for Landscape (March); Bobby Blitzer — Sidney Laufman Award; J. H. Aronson — Sam Spanier Award; Polly M. Law — The Ulster Savings Bank Award; Sherry Mayo — Juror’s Choice for Drawing (Far & Wide); Ron Balsamo — Juror’s Choice for Landscape (Far & Wide); Wilma Miller — Lucile Blanch Award; Laura Gurton — Helen Gilkey Award; Susan Phillips — Anne Helioff & Benjamin Hirschberg Award; Bonnie Diana — The Holland Foster Award; Laura Gurton — The Sheila Getty Bloodgood Award; Katherine Gray — Amy Ylvisaker Award; Katherine Fisher — Garrett Henderson Ackerman Youth Award; Penny Dell, Valerie Owen — The Gerald Berke Awards; Llyn Towner — The Alice Lewis Award; Janet Rossi — The Doris Lee/Elfriede Borkmann Award; Marianne Heigemeir — Alan Koff Award; Ze’ev Willy Neumann — The Llyn Towner Award for Abstraction; and Kari Feuer — The Harriet Livathinos/Rei Fraas Award.

Also named were the biggies for the year, including the various The People’s Choice Awards (funded by Catskill Art Supply), which went to Marlene Wiedenbaum, Jane Bloodgood-Abrams, Sheryl Anderson, Alan McKnight, Eric Angeloch, Jacquie Roland, and Steve Fineman over the year.

Special Year End Award Winners included the awarding of the prestigious Sally Jacobs/Phoebe Towbin Award to Barbara Bachner; The Kuniyoshi Fund Award to Hatti Iles; the Leilani Claire Award for Outstanding Photography to Joy Moore.; and the Mary Wilson Award for Outstanding Still Life to Marianne Heigemeir.

Congratulations, all! ++

Upstairs in Phoenicia

Clear your schedules…the Arts Upstairs in Phoenicia has an opening this Saturday night, February 19, from 6 p.m. on. The big show in the main galleries ramble of rooms will be based around the centralizing theme, “The Five Senses,” with the show’s call-for-entry adding the tag line, “See me, Hear me, Touch me, Feel me...Smell me?”

Yep, we’ve all got cabin fever…which makes the gallery’s celebrated openings — a mix of potluck food, strong beverages and convivial crowds all glad to get out and see each other — that much more welcome now.

Filling out the show, and known before-hand so we can anticipate at least some of what will be on view over the coming month, will be not two but three featured artists in the Arts Upstairs quaint and somewhat quieter solo rooms.

Anna Contes, who has risen out of the main gallery mash-ups, is a still life artist working with gourds, pumpkins, and the like…all sweetly rendered in miniature form. Douglas James Maguire captures local landscapes with a penchant for the idyllic, yet a sharp sense of detail and underlying knowledge of all whose footsteps he follows in now. Finally, there will be some new low-rent pieces by the prolific and always incisively observant Sparrow, poet and “oracle” now that he’s returned to the area.

Expect fun. Dress real well. Be prepared to dance. And bring cash or a checkbook so you can buy some art to bring home after your collective cabin fever cures.++

The Arts Upstairs is located at 60 Main St. Phoenicia in the center of Phoenicia. For further information call 688-2142 or visit

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