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The Fence Select Show at the Arts Center of the Capital Region, Review

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Review of The Fence Select Show 2011 at the Arts Center of the Capital Region

Jun Xia, Portrait, Fence Select ShowCurrently on display at the Arts Center of the Capital Region in downtown Troy is The Fence Select Show, an annual juried art show that features a vibrant and unique selection of local artwork.

According to the Arts Center, the event was conceived in the late 1960s when members decided to showcase their artwork publicly on the iron fences surrounding Washington Park, which was the Arts Center’s original location. With an increase in submissions and popularity over the years, the show has been broken up into two parts during the course of the summer.

The first part of the exhibition, titled The Fence Salon, took place from June 18th to July 17th, 2011. The opening reception was held on Friday, June 24th with the grand prize being a solo exhibition in the President’s Gallery next year with top billing among the Center’s various galleries.

The artwork was displayed “salon- style” (in the spirit of the Société des Artistes Français of the 1890s, which featured an exhibition of young, yet unrecognized, artists) in the main Gallery and featured work representative of all levels of skill and ability.

A popular show, the Arts Center received over 400 entries that were narrowed down to 54 pieces; the show was judged by Carrie Haddad, owner and director of Carrie Haddad Gallery and Photography in Hudson, NY.

Niki Haynes, The Fence Select ShowTo usher in the second part of the Fence Show, known as The Fence Select, a reception was held Friday, July 29th during Troy’s Night Out; awards and prize money were given out. The recipient of this year’s President’s Choice Award was Niki Haynes for her playful mixed media collages Kansas, Tomboy and Thought Police.

A standout within a realm of talented work, Haynes’s collages place male-female figures against a backdrop of colorful grid-like patterns. Both playful and nostalgic (the figures are reminiscent of 50s ads), the pictures point to the duplicitous or “hidden” natures in all of us. In Tomboy, a young boy holds a long hose; the face of a young girl in a scout-like hat is conjoined to his. Pink and blue splashes of water in typical girl-boy colors run down the grid-patterned wall.

In Thought Police, a man is seen looking into a hand-held mirror; the mirror also resembles a frying pan. Staring back at him is the slightly shattered reflection of a woman’s face and the partial face of a clock. The hand that holds the mirror is a woman’s hand. On the other side of the grid wall, a man in a police uniform stalks him; the bottom half of the officer’s figure is a woman’s body. A feeling of tension and time running out permeates the piece.

Dave Austin, Missionaries. Photo by Alana AkackiThis year’s winners in the Adult Category include: Kevin Aldrich for his colorful painting The Shallow End, a vivid depiction of people playing and interacting in and around the shallow end of a pool; Dave Austin for his visually striking painting Missionaries–pictured left, Austin’s painting exudes a feeling of imminent danger, as men in black suits drag a man’s listless body up to a plane; John Hampshire for his highly detailed painting Labyrinth Bruno; Ed O’Connell’s ceramic piece Ubungu; and Tom Corrada for his large mixed media work, Cyclist, which is both haunting and impressive in its construct.

Also impressive was the quality of work in this year’s Kids Category. Winners included Jun Xia for Portrait (pictured above in the intro)arranged in something of a quilt-like fashion, the collage, done totally in black and white, is impressive in its detail, combining text and art to create a self-reflective compilation of the artist’s interests; Robbie Lagan for his cityscape The Biggest Ball–featuring an omniscient-like sun and a panda bear sitting on top of the city, the painting juxtaposes promise and hope against the rim of a dark land; Emily Argoff for her striking and abstract portrait of a hatted woman, Her Sharp Gaze; and Sarah Muhammad Ali for her large, colorful painting Girl with the Purple Hijab.

The Fence show runs through August 21, 2011.

For more information, see or call 518-273-0552 ext. 221.

Photos by Alana Akacki.

The Free George is the online magazine and visitors’ guide of Upstate NY, covering things from Albany to Lake Placid, including Saratoga, the Lake George region and the Adirondacks. Check out our City Blogs section for our extended coverage areas as well.

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1 Comment for “The Fence Select Show at the Arts Center of the Capital Region, Review”

  1. [...] The Free George weighs in with a review of the Fence Select Show, which is on exhibit at the Arts Center of the Capital Region in Troy through Sunday. [...]

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