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Capital City Perspectives: A Review of the smAlbany Exhibit at the UAG Gallery

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smAlbany Exhibit at the UAG Gallery, Review

Upstate Artists Guild: Artwork Inspired by Albany

Utopia (Bike Man II) by Lorenz Worden The term “smAlbany” is frequently evoked by residents of New York’s Capital City to explain the phenomena of running into friends in unexpected places or learning that the stranger you meet happens to know everyone you know. The smAlbany exhibit, currently running at the Upstate Artists Guild (UAG) Gallery on Lark Street, showcases art inspired by the city.

Most of the artists whose work is on display took the exhibit’s title quite literally as the majority of the front room features landscapes of familiar spots on Lark Street and the downtown area. Tom Fraser’s Burnt Landmark (Lark Tavern) is a realistic watercolor of the popular bar which suffered a massive fire in 2010. He also had paintings of several other sites within a stone’s throw of the gallery itself, including Across From The Armory showing the view of the Armory with the large clock outside of Key Bank in the foreground complete with people waiting at the bus stop. Artist June Bonilla also contributed watercolors of nearby landmarks including Justin’s On Lark, which focused on the neon martini glass sign outside the restaurant.

The back room of the gallery displays the photography of featured artist Pilar Arthur-Snead. Her photos of vacant scenes of the Empire State Plaza and surrounding areas were bright and vivid yet looked a little too much like they belonged in a visitor’s guide instead of a gallery. They were mostly framed in sets of two instead of standing alone. The photos are untitled and randomly grouped, pairing a close-up of tulips taken presumably in or around Washington Park, with a twilight shot of one of the agency buildings around the Plaza.

The work of artist Lorenz Worden was featured in the side room. His work showcased historical Albany as well as contemporary scenes, showing sailors exploring the Hudson River. His Utopia (Bike Man II) was the highlight of the show, even if he did take creative license in placing the UAG Gallery next door to the Downtube Bike Shop (which is really located on Madison Avenue) in his watercolor of a man riding his bike down Lark Street.

The show runs through September 23rd, and is worth a gander, particularly if you’re interested in local art, lore & history. Visit for more information.

Stacey Stump is an Assistant Editor for The Free George.

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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