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Toulouse-Lautrec and the Annual Regional Juried High School Art Exhibition at the Hyde, Review

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A Mix of Old and New Styles of Art in Glens Falls

Toulouse-Lautrec and New Works by High School Students at the Hyde, Review

Henri de Toulouse- Lautrec, French (1864- 1901), Confetti, 1894, From the Collection of Artist Jan Balet (1913- 2009)The Hyde Collection in Glens Falls is currently hosting two incredibly imaginative exhibits, both in terms of their scope and originality. The 21st Annual Regional Juried High School Art Exhibition and Toulouse-Lautrec & Company: Prints from the Belle Époque showcase the variety and influence of different schools of thought and execution.

Here in these two shows, the spectator is privy to a variety of playfulness and expression, as well as an intriguing cross section of both old and new styles of art.

Toulouse-Lautrec & Company: Prints from The Belle Époque

Covering the era of 1890 to around 1914, The Belle Époque was an era that fused optimism, technology, science, theatre, music and especially art. Think of it as a precursor to the jazz age—equally risqué and rebelliously bold and daring, it was the era where the Moulin Rouge was the hot spot in Paris, and where brazen sexuality pushed the envelope.

This small, but entertaining exhibit not only showcases some of Toulouse-Lautrec’s finest illustrations, but the works of his contemporaries as well.

Playfulness and experimentation are at the forefront here. Though Lautrec remains the primary focus of the exhibit, his contemporaries also stand out for their inventive use of color, and their almost futuristic manipulations of lines and shapes.

In exploring these works in the small, but intimate Hoopes Gallery, one is immediately struck by their delicateness and incredible use of detail; the viewer is reminded of a time when there was great creativity in art, a time when rapid change, including the First World War, was on the horizon.

Toulouse-Lautrec’s style is at its height in Confetti (1894); though simplistic in its execution, the lithograph makes a powerful impact, with its minimalistic use of color. Aside from a bright shade of yellow used in the woman’s hair, black and shades of grey are the dominant colors, with small speckles of red, blue and yellow signifying confetti being thrown at the almost ghost-like figure of a woman by three detached hands. Lautrec was commissioned to do the work by J&E Bella, a British stationery company that was trying to promote their new paper confetti, considered to be safer than the plaster alternative used up until that time.

Charles Huard’s Pecheurs a la Ligne (1898) is perhaps the most striking work in the show, resembling in many ways the work of Munch. A vibrant color woodcut on paper, Huard’s use of detail and color gives the piece an almost futuristic graphic novel or comic-like feel.

Edmond Aman-Jean’s Sous les Fluers (1897) is a haunting lithograph, similar to a pencil drawing in terms of its detail. The woman’s face is purposely disguised and muted, and surrounded by swirls of wavy hair. The image is lovely as if it were a dream or a trance-like recollection of a love gone by.

René Georges Hermann-Paul’s Nymphe Effrayée (1896) utilizes an intriguing array of colors, mixing layers of red, green and yellow, while Paul Serusier’s Cover for L’Assomption de Hannele Mattern (1893) features a haunting use of lines and shading, symbolizing death and transcendence.

Other artists on display in the exhibit are Félix Valloton, Jules Chéret, Ker-Xavier Roussel, Henri-Gabriel Ibels, and Henri Even Poel.

The 21st Annual Regional Juried High School Art Exhibition in the Wood Gallery

Hannah McCasland, Grade 10, Queensbury, Polly DollyThis year’s show offers an impressive collection of works in digital photography, ceramics, drawings, paintings and electronic media by students from Warren, Washington, Saratoga, Hamilton and Essex Counties. Of the over 1,000 submissions, a total of 100 were eventually chosen to take part.

The works on display here range in style and execution from playful and comical to dark and extremely brooding, showcasing within them a brilliant and impressive use of imagination, and a site for many a rising star.

Untitled 4 by Imani Mack is a color digital photograph, perhaps a self-portrait in which a young girl is either suffering from a flesh eating bacteria or playing the role of a zombie. The image is both comical and horrifying, though the makeup employed appears more tongue in cheek than gruesome.

Polly Dolly by Hannah McCasland is a ceramic rag doll figure, done in a Tim Burton-esque type of style. Mismatched buttons serve as eyes and one foot is placed in a large disproportionate sneaker. Both playful and symbolic, the piece is extremely captivating and fun.

Caitlin Kenney’s Davy Jones haunts the viewer. Its digitized graphical design features the image of a giant octopus engulfing a ship in the middle of the ocean. The imagery brings to mind the work of Czech animator Karel Zeman, who used similar imagery in his animated fantasy films. The deep tones of blue and the overall dark mood catch the viewer’s attention.

Alison Katz, Grade 12, Saratoga Springs City School District, Best in Show, WirePressure by Alison Katz was the recipient of this year’s Best in Show award. Sculpted from metal wire, the sculpture depicts a crouched figure, head almost tucked within its hands in a protective manner, as though trying to avoid a flaying, or collapsing from the weight of the world on it shoulders. To some degree, the figure appears also to be a play on “The Thinker.”

Other pieces in the show that particularly stand out are Untitled 1 by Haley Schaff, a digital photo depicting a head of cabbage with soothing hues of red and blue; $5.00 Foot Long by Melanie Marino, a humorous clay and acrylic submarine sandwich that in the exhibit is display as a pair of bookends; Grannies by Kelsey Alfanso, an interesting ink piece in which the two faces resemble meticulously detailed woodcuts; Aliza Charbonneau’s Gossip is a delicate watercolor of several birds situated on a branch, while Kirsten Kelly’s Untitled 3 is an ominous digital photograph that focus on trails of green suspended in liquid.

Although it would be difficult to mention everyone, all of the works here were incredibly inspiring and captivating. Much like The Belle Époque, these inventive young artists clearly show that there are the bursting seeds of creativity out there, and lucky for us, it’s all taking place in our hometowns.

Both shows will close on May 27, 2012…so go now before you miss your chance.

For more information, visit

Dave Bower and Monica Sirignano are Co-Publishers of 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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