For a second year, the Village of Red Hook has been transformed into an open-air art gallery.
The award-winning Red Hook Community Arts Network (RHCAN) sculpture exposition is back, once again reminding viewers of the amazing creativity that exists in the region.
The expo is the brainchild of artist Rita Gentile, who suggested it at an RHCAN membership meeting in 2012. The concept was soon embraced by both village officials and the business community.
“A lot of village business owners, including Dan Budd and Todd Baright, were enthusiastic and instrumental in having it happen,” she told the Observer. “We’ve had overwhelming support from everyone, and from the notoriety of our first show, we were able to put it on again.”
The sculptures are placed around the village, and the walking guide found on www.rhcan.com recommends starting at the library. There, the front lawn hosts “Rimmoway Grand,” one of two painted steel pieces by Leon Smith of Ancramdale. Just north from the library, at Firehouse Plaza, stands “DisUnited,” Smith’s other work. Both are created from crushed, painted steel tire rims, the first in muted gray and blue, the second, a powerful representation of the American flag.
Binney Meigs of Sheffield, Mass., has two pieces on display; the polished, dark granite “Cloudmaker” on the sidewalk in front of Firehouse Plaza, and a shimmering, white-and-rose granite woman titled “Blessed Rain,” which sits in front of Bread & Bottle on Market Street. The two 1,200 and 1,500 pound pieces were placed by crane with the help of David Cohen of Kol-Rocklea Memorials and the Village of Red Hook Highway Department.
Sculptor Conrad Levenson of Stanfordville, with four new pieces in the show, is the only artist returning to the exposition this year.
Levenson is a collector of industrial scrap, which he mixes with iron elements to create his iron and steel constructs. The circular hoop titled “Macroscope” and the moveable concentric circles of “Eccentrics” take command of the green space next to Key Bank.
“Dynamic Quad” stands in Taste Budd’s Café garden and “Pendulum Totem” is next to Nekos Pharmacy; both incorporate antique ice saws and are part of a series Levenson titled “On the Cutting Edge.” One of Levenson’s pieces from last year’s show, “Screw Totem,” is now on permanent loan to Village Hall, where it stands near the front steps.
Allan Cypry of Yonkers uses wood as his creative medium. His piece, “Skyscraper – The Father,” recreates the look and feel of a skyscraper in long, linear wooden rectangles reminiscent of an angular pipe organ and graces the front of the Scism House at 7540 Broadway/Route 9.
Four large works enhance the rustic beauty of the Historic Elmendorph Inn. Gilbert Boro of Old Lyme, Conn., creates abstract, minimalist, welded steel sculptures with curved, flowing lines. Boro’s “ATR II/8, Buckingham Blue” stands next to the Elmendorph, harmonizing with the architecture of the past.
Fredrik Rostock of Staatsburg created four statues of heads named, “The Poets,” three of which Gentile decided to place in front of the Elmendorph, as well. The 6-foot-tall sculptures are made of marble dust-coated metal and stand like sentinels at the northern entrance to the village.
“I put three at the Elemendorph, and one stands alone across the street at the [Veterans] Memorial Park,” Gentile said.
According to Gentile, Rostock liked the placement and said, “It doesn’t matter, they don’t like each other anyway – they argue.”
The Veterans Memorial Park also hosts three other sculptures, in addition to Rostock’s “One Poet.” David Channon from Shandaken has “Headless Horseman,” which was constructed from used steel objects to recreate the mythical “Headless Horseman,” with moveable front hooves.
Tyler Borchert of Kingston created “Dreamcatcher,” by entwining long, irregular sections of driftwood from the Rondout Creek. Rising 12 feet above a concrete base, these rough, wooden tentacles cradle a dream catcher web at the top. Gentile said Borchert will often work on pieces for an audience at his studio on the strand in Kingston.
And Leon Smith has one more piece there, called “Bird,” a found steel object perched on legs to look like a headless turkey.
Gentile explained that the artists paid all installation and travel costs themselves, as well as a $20 entry fee and any liability insurance necessary to be a part of the show. A special permit process was created by the village last year to guide the expo and other events like it.
The show will continue through November. All the sculptures in the show are for sale, except Levinson’s “Screw Totem.” For a price list, walking guide and more information on the artists, go to www.rhcan.com.