Emerging Artists from the Leatherstocking Region
There is a generation of individuals who came of age between two distinct eras. In middle school, they used a payphone to call home after sports practice. By the time they graduated from high school, they were posting smartphone pictures of their celebration on Facebook.
Today we exist in a hyper-economy of information and media. Almost everything we need is a touch or swipe away.
The late generation of millennials, however, is presented with a unique sense of nostalgia and context. Throughout their youth, they witnessed a rapid increase and consolidation of access to connective technologies. On a day-to-day basis, this transition was experienced as a smooth, natural progression. However, looking back, they are able to recognize a stark contrast between the two centuries they have inhabited.
The effect of communication technologies on the visual artist of the 21st Century is to inspire a hectic response. Never before have artists had the ability to experience so much media. In the recent past, art history was reserved only for the academic scholar and the museum visitor. Now, a canvas by Jackson Pollock or a print of Ansel Adams photography is just a click away. This unprecedented ease of access to historical perspectives is complimented by a constant stream of contemporary achievement, pouring forth from Youtube and Instagram.
Having inhabited the region of Otsego County in upstate New York, the artists represented in this show are all linked by the privilege in which they have lived and been surrounded, by a vastly well-preserved wilderness. Atop each low hill and around each corner in the road here, one is continually greeted with new vistas of natural beauty. For those of us who reside in Otsego County, we tend to become numb to that beauty. But the visual immersion that results from inhabiting our region necessarily influences the artists and the media on display in this exhibit.
On these walls, we can see the conflict between our rural environment and the much larger, crowded world we experience through an iPhone’s screen. We can see popular media and televised imagery, layered on top of a knowledge of the natural world.
Cooperstown, NY is perched at the mouth of Otsego Lake. This town looks out over a landscape that was carved from the earth by receding glaciers during the last ice age. The artists in this exhibit must incorporate their experiences within a globalized, digitized world. But, atop that information-dense, homogenized outlook, their surroundings have carved out a particular perspective. They continually bear with them the influence of Otsego County, area code 607.