Charming toads, immersive house parties delight onlookers at the Wassaic Project’s summer show

WASSAIC — Rain did little to stem the steady tide of gallery-goers at the opening of the Wassaic Project’s summer show on Saturday, May 20, titled “Counting the Seconds Between Lightning and Thunder.” Featuring 40 artists from near and far, the show’s opening reception was packed with attendees, so many that a line snaked around and through art installations as folks waited to ascend the Maxon Mills’ seven flights.

Featuring a vibrant array of work from Marianna Peragallo’s anthropomorphic plant sculptures to Danielle Klebes’ immersive house party on the top floor, one emergent theme of “Counting the Seconds…” was a contemporary perspective of nature and ecology.

KK Kozik’s “Ghost” oil painting, for instance, depicts a crow marching around a dead tree, its jaunty legs evoking a Miyazaki-like whimsy. Dan Gunn’s toad sculpture series, “The Ungrateful Son No.1-7,” plays on the particular brand of ugly-charming that toads often inhabit; and Ping Zheng’s oil painting “Looking into the Distance of a River” warps a natural landscape with a uniquely human blend of movement and nostalgia.

But the show is by no means hemmed to a single theme—indeed, another defining characteristic of “Counting the Seconds…” was a true breadth of styles and fascinations. Standouts include Chiara No’s bizarre stoneware bells, and Fern Apfel’s balanced still lifes of paper and playing cards, but viewers will find much to explore and enjoy.

And though the art was the main event, the opening also featured opportunities for the younger crowd to have fun and express themselves. The upstate New York-based nonprofit Super Stories set up shop under the Mills’ porch awning and provided paint, material and encouragement to artistic aspirants. Many paint-encrusted hands ensued, and co-owners Grace Lang and Ramiro Davaro-Comas described the day as a wonderful opportunity to help kids flex their creative muscles.

The work of the Wassaic Project’s after-school art program was also on display at the opening, tucked neatly into the Maxon Mills’ loft.

A program run by education coordinator Jill Winsby-Fein, the exhibition was the culmination of a year’s worth of effort from students in and around the Webutuck Central School District, and featured many exemplary pieces—including an array of cloche sculptures responding to the work of Cate Pasquarelli, an exhibitor at the Wassaic Project’s winter show (see “Touring the surreal…” from the Dec. 8, 2022, Millerton News for more details).

“Counting the Seconds Between Lightning and Thunder” is open to the public Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. through Saturday, Sept. 16.

 

This article has been updated to correct the identification of​ Grace Lang and Cate Pasquarelli were incorrectly identified.

Carliann Rittman of Amenia peers through ‘Kaleidoscope IV’ by Natalja Kent. Photo by Elias Sorich

A line forms around ‘Venting Spacetime’ by Shawn Bitters and Matthew Garcia at the opening of the Wassaic Project’s summer show ‘Counting the Seconds Between Lightning and Thunder’ on Saturday, May 20, at Maxon Mills in Wassaic. Photo by Elias Sorich

Amenia resident Pickle Gutierrez with her cat painting, made with materials provided by Super Stories. Photo by Elias Sorich

Carliann Rittman of Amenia peers through ‘Kaleidoscope IV’ by Natalja Kent. Photo by Elias Sorich

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