Madness in Vegetables: Hudson Valley Artists 2019

Curated by Alyson Baker and Candice Madey

June 15 – November 10, 2019
Alice and Horace Chandler and North Galleries

Scott Serrano, Professor Hitchcock's Tentacled Jelly Mellon, 2018, ink and watercolor on watercolor paper, wood, courtesy the artist


Bob Barry | Julie Evans | Mara Held | Virginia Lavado | Elisa Lendvay | Claudia McNulty | David Nyzio | Phyllis Gay Palmer | Libby Paloma | Lauren Piperno | Scott Serrano | Jackie Shatz | Linda Stillman | Jean-Marc Superville Sovak | Christina Tenaglia | scrap wrenn | Roberta Ziemba


I am dreaming of the trees that devote themselves to an unending search for aerial balance...Such is the life of a fig tree, like a poet’s: the search for light and the difficulty of remaining in it. There are apple trees that prefer the beauty of their fruit to the maintenance of their balance and so they break. They are mad. 

—Francis Jammes, Pensées des Jardins (Paris, 1906)


The title of the exhibition, Madness in Vegetables, cites the playful title of a poem by Francis Jammes, a French writer born in 1868 who is best known for his turn from the fashionable 19th c. Symbolist movement, instead drawing inspiration from the natural world and a rustic life far from the decadent center of Parisian literary circles.

Bob Barry, Pod, 2017, ceramic, courtesy the artist


Jammes locates the vertical nature of the tree as a site for the imagination, connecting us to the mystery of the subterranean earth where roots converge and pulse with energy, and the determined ascent towards air and light. Madness in Vegetables, the exhibition, explores otherworldly entanglements with vegetal life, and the endless potential for imagination that is found in the darkness of the underbrush and lightness of the overstory.


Elisa Lendvay, Green Orbits (Snake Plant), 2017, steel, paper pulp and clay, bamboo, aluminum, felt, wire, acrylic paint, marble dust, courtesy the artist


The Hudson Valley Artists exhibition is open to all emerging and mid-career artists with an active art practice in Columbia, Dutchess, Greene, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster, and Westchester counties. This year, artists were invited to submit fine art or craft that engages with natural themes, encouraging work made from locally sourced materials.


Mara Held, Compass of Intervals, 2017, egg tempera on linen over
 panel, courtesy the artist


Artists in the exhibition address the enticing beauty and repellent brutality of nature; the political and civic implications of choosing a rural life; our rapidly changing climate; the wild character of plants, gardens, forests, and fauna; the relevance, power and forms of anthropomorphic mythmaking; and poetic and fantastical interpretations of the woodlands.


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