The Edgewood Gallery is currently exhibiting “Dear World,” 51 new pieces by Amy Bartell that reflect on the current environmental crisis, that mourn political and societal divisions, that celebrate possibilities for connection and joy. 

The gallery is also showing smoked earthenware forms created by Sharon Schuchardt-Patsos and Caroline Tauxe’s fabric and mixed-media jewelry. 

In an interview, Bartell spoke of her commitment to a project that took over three years to complete, that incorporates a range of artworks. “Dear World” consists of works lovingly depicting birds, of ten small, nest-like structures made mostly from found objects, of mixed-media assemblages. And it features layered imagery, 14 collages combining bits and pieces of photos, monotypes and other elements. 

The artist spoke of her search for a visual idiom that would communicate her thoughts and emotions, her witnessing of turbulent times. Indeed, she considered varied events and societal trends: the isolation of the pandemic period, wildfires burning in the United States, Greece and other nations, the intensifying of political strife during and after the administration of President Donald Trump, proposed state laws and statues that would have a deleterious impact on the L.G.B.T.Q. community. 

In addition, she meditated on her own experiences. During June 2023, while working at Carol Watson’s greenhouse in Lafayette, she wore an N95 mask and looked at the sky. Public-health officials had warned the public about dismal air quality caused by smoke coming from wildfires in eastern Canada. 

What ultimately emerged was a complex project whose pieces both discuss a splintered world and have emotional import. In her artist’s statement, Bartell describes “Dear World” as “a plea, a prayer, an elegy, a love letter.”

To express that, she worked with mixed-media pieces, seeking varied avenues for storytelling. And so, viewers will encounter a set of very different works. 

On one wall, “Beatrix,” a gouache-and-ink piece on clay board, portrays a bird in fine detail. It, and other pieces depicting birds, are hung not far from the nests, a series of small pieces. One of them, “The Pink Cottage,” is stuffed with faded flowers. Another, “In the Wings,” has a cracked egg shell and small stones within it. In creating “In the Studio,” the artist placed a key and other objects in the nest. 

The multi-media assemblages, with the title “Stitching the Sky,” work off a metaphor: stitching to smooth out seams and rough edges. In “Chaos,” the canvas is decorated with striking patterns and has pebbles positioned on it. “Chutes and Ladders,” meanwhile, references the name of the board game but focuses on a visual gambit– extending a ladder to the sky. A third piece ,”Peregrination,” mixes lush colors and map details; it’s just one of several works that play with map imagery. 

Most importantly, the collages expand and enhance “Dear World.” They stand out visually and conceptually. 

“Sentinels,” for example, portrays two birds on a porch observing a sea of orange in the countryside; another area is on fire. It serves as a companion to “True Hearted,” in which six birds under a bridge face the viewer. They can be seen as a Greek chorus lamenting the ways of the world. Like any artwork, the collage is subject to a viewer’s interpretation. 

And “A Piece of Sky” depicts a storm in full fury, with clouds deep and dense. 

In contrast, several collages celebrate nature and life: “Marisol” with its luxurious view of sunflowers; “Reverie,” which highlights rich colors; “We Have a Moment,” a piece emphasizing colors and textures. 

There are other works that are both ambiguous and visually engaging. “Keeping Bees, I” has images of a honeycomb, bee and the letter E. That letter doesn’t seem to be deeply symbolic. Rather, it connotes humanity’s presence. 

On one level, “Edges, Round Lake” is simply delightful to look at. On another, its depiction of vegetation starting to decline during early fall evokes the cycle of birth, death and decay. 

After immersing herself in the development of “Dear World” for several years, Bartell is clearly happy that the body of work is having its premiere at the Edgewood Gallery. She adds that she’s grateful to CNY Arts for a grant that helped her purchase materials using in making the artworks. That was valuable support for the project. 

As mentioned earlier in this article, Edgewood is also presenting several of Schuchardt-Patsos’ organic forms. These are distinctive earthenware sculptures incorporating the shapes of gourds, snails, flower buds and other subjects.

Finally, Tauxe has a slew of her jewelry on display. She’s a multimedia artist who creates fabric earrings in an array of bright colors, working with cloth and creating light, durable pieces. 

The “Dear World” pieces and the other works are on display through September 29 at 216 Tecumseh Rd. The gallery is open from 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and on Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, call 315-445-8111 or access

Carl Mellor covered visual arts for the Syracuse New Times from 1994 to 2016. He continues to write about exhibitions and artists in the Syracuse area.

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