‘Ode to Joy’, an exhibition at the Edgewood Gallery, has a straight-forward agenda: It delights in displaying Mark Raush’s large acrylics, many in lush colors, Jason Howard’s glass sculptures, and an array of Dana Stenson’s jewelry.
The show opened in mid-January but portends a time in the near future when winter has faded away.
Raush creates his paintings using the impasto technique, which is based on thick applications of paint with a brush or palette knife. Sometime bumps or ridges of paint are visible on a canvas. Vincent Van Gogh and Claude Monet are just two of the well known artists who utilized this technique.
Among other things, impasto offers an opportunity to play with texture and colors, to view objects from another perspective. In Raush’s work “Ming,” a vase doesn’t appear in fine detail. Rather, it’s swallowed up in thick green color.
In “Rebirth,” explosive red and gold colors contrast with the reddish hue of a jar in the painting’s center. Again the jar is faint, not finely detailed. In addition, “First Blush,” one of the best acrylics, accentuates orange and green colors.
Raush takes a different approach in an artwork like “Winter Stillness.” There trees depicted in thick brown color rise above snow on the ground, with the snow portrayed in gray color. In the same vein, “White House” offers a glimpse of a house set against a greenish background.
And his self-portrait is an interesting work. Viewers see an outline of Rausch’s face; it’s barely visible. This is definitely a different take on portraiture.
Howard, who works out of Cicada Studios in Skaneateles, learned traditional Italian glassblowing from masters of the crafts and also studied at the Corning Museum of Glass. Beyond that, he’s developed his own refinement of the processes. He’s noted for using a large, very hot torch to melt borosilicate glass or hard glass.
At Edgewood, he’s showing a variety of glass sculptures, most of them called soul cages. In “Rainbow,” six pieces stand on a large rock. They are delicate, extend from bulbous bottoms up to pointed tops, come in colors ranging from red to green to blue. And they convey a sense of grace.
The show also presents other soul cages with clear surfaces as well as four floral horns with pink colors. There’s also one martini glass which looks far too pretty to be sullied with gin and vermouth.
The glass pieces on view at Edgewood represent just a sampling of Howard’s body of work. Over the past 25 years, he’s created dozens of glass sculptures. One of them depicts a glass woodpecker perched on a block of wood. His works have appeared at various venues including the Museum of Art and Design in New York City, the Pismo Gallery in Denver, and the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Washington.
Stenson, a metalsmith/jeweler, has a selection of necklaces, rings and bracelets in the current exhibit. She works with various stones, creates some pieces influenced by nature and has initiated several series, one being her “Frida” series. It incorporates skull shapes.
Her jewelry has been exhibited locally at the Plowshares Craftsfair and other venues, and out of town. Stenson has taken part in the Elmwood Avenue of the Arts festival in Buffalo and in shows at Rochester’s Memorial Art Gallery.
“Ode to Joy” both focuses on individual pieces and has unifying elements. For example, there’s an interplay between the colors seen in Raush’s paintings and Howard’s sculptures. It’s worth a visit to Edgewood for the show.
The exhibition is on display through Feb. 24 at the 216 Tecumseh Road gallery, open from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and on Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m. For more information, call 315-445-8111 or visit edgewoodartandframe.com.
Carl Mellor covered visual arts for the Syracuse New Times from 1994 through 2019. He continues to write about artists and exhibitions in the Syracuse area.