GLOVERSVILLE - After this morning's worship services, the First United Congregational Church of Christ will shift its focus from the sacred to the sublime, reopening to the public for the start of the 53rd Fulton County Art Show.
This year, the show will feature more than 430 works by 87 of the area's visual artists. Works by elementary school students and photographs by adults are displayed on the second floor, while paintings, sculptures, pottery and other works by adults are on view in the church basement. The first-floor lounge is dedicated to work by the show's guest artist, photographer Judy Olson.
Art show Chairwoman Ann Lee Clough and a crew of volunteers worked this week to hang the pieces throughout the building and make preparations for the weeklong event, which will open at 2 p.m. today.
A detail from “Antarctic Ice Fields,” a painting by Gloversville artist Fred Bochenek, one of more than 400 works on display at the 2011 Fulton County Art Show, which opens today.
Ellen Wood, the show's publicity chairwoman, said she is always impressed at how a few volunteers manage to arrange and hang all the pieces in a short time. The works are not arranged according to the skill or reputation of their creators, Wood said, but in a way that makes aesthetic sense to the organizers. Often, they group pieces together based on their sizes, shapes and dominant colors.
In this year's adult exhibition, two large paintings by Fred Bochenek stand out vividly. The Gloversville artist says he drew inspiration for his large, cool-hued paintings from the extreme scenery of Antarctica's ice fields, which he visited many times while serving with the Air National Guard.
"It's a remote area, but it can grow on you," he said. "The ice and the mountains are beautiful."
Artists participating in this year's Fulton County Art Show include:
JoAnn Andrews, Jean Antis, Marilyn Batty, Cheryl Bielli, Tom Bielli, Linda Biggers, Terrie Birmingham, Fred Bochenek, Margaret Bromford, Nancy Buyce, Chris Caputo, Richard Crane, Carmelo D'Amore, Susan D'Amore, Richard Joel Davis, Teresia Davis, Deborah Deming, Ron Dennis, Jennifer DesJardins, Barbara Dietrich, Kelly Dorman, Stacey Frasier, George Frazier, Sandy Geer, Christa Germain, Alan Gessinger, Warren Greene, Larry Groesbeck, Dolores Haberek.
Alex Higgins, Michael Hine, Linda K. Hinkle, Jack Horning, Gena Hulse, Julius Januszewski
Andre Jones, Carl Jurica, Marion Kohinke, Dragan Konakov, Juliet Konieczny, Marion Kratky, Michael Kratky, Hannah LaCasse, Phyllis Lapi, Nancy LaPorta, Liz Lis, Caroline Locatelli, Greg Maklae, Pavlos Mayakis, Jeffrey Meuwissen, William Mosher, Mary Musgrave, Lynda Naske, Kathleen Oakes, Kathleen Oughton, Ellen Rae Panero, Alice Peck, Sandra Peters.
Norma Porteus, Dorothy H. Quick, Consiglia Rozycki, Jane Rudiom Jeannine Schwartz, Cindy Sheeler, Jeremy Shoop, Sandra G. Smith, Sandra Ann Sparks, Beth Spraggs, Robert Stangle, Lucy Suhr, Patsy Suydam, Jonathan Swartwout, Lynne Sweet, Leejun Taylor, Larry Teetz, Bruce Thomas.
Paul Valovic, Laurence Van Alstyne, Nancy Van Denburgh, Jean Van Pelt, Jessica Van Slyke Seeley, Betty Walrath, Linda Wilkinson, Mary Ann Williams, Darcelle Winchell, Virginia Wyzykowski, Janet Marie Yeates.
Bochenek was born in Gloversville but moved away in the early '70s and went into military service. He moved back to Gloversville in 1989, when he started serving with the Air National Guard unit based in Schenectady County as a maintenance supervisor. By the time he retired in June 2009, the Antarctic landscape had made a strong impression on Bochenek.
On the long, long flights - first on commercial airlines to Christchurch, New Zealand, and then on military aircraft to the research station at Scott Base in Antarctica - he would work on drawings to help pass the time.
Bocheneck says he's looking forward to showing his work for the first time at the Fulton County Art Show, as it will give him an opportunity to share his work with others.
"That's one of the great things about art," he said. "It's something you can share."
Returning to the show this year is designer and musician Alexandra Higgins of Johnstown, who has a number of striking paintings on display that depict women entwined in floral scenes.
"I am a gardener and always growing new flowers," she said. "The paintings I submitted this year are all of a series of women in flowers."
Higgins says she is working on a new series of "Roots" oil paintings about a woman in the garden.
"Her hands become the roots of the plant and she becomes part of the plant itself," she said. "Her hands become the 'roots.' She is tied to the Earth and garden."
One of Higgins' paintings in the show this year shows how she envisions her daughter, Isabelle, in the future.
"She is only 10, but, this painting is my version of what she will look like when she is grown up - strong and beautiful."
Higgins praised the art show committee for its efforts. "The volunteers that organize the show are excellent," she said. "I like seeing all kinds of artwork, from the elementary-school level to professional, and the Fulton County Art Show allows just that. I know lots of artists locally, and this is a chance to see everyone every year as well and catch up on their work."