Wear two hats | Upland Current
The curator will share her own paintings
During the five years that Janice La Motta served as executive director of the Woodstock Artists Association & Museum, she set aside her own work.
“I hadn’t given myself the time to be in the studio, but I was constantly thinking about it,” she says.
La Motta has long juggled between making art and overseeing the spaces that contain it. Prior to her work at Woodstock, she spent 18 years running the Paesaggio Gallery (later La Motta Fine Art) in West Hartford, Connecticut, a position she says helped her “understand hat-wearing. artists and allowed me to be more sympathetic and compassionate about understanding their talents. I kissed both [roles] and applied to each other.
Now it’s his turn to be the artist: An exhibition of his work, A new path to the waterfallopens February 5 at the Garrison Art Center.
Two years ago, amid the pandemic shutdown, La Motta was inspired to quit her job at Woodstock and immerse herself in making art again by “Of Power and Time,” an essay on Mary’s creative process. Oliver.
“The work flowed from me; it’s been in the making for over four years while I was otherwise engaged,” she says.
The Garrison show will showcase the results of this pent up energy. “At a certain age, you are more reflective and want to focus on the things you care about; as you age, you are more likely to do this. This work took place because I empowered it.
The work turned out to be quite different from La Motta’s earlier pieces. “I used to work figuratively,” she explains. “It served as a framework for the emotional content. After reading the essay, I started poking around and, from left field, a lightning bolt hit. I did one piece, then another.
“Your work can come from strange and disparate places,” she says. “For me, right now, I care about the painting process that informs the creation of the piece. Everything that I absorb while traveling the world is there in a subtle and obvious way. I want to push this idea, or I want to work with this shape; let’s try to make them on rolls of Yupo paper.
La Motta says she studied studio art in college and “had no idea of a specific career. I actually didn’t take any painting classes. It was the end of the concept art period, so I got involved in mediums like video, a bit of film. There were no curatorial studies or arts administration programs; it was all approached from the point of from an artist’s point of view.
She feels lucky to be able to “move easily between the two hemispheres of my brain: the creative side and the analytical side. As a curator, I try to be sympathetic to artists’ voices, but it’s also helpful for an artist to use the opportunity to see how someone else reads their work.
“It will be interesting for me to see how this show reads, especially now working with abstract vocabulary,” says La Motta. “We tend to look at visual art in a narrative way, but what a painting is is the process of its emergence. I’m sure I’ll see things, once the show is over, differently from what they look like in the studio. The painting is not finished; exciting pieces can be unresolved. I like the tension of the mystery of this one.
The Garrison Art Center, at 23 Garrison’s Landing, is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. See garrisonartcenter.org. A New Path to the Waterfall continues until March 6, with an exhibition of works by Patricia Zarate titled All Together Now.