“Progressions,” a three-woman exhibit on view at Saratoga Arts, seems sparse at first glance but a closer look proves the opposite.
Sculptures by Mia Westerlund Roosen and Caroline Ramersdorfer, both featured in the main gallery, conjure up a new landscape of sorts. Ramersdorfer, whose studio is in Wells, brings out the delicate, crystalline nature of marble, creating icy and perhaps otherworldly figures.Roosen works with felt treated with resin to create these twisted sculptures that are an industrial, grey color but have the movement of something plucked from a wild and organic landscape.
Works on paper from Dorothy Dehner hang in the gallery’s hallway. Dehner (1901-1994), who lived in Bolton Landing for much of her life, worked in a variety of mediums and was best known for her sculptures. The etchings and oil paintings on view, which date back to the 1950s, offer a compelling look at the artist’s early career.
In the main gallery, there are two anchoring pieces in the exhibit, one from Ramersdorfer and the other from Roosen.
The latter looms large, surpassing the height of most viewers. Called “Carmelite II,” one side appears as a smooth, concrete-looking column, while the other features twisted strips of the same material unfurling from the center. The piece plays with viewers’ expectations of the materials used; many may guess it’s made of clay or wood, though what lies beneath the resin is felt.
Small scale works dot the space around the sculpture and toy with similar visual themes. One, titled “Hoosick Falls” features curls cascading down from a single slim column. Another appears as a messy cloud of crisscrossed strips of resin-covered felt. Roosen’s section of the exhibit also features intricate drawings from the artist, many from a few series titled “Incarceration.”
On the other side of the gallery is Ramersdorfer’s “Inner View_Nexus II,” a visceral work that feels at once familiar and foreign. Slim marble columns slice across an opening in a geometric figure. The inner edge of the figure features tiny cuts, echoing the gossamer pattern found on the underside of mushrooms.
Around that work are several drawings and small-scale models which give a glimpse into Ramersdorfer’s process. She starts with light drawings to work through some of the concepts in each piece and then moves on to collaging work and eventually builds models out of wood and then marble. The way the artist’s process is depicted in the exhibit is gratifying. Locals who have visited Opalka Gallery will also be familiar with a model of Ramersdorfer’s “Inner View_ Nexus-Open” sculpture featured outside the Albany gallery.
Besides “Progressions” Saratoga Arts’ Dee Sarno Theater features “Ageless Dancers,” an exhibit spotlighting the photography of Betti Franceschi. The uplifting show captures iconic dancers in their senior years, their poses elegant and lithe. The artist was inspired by the retired ballerinas at a New York City Ballet gala in Paris. As Franceschi states, “the ageless artist in each of those grand dames, and those who have followed, must be recorded and honored.” It’s part of a series of exhibitions around Saratoga Springs featuring dance photography this summer, including at the Tang Teaching Museum and the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.