I found out last night that there is a new art gallery in Keeseville. Two prominent artists from the North Country were glowing with praise and encouraging me to go and check out the opening on Friday evening.
So, here I am on Front Street in Keeseville and I am pleasantly surprised by this New-York-City-like façade and interior space that I am about to enter.
Clark Davidson is the gallery owner and main artist on display this evening. Davidson is a 2007 AuSable Valley Central School graduate who furthered his education at the Art Institute of Boston and has returned to the North Country to share his gifts with his hometown.
He has done remarkable work to the space which he says used to be wall-to-wall cabinetry (the old drugstore in town). Now the perimeter is painted black with a central curve that leads to the arched middle of the room where today displays Clark’s brightest (literally) work of this show. His paintings are dark overall and at least one of the viewers here today applauds that in an artist. Clark tells us that they are reductive. He paints everything black first. There is also a dreamlike quality to them. He smiles and points us back to the title of the show, “Absence of Landscape.” This artist believes it is up to the viewer to create that landscape and fill in with our own imaginations what he has mapped out for us (more or less). His paintings are done in oil, though occasionally he takes some surprising risks with latex paint, and they are all highly evocative.
Clark says his main mission at 1719 Block Gallery in Keeseville is to identify and exhibit contemporary artists, especially local artists who have the potential to break into New York City and Boston markets.
Clark is an energetic young man with lots of ideas and plans for Keeseville. He’d like to institute a First Friday initiative in the town next year and if what he has done with the 1719 Block Gallery can be used to measure what he is capable of then his plans to revitalize Front Street in Keeseville should prove highly successful.
In addition to the paintings, there are some incredible ceramic works on display. That creator is present as well and at some point I overhear one artist-viewer telling him, “I’d like to be buried in one.” To which he replies, “that is the best compliment ever.”
Though Clark appears quite savvy about his business, the owner/artist does not have a brochure, a card, or even a web site. He tells me that he prefers talking to people one-on-one and telling his story and letting them interpret it as they like rather than run an impersonal mass media campaign. He is charming as is his gallery and I look forward to many more openings in this dynamic space.
For more cultural events in the Lake Champlain region, click through to the website. There are many more art events in the Lake Placid and Saranac Lake regions as well this fall including the Artist at Work Studio Tour during the last weekend of September. Click through to get more information.
Kathleen Recchia has been enjoying the arts in the Adirondack for about 20 years—both as observer and participant (acting, directing, and producing). She also enjoys cross-country skiing, swimming, juggling, and hosting visitors to the area at her bed & breakfast in Jay.