Richard Lovrich shares his experience visiting Art Omi in Ghent, NY which is about 33 minutes from Albany. The sculpture and architecture park launched its 2019 season this past weekend. The park is open from dawn to dusk Monday to Sunday. The Benenson Center & Newmark Gallery is open from 9 AM to 5 PM . Guided tours are available, as are bicycles to use to tour the vast grounds. The main building hosts a cafe and bathrooms. Admission is free. Donations are suggested.
A gentle breeze invites the “T,” on that hillock top’s crest, to Martha Graham dip and turn, a “T” that is a home adrift. Close enough to peer inside at erstwhile typical chairs and lamps inside. Close enough to be under the outstretched arms as they pivot on their languorous, silent transit.
A teeter totter as random as the breezes that animate it. An animated piece, no less animated home, challenges our mental and visual perception. Amusing and informing, daring and provoking, “ReActor” is worth a return visit when the weather, the light, and the wind will deliver anew.
Downhill from “Reactor” sits a chalky pile of tipped blocks that project out from an inner court, in squared, ribbed cones. From inside the court each cone presents a rectangular window on that compass point perspective, framing it as art itself. Despite the obvious modernity of it, “Zoid,” in Santorini white boasts of a lengthy history of basic dwellings and settings. “Reactor” and “Zoid,” both homes in their very limited way, challenge us, by their limitations to revisit the model-home of our preconceptions.
The topography tips downward cradling the warm toned facade of a home in the distance. The facade of a home, a prop that might grace a Hollywood set if it were not rippled. Rippled brick and window, rippled grout and frame built up in building waves, that when seen from the side, betray depth, tumultuousness as if distorted by water, or a silent atomic bomb’s blast.
Step down, step closer and each feature of the surface is revealed in lower-res, portrayed in a digital bitmapping that suggests that you should step back. Step back and up until that noisy detail is no longer visible and you might be tempted to think that this is the “correct” viewing distance.
That perception, like the seeming flatness of the ripples, like the facade (like all facades), is just an illusion of course. These illusions remind us that any one perspective of any home is just as rich with meaning and equally devoid of wholeness of meaning.
What no photographic technology can capture with perfect fidelity is how these sculptural architectural pieces deeply breathe in the grand swaths of space afforded to them. Art Omi is a countryside of a gallery that provides as many art-appreciation adventures as there are pieces and viewpoints for you to enjoy them from.