Having made her first creations at the age of five, Delmar resident Andrea Hersh is telling the truth when she says she has been creating art for as long as she can remember.
Over the years, Hersh’s work has developed to center on a theme of recycling and trash. It was years ago when her now-grown children were born that she imagined the piles of disposable diapers she was tossing away.
“I was imagining millions of diapers piling up,” she said. “I realized I was a part of that – we are all adding to it.”
Hersh found herself wanting to find a beauty in the ugly, and began painting pieces combining trash and flowers.
“As an artist, mother and woman, I am always balancing everything,” she said. “My work is a reflection of balancing the beauty I see in nature with the ugliness of a disposable culture.”
Hersh is one of 16 artists featured in the latest exhibit to be displayed at the Albany International Airport Gallery: “Some Assembly Required.” The exhibit shows a variety of ways contemporary artists interpret the process of collage by combining different media.
Collage is known by most as cutting and pasting pieces together to form some short of shape. The artists in this exhibit take this concept to a whole new level by connecting unexpected materials in unusual ways.
“There is such a variety in the show its really nice – some people paint, some people cut paper – I think everybody’s idea of putting things together is really interesting,” said Hersh.
Collage is a fairly new undertaking for Hersh.
“I was doing a lot of oil painting and came to sort of a wall – I had to figure out what kind of imagery I wanted to use for my painting,” she said.
That was when she began experimenting with collages.
“I started piecing other work together. I began cutting up my own drawings and putting them back together,” she said.
Hersh said that as an artist, in order to get a point across you use whatever material you can. In the airport exhibit, Hersh layers acrylic paint and Mylar paper to create the image of brightly colored flowers popping out of a dimly lit pile of trash.
“It’s sort of very ugly in so many ways but then hopefully there is something beautiful that can come out of it,” says Hersh.
Also featured at the exhibit is New York City artist, Kirsten Hassenfeld. The artist, who grew up in Delmar, takes paper collage to a whole new level. By incorporating ordinary items such as envelopes, wrapping paper, buttons or anything found in a junk drawer, she creates complex, large, symmetrical forms.
“Cabin Fever,” one of Hassenfeld’s pieces in the show, hangs from the ceiling, is about 10 feet high and 7 feet wide and is constructed out of vintage wrapping paper and security envelopes connected by pipe cleaners and paper straws.
“The piece has exhibited in other places, but she reconfigured it specifically for our site here,” said Sharon Bates, director of the Art and Culture Program at the Albany International Airport.
Also featured at the show, in a twist on the traditional notion of a collage, Emmy Award-winning video archivist Rich Remsberg uses footage from old newsreels and combines the images with music to form a narrative collage that is projected on one of the gallery walls.
“We usually have some type of electronic medium,” said Bates. “It’s pretty reflective of how artists are working these days.”
Bates said the gallery tries to predominantly feature artists who live and work in the area, but even those from other areas have some type of regional connection.
“They either exhibited at a regional gallery or have another residence Upstate – maybe they taught or attended a regional college or institution,” she said.
Other artists featured in the show are Todd Bartel, Allen Bryan, Laura Christensen, Susan Spencer Crowe, Paul Forte, Niki Haynes, Elana Herzog, Thomas Huber, Mary Lum, China Marks, Michael Oatman, Rob O’Neil and Anne Roecklein.
The gallery is located on the third floor of the Albany International Airport and is shared with the observation area. Since opening in 1998, the Art and Culture Program has featured two exhibits every year. Gallery hours are 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.
The exhibit, “Some Assembly Required” will be on display at the Albany International Airport’s gallery through Sept. 8.
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