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Home » » Art in the Catskills - Art Up Gallery Recurrent Exhibition

Art in the Catskills - Art Up Gallery Recurrent Exhibition

Written By The Mountain Eagle on 7/3/24 | 7/3/24

GG Stankiewicz, Denise Corley, and Tom Fitzgibbons at the ‘Recurrent’ opening reception at Art Up gallery 

By Robert Brune

MARGARETVILLE — As Art Up gallery passes their first year anniversary of opening in Margaretville, they continue to draw fascinating artists to their art space in the Catskills. With the growing number of opening receptions, the owners of Art Up have wisely chosen not to compete with the Saturday schedule and held their second Friday evening opening exhibition this season. A light sprinkle of rain didn’t stop patrons and supporters of the arts from attending in great numbers. GG Stankiewicz, Denise Corely, and Tom Fitzgibbons are the featured artists who all bring a lifetime of tremendous skill and character to this exhibition. 

GG Stankiewicz

GG Stankiewicz grew up in Rhode Island and moved to New York City to pursue her art career. She attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University in Boston, MA where she earned a combined degree, a Fine Arts and Bachelor of Science in Art Education. GG completed her art studies by achieving a Master of Fine Arts Degree at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, Rhode Island. In addition to her art practice, she served as a high school art teacher for the NYC Department of Education for twenty-seven years. GG has co-founded artist-run organizations: SONYA (South of the Navy Yard Artists, Brooklyn, NY) and WBA (West Branch Artists, Walton, NY). In June 2022, GG established her art studio in Delhi, New York and began exhibiting her work in the Catskill Region. 

Stankiewicz found teaching very rewarding but has firmly decided to dedicate her time to creating artwork at this point in her life since moving up to Delaware County full-time in 2022. This transition to living upstate was a challenge for her, as she explains why she makes such a great effort to get out to as many art openings as possible, “Coming here two years ago was the hardest thing for me.” Not knowing many people, Stankiewicz wanted to support the galleries that she suggests are a vital economic driver for upstate NY and become familiar with the community. 

As far as the ‘Recurrent’ exhibition, Stankiewicz feels as though the commonality of the work between all three artists participating involves contour lines and light. Here she describes her work, “The outside environments of places where I have lived or journeyed have always influenced my work. Colors, lines, shapes, textures, and patterns experienced in these varied landscapes manifest themselves as gestural marks, pigment pools, and interwoven layers of old with new and forgotten with found. I collect organic and non-organic materials that behave as artifactual reminders forging a memory connection to specific times and places. They are the inspiration for imagery and content in my artwork that is a compilation of visual journaling, painting, papermaking, collaging, printmaking and sculpture. My process involves working with various media while referencing discovered objects, memory, photo documentation, field guides and global art stories.”

Tom Fitzgibbons

Upon meeting Fitzgibbons at the opening reception at Art Up, he lets people know up front that he doesn’t feel like he is an artist. While Fitzgibbons spent years as an electrical engineer, he shares his past with us that led him to participating in the ‘Redcurrants’ exhibition, “ After running a small business in NYC that created Information Systems for clinical laboratories in many states, I was happy to retire and continued making my odd light art.” Fitzgibbons grew up surrounded by members of his family emersed in the arts in NYC. So, while he might be considered an outsider artist with no formal education in the arts, he and his wife (Denise Corely, also in this exhibition) own the Icebox gallery in Williamsburg Brooklyn. Fitzgibbons shares a bit about the Icebox Gallery, “For several years now we have opened the Icebox4 Salon and made it available to mostly underrepresented NYC artists. Icebox4 does not charge commissions or hanging fees. 100% goes to the artist. Curating has been work but also a joy to see up close the top-quality art produced around NYC and to talk with the artists and gallerists who attend our shows. Icebox4 provides a place to see and discuss art without traditional gallery pressures.” Fitzgibbon is clearly very knowledgeable in his work as he combines his skills for electrical manufacturing and passion for the arts. He may refer to his pieces as ‘odd light art,” but they are so carefully crafted with elegant shapes and tempered light weaving through each work of art with the most trained eye for positive and negative spacing. 

Denise Corely

The connection of Corely finding her way to show at Art Up goes back to the 1970’s when she and Gary Mayer (co-owner of Art Up) went to art school together at Wayne State University in Detroit. Last year, they were reunited because Corely had a solo exhibition at Diamond Hollow Bookstore in Andes.   “Many of the Detroit artists moved to New York in the early 1980's. There was a little cluster of former Detroiters in Williamsburg in the late 1970's and 80's. We were considered "pioneers" of the Williamsburg "Artist in Residence" art community. Everyone eked out a living doing odd jobs, construction, restaurant work or being an artist assistant- it was tough times in a tough neighborhood.” Williamsburg nowadays is a mecca for artists which has evolved beyond all expectations. It is a great privilege to have such a magnificent abstract artist take time away from her life in the city to share her amazing work here in Delaware County. 

Borrowing a statement made by Corely about her exhibition here in upstate NY, last year best describes her art and motivation, “My sensibilities prefer physicality.
The press molded paper- packing materials could be thought of as the space between things. In some ways in my early explorations of these materials, I was thinking of them as curved surfaces of space-time. Energies that are stretching and shrinking space, matter and density and magnetism shaping space, like what we see isn’t really what is. I think about ideas of stacking of electrons and atoms geometrically like buildings and architecture made of repeating forms but then there is fractal geometry that creates seemingly organic shapes that are really just different scales just like nature.” For a most impressive glance at the life and career of Corely, see artwork archive: 

Art Up is at 746 Main St, Binnekill Square, Margaretville, NY. Recurrent is on view through June 30 ~ Fri – Sun each weekend 11 am – 4 pm 

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