Apr. 16—ALBANY ─ Four art exhibitions have entered their final two weeks at the Albany Museum of Art.
April 23 will be the final day to view "The Way of Life, Works by Ray Pierotti" in the Haley Gallery; "Prismatic, Works by Melissa Huang" in the East Gallery; "Ordo naturalis, Works by Eric Mack" in the McCormack Gallery, and "African Artifacts of Spirituality and Identity" from the Albany Museum of Art Permanent Collection in the Hodges Gallery. New exhibitions of works from the newly returned AMA permanent collection will open in those four galleries in mid-May.
"The AMA has been delighted to feature the work of artists Ray Pierotti, Melissa Huang, and Eric Mack these recent months, a diverse statement on the nature of contemporary art and the many exciting forms it can take," AMA Executive Director Andrew J. Wulf said. "We treasure the vision of these artists and their commitment to tackling such an array of themes as mind-body connection, the layering of an individual's view on their everyday world, and the search for true self in the digital world."
Pierotti, a Utah native who is a longtime resident of Shellman, seeks to meld visual art with science, soul, and sound in his multimedia artworks. He explores the material world of wave and particle physics with spirituality inclined toward mysticism, and Eastern and Western philosophies in creating a personal visual language.
"I am drawn to the ephemeral nature of light," Pierotti has said. "The source of both the external and internalized appearances of color in materialized space. Scenes remembered and scenes imagined commingle like the smells, the tastes, and the textures of memorable lives."
Pierotti employs a cymascope, a device that can provide an analog image of sound and vibration, to create visual representations of musical notes. The self-taught visual artist, who has a master's degree in musical composition and musicology from the University of Utah, also has created musical works that correspond to his visual artworks. Visitors to the Haley Gallery can experience Pierotti's art in a fuller way by focusing their smartphone cameras on QR codes that accompany the artworks. The QR codes enable AMA guests to access and listen to Pierotti's musical interpretations of his artworks through their smartphones. Links to his music are available at www.albanymuseum.com/the-way-of-life-ray-pierotti.
Mack's mixed-media art brings seemingly diverse realities into a balanced whole by transcending taxonomies of the natural world and traditional art media. A Charleston, S.C., native who now resides in Atlanta, Mack has immersed himself for the past four years into the study of nature, plant propagation, and architectural design.
As a mixed-media artist, he has explored the use of a variety of materials, such as architectural blueprints, mineral-derived pigments, peat-free soil and natural fibers, recycled packing paper, natural dyes, synthetic ultraviolet shade screens, handmade paper, and seeds sourced from his home garden. This combination of materials represents a harmonic vision of seamlessly intertwined natural plant systems and geometric composition.
"The relationship to nature and art is based in pattern, rhythm, shape, form, and composition," Mack said. "These elements are integral to the work that I make, and they can be used to describe both nature and art."
Learn more about Mack and hear him discuss his life and work in a video series available on the Albany Museum of Art YouTube Channel. Links to that video series as well as Mack's Feb 23 Artist Talk at the AMA may be found at www.albanymuseum.com/ordo-naturalis-eric-mack.
Statesboro interdisciplinary artist Huang, an assistant professor in 2D Foundations at Georgia Southern University, explores the identity of self in her multimedia installation, "Prismatic." Much as a prism separates light into different facets, individuals present different aspects of their overall self in different interactions with others.
"A different version of you exists in the minds of your family, friends, colleagues, strangers, and digital audience; none of which encompasses your complete identity," Huang said. "Rather, each of these fragments comes together to paint a fuller picture of 'you.'"
Huang's glitch-inspired painting and her self-portraiture, which combines paintings with active video projections, study the desire, failure, and dissonance associated with portraying an idealized self for a largely digital audience. The artist/educator discussed her work with those who attended her multimedia Prismatic Painting Workshop she led last month at the AMA.
"African Artifacts of Spirituality and Identity" offers the first view of the AMA permanent collection since the storms of January 2017. The artworks are from the portion of the collection that had been cared for at the High Museum in Atlanta before it was returned to the AMA in October 2020.
"The artifacts in this exhibition demonstrate a variety of spiritual influences in West African cultures, such as the Yoruba in Nigeria, the Dan in Liberia, the Guro from the Ivory Coast, and more," AMA Director of Curatorial Affairs Katie Dillard said. "Many of the masks on display were once used in a variety of masquerade dances in their respective home nations to appeal to the spirits for protection and ask for blessings.
"Some masks were used to initiate young members into society, an important step in an individual's journey to maturity. Traditional West African religions are steeped in the belief that spirits dwell in natural forms, such as trees, or in created objects, such as masks or figurative carvings. These objects are crafted to honor the ancestors and to ensure the close proximity of protective spirits."
AMA members and visitors will soon be able to see the Albany Museum of Art's permanent collection on a grander scale in exhibitions that open next month. Last week, the remainder of the Albany Museum of Art's permanent collection returned from the Conservation Center in Chicago. With the complete collection finally home, the AMA will celebrate the artworks' return by devoting all of the galleries to a special summer exhibition of the collection. "Escape Plan," a permanent installation by Athens artist and musician Elinore Saragoussi in the West gallery, also is part of the AMA's collection.
Details on the summer exhibitions will be announced soon.