Celebrating the cultural diversity of the Hudson Valley.
Exhibit Aims to Show Acceptance of Diversity
by Sasha Bush, Poughkeepsie Journal, Sept 8, 2012
The group conceives of its mission as an effort to help break down barriers that divide a diverse society by conveying a message of acceptance, respect, pride and communication among neighbors. But to explore the idea of community in their art, these four photographers felt they must first become a community themselves. So, far from being simply an exhibition of fine but disconnected photographs by artists who happen to live in the mid-Hudson Valley, the show presents the results of artistic collaboration at every stage and a set of coordinated images.
Fel Santos, Jodi Dickhaut, Michael Sibilia and I began preparing the new show shortly after the success of the inaugural exhibition of La Lavanderia at the Mid-Hudson Heritage Center and the H-Art Gallery in Peekskill in the spring and fall of 2011. We worked in several directions at once. We met to discuss, and sometimes to debate, not only the theme of the new show, but also a more fundamental mission statement for our overarching project, expressing our social vision, the role art can play in building community and our approach to education. Our conversations often took place through the camera lens, going out in different pairs to shoot together, meeting again as a foursome to critique each other's images, and then going out again as individuals, rethinking our shared goals with camera in hand.
"Exploring the Line" concentrates on a local level, where community happens, or places where it might: Sibilia's image of a group of children, suddenly arrested in their random motion by their interest in the photographer before them, or the contrary, a street scene where it is above all the motion of a running child that Dickhaut captures; the latent potential of the open public space in Waryas Park in one of my photos, or an image shot in a barber shop mirror by Santos, framing the conversation of barber and customer within the accumulated articles that make a commercial space into a home away from home.
These and many other fine photos will be hung out on a laundry line at the "Exploring the Line" exhibition, running through Oct. 8.
About the artists
* Self-educated, environmental photographer Michael Sibilia has been practicing the art of photography for more than 30 years. His work as a freelance photojournalist gives him an opportunity to experience both the scenery and the diversity of the human spirit that exists all around us.
* Jodi Dickhaut, who relocated to Newburgh from northern Vermont, practices emergency medicine as a professorial artist. Dickhaut works in community arts projects in both Dutchess and Orange counties.
* Fel Santos always knew his passion for photography. He uses photography to transmit art through photos; to highlight just how wonderful our planet is; and to convey the essence and feelings of human beings
* Sasha Bush grew up in Poughkeepsie. He continues to work on a number of projects around the Hudson Valley, mainly focusing on portraiture.
If you go
What: La Lavanderia's photography exhibition, "Exploring the Line"
When: 5-8 p.m., Sept. 8, opening reception; exhibit runs through Oct. 8
Where: Mid-Hudson Heritage Center, 317 Main St., Poughkeepsie
Information: Call the gallery at 845-214-1113, office, 845-485-8506; email La.Lavanderia.firstname.lastname@example.org; visit http://midhudsonheritage.org