Art in Tompkins County: Then and Now II




Gallery artists open the new year with art that reflects Ithaca’s past and present. State of the Art will celebrate Tompkins County Bicentennial with half of our artists having shown their work in January, and the other half in February.

This month’s artists: Eva Capobianco, Gurdon Brewster, Daniel McPheeters, Jane Dennis, Janet Sherman, Margaret Reed, Margy Nelson , Shirley Hogg , Erin Deneuville , Barbara Mink , Patty Porter , Connie Zehr , Stan Bowman, Mary Ann Bowman


Painted Escapes

Gas prices are high, disposable income is low. Can’t get away for a vacation? Escape through the expressive paintings—abstract and realistic—of  Marian VanSoest and Patty L. Porter at State of the Art Gallery during August.

There are times when a person just needs to escape from the moment, but often the means or the time for this escape are not available. That’s where a connection with a painting can be very useful. Whether you want to go to a foreign land or just retreat into the depth of color and abstract form, a painting can facilitate this need.

Van Soest and Porter are two artists who have created paintings with just this in mind. They have painted together, traveled together and ruminated about art together for the past fifteen years. “Painted Escapes” exhibits paintings from their travels—both together and separately.

Van Soest says that she has taken a vacation from realism to revel in memory and painterly fun. Of her abstract works in the show, some evoke places seen from an airplane or by a bird out to catch fish. Some recall fields of roses or bluebells glanced from a car window. A few realistic figure paintings are included to show traveling painting companions at work and play. To Van Soest, these paintings—watercolor sketches—probably say it best: painting with friends on a summer day is one of life’s special joys.

Porter’s more realistic images of the hill towns and fields in Umbria, Italy, give the viewer a sense of the ambience of being in a foreign country while actually traveling only in your mind. For her, the idea of moving through the narrow antiquated passages of Orvieto and Spello suggest more possibilities of escape by considering what lies beyond the turn in the wall: the possibilities for escape are endless—hopeful, exciting, treacherous and tranquil.

A reception for the artists will be held Friday, August 7, from 5-8pm at the gallery, 120 W. State Street in Ithaca. Porter will be present at the gallery on Aug. 22, 12-5pm and Aug. 29, 12-5; VanS oest will be present on Aug. 9, 12-5pm and Aug. 15, 12-5pm. This is an opportunity for viewers to talk about the paintings with the artists. “Painted Escapes” runs from August 5 – 30, 2009. There is curbside parking and the gallery is ADA accessible. Hours: Wed. – Fri., 12-6pm, Sat. & Sun., 12-5pm. Contact information: 607-277-1626,


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