GHENT–Art Omi celebrated the end of its latest residency program last weekend, displaying the effort and achievements of the international artists participating in the program. The organization receives nearly a thousand applications from artists all over the world this year selected about 30 from 24 countries–a mingling of cultures and influences, with some of the artists taking inspiration from the history and scenery of Columbia County.
Several artists were moved by Second Amendment fervor. Jochen Holler, an Austrian who creates his work by clipping strips of texts or pictures from various publications and creating an image related to the text, was astonished that “you can buy a gun in a supermarket.”
His work at Omi dealt with firearm catalogs, cutting out the rifles and arranging a wheel with the stocks and extending it by attaching the next layer muzzle-to-muzzle.
Taro Hattori, a Japanese artist, was influenced by the gun culture as well. Using various metal targets, he created a xylophone that uses bullets rather than mallets to produce sound. “Create a song and get along!” the sign over the display read.
Other artists were influenced differently. Judith G. Levy, who worked on various postcards reflecting past tragedies like the shooting of Treyvon Martin and the usurpation of Native American land, found inspiration by the road signs located around the co unty. She displayed past family secrets on signs around the studio and surrounding grounds with messages like “Married for Money”, “suspected gay”, and “Granpa loved his dog Bruno more than life itself”.
Ligyung, a South Korean artist working toward a solo show in Tokyo in October, found herself fighting with the pigeons in her studio, which she described as “too western.”
Program Director Claudia Cannizzaro said this was never a consideration in preparing the studios. “It’s literally just a barn we painted white and turned into a studio. We never thought of it as western,” she said.
“For most residents, it’s their first time in the states” Ms. Cannizzaro said. “Sometimes, the gun culture and wildlife are shocking–but more importantly, inspiring.”
Art Omi is at 1405 County Route 22. More information is at artomi.org or by calling 518 392-4747.