Acclaimed artist will teach, lecture and visit local artists’ studios
By Christine Simek
Garrison Art Center (GAC) has selected the painter Melissa Meyer as its 2012 Visiting Artist. Meyer comes to the Hudson Valley with a long history of teaching and art-making, and her lengthy exhibition history includes dozens of solo and group shows that have taken her around the world.
Meyer has been awarded a Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome and has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Pollock Krasner Foundation. She is a frequent artist-in-residence at Yaddo in Saratoga Springs as well as the Vermont Studio Center and, most recently, was in residency at the MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire.
The Visiting Exhibition and Education Program is a new initiative for GAC. The 2012 program will open with an exhibition and public reception to “meet the artist” on Oct. 20 from 6 – 8 p.m. The show will include work that Meyer completed during her September (2012) residency at MacDowell.
Meyer has already begun conducting workshops with Garrison School eighth-grade students (a selection of the work they produce together will be included at the Oct. 20 exhibition), and it is time she finds meaningful and important. “I’m proselytizing art!” she laughs when asked about it. As a faculty member at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan, Meyer doesn’t have the opportunity to work with children very often, and being with young people is an opportunity she appreciates.
To be sure, Meyer values the chance to visit the natural beauty of the Hudson Valley on her trips up the river. “When I get off the train up here I think, ‘Look at how fabulous this is!’ Across from the school, the cemetery is beautiful. Even on a gray day it’s beautiful.”
As for being chosen for the post, and what she hopes she will gain from it, Meyer answers humorously, “It’s an interesting gig. But I can probably answer that better two months from now when I’m back in my studio, concentrating and thinking about what I learned from the students, from my colleagues in Garrison.”
In as much as Meyer will enjoy her time as Visiting Artist at GAC, local artists will benefit from her residency here as well. A few emerging and established artists will have the unique opportunity to share their studio space with Meyer for a day. “There’s a cross-germination that happens [when artists visit and talk with one another],” says Meyer. “I think you find out more about yourself by experiencing someone else’s work and their process and their attitude.”
In another of the art center’s professional-development opportunities, Meyer will present a talk and presentation titled My Life as a Colonist for member artists on Nov. 11 from 3 – 4:30 p.m. Meyer will discuss her residencies, what she learned from them, and share stories from her time there.
Carinda Swann, director of the GAC, is excited about this inaugural program. The board’s mission is to promote the creation, exhibition and enjoyment of art and to continually add new opportunities for local artists and residents. “A part of our strategic plan is to reach all levels of ‘art enjoyment’ — from the education component of making art to the simple viewing and provocative contemplation of art by new artists and established artists.
As a part of that plan, the art center board mandated a directive to work toward bringing established artists who differentiated themselves in the field through significant experience and critical acclaim.” She continued, “Although the art center has shown a number of artists over the decades who fall into that category, our 2012 Visiting Artist Program is the first initiative designed specifically to meet that directive.”
Meyer holds both a B.S. and an M.A. from New York University. Her exhibition history includes solo exhibitions at Elizabeth Harris Gallery (New York), Rebecca Ibel Gallery (Columbus, Ohio), Holly Solomon Gallery (New York), and Galerie Renee Ziegler in Zurich. Meyer’s work has been included in group exhibitions at the Jewish Museum (New York), Texas Gallery (Houston), Montclair Art Museum (New Jersey), and the National Academy of Design in New York, an organization of which she is a member.
Meyer has completed public commissions in New York, Tokyo and Shanghai. Her work is included in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Jewish Museum and many other public and private collections across the United States.
The Visiting Artist Initiative at the GAC is made possible through generous donations made by the art center’s Leadership Circle Members: Chris Buck, Bill Burback and Peter Hofmann, Kim Conner and Nick Groombridge, Marylyn Dintenfass and John Driscoll, Heidi Ettinger, Stacey Farley and Peter Davoren, Judith and George Lowry, Mary Madden and Greg Glasson, Liza and Michael Musgrave, Annie Myers, Zanne and Gordon Stewart, and Sheila and Rick Thurston.