Guided by Experience

Quin Carmicino's sculpture (photos provided)

Quin Carmicino's sculpture (photos provided)

Garrison Art Center hosts annual mentor show

This year, 13 students participated in the annual Garrison Art Center Mentor Program, which pairs professionals with high school artists, including, from Haldane: senior Sam Bates, junior Quin Carmicino, senior Olivia Flanagan, sophomore Charles Rowe and senior Chloe Rowe.

Their pieces are on exhibit at the Garrison Art Center through Sunday (April 2), along with works from students from all grades whose work is part of You Are Here, the annual School Invitational Theme Exhibition (SITE).

Sam Bates with his artwork

Sam Bates with his artwork

Bates’s mixed-media piece was inspired in part by the sci-fi films Them! (1954) and Alphaville (1965), Robert Rauschenberg and early 1960s silkscreen. “I want viewers to think about how different aesthetics are not bound to just one art form — just music or visual art or film or literature, and so on,” he says. Bates worked with Michael Mueller, who specializes in screen-printing.

He creates primarily using oil paint, charcoal, linoleum printing and silk-screening, sprinkling his pieces with pop-culture iconography and film stills. He cites his influences as Andy Warhol, Cy Twombly, Roy Lichtenstein, Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns, alongside French New Wave cinema. 

This is his second year participating in the Mentor Program. “The art center is key for a lot of my projects,” he said. Last year, he focused on oil painting. 

When conceptualizing a piece, Bates typically begins with a series of thumbnail studies before progressing to sketches closer to the size of his canvas. “I did less of that on this piece than normal and kind of let it all be a bit more winged and improv,” Bates says. “But I always start with sketches of the elements.”

Olivia Flanagan with one of her paintings from this year's program

Olivia Flanagan with one of her paintings from this year’s program

Three years ago, Flanagan had lost touch with her love for visual art. When the pandemic shutdown began, her mother suggested she paint her blank bedroom walls to pass the time. “I realized how much I enjoy making something physically larger than myself,” she says.

Flanagan has participated in the Mentor Program three times, working each year with Candace Winter. This year, she created two 4-foot-by-4-foot pieces over the span of three months. The works are composed of acrylic paint, latex acrylic paint and 20 bottles of glitter glue. 

“They showcase the duality of the sea and the stars, and highlight the mystical qualities that have captivated humanity for millennia,” she says. “It’s all about how ancient people have projected their mythologies onto these aspects of the natural world.” 

Flanagan, who grew up in Garrison, says she has been influenced by exploring the woods. She describes her works as “abstract, nature-infused narratives.”

In the fall, Flanagan plans to enroll at the California College for the Arts to study painting and public art. Last year, she and classmate Celia Drury created a mural for the Philipstown Depot Theatre’s 25th anniversary.

Carmicino with her mentor, Ada Pilar Cruz

Carmicino with her mentor, Ada Pilar Cruz

Carmicino says she wants her art to elicit complex emotions, because it “represents the experience of being human.” Her piece in the show, a high-fire, brown clay sculpture with multicolored glaze, signifies the transition from life to death. It is genderless, with sunken features.

“Humanity always tries to find ‘the answer’ to what it means to be alive and what happens after death,” she says. “The sculpture is meant to be a depiction of someone who knows that answer, and knows peace from suffering. 

“The glaze — you can’t necessarily control it; it does what it wants,” she adds. “But some parts aren’t as defined by the glaze, like the spine. You can’t see it as clearly, but touching it is a way to understand it.”

Carmicino had completed the majority of the sculpting in her rickety basement studio before heading to the art center to hollow out, glaze and fire the work with her mentor, Ada Pilar Cruz. 

It’s her second year participating in the Mentor Program. Last year, she created a painting-collage. She views art not only as a powerful tool for societal change but a compelling way to capture emotion. “I see the world as a composition, or the possibility for one,” she says. By creating art, “I can see the beauty in things more.”

The Garrison Art Center is located at 23 Garrison’s Landing. The exhibits will be open Saturday (April 1) from noon to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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