Saturday, August 4, 2012

Maria Rizzo - Trees: Totems Of Life, Mohegan Manor Baldwinsville NY August 2nd 2012

Got to spend a simply fantastic evening out in Baldwinsville NY at the historic Mohegan Manor where painter Maria Rizzo had a show of her marvelous tree totem creations. A Thursday afternoon reception was followed by a wine tasting -- my first ever! Then Maria's musician/performance artist husband Dan Wagner invited me to stay for dinner with them, just incredible evening.

Mohegan Manor, 58 Oswego St. Baldwinsville, NY

Maria's show was installed down in a space next to their sushi bar in the lower regions of the manor.

A view from the larger dining area adjacent to the space, which is curated by Syracuse based artist/curator Linda Bigness.

Maria & myself! in front of her most complex of the trees. I encountered Maria first via Tech Garden artist in residence/curator Ty Marshal, who had included some of Maria's painting in a group show he curated in January 2012 (which was the event that really coaxed me out of my shell earlier this year). While we did not meet at the time Maria's work caught my attention and when I learned she was planning a solo show at May Memorial Unitarian Society in Dewitt NY in early May it became a must-see event. Sure enough the paintings held up in person -- the technical skill in their precision yet approachable subject matter inspired me to think twice about some of my own efforts and give them a chance again.

One of the things I admired most about Maria's paintings were that she had left the remnants of previous versions of the trees on her surfaces, serving as footprints of her journey in refining the imagery.

The standout favorite from the group! a better detailed picture can be found in a previous blog entry covering Maria's show at May Memorial Unitarian. The piece has a 3 dimensional/sculptural quality to it built up by using drywall cement, then painted over in a dry state with her standard acrylics.

Myself with artist/writers Rachael Ikins and Kathryn Petrillo.

Maria, Rachael and artist/filmmaker Maya Gao.

A picture I'd been meaning to get for ages! Myself, Maria and musician/performance artist Dan Wagner of experimental band Wagner 3000. Visit their website below for more info + audio/video galore, and look for a prior blog entry from July of a performance they gave here in Syracuse which I attended on July 13th

With Mohegan Manor's arts curator, painter Linda Bigness, a very familiar face from the Sparky Town, Edgewood Art Rage and Delevan Center / Szozda Gallery scene whom I'd not been introduced to previously. Another good contact! which is why you go to these shows as much as to see the artwork. You cannot succeed on your own, you need contacts and it is all about whom you know & if you are ready when someone gives you the high sign.

Dan visiting with another friend from the arts scene, painter Esperanza Tielbaard Pazmino.

My first wine tasting! and notice the look on Dan's face ...

Now notice Dan's absence. He's quick! but the wine tasting was actually very nice and sort of served as an extension of an unexpected evening of culture.

Maria with artist Kristina Starowitz.

Edgewood Gallery curator Cheryl Chappel joined us along with artists Jaqueline Adamo & Arlene Arbend.

The wine tasting spiraling into a free-for-all.
(Picture swiped from Kathryn Petrillo.)

One of two massive fibers pieces by artist Mary Kester in the Manor's permanent collection, this one displayed in the Mohegan Lounge bar area.

Another Mary Kestor fibers piece owned by the Manor, this one standing at the base of the main stairwell to the upstairs parlor. Immense pieces both of them!

Dan & Maria! Such a positive couple and I'm glad to count them both as friends.

One of Mohegan Manor curator Linda Bigness' paintings down by the sushi bar -- will be finding some time to see more of Linda's work soon I hope!

That's a menu?

Unable to find familiar menu items like a basic turkey sandwich or grilled cheese on the menu ... #25 had the word CHICKEN next to it and that was good enough for the likes of me.

Another Mary Kester fibers creation on permanent display down across from the dining area.


Pretty good for a Thursday ...

Some local rock video models in town with David Bowie stopped by while Mr. Bowie's helicopter was being repaired ...

No, really.


  1. You are so right, Steve, we artists and poets need each other , networking is everything in this wild world we decorate, commentate, appreciate. We are the witnesses for others ie. Maria and the trees
    I m looking forward to the next time and that, perhaps, my hair shall rediscover it has purple roots as well
    You never know with artistic folk, we are so flighty and changeable and so important that we have been esteemed since the dawn of the first human to trace an animal body with ash on the stone of a cave wall
    Peace out!

  2. Awesome Rachael! It was great meeting you -- give the purple a shot! Punky Color by Jerome Russell is $8 a jar & washes out in six shampoos. I think about it as war paint, showing my colors to let the other tribe's warriors know I mean business. ;D