Schoharie-based artist Kristen DeFontes’ exhibit showcases original works inspired by Hurricane Irene, and opens with a public reception Thursday, October 3

SUNY Cobleskill will host an opening reception to “After the Storm” – an exhibit of original works created by local artist Kristen DeFontes on Thursday, October 3, at 4:30 pm in Grosvenor Art Gallery – Old Gym 200. Inspired by the impact of Hurricane Irene, the exhibit features mixed media assemblage sculptures and prints.

Through relief sculpture created from construction debris, stone, natural wood slabs, and elements of cast bronze, DeFontes explores the dimensional interplay between physical weight, depth, and structure. According to an artist statement, her sculptural pieces embody powerful emotional responses and coping mechanisms, establishing a tangible link between past and present. She cites flooding caused by Hurricane Irene – and its impact on her family in the area – as pivotal to the evolution of her work and the conceptualization of “After the Storm.” Hurricane Irene devastated Schoharie County in August 2011, displacing many residents and damaging property.

“My [exhibition] encompasses the work I have been making over the past four years and the expansion of my practice to sculpture,” says DeFontes. “Grosvenor Gallery provides ample space to connect with the [communities] of this region and beyond. As an educator, I am excited to exhibit my work at a campus rooted in its community so that students can interact and visit the show at their convenience.” Individual works included in the exhibit range in scale from seven-by-21 inches, to 78 inches in width; they consist of materials discarded during the reconstruction of DeFontes’ home, and from rough-cut tree slabs and other organic materials.

Associate Professor and Grosvenor Art Gallery Director Kayla Cady Vaughn is organizing the exhibit in collaboration with the Institute for Rural Vitality’s Center for Arts and Culture, and DeFontes. “She is able to poignantly capture the destructive power of nature and juxtapose it with the quiet process of rebuilding – a life, a home, and community – forever transformed and reassembled into something new and beautiful,” says Vaughn. “Hurricane Irene certainly resonates with members of our community to this day, and I am confident the juxtaposition present within this exhibit is something those in this region can connect with.”

The College invites members of the public to attend the opening free of charge. Free on-campus parking is available. Light refreshments will be served, and a cash bar will serve drinks to those age 21 and older. Those unable to attend the opening are encouraged to tour the gallery on Saturday, October 5, from 12-4 pm, as part of SUNY Cobleskill’s annual Homecoming & Family Weekend celebration. For more information, please contact Kayla Cady Vaughn at 518-255-5355, or vaughnkc@cobleskill.edu.

 

Kristen DeFontes: photo

 

This release was initially published by SUNY cobleskill, 09/26/19