This week I am living and working at Arts Letters & Numbers a multidisciplinary artist in residency program in Averill Park, NY, outside of Albany.
I took the train up from the city on Monday, rented a car and picked up two of my fellow residents: Ann from Estonia and Laerke from Denmark who are working on a theater piece that will open in Tallinn in September. We went to an AH-mazing food coop to pick up groceries for the week (in the extraordinary bulk goods section, they even had fill-your-own-jar of various maple syrups and honeys!!! I'm so jealous), before heading to The House on the Hill.
The old mill house has been repurposed into a retreat for artists from all disciplines, crossing over even into the world of math and science. There is an old mill on site that is being renovated into workshops, a darkroom and studios this summer.
My first day in the house, I met and began to know the other residents (read their impressive bios by clicking the link) ~ Ann and Laerke, Jess ( a photographer from Ohio), Allison (a video installation artist from Boston), Thomas and Agnes (cinematographer and poet from France), Dan (a composer from Australia), as well as Frida, an ALN fellow who runs the house logistics, and John, a community supporter.
We organized our stuff and got straight to the business of having a t party (that would be "t" as in tequila) and "a serious conversation" ~ a salon-style get-together at advisory board members Robert and Diane's home.
We gathered in their completely functional tree house with other local community advocates for snacks and a discussion of time, perspective, constructs, networks, technology and trees. While I refrained from the actual tequila part, I was fascinated by Robert's foray into topics well over my head (he's a retired physicist)....trying to translate some of the words into French for Thomas who was seated next to me.
They started their weekly Monday get-togethers to discuss the world's larger matters and to remove themselves from the quotidian stresses of high flying jobs. While friends have retired and departed the area, the ALN residents have backfilled to supply endless hours of new perspectives and conversation.
After the sun went down, Diane invited us into the main house for a dinner of soup, bread, cheese and wine and further conversation. I sat next to Robert and discussed the mindset of a collector (with which we both identify), the push and pull between virtual and actual reality and the ability of the virtual world to be a true and authentic reality (even though the feedback mechanism might be Twitter post "likes" instead of a reply letter), and building bridges between the natural cycles (circadian rhythms) and the manmade cycles of time (the clock) rather than trying to live fully in one realm or the other. Like I said....over my head.
Anyway, my plan this week (besides really pushing my philosophic brain cells) is to paint en plein air as much as the weather will permit, write and read for work and for pleasure, and work on fleshing out a series of paintings capturing the frustration and anger and resistance I'm witnessing in our culture at this time.
More from my time here to come I'm sure....