Wordless Expression Speaks Volumes at New Art Show


Parking meters/Chase Ferguson
Parking meters/Chase Ferguson

Parking meters signify time, paying for space and perhaps a ticket if you don’t put enough money into the slot.

In the BEAUTIFUL MINDS: pure vision exhibit that opened November 1 at Rockland Center for the Arts, they signify a part of history, one visitor remarked.

The show offers insight into the personal worlds of 12 artists from the roster of Pure Vision Arts — New York City’s only professional art studio that supports and creates exhibiting opportunities for artists with neuro-developmental challenges — arranged by RoCA curator Lynn Stein and associate curator Peter Artin.

Figure/Walter Mika
Figure/Walter Mika

On display are works by Nicole Appel, Oscar Azmitia, William Blitt, Susan Brown, Chris Chronopoulos, Chase Ferguson, Barry Kahn, Chris Martin, Walter Mika, Eric Sadowsky, Alba Somoza and Dennis Yee.

Artist Chris Chronopoulos used cardboard and office supplies like binder clips and staples in his work, “Helmuts,” inspired by his passion to research his family’s heritage. Each vehicle detailed in Chase Ferguson’s work is covered with clear packing tape, which gives it a shiny and shellac-like appearance.

The show’s opening received acclaim from the community including RoCA board member Rob Fellows, who felt it portrays the depth of emotion and the human spirit, uplifting and compelling.

"Helmuts"/Chris Chronopoulos
“Helmuts”/Chris Chronopoulos

Featured artist William Britt of West Haverstraw, considered one of the greatest artists in his genre, is on the autism spectrum. The late poet Maya Angelou wrote a tribute poem to Britt that is inscribed on a wall in the RoCA gallery with his paintings.

“The colors dance at you,” one visitor commented about work, each dated and signed “Mr. William Britt.”

“These are serious artists with careers, and many have been working for many years,” PVA studio Executive Director Pamala Rogers, Ph.D, explained. “They’ve led amazing lives, and their work speaks to what they’ve overcome. Art has been an essential way to communicate and interact with others.

Winter scene/William Britt
Winter scene/William Britt

Rogers has a doctorate in Art Education from Columbia University’s Teachers College and is a graduate of The Institute for Expressive Analysis. An artist, writer and an art educator, she is a psychoanalyst working with artists in private practice.

Pure Vision Arts is licensed as a day habilitation program that focuses on expressive qualities and craftsmanship. Artists who attend the studio must be 21 years or older and have a developmental disability.

Its staff is trained professionals with backgrounds in art education, fine arts, and art therapy who provides who provide mentoring and support to artists, who receive no formal instruction and work at their own pace.

"Ice Pops" series/Eric Sadowsky
“Ice Pops” series/Eric Sadowsky

“The program focuses on ability not disability,” Rogers said. “Artists span various genres from folk to contemporary to outside art in various mediums and styles, she said. “Their work is based upon personal experiences in their lives.”

PVA is an initiative of The Shield Institute, a nonprofit human services agency founded in 2002. Its program, while currently full, represents and sells work of more than 35 artists and has more than 100 artists.

On December 3 at 6:30 p.m. Rogers and PVA support staff will discuss their experiences working with the artists. Panelists include Mary Clancy, mother of artist Eric Sadowsky, who was featured in the NBC Dateline April 2015 segment “On the Brink.”

BEAUTIFUL MINDS: pure vision runs through January 24, 2016. For information call 845-358-0877 or email info@rocklandartcenter.org.

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