From NY to NJ – art and galleries galore!

With it’s distinct neighborhoods, Brooklyn has been attracting throngs of visitors for decades…  and this weekend art lovers will take to the streets –  in Dumbo and Williamsburg ( Second Friday – Gallery night).  This self guided walking tour takes place every 2nd friday of the month.  Something to keep in the back of one’s mind when contemplating what to do.

May 11 – 15th  NYPH11  (NY Photo Festival)   A couple of years ago, Jene volunteered and got an overview of the activities from portfolio reviews to what artists were exhibiting in which galleries.  We’ve been going every since.  As photographers, we get a peek at some students and their mentors and find it interesting to see how mentoring can steer you in the right direction.  A mentor appreciates the work and understands where your creative process comes from.  (S)he usually is distinguished and well recognized in their fields and have made connections over the years.  Jene says that sometimes in life it’s the “pull-up” that helps you get to the top, not the push.   It’s an important role and if you are lucky (and talented) enough to make the cut, it gives you the introductions that emerging artists need.

In 2008, one of the video/photojournalists, Tim Hetherington blew us away.  He was recently killed along with Chris Hondros as they documented the seige of Misrata by Gaddafi’s army.  What we got to see was from when he was immersed with troops for months at a time and took portraits of these tired soldiers.  What came across loud and clear in the images he captured was the humanity of war –  both sides!  No political statement, just images of the daily struggles.
It was a video / photo intallation, stills of young soldiers sleeping while the sites and sounds of war surrounded them that filled my eyes with tears,  What goes through these young warriors minds when they sleep…

My son-in-law (a navy reservist – homeland security) had spent 15 months in the middle east 4 years ago and will be deployed again in Sept.  Exhaustion –  physical and metal enables you to crash he said.    Back at home, the photo of him, next to his open locker with pictures of his daughters,  drawings & notes taped to the inside of the door was stuck to the wall by his daughters beds so the last thing they saw before falling asleep was him.     A stuffed toy with his recorded voice saying I love you is what the girls clung to at night and they also stuffed pictures of him inside their pillowcases…  I did not witness what he went through but I saw first hand what his daughters and wife went through. They were banned from watching the news because every time they heard of soldiers being killed they would break down.  Keeping fears at bay was a full time job.  War takes it toll in unseen ways but pictures capture the emotions.

I took this image, the day Daddy came home.  The 7.5 year old clung to his hand and said “I’m not letting go” as they waited in the school yard for the 9 year old to be dismissed.

These journalists risk their lives to bring the stories home.  A reminder that although most Americans are not effected by this war (or conflict as it is called) there is the human side.

I only mentioned this because it is at such venues (NYPH, art fair, NYC PhotoSalon)  you can meet such acclaimed photographers.  At a monthly PhotoSalon session, we met Peter Turnley and spoke with him after his amazing presentation.  Peter’s recent assignment found him in Eygpt during the social uprise, putting himself in the midst of harm’s way to show the world the human side of conflict.  I was humbled when one of my images was selected by him to exhibit in a group show entitled “A True Story” at Darkroom Gallery in Vermont.

But I’ve gotten off the beaten track… ART in all it’s forms surround us on a daily basis and is a diversion from our daily routines.  Jene and I swept through Affordable Art Fair quickly this past Sunday and saw works of some up and coming as well as established artists.  A treat to say the least.

May 13  – Williamsburg Art Gallery Association 2nd Friday Event

May 18  6:30 pm NY PhotoSalon meets the 3rd Wednesday of every month at Soho Photo Gallery, 15 White St,  NYC, presenting renown photographers as well as some not as famous but equally impressive ones.

May is a lovely month to stroll about town, discovering places you may not have known existed.

May 22 – Hoboken has it’s art studio tour, noon to 6pm .  Jene and I will both be exhibiting our work at the Monroe Center.  The feedback we have gotten in the past was positive and I’ve also sold some pieces. (a PLUS for sure).  The best part is talking with the people as they pass in conveyor like style through the rooms.  Some very interesting works can be had in all mediums. (Hop on the Path train, take the light rail or bus – it’s worth the trip and price of admission – FREE!)  Hoboken has plenty of fine restaurants and shops along the way.

On our personal to do list is NY’s HighLine Park with the second section slated to open in June.

So much art, so little time but we do manage to squeeze as much in as we can.  But creating art is really what we love to do.  On my recent trip to Barcelona with gal pal Pat, I added a few more images to my objects of interest portfolio.  Looking at the ordinary in an extraordinary way.

One of my favorites… Others were uponloaded to my website but I’ve yet to go through all my flash cards.  I was busy with getting images out to the models that I recently shot.

In between I assisted Jene on a job – he was lighting for Grace Chang and Jin Jin… a magical puppet show performed in grade schools in Brooklyn & Queens.

Really adorable show, Grace has published 2 children’s books and is working on her third.

Visiting my daughter, granddaughters, going to performances and art fairs filled in our spare time.  Good thing we don’t have a full time job – don’t know how I’d get anything accomplished.

Hopefully you will be out and about hob-knobbing with some artists, enjoying all that life has to offer.  We only go around once – so make the most of it.

Ciao for now,

Mary Durante (Wehrhahn) Youtt

I am starting the process of changing my name – dropping the one I borrowed (ex’s) and taking back my given one while adding my new husband’s name to the mix…  SO much red tape involved.   Oy-vay!


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Filed under Jene Youtt, NY Metro art galleries, photo essay, photography

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