JCC To Host “Botanical Abstractions” Exhibition

Dance Lesson, Sally Hootnick, encaustic on wood panel
Dance Lesson

Jamestown Community College is partnering with the Reg Lenna Center for the Arts to bring Botanical Abstractions, a selection of new works by Angie To and Sally Hootnick, to the 3rd on 3rd Gallery, located at 108 E. Third St., Jamestown.

A reception, free and open to the public, will be held from 6-8 p.m. on March 20. The exhibition is on display from March 20 to April 17.

Hootnick, a Jamestown native, lives and works in Syracuse and Chautauqua. Although not formally trained as an artist, she has studied painting for years under an array of teachers and mentors.

Fascinated by process and materials, Hootnick has worked in pastel, water media, oils and encaustics. Her paintings can be found in private collections in the U.S., Canada, and Sweden and in the permanent collections of Upstate Medical Cancer Center and the Pompey Museum.

“My grandmother was an artist, and encouraged me at a young age to believe that I could follow in her footsteps,” says Hootnick. “Although it wasn’t a straight path to that goal, I am thankful that I eventually landed where I belonged.”

Reflecting on her freedom as a child to explore the natural world, Hootnick notes her work is influenced by the shapes, patterns, and colors found in nature.

“More recently, it occurred to me that other factors – the material world ­– had impact as well,” says Hootnick. “Endless hours of watching cartoons and reading comic books as a child had imprinted a love of outline and bright colorful geometric shapes into my paintings. And a sense of place, in the form of aerial perspective and topography, can often be found in my still lifes and abstracts.”

“Life is made up of layers of memories and experiences that inform each new action we take,” she adds. “This is true of my painting style as well. Surfaces are built up loosely with wax, paint, and mark-making, knowing that the next day a new stratum will be laid on top of the original. There is risk in this process, as often a section is covered that was working well. But each fresh layer begets a new revelation, and history is built.”

Remarking on the process of creation, Hootnick notes, “At points in the process, I will scrape and gouge, exposing some of those earlier sections that compelled me. These deeper areas may not be immediately apparent to the viewer, but know that they are there, and trust that the work is richer for the underlying story. My paintings employ bold color and brushstrokes, informed by nature, the geometry of objects, and the effects of light on color. I alternate between reality and abstraction, often sliding into the space between these two modalities. My process is driven by intuition, a sense of place, and the desire to find and intensify the deepest essence of my subjects.”

 Garden of the Palace, Angie To, oil and resin on panel
Garden of the Palace, Angie To, oil and resin on panel

To, born in Hong Kong, emigrated to Canada where she studied fine art at the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary. She earned a master’s degree in fine arts at Ohio State University and remained in the U.S. to pursue her studio practice and a teaching career.

To’s work is collected in the U.S. and Canada. She is an art professor at Alfred University and maintains a studio in the Southern Tier.

“My work captures and makes tangible the sensation of being confronted with splendor, and is a conduit for recording impressions of my lived experience,” according to To. “I use the tools of sculpture, painting, drawing, and printmaking to decipher the world around me representing the interplay of natural landscape, people, places, and memory through layering, mark-making, pattern, color, and the
construction of space.

“Through process and a variety of materials I have developed a vocabulary that begins with chaos and endeavors toward order,” adds To. “This thought is physically borne out in multi-layered sculptures and implied in the fantastical color combinations and intricacies of repeating forms found in my paintings. My work contains the liberty of revision, obliteration, and convergence as the process moves toward clarity.”