Nature inspires “Made in NY 2023” artists in many different ways

"Erie Canal at Dusk" by Maureen Church

Many of artists featured in “Made in NY 2023,” which opens March 25 at the Schweinfurth Art Center in Auburn, have been inspired by nature.

For some, such as Maureen Church of Rochester, the goal with her piece “Erie Canal at Dusk” is to capture the beauty around them. “These paintings are part of a series based on my recent plein air landscape works,” Church said in her artist’s statement. “I use rich colors and wild brushwork to represent the beauty I see in nature.”

Other artists focus on a particular aspect of nature. Henry J. Drexler of Norwich, NY, still lives near the dairy farm where he grew up. His artwork “Bovine Madness XXXV” begins with images of cows that he manipulates to eliminate depth. “Whether painted in black and white or fanciful hues, I strive for playful, abstract works of bovine madness,” he said.

Artist Joyce Hertzson of Pittsford actually uses bits of nature in creating her artwork “After the (F)fall,” printing leaves and branches on rag paper. “The finished print is always full of surprises,” she said in her artist’s statement. “Even using the same set of elements and process, I am never guaranteed the same outcome.”

Other artists use their creations to warn of humans’ abuse of nature. Saranac Lake artist Barry Lobdell’s photograph, “Chevron Sky,” was taken Nov. 6, 2022, when the temperature reached 70 degrees. “Not a normal temperature for Saranac Lake in November,” he said. While the weather made for a beautiful photo, he asked, “Is this beauty only skin deep, hiding within it the danger which is inherent in our unnaturally warming planet?”

Bill Hastings of Ithaca is a naturalist and gardener who is acutely aware of humans’ impact on nature. “Every action has an impact,” he said. So with his piece “Sway,” he does his part to reduce, reuse, and recycle by “utilizing a ubiquitous material that seems unavoidable in contemporary culture: plastics.”

Concern for the environment led Cyndy Barbone of Greenwich, NY, to alter her art-making material for her work “Our Rights Are Protected in New York State.” Conscious of the growing water crisis, she decided to stop dyeing her yarn. “I have replaced color with white or natural by using varying thicknesses of linen to explore how transparency and density in weave structure can convey images, thereby eliminating the vast amount of water used in dyeing,” she said in her artist’s statement. “The illusion of light in the resulting work is a powerful metaphor for the human spirit.”

A total of 320 artists submitted 480 entries for this year’s “Made in NY” exhibition. Jurors Gary Sczerbaniewicz, Theda Sandiford, and Kevin Larmon selected 81 pieces from 79 artists for the show, which will run March 25 through May 28 at the Schweinfurth Art Center in Auburn. The free opening reception will be 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday, March 25. Prize winners will be announced at 6 p.m.

The exhibition is funded, in part, by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.


Here are participating artists from your area:


Cayuga County (1)

Mnetha Warren of Aurora, NY; “Wonder Bread,” 2022


Monroe County (14)

Lydia Boddie-Rice of Rochester, NY; “She Is Stardust,” 2022

Paul Brandwein of Rochester, NY; “Good Vibrations,” 2021

Daniel Chadwick of Scottsville, NY; “The Industrial Revolution,” 2023

Maureen Church of Rochester, NY; “Erie Canal at Dusk,” 2023

David Dorsey of Pittsford, NY; “Sunny Skies, Green Furrows,” 2022

Bret Garwood of Rochester, NY; “33 Overlapping Squares, No. 2,” 2022

Margery Pearl Gurnett of Pittsford, NY; “Birds Sing Even After the Storm,” 2022

Jennifer Hecker of Brockport, NY; “Hail, Hail,” 2022

Joyce Hertzson of Pittsford, NY; “After the (F)fall,” 2022

Lee Hoag of Rochester, NY; “Up for Grabs,” 2021

Pat Pauly of Rochester, NY; “The Apple Doesn't Fall Far,” 2022

Nicholas Ruth of Rochester, NY; “This Place,” 2022

James Via of Rochester, NY; “Rome 2022 5029,” 2022

Stefan Zoller of Henrietta, NY; “Diluvian No. 10,” 2022


Onondaga County (12)

Stephen Carlson of Syracuse, NY; “Intuition,” 2022

Rachel Ivy Clarke of Syracuse, NY; “These Colors Should Run,” 2021

Willson Cummer of Fayetteville, NY; “Onondaga Lake #290,” 2023



Leonard Eichler of Tully, NY; “Krater 2022 AD,” 2022

Julia Graziano of Manlius, NY; “Perplexed,” 2021

Joyce Homan of Syracuse, NY; “COVID Bubbles,” 2020

Pam McLaughlin of Syracuse, NY; “Good Little Girl,” 2023

Denise Moody of Skaneateles, NY; “Her Trunk,” 2023

Kyle Mort of North Syracuse, NY; “Did Anyone Call?” 2022

Paul Pearce of Mattydale, NY; “Infectious Invasion,” 2022

Jane Verostek of Syracuse, NY; “Modern Mourning,” 2022

Donalee Wesley of Marcellus, NY; “The Revelation,” 2023


Seneca County (1)

Kari Ganoung Ruiz of Interlaken, NY; “Dawn on the Meadow,” 2023


Tompkins County (4)

Anne Auld of Ithaca, NY; “Natural Vessel Diptych,” 2022

Bill Hastings of Ithaca, NY; “Sway,” 2021

Shawn Hull of Lansing, NY; “Woman, not girl,” 2022

Debbie PC Lee of Ithaca, NY; “Apeirogon,” 2021



If you go …

WHAT: “Made in NY” exhibition by 79 artists from all over New York State

WHEN: March 25 to May 28, 2023

WHERE: Schweinfurth Art Center, 205 Genesee St., Auburn

OPENING: 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday, March 25, 2023

GALLERY HOURS: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays

ALSO ON DISPLAY: “Triggered, Truth & Transformation” exhibition by New Jersey artist Theda Sandiford and “Positive, Negative, Shallow, and Deep,” by Oswego artist Tyrone Johnson-Neuland

COST: Opening is free; admission to the Schweinfurth $10 per person; participating artists, Schweinfurth members, and children 12 and under are always free

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