The Strand Center for the Arts is synonymous in the downtown area for showcasing local and nationally recognized artists, and it might have just outdone itself with its latest art exhibition.
The Strand’s latest exhibition features acrylic painter Ian Burcroff, who is currently an associate professor of art and humanities department chair at Clinton Community College.
“We are very fortunate to have Ian show his work in the gallery,” David Monette said.
Monette, who just started in his position, said he was three or four days into his job when an artist he had scheduled to showcase had issues bringing him his or her artwork to Plattsburgh.
“We usually have a list of artists that we would like to have their work show at the Strand,” Monette said. “Ian was on that list. So, I got into contact with Ian and told him we needed someone to fill in that spot, and he was on board.”
Burcroff’s work has not only been shown locally but all over the country, including locations such as the Borough Gallery in Burlington, Vermont, the Bear Gallery in Fairbanks, Alaska and Neptune Studios in Utica, New York, according to a news release from the Strand.
“He’s a local guy, so it’s good that we could bring in an artist whose work has been shown nationally,” Monette said. “Ian has a lot of postmodern references in his work.”
Monette said there is a sense of vibrance and intensity in Burcroff’s paintings.
“Ian does a good job of bringing in his own personality into his artwork,” Monette said. “Layered intensity, as I would like to call it.”
One thing about Burcroff’s artwork is that, from a distance, a person can’t see everything.
When a person looks at it close up, that is when one can see all the images that weren’t originally visible in the painting, and that is when everything can be processed.
“Some of the work on display took as long as two years to complete,” Monette said. “You can see through the work how much he labored.”
Monette said even the smallest painting could take a month or more to complete. Burcroff invested 50 hours or more in the studio on each painting, according to a recent Strand news release. Currently, there are 20 pieces of artwork currently on display in the gallery.
What separates Burcroff’s artwork from others is his style. There is a sense of improvisation in his artwork and there is little planned or drawn beforehand.
“The paintings evolve in many directions,” Burcroff said in a Press-Republican interview.
After almost two weeks into the exhibition, Monette said the feedback has been nothing but positive.
“Everyone loves it. People are very happy,” he said.
PSUC junior and history major Kate Reilly was impressed at what the Strand and the new exhibition had to offer.
“I think it’s amazing that they are trying to show more local artists’ artwork,” Reilly said. “It’s cool they are willing to do something like this. Not a lot of places do that.”
Some particular painting that caught her eye were “The Double” and “Swallowed the Hook.”
“I was pretty taken aback by the paintings,” Reilly said. “My eyes wanted to go everywhere, but you really have to take a step back to see the true beauty of it.”
Reilly thought Burcroff’s paintings were cool and different.
“I don’t think I’ve seen anything like this before,” she said. “You can tell that must of taken him a lot of time to create.”
After seeing these paintings, Reilly is curious to see what the Strand will bring in the future.
“I definitely want to come back and see what else they got,” she said. “I think they’re doing something really unique here.”
Getting acclimated to his new position, Monette said he want to keep bringing in younger artists and a diverse audience.
“I want to continue to bring in a wide array of artists to the Strand, whether it be locally or ones who have national recognition,” he said.
Email David Luces at firstname.lastname@example.org