Jarvis Rockwell To Open Custom Toy Exhibit


NORTH ADAMS, MASS.- Beginning Thursday, July 26, The Jarvis Rockwell Gallery will open "The ART of the TOY," a custom toy art exhibit.  This exhibit will bring together the work of local and regional "custom" toy makers.

An opening reception, featuring an opportunity to meet participating artists, as well as Jarvis Rockwell, will he held on Thursday, July 26, from 6 to 9 p.m. This event is free and open to the public.

"The TOY as ART" is a facilitation of further conversation between the collection of toys and action figures that Rockwell has been collecting since 1979, and the creative minds behind the popular miniature, everyday sculpture. Participating artist Bob Conge said, "They are a reflection of the society they were made for and as such, serve as historical markers in the evolution of civilization."

"The TOY as ART" was curated by Christina Stott, associate gallery manager of the Jarvis Rockwell Gallery, part of MCLA's DownStreet Art, which is organized and run by the MCLA Berkshire Cultural Resource Center.  

As associate gallery manager for the Jarvis Rockwell Gallery, Stott has had the unique opportunity to curate and organize exhibitions in a third gallery space, Gallery X. All exhibitions curated as a conversation between Rockwell's personal artistic inspirations and interests, and artists who specialize in those artistic mediums. Stott is part of MCLA's art management program.

Participating artists include Bob Conge, Bryan Collins, Danielle Christensen, C. Ryder Cooley, Jason "Blue Lake Hark" Martinez, Sarah Martinez, Todd Robertson, Gregory Scheckler and Stott.

Conge is a graduate from RIT and Syracuse University. He was awarded the Louis Comfort Tiffany grant for painting in 1964 and was appointed the director of the J. Thomas Gallery in Provincetown.

After opening his own studio in 1970, Conge produced work for clients such as American Express, Citibank, Volkswagen and the New York Times. Conge has exhibited work worldwide, from New York to Toyama, Japan. As a fellow collector, Conge uses his multidimensional talent to create miniature sculpture,s bringing his vivid illustrations and imagination to three-dimensional life.

Former DownStreet Art participant Cooley received a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in Sculpture in 1993. She then migrated to San Francisco, Calif., and became an active member of the local art and music scenes. She completed an MFA in Integrated Electronic Arts at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2008.

Cooley is an inter-disciplinary musician and artist. Weaving together songs on ukulele, singing saw and accordion with projections and movement, her work reveals a terrain of lost dreams and phantom memories. She has performed in numerous bands, including Fall Harbor, The Ramblin Jug Stompers, The Darklings, Corner Tour and Down River.

Cooley has participated in a wide variety of exhibitions, performances, collaborations, public works and educational projects. Her work has been presented at locations including White Box and Exit Art galleries in New York City, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and Theater Artaud in San Francisco, Robert Wilson Watermill Center on Long Island in N.Y., Pan American Art Projects in Miami Fla., Dorsky Museum in New Paltz, N.Y., Proctors Mainstage Theater in Schenectady, N.Y., as well as public art projects in Indonesia, El Salvador, France and the Czech Republic. She is based in Hudson, N.Y.

Michigan born and Connecticut raised, Robertson surrounded himself with art from an early age. Coming from a background in music, he interprets his creations across several media platforms. Now residing in Boston and focusing his talents on visual arts, Robertson's art is a "study of urban living." He works with found objects and uses street art techniques in an effort to translate moments of urban life, gaining inspiration from normality and searching for life bonding elements.

About his work, Robertson said, "My works are heavily influenced and developed from my music background. I try to relate my compositions to improvisational jazz. Starting with an only a basic frame work, my creations take shape through the influence of my daily life and the found objects I incorporate into them. Each piece that I find comes with a past and stories all of its own. These pieces are a direct reflection of the community I dilute myself in. Rather than recreation, using these real objects the viewer has an instantaneous connection and understanding to the art. This technique allows my art to be a kind of stepping stone in and out of what every abstract environment I wish to create. Trying to keep in touch with normality and focusing on what connects us together, I hope to inspire and provoke the human spirit."

"The TOY as ART" will be on view through Aug. 26. The Jarvis Rockwell Gallery is at 49 Main St. in North Adams, and is open daily from Wednesday through Friday, from 12-6 p.m., Saturday from 10 to 6 p.m, and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, 413-664-8718, or go to .