MCLA

C. Ryder Cooley to Perform in 'XMALIA' Gallery

07/21/2011

NORTH ADAMS, MA - Inter-disciplinary artist, performer and musician C. Ryder Cooley will perform at her XMALIA exhibition on Thursday, July 28, as part of Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts' (MCLA) Berkshire Cultural Resource Center's DownStreet Art project.

On July 28, XMALIA will present dioramas by special guest artist Dennis Herbert, with a performance by Cooley from 8 to 9 p.m. at the 18 Holden St. gallery. It is free and open to the public.

The full, 60-minute, multi-media XMALIA show features songs about extinct animals, such as the Tasmanian tiger, the Pyrenean Ibex, the Xerces Butterfly and the Dodo bird.  It is performed with aerials, compelling video and bittersweet songs on ukulele and singing saw.

The XMALIA gallery and performance series offer a selection of drawings, video, objects, garments and photographs about human-animal relations and the phenomena of vanishing creatures, created by Cooley, an inter-disciplinary artist, musician and performer.  A series of photographs and videos are on display, documenting performances from 2007 to the present which address themes of hybridity.

Herbert has been making art assemblages from found materials for more than 10 years. A self-trained artist, he lives in a church rectory in Hudson, N.Y., and spends his free time creating mysterious, dream-like boxes, as well as free-standing sculptures.

Herbert's backyard garden is filled with wandering pathways that snake through and around large-scale sculptures and found objects. Last fall, he converted his unused garage into an art gallery to showcase his works. The Folk Art Gallery is open from 1-5 p.m. on most Sundays (call ahead if you're travelling a long distance), or by appointment.

"The XMALIA installation will evolve over the course of four months, forming the set for a series of lyrical performances with some guests musicians," said Cooley, who also is based in Hudson, N.Y.

Weaving together songs with projections and movement, her work reveals a terrain of lost dreams and phantom memories. Cooley has performed in numerous bands, including Fall Harbor, The Jug Stompers, The Darklings, Corner Tour and Down River.

According to Jonathan Secor, director of special programs at MCLA, the XMALIA exhibition and performance aeries at DownStreet Art offers surreal visions of vanished creatures and human-animal relations with sound, video, drawings, taxidermy and live music.

DownStreet Art Thursdays will take place on the last Thursdays of July, August and September, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., and will run till the Open Studio Weekend on Oct. 15-16. These events will feature music, performances, gallery openings and other downtown activities.

DownStreet Art is a project of MCLA's Berkshire Culture Resource Center, partnering with the City of North Adams, Develop North Adams, Greylock Federal Credit Union and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. The program is made possible through leading sponsorship support provided by Berkshire Bank, The Clark Art Institute, Excelsior Printing, Orbit Visual Graphic Design, Jarvis W. Rockwell, Scarafoni Reality and Williams College Museum of Art. Additional support is provided by: Adams Co-Operative Bank, Hoosac Bank, The Porches Inn at MASS MoCA and The Sushi House.

The initiative was designed to revitalize downtown North Adams by identifying the city as a cultural haven. The program serves not only to increase MCLA's visibility, but also to showcase what other local arts organizations have to offer. For more information about DownStreet Art and MCLA's Berkshire Cultural Resource Center, go to www.downstreetart.org and www.mcla.edu/bcrc .

For more information about Cooley, go to  http://xmalia.tumblr.com or http://carolynrydercooley.org/index.html. For additional information about Herbert, go to http://www.nippertown.com/2010/08/18/cool-factor-10-the-assemblages-of-dennis-herbert.