Fall Exhibitions @ Rockland Center for the Arts

Dual Vision -  Connecting the Past with the Present

"A View From My Window" 1944 by Ned HarrisRockland Center for the Arts will be kicking off a yearlong theme of looking at its past legacy and its future going forward.  In that spirit, our first exhibit  “Angle of View” will feature the photography of long time RoCA Board member and curator, Ned Harris in Gallery One and Two.

Ned Harris was born in the Bronx, lived and worked in NYC and eventually moved to the Hudson Valley in Nyack, NY.  His early career was painting in The Ghost Army during WWII.  After the war he designed cosmetic packages and painted. He started taking the camera seriously in 1955 and would beach comb along the Hudson River for items to transform into photographic still-life.  NYC and its museums were the heart of his portfolio.  A favorite is a collage photo of people communicating in New York telephone booths before they were rendered obsolete by cell phones.

Telephone booths by Ned Harris

In addition to his many solo exhibitions from 1968 to the present, Mr. Harris lectured on photography at the Visual Arts Center in New York, the Slivka Center at Yale, the Soho Photo Gallery in New York, the Brown/RISD Gallery in Providence, the Parson School of Design in New York, GAGA Gallery in New York and the Jewish Community Center in West Nyack, New York.

Etching by Ned HarrisIn the mid-seventies, Mr. Harris had a second life as a curator.   An exhibition at the Rockland Center for the Arts led to his becoming chairman of the exhibition committee.  During his years with RoCA, he curated many exhibits featuring themes of social and political interest.  Ned presented exhibitions that included: “Works on Paper” with Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, Richard Pousette-Dart, Jasper Johns, Robert Motherwell and Helen Frankenthaler.  “The Rockland Connection: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” highlighted outstanding Rockland Artists and “The Studio and the Set” which featured the professional and personal works by more than 20 film and theatre scenic painters and designers residing in Rockland.

Humor always played a large role in Ned’s photos.  Never without his camera, he always saw something even in the mundane.  (One day walking around NYC he saw someone carrying a body-hoisting it on his shoulders and putting the body down on the sidewalk; he saw it was Albert Einstein.)   He then noticed he was outside the wax museum.  He photographed tourists who were photographing Einstein lying on the sidewalk. Mr. Harris thought of his camera as a wonderful friend that never forgot anything.   Places and events he may not have remembered  were not forgotten by the camera.  He thought of art as a wonderful connector and provided many local artists with opportunities to show their work.

To those at Rockland Center of the Arts who knew and loved him, it is his “eye” and his sense of humor that stood out.  We pay tribute to the many wonderful exhibitions that he curated at RoCA and his varied talents as painter, photographer and curator.

“Contemporary Hudson Valley Artists”, in the Emerson Gallery, celebrates the present vision of the teaching artists at RoCA.  Early  founders, Rockland residents and patrons – Helen Hayes, Henry Varnum Poor, Aaron Copland, Paulette Goddard and Burgess Meredith had a goal “to make use of the abundant artistic talent available by offering courses of instruction, arts and crafts exhibitions, lectures….courses of instruction for children and adults of arts and crafts under teachers of a caliber seldom available outside of New York City.”

Sixty five years later, RoCA is very fortunate to be continuing the legacy of our founders.  The exceptional faculty here actively creates, teaches and exhibits throughout the Hudson Valley and the U.S.

“Contemporary Hudson Valley Artists” exhibit will be on view Sept. 11 – 25 and the Ned Harris “Angle of View” exhibit will be on view Sept. 11 – Oct. 2, 2016.  Rockland Center for the Arts is located at 27 S. Greenbush Rd., West Nyack, NY 10994.  Regular gallery hours are:  Mon-Fri 10-4; Sat 1-4, and Sun 1-4 pm.  For more information go to www.rocklandartcenter.org or call 845-358-0877.