“Heartstrings” pull together friends, art

By Patrick Dodson for Albany Proper

How well do you know your friends?

HEARTSTRINGS, the product of a group of talented and creative women who frequent the same Albany bar, one night decided to put together an event that brought their friends together, showcased collective talents, and represented ideals they hold dear.

More photos, recap after the jump…

The show last night was a welcome break from the usual meet up at the same local dive. It offered an opportunity for people, whether good friends or passing acquaintances, to learn more about each other and discover hidden talents. It produced a night no bar atmosphere can sustain (but didn’t leave out the booze — as a free keg fulfilled that necessity).

The night was quaint, as could be expected by the vague and spontaneous event invite that went out last week. Upon entering the inconspicuous basement-turned-temporary-gallery viewers were treated to artwork of all mediums, including self portrait etchings by Christina Kincaid, drawings by Theresa Wallis, woodburn acrylic paintings by Laura Carrozza, and much more.

Rachel Nora showed her embroidered artwork inspired by a 1950’s book “Glamour Guide: How to Photograph Girls” by Eugene Montgomery Hanson, who looked over the show through a giant printout. Nora admitted to embroidering for most of her life but being shy to show it until joining her friends for Heartstrings.

The standout of the night was Raechelle Gonzalez, who not only had copies of her “Gothic Poetry” for sale but also stood out – quite literally – in her performance art piece “A Tale of Virginity Lost”. Gonzalez stood nude, covered only by her hands, a smiling mask, and a flower dripping with blood. Something not often seen in Albany galleries, her art was reminiscent of Yugoslavian performance artist Marina Abramovic, whose 2010 MoMA retrospective “The Artist is Present” pushed similar boundaries on a worldwide stage as were experienced here on Washington Avenue. Anyone feeling uncomfortable with her presence just furthered her statement, and the show’s as a whole, but most people wandered by with a normal eye, even stopping to chat or offer to pour a sip of beer into her mouth. Abramovic, who lives in the Hudson Valley and is planning a performance art center in Hudson, would be happy with the professionalism and boldness Gonzalez displayed.

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Another highlight of the night was a poetry reading by Jess Grace — no easy task among a crowded room with access to a free keg. The three poems spoke of a woman and her lifestyle with men, cigarettes, and beer. The last poem, titled “400 Morris”, talked about a favorite local apartment, a place where she “didn’t mind when no one fixed the curtain rod that fell”, and the process of leaving it — something that many in the room can relate to, including the poet and organizers of Heartstrings, who would soon be moving out of the very house that hosted this makeshift gallery.

What stopped most in their tracks was not as immediately visible. Marissa Miglin’s “Fruit of the Womb” showcased her photographs, polaroid emulsions, and a two piece nude body imprint painting around a birdcage that demanded a closer look. Inside were four glass perfume bottles filled with a dark liquid — menstrual blood collected over a four month period and daintily put in these pretty bottles as a “social commentary on natural feminine beauty vs. manufactured beauty ideals”, a statement that resonated alongside the art itself, and served as a good summary of the night as a whole.

For this viewer, not only was the idea of natural women’s beauty evident, but the beauty in discovering that those natural women you brush shoulders with around Albany possess some great artistic talents not previously seen.



(artwork by Laura Corrozza)


(artwork by Christina Kincaid)

Patrick Dodson