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Hudson Valley MOCA Looks ‘Through the Eye of the Needle’

Artworks by Adriene Cullom and Arlé Sklar-Weinstein (photo credit: J. Brody)

The 35 artists represented in “Through the Eye of the Needle” use materials that are repurposed and embedded with touch, weaving their memories into tangible and prominent pieces of art. Presented by Hudson Valley MOCA (HVMOCA), this exhibition displays a distinct grouping of visually intriguing artworks, all embodying one common thread; memory.

“It’s like a metaphor— You can take something big and bulky like memory, and put it through the eye of the needle to come up with a dialogue,” says Livia Straus, Director at HVMOCA. Each creation on display draws upon the questions of who we are, where we come from, and how our history impacts the way society exists today.

One piece in particular that conveys this idea is “Skywalker/Skyscraper (Calling Sunrise)” by Marie Watt. A pile of blankets is stacked on a wooden base, with a tall steel beam cutting through the pile, mimicking a skyscraper. The beam symbolizes the backbone of society, which Watt envisions as the woman. It also represents the history of Indigenous people. Many Indigenous people worked on building Manhattan’s skyscrapers and were called ‘skywalkers’ because of their ability to work on the high steel beams without harnesses. The pile of blankets displayed was donated by people in Watt’s community; each living a life of its own before becoming a part of her story. The way she repurposed these blankets reinforces the relationship between object and narrative and alludes to moments of socialization through fiber.

The way the exhibition is sequenced allows the viewer to draw connections between the works and begin to form narratives surrounding the material, history and time. The artworks were carefully curated to convey a central theme while maintaining a level of visual diversity. For example, a floor-to-ceiling lace collage demonstrates the history of how lace has been used to integrate concepts, a mixed-media collage using men’s neckties to mark the entrance into the adult world, and a giant coat based in fiber uses pockets and tears to represent areas of memory. Explains Straus: “All of this comes into building your memory bank— it’s a history piece.”

Furthering engagement within the community, HVMOCA will present “Writing the Walls,” which is hosted by Studio Theater in Exile (STIE) in conjunction with the exhibition. This program intertwines storytelling and the creative power of visual arts; inviting individual interpretation and boosting connection by welcoming those who feel connected to the pieces to respond in their own creative way by submitting poems, plays, monologues, stories, etc. that are inspired by the visual works on display. The selected submissions will be invited to perform at the STIE, which is housed at HVMOCA, in late March and April.

This exhibition presents a language to decode, and begs the complex question, ‘how do we integrate our past into our present and future?’ The artwork is charged with personal, cultural and political emotion, and the meticulous attention to detail within the medium creates an intimate authenticity; bringing the pieces to life.


Artwork by Inez Andrucyk (photo credit: J. Brody)

Artwoks by Jaimie Crimmins and Eric Jon Olson (photo credit: J. Brody)

Artwork by Elizabeth Morrissette

Artworks by Jill Kerttula, Sandi Derosa, Natalya Korover and Sharon Pierce McCoullageh (photo credit: J. Brody)

Artworks by Phillipe Halaburda, Natasha Das (photo credit: J. Brody)

Alyssa Monte is an artist and writer from Mahopac, NY. She earned her BFA in Photography and Journalism from SUNY Purchase in May of 2021.


Featured Image Artworks by Adriene Cullom and Arlé Sklar-Weinstein (photo credit: J. Brody)