Friday, September 26, 2008

Imagine a new world...

A world in which anything is possible, if you can dream it. A world where we live in harmony with our environment. A world where function meets form. A world where the past becomes the present. This world is now on view at the Tyler Hall Art Gallery…

Eco-Tankers: Exhibition by Bruce Conkle
Conkle’s vision of sustainability comes to life in this show. A celebration of the union between reason and imagination, this exhibition features the eco-tanker – an ocean vessel that produces food, grows trees and captures rainfall. Conkle’s drawings are transformed into three dimensional models; each resembling a virtual Noah’s Ark of horticulture and ecology. The subject fills the room with a lively discourse and hints at possibility for the future. A true collaboration, the show presents the work of students from a breadth of ages and disciplines alongside the artist’s conceptual renderings.

A Personal Landscape: Contemporary Quilts
These pieces are created by fiber artists using unconventional techniques and embellishments to portray the natural world. Full of light and depth, they are more like watercolors or collages. Each composition captures the attention and curiosity of viewers and skeptics of fabric art become believers. Patterns, shapes, color and texture come together to convey the artist's message and fill the room with stories of love and beauty, time and space, hope and renewal, nature and life.

Rocks and Rills: Nature Themes from the Permanent Collection
Working in harmony with the natural themes of the visiting exhibits, pieces from Tyler Art Gallery’s permanent collection are unveiled. Works from local artists such as Charles Henry Grant and James Gale Tyler (for whom Tyler Hall is named) hang alongside those of Italy’s Louis Bosa and France’s Lucien Pissarro (son of famed Impressionist painter Camille Pissarro). From the palpable isolation of Grant’s “Moonlight at Sea” to the haunting beauty of Bosa’s “Wind in the Willows”, the show invites fresh perspectives of earlier works.

Sponsored by Auxiliary Services and the SUNY Oswego Student Association, these exhibitions will run through October 19, 2008.

To help you find your way:
Tyler Hall Art Gallery is located just off the main entrance of the SUNY Oswego campus on New York State Route 104 West in Oswego, New York. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays and 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. All exhibitions are free and open to the public. Individuals with a disability can call 315-312-2113 for assistance in attending gallery events.

With two working showrooms, Tyler Hall Art Gallery hosts a variety of exhibitions throughout the academic year, including traveling shows and works created by the students and faculty of SUNY Oswego. The venue is a teaching gallery as well and provides many opportunities for students. It introduces them to professional artists and their work, involves them in the daily operations of a gallery and allows them to show their own pieces.

For more information about this show or upcoming exhibitions, call 315-312-2113 or visit


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Exploring history and nature (way) off the beaten path…

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation recently opened a new state park – Frenchman’s Island in Oneida Lake. With a little help from our friends, Bob and Tom, we had an opportunity to visit the park and explore its primitive environs.

To be sure, Frenchman’s Island is one of the most spectacular resources that Oswego County has to offer. The unspoiled woodlands bring to mind images of a wild rain forest. Thick foliage creates a draping canopy over the newly cut trail which circles the island and winds its way back to the beginning.

The trail offers an easy hike through 28 acres of serene beauty. Keeping with tradition, we learned to identify the beech tree as we traversed the footpath. We also came upon the historic 85-foot lighthouse built by the state in 1917.

Here are some images from our excursion:

The romanticism of Frenchman’s Island can be gathered from its namesake. By most accounts, the first inhabitants of the island were a Frenchman by the name of Desvatines and his young bride. The tale varies a bit as to how they made their way to Oneida Lake; some have said that the couple fled France during the Reign of Terror, while others have speculated that they left due to (his or her) father’s disapproval of their union.

The tale continues that Desvatines sold all of his possessions, save for a “fine library and a little silver for the table” in order to make a life in the wilderness for himself and his family. Alone, he cleared a lot near six acres, built a cabin and planted a garden on the island. It is here that his wife bore his daughter, Camille in the spring of 1792. It is supposed that she was the first white child born in Oswego County.

The following year, the family moved to Rotterdam (Constantia) and later disappeared into history. According to some, the family was once visited by Chancellor Livingston, who recognized the gentility of the couple and spirited them to his manor on the Hudson River. Others have posited that (his or her) father came to the couple seeking forgiveness and, upon reconciliation, the family returned to their beloved France.

In more recent history, Frenchman’s Island was known locally as the second Coney Island. The picturesque island was a favorite resort for day-excursions in the early 20th century. Home to a dancing pavilion, bowling alley and children’s playground, the island was ideal for picnics and parties.

Located at the west end of Oneida Lake, Frenchman’s Island is accessible by watercraft only. It is a carry-in, carry-out park and there are no picnic tables or restrooms. Camping and fires are not permitted and visitors are encouraged to report vandalism by calling 315-762-4463.

For more information about Oneida Lake and its histories, visit your local library and check out: “Oneida Lake ‘The Only Happiness’ Place Names and History” by Jack Henke.


Francis Adrian Vanderkemp, a distinguished citizen of Holland, once wrote of the island:

“This island might in ancient days have been the happy seat of a goddess, in the middle age that of a magician, or a fairy’s residence in the times of chivalry. All that the poets did sing of the gardens of Alcinous, all the scenery of those of Armida, so highly decorated by Virgil and Ariosto, could scarce have made upon me, who was captivated unawares and bewildered, a more deep impression than this spectacle of nature. We did see here a luxuriant soil in its virgin bloom… It seemed a paradise which happiness had chosen for her residence.”