Spring 2017

Artist Lecture Series

Co-sponsored by the Opalka Gallery and the Department of Art + Design.

Melissa Thorne

Tuesday, January 31, 6:30 p.m.

Melissa Thorne’s work addresses multiple formats, including paintings on canvas and paper, and large-scale site-specific wall drawings in ink and watercolor. Her paintings have been shown widely in solo and group exhibitions, including at Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, and University Museum at SUNY/Albany. She is represented by Devin Borden Gallery in Houston, TX, and Galerie Anke Schmidt in Cologne, Germany.

Nina Roefaro Lomeo

February 28, 6:30 pm

Nina Roefaro LomeoNina Roefaro Lomeo is an artist and designer best known for her hands-on work with detailed and large-scale projects across New York City and the East Coast. Her signature work focuses on interior-architecture and furniture design.

Nina is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Syracuse University, where she holds a degree in Interior Design. She routinely teaches and lectures at the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, The New York School of Interior Design, Syracuse University, Baruch College and Sage College of Albany. She is also a member of the SUMMA mentoring program.

Terry James Conrad

Tuesday, March 28, 6:30 p.m.

Terry James Conrad is a printmaker and educator living in Round Lake, NY and interested in the communal and social aspects of printmaking. The 2015-16 Grant Wood Fellow in Printmaking at the University of Iowa, he has been awarded several other residencies and grants. He’s exhibited widely in solo and two-person shows, as well as group exhibitions. He holds a BFA from Alfred University and an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art.

Julie Casper Roth

Tuesday, April 18, 6:30 p.m.

Julie Casper Roth is an award-winning filmmaker and video artist interested in underdogs, paradox, and the oft-unseen. A 2008 NYFA Fellow in Video, a 2012 CAA Professional Development Fellowship recipient, and a two-time finalist for the Sundance Screenwriter’s Lab, Casper Roth embraces narrative, moving between experimental, documentary and fictional modes. She is currently at work on a documentary about indigent burial in the United States.

Film Series

Persepolis (2013)

Thursday, February 2, 6:30 p.m.

Based on Marjane Satrapi’s autobiographical graphic novel of the same name, Persepolis is the story of a precocious young girl living in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. “I believe that an entire nation should not be judged by the wrongdoings of a few extremists,” Satrapi says. Nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globe, the film was widely acclaimed. (96 mins.)

Cameraperson (2016)

Thursday, March 2, 6:30 p.m.

Exposing her role behind the camera, Kirsten Johnson reaches into the vast trove of footage she has shot over decades around the world. What emerges is a visually bold memoir and a revelatory interrogation of the power of the camera. The NY Times called it “…transfixing. It’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen before….”(102 mins.)

1984 (1984)

Screening with panel discussion

Tuesday, April 4, 6:00 p.m.


In the totalitarian state of Oceania, conformity is required, pleasure is illegal, and lives are dominated by fear. Workers are under constant surveillance by the Thought Police, and all must pledge total loyalty to Oceania’s leader, Big Brother. Winston Smith (John Hurt) toils away in the records office of the Ministry of Truth during the day, only to return to a squalid existence at home, dulled only by government-issued liquor. On April 4, 1984, in a small but perilous act of resistance, he begins keeping a forbidden diary. If found out, he risks arrest, torture, and vaporization. (1 hr. 53 mins)

Note: This film is being screened as part of the National Screening Day of 1984 to initiate community conversations about truth and human rights in our current political climate. Immediately following the screening, there will be a panel discussion with Dr. Steven A. Leibo, Sage Professor, History and Society, and the Sherman David Spector Sage Professor in the Humanities; Dr. David Salomon, Sage Professor, English; Dr. Harvey Strum, Professor, History and Public Affairs and Public Policy Director.

Beauty is Embarrassing (2012) 

Thursday, April 13, 6:30 p.m.

Beauty Is Embarrassing

A funny, irreverent, joyful, inspiring documentary about Wayne White. White, who found early success as one of the creators and designers on the show “Pee-wee’s Playhouse,” has created some of the most iconic images in pop culture and found success in the fine art world, too. The film reminds us that we should all follow our passions–it’s those creative impulses that lead us where we need to go. (88 mins.)

Sign Painters (2013) 

Thursday, May 11, 6:30 p.m.

We see them almost every day without a second thought. Weathered by time, distinct characteristics shining through, hand-painted signs are a product of a fascinating 150 year-old American history. What was once a common job has now become a highly specialized trade, a unique craft struggling with technological advances. Sign Painters stylistically explores this unacknowledged art form. (81 mins.)

Other Events

PechaKucha Night

Friday, February 10, 6:30 p.m. snacks, 7 p.m. talks


Short talks by interesting people. PechaKucha is a format in which speakers present 20 slides for 20 seconds each. Join us for an always fun and engaging evening. Free!

Jill Adams, “My writing practice and my mother’s death”
Shawn Allan, “You’re learning Dutch? … But why???”
John Chaplin on “Building in Wood”
Michael Chrisner on “Stealing Ideas and Honoring Influences in Graphic Design”
David Hochfelder & Ann Pfau on “The Faces of Urban Redevelopment: Albany’s South Mallby the 98 Acres in Albany Project”
Natasha Holmes on her art
Jim MacNaughton & Nate Wilson, on their experiences of seeing the band DISCHARGE on their disastrous 1986 tour
Libby Post on “Advocacy: Now More than Ever”
Dan Smith, “Radical Politics and Labor Organization: Leon Davis and the Pharmacists’ Union of Greater New York”Joe Ullman on “Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers”
Lisa Vines on her collection of shopping lists
Charmaine Wijeyesinghe “Looking at the How of Racial Identity”

Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company

Friday, March 3 at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, March 5 at 3 p.m.

After three highly successful site specific performances at the Opalka Gallery in the last four years, ESDC has been invited to create a new performance in relation to Austrian-born sculptor Caroline Ramersdorfer’s current exhibit, Gravity + Light: Caroline Ramersdorfer | Sculptures 1985-2016.

The performances by ESDC will consist of a premiere, entitled At Any Given Moment, created by Artistic Director Ellen Sinopoli and her dancers, set to music by Evelyn Glennie, as well as two current repertory pieces, Auriga and Tumble, brought to new life for the gallery space.

Exhibition walk-through with artist Caroline Ramersdorfer

Friday, March 3 at 5:30 pm.

Before the dance performance by Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company on Friday, please join us as Caroline Ramersdorfer takes us on a tour of her exhibit, “Gravity & Light: Caroline Ramersdorfer | Sculpture 1985-2016.”

Fall 2016

Artist Lecture Series

Co-sponsored by the Opalka Gallery and the Department of Art + Design.

Caroline Ramersdorfer

Tuesday, December 6, 6:30 pm

Caroline Ramersdorfer, whose sculpture is permanently installed in front of the gallery, is our second exhibiting artist this season. Born in Austria, Ramersdorfer currently lives in the Adirondacks and exhibits internationally. The only woman of 17 artists invited to participate in the Abu Dhabi International Sculpture Symposium in 2009, she was also selected to exhibit at the 2008 Olympic Summer Games in Beijing. For more: www.carolineramersdorfer.at

Angela Washko

Tuesday, November 1, 6:30 pm

Angela Washko
Angela Washko is an acclaimed artist, writer and facilitator devoted to creating new forums for discussions of feminism in the spaces most hostile toward it. Currently a Visiting Assistant Professor at Carnegie Mellon University, Washko founded The Council on Gender Sensitivity and Behavioral Awareness in World of Warcraft as an ongoing intervention inside the most popular MMORPG of all time. For more: angelawashko.com

Panel Discussion: Women in Art

Thursday, October 6, 6:30 pm

Co-sponsored by Opalka Gallery and the Sage College Department of Art+Design.

In the art world, as in the rest of the world, women have yet to achieve parity. More art by men is collected by museums and shown in galleries, even as more women graduate with fine arts degrees every year. Why does the imbalance persist and what can be done about it?

Join us for a panel co-moderated by Opalka Director Elizabeth Greenberg and Julie Lohnes, curator of art collections and Exhibitions at Union College, with the following distinguished guests:

  • Cevan Castle, artist and educator working in urban landscape and exterior architecture, and the founder of the Center for Parenting Artists, a community and weblog in support of the continuation of creative practice into parenthood
  • Carol Diehl, artist, critic, teacher and former slam poet, currently writing a book about Banksy
  • Carrie Haddad, established the first fine art gallery in Hudson, NY, art consultant, former board member of Columbia County Council on the Arts
  • Janet Riker, director of the University Art Museum, University at Albany since 2004. Prior to that served as Director of the Rotunda Gallery/Brookyn Information & Culture for fourteen years.
  • Julie Torres, artist and curator of community-expanding, collaborative projects. Co-curator of ‘Making the Future’ celebrating Arts in Bushwick and Bushwick Open Studios’ 10th anniversary at David & Schweitzer Contemporary, on view September 30 – October 16, 2016.
  • Elizabeth Greenberg is director of Opalka Gallery. Prior to that she was Curator of Fine Art at Siena College, held positions at FIT, the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and was head archivist at Fairchild Publications.
  • Julie Lohnes is curator of art collections and exhibitions at Union College. She has more than 15 years of experience in art galleries, including as Executive Director of the not-for-profit A.I.R. Gallery, the nation’s first artist collective for women.

Siona Benjamin

Thursday, September 8, 5:00 pm

Siona Benjamin
Current exhibiting artist Siona Benjamin’s work reflects her transition between worlds as she attempts to create a dialogue between the ancient and the modern. The recipient of two Fulbright Fellowships, she holds MFA degrees in painting and theater set design. She has been featured in The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, Art in America and has exhibited widely. For more: www.artsiona.com

Film Series

Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict (2015)Peggy Guggenheim poster

Thursday, December 1, 6:30 pm

Filmmaker Lisa Immordino Vreeland examines the life of famed art collector, Peggy Guggenheim, and how her relationships with major figures such as Duchamp, Pollock and Rothko were entwined with her passion for contemporary art. The film is a glimpse into the world of a colorful character, who was not only ahead of her time but also helped define it. (Film length: 1 hr. 37 mins.)

Eva Hesse (2016)

Thursday, November 10, 6:30 pm

This highly acclaimed documentary includes dozens of new interviews, high quality footage of Eva Hesse’s artwork and a wealth of newly discovered archival imagery to trace the artist’s path and engages in a lively investigation into the creative community of 1960’s New York and Germany. (Film length: 1 hr. 48 mins.)

Herman’s House (2013)

Thursday, October 27, 6:30-8:30 pm

hermans-house-poster-250In conjunction with the award-winning PBS series POV, WMHT Educational Telecommunications and the Breathing Lights project, a multi-city art installation in Albany, Schenectady, and Troy, Opalka presents Herman’s House (2013), a film about the longest-serving prisoner in solitary confinement in the United States and the artist who reached out to him.

The film documents the friendship between Herman Wallace, who has always maintained his innocence, and the artist Jackie Sumell in a testament to the transformative power of art. (Film length: 1 hr. 21 mins.)

Discussion afterward led by Barbara Nelson, lead architect, Breathing Lights, and Executive Director at TAP Inc., the Capital Region’s Community Design Center. Anthony Farley, James Campbell Matthews Distinguished Professor of Jurisprudence at Albany Law School and Karen Murtagh, executive director of Prisoners’ Legal Services of New York.

Shree 420 (1955)

Thursday, September 29, 6:30 pm

This classic Bollywood film stars Nadira, a Baghdadi Jewish actress. In early 20th Century India, Jewish actresses were able to play roles denied Hindu and Muslim women because of religious and cultural restrictions. Shree 420 tells the story of a country boy, played by director Raj Kapoor, who comes to the big city with dreams of success but is distracted by wicked temptations.

Blue Like Me: The Art of Siona Benjamin (2015) and Next Year in Bombay (2010)

Thursday, September 15, 6:30 pm

Blue Like Me Movie Poster
This double feature pairs two short documentaries that explore aspects of the Bene Israel Jewish community in Mumbai, India. Blue Like Me follows artist Siona Benjamin as she travels back to her childhood home while Next Year in Bombay explores the vanishing community through the eyes of one family.

Other Events

PechaKucha Nightpksmall

Friday, November 18, 6:30 pm snacks, 7 pm talks

Short talks by interesting people. PechaKucha is a format in which speakers present 20 slides for 20 seconds each. Contact Amy Griffin, [email protected], if you’re interested in presenting.

1st Friday Drop-in Art and Film

Friday, November 4, 5-8 pm, 6 pm film

Introducing a new free drop-in art program with Katie Dollard! In addition, there will be an encore screening of Blue Like Me: The Art of Siona Benjamin, a documentary about current Opalka exhibiting artist and the Bene Israel Jewish community in Mumbai. (Film length: 28 minutes)

Katie Dollard is an art teacher in Mechanicville City School District as well as a yoga teacher. She’ll talk about the significance of the Banyan tree to Hindus and guide visitors through creating their own banyan tree drawings using oil pastels and crayons. Families are welcome but you don’t have to be a kid or have kids to enjoy this free drop-in program. Join us for the film and make some art before or after it!

Get Three-Dimensional: Book Signing and Interactive Stereography Demonstration with Melody Davis

October 7, 6-8 pm

Melody Davis, Sage College art history professor, will answer your questions about stereoscopic (3D) photography with demonstrations of historical stereoscopes. Visitors are invited to handle the stereoscopes and stereographs, transporting themselves to the world of turn-of-the-century America.

Dr. Davis will happily sign copies of her new book from the University of New Hampshire Press, Women’s Views: The Narrative Stereograph in Nineteenth-Century America.