Saturday, June 9, 2012 at 6pm
130 Tinker Street
The VARGA Gallery turns nine this coming June and gallerist Christina Varga marks the occasion with a solo exhibition of works created in the past nine years alongside clippings, videos and printed materials gleaned from the happenings, press, exhibition history and artists that have made such a tremendous part of the gallery's growth and development as a regional landmark for self-taught, outsider and visionary artists. "VARGA Solo 2012" opens Saturday, June 9th at 6pm and is a recognition of the role artists play in cultural development and a retrospective of its interconnectedness with a community.
Varga's artistic evolution developed in the public eye and since moving from New York City to Woodstock has been marked by departures. Collage was for the most part absent in Varga's work until she opened her gallery and studio in Woodstock. The Pixelations were borne of necessity. Varga had in finishing the triptych in New York City come upon using small wooden tiles cut by scissor as the final application on her depiction of Buddha, Jesus and Mohammed. Working the materials damaged her wrists which developed ganglion cysts aka "Bible Cysts" as they are known. That forced a transition to softer materials such as canvas, paper, cloth and mylar. The materials cut into squares arranged themselves in a grid like pattern and burgeoned an entire body of mixed-media works called the "Pixelations".
Varga appreciates any readily available material as fodder for creativity. "I enjoy using what I have and that is probably because it was given to me." VARGA Girls as created by Christina Varga developed from her early experiences with her name coupled with stash of vintage porn dropped off by Michael Hunt, an artist and a true "Varganaut". The Vargas Girls by Alberto Vargas' as featured in Playboy Magazine seeded the existence of the VARGA Girls circa some time in 2003/2004 as a gimmick for easily created small works that were universally appealing and affordable. They quickly grew in popularity and in 8 years have spread around the globe to collectors as far as Europe and beyond. The VARGA Girls also begat a variety of pop pieces incorporating celebrity imagery in works such as "Sister Uma", "Holy War Marilyn" and any one of a number of David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin flavored art.
Varga is actively curating spaces outside of VARGA Gallery and is currently tending a morphing installation of small works at "The Garden Cafe" - Woodstock's only vegan restaurant. Response to the salon style installation of small works is enjoyed by staff and clientele alike. "The cafe boasts a prime location in the center of Woodstock, beautiful plate glass windows and is a perfect spot to showcase artwork. It's a nice match and the salon style installation ensures two things - you won't get bored waiting for your food and you'll probably find a piece to talk about and maybe take home." The Muddy Cup Solo Series was another curatorial project in which Varga had opportunity to introduce 20 artist per month exhibiting their works in solo rooms - 20 individual solos plus hallways on a full floor of vacant studio spaces above the Muddy Cup Coffee Shop in Kingston. Other curatorial projects included the Inquiring Mind Bookstore in Saugerties and The Country Kitchen in Woodstock. Varga plans to develop the connection between the metropolitan community living and second homing in the Woodstock area and exhibitions that extend the artists from the Hudson Valley into New York City and Upstate destinations such as the Capitol region. "There is no space that cannot be improved by the display and celebration of the creative spirit. It is a means of communicating, connecting and sharing that transcends language and enlivens the environment."
A big project Varga would like to manifest is a reality show based out of the gallery that documents and introduces artists and other creatives via a global television program that introduces today's Woodstock to the world. "I see it as a fusion between reality TV and comedy show with interstitials and humorous parodies of commercials and other production tactics. It will be completely different than the LIVE broadcasts of 'Apocalypse VARGA' yet still have the biting social commentary, activism through the moving image and intelligent entertainment that doesn't leave your jaw loose and hanging. Think Reality TV Show fused with a Monty Python type artistry. I'm actively seeking producers and financiers. It's the next HUGE TV Show and not just another LA hashout." Apocalypse VARGA has been airing live every week since March of 2007 and is a line for musicians, activists, artists and other creatives to present their ideas. Varga is also currently accepting submissions for VARGASM - the upcoming self-published 'zine of erotica, poetry and art in a 2.5" x 2.5" format. Varga's first publication in this format was "VAC-zine" which published pages created by the members of the Visionary Art Collective.
The Big Takeover at VARGA Gallery will be the very first time Varga's work will fill her own space. "I'm looking forward to stretching out and really seeing all my work displayed together. I like knowing that my collectors and potential collectors will finally be able to see continuity in my work and its development. I have had 9 years to produce artwork, and even though most of it is sold, my favorites, the showpieces, the big honeys are still here and they are still mine. I'm focusing on courting collectors with really BIG walls!" Varga's takeover solo runs through June and possibly July, but will relinquish the Zebra Room for an installation and performance art presentation by Phoebe Legere and Barnaby Ruhe titled "Women in Prison, Women in Freedom" on August 14, 2012. "I'll continue to bring artists to Woodstock and showcase their works. The Zebra Solo Room is a great display area and the zebra stripes set off the art so well. It's a great space to share with other artists." VARGA Gallery is also branching into more events based happenings presenting musicians and other performance artists in what are being called "The VARGA Sessions" - one night events presenting entertainment. "We will have intimate events that bring people into this space. It's truly special and we've built the vibe up so much in 9 years that everyone shines."
VARGA Gallery was founded in Woodstock in June 2003 by self-taught artist Christina Varga and is celebrating the nine year anniversary on June, 9 2012. The gallery has featured an evolving stable of self-taught, outsider, emerging and visionary artists from the Hudson Valley and beyond. Christina Varga's exhibition history includes the Kunsttiendaagse 10 Days of Art Festival in Bergen, North Holland; the 13th Mega Exhibit at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore; the 2005/2006 Winter Exhibition at Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine in New York City; the Resurgence Magazine Conference on Earth & Religion at Bard College and plenteous publications. For more information visit VARGA Gallery online at http:// www.VARGAgallery.com/.