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Variety abounds at ROTA staff show

Kaitlyn Donovan, gallery coordinator for ROTA, explained the long process of creating

Kaitlyn Donovan, gallery coordinator for ROTA, explained the long process of creating Photo by Shaun Kittle.

PLATTSBURGH — Paintings, poetry, sculptures and photographs of Barbie dolls—it’s all on display at ROTA Gallery’s Staff Art Show.

The exhibition, which kicked off with an opening reception Saturday, March 9, is a curiosity-seekers delight and a glimpse into the minds behind Plattsburgh’s co-operative arts and community space.

Some of the artists seem to stick with a single theme or medium, while others take an exploratory approach.

ROTA member Jeremy Colwell has been making art since he can remember, and his pieces reflect a variety of tones, some serious, some bright and whimsical.

One piece, a drawing surrounding a single piece of brown felt laid behind a hole in the paper, is representative of the different perspectives present in his work.

“This one took me a long time to finish,” Colwell said, pointing to the drawing. “The entire thing started off as scratches and scribbles on the paper, and then I would go in and fill in the shapes.”

Colwell explained that the finished product, which took a year to complete, is like a diary, with each form representing a period in his life.

The same can be said for his other paintings, which all seem to draw from moments in his life.

“ROTA has been a really good place for me,” Colwell said. “I used to be a lot quieter, and more hidden in my shell. It’s helped me become more social.”

The philosophy of bringing people together to create a strong sense of culture and community is an intrinsic part of what ROTA strives to do for the North Country.

Part of that culture, the familiarity of the interior of some of Plattsburgh’s oldest downtown buildings, is captured in ROTA member Jess Rigby’s photography.

Rigby uses long exposure times—20 to 30 seconds—to reproduce the deep reds and long shadows that inhabit many of the edifices.

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