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Society for New Music to present film premiere, retrospective, concert in celebration of late sculptor and VPA faculty member Rodger Mack at Stone Quarry Hill Art Park on July 26
Jaime Winne Alvarez
As part of “Cazenovia Counterpoint: A Festival of New Music and Art,” the Society for New Music will premiere the documentary film “A Resonant Chord: Rodger Mack and the Creative Process” on Saturday, July 26, at Stone Quarry Hill Art Park Gallery in Cazenovia. The film celebrates late sculptor Rodger Mack (1938-2002), a faculty member in Syracuse University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA).
The film premiere begins at 2:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public. The film is a production of Syracuse Alternative Media Network and features original music by Marc Mellits and Edward Ruchalski, commissioned by the Society for New Music. Rather than a simple biography, the documentary establishes Mack’s art and philosophy as a framework to explore factors that inform and transform the creative process. Through interviews with friends and colleagues, the film paints a captivating picture of the artistic mind. Of particular interest are excerpts from a 1989 television interview with Mack and archival photographs of Mack in the foundry, which artfully interact with present-day footage of artists working in their studios. As colleagues recall memories of Mack, they connect them to their own approach.
The result is a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at the dynamic relationship between artist and material, resulting in the construction of works that will one day stand on their own as finished pieces. Interwoven throughout the film is the distinctive original soundtrack by regional composers Mellits and Ruchalski, whose musical interpretations evoke Mack’s lyrical sculptural forms and illuminate the images of the artists at work. Featured artists in the film include sculptors (Arlene Abend, Dorothy Riester and VPA faculty members Ron DeRutte and Gail Hoffman), an installation and mixed media artist (VPA faculty member Mary Giehl), a mixed media artist (Claire Harootunian), ceramic artists (Andy Schuster and VPA faculty member Margie Hughto) and painters (VPA faculty members Michael Sickler and Ludwig Stein).
The film premiere is being held in conjunction with the opening of Stone Quarry Hill Art Park Gallery’s Rodger Mack retrospective, which takes place from 2 to 5 p.m. The retrospective was curated by VPA faculty member Edward Aiken. In addition, “An Artist’s Muse,” a chamber concert featuring world premieres of the music written for the documentary film, will take place at 3:30 p.m. in the Stone Quarry Hill Art Park Amphitheater. Admission for the concert is $15 for the general public and $12 for students and seniors.
An internationally known sculptor and faculty member in VPA’s School of Art and Design, Mack served as the school’s first director from 1982-91 and taught sculpture for more than 30 years. He was widely known for his bronze and steel sculptures, now part of permanent collections worldwide, including those of the Museum of Modern Art in Barcelona, Spain; the Filancard and Grand Hotel in Guayaquil, Ecuador; the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse; and the Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute in Utica, among others. Notable artists Anthony Caro, Bill King, Kenneth Noland and Helen Frankenthaler all traveled to Syracuse to work with him.