Jennifer Hicks, like many artists, has worn many hats in her lifetime: performance artist, dance and movement teacher, installation artist and fine art painter. Earlier this spring, she opened a performance and art installation space in which to bring all that experience together under one roof, launching “11 Jane St.” in Saugerties – named after the address where it is located, just off Partition Street in the heart of the village.
Installed in a renovated 19andHicks has a warehouse dating back to the last century, the new venture is designed to function as an arts incubator: a place where artists-in-residence can create new performance and installation work and exhibit the results. of their efforts. “It doesn’t have to be brand new work,” says Hicks, “but it has to be work developed with the space in mind. The idea is that people see the space and are inspired by it, and are influenced by being in Saugerties. The building is not zoned for living, so artists-in-residence will be housed in nearby accommodation within walking distance. Artists in residence will offer classes and talks to support the space, and their month of work will end with a performance.
With 11 Jane St. being launched so recently, Hicks says she knows it will evolve over time. But having been involved in performance collectives for decades and having previously run performance halls inside warehouses, she knows the kind of atmosphere she wants to foster. “There are a lot of galleries, but there’s something about having a space where you can create work, where you can work. And having the combination…”
The ground floor of 11 Jane St. is divided into a front gallery, entrance to the street, and a rear gallery with a “suspended” dance floor that acts as a shock absorber, designed to facilitate the movement and performance of the body. The rear gallery will be used for performance and movement art classes as well as art installations, and the front gallery – at least until the end of the year – has been given over to the art gallery contemporary Jen Dragon’s reimagined Cross, which until its recent closure was housed in a space on nearby Partition Street.
The arrangement is open at this stage. “It can be awkward or weird to have two galleries in the same space,” says Hicks. “I don’t know, but we’ll try until January and see how it works.” With no visible separation between the front and back galleries, the plan is for Dragon to schedule performances for its part of the space that will complement the lineup of installations and performances that Hicks has already prepared for the back gallery.
It’s been a little over three years since Hicks purchased the Jane Street warehouse and began the renovation process. When the building was initially put up for sale, she says, she thought, “I don’t know anything about renovating a building, and I’m probably crazy to do it, but I want to learn, and I’ll try his luck. »
Born and raised in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, Hicks earned undergraduate degrees in fine arts in Boston, then moved to Boulder, Colorado, where she earned a master’s degree in contemporary performance from Naropa University. When her father fell ill and retired to Cape Cod, Hicks returned to Boston to be closer and help care for him before he passed away in 2014.
Free then to choose where she wanted to live, as she visited friends in Saugerties she realized how much she loved the area and its combination of beautiful nature, village life and culture. “It’s unusual to have it all together. And the people here are creative, worldly thinkers. One of the things Hicks particularly likes about Saugerties, she adds, “is that you can walk down the street and people say ‘Hello’ to you; which does not happen in Boston!
The 3,000 square feet of space on the ground floor of 11 Jane St. is matched by an equal space upstairs, which Hicks is turning into a studio for herself alongside a function room that can be rented for meetings (not parties). With almost floor-to-ceiling glass windows, the upstairs bedrooms are flooded with natural light. The meeting room has a long table that seats 12 and a stove, microwave, refrigerator and dishwasher. It will be equipped with a coffee machine, whiteboard and Wi-Fi connection. Another small room will be more of a living room, furnished with sofas and suitable for working on portable devices. The workspace for the artists in residence is in the basement.
The lineup at 11 Jane St. includes video performance artist Andrew Neumann in June and a filmmaker in September who will build an installation and make a film in the space. Hicks will also do an installation in space involving a performance that wraps around giant plastic bubbles of varying sizes.
Hicks also plans to offer movement classes based on Japanese Butoh dance theater, a discipline she has worked in for nearly 40 years. “It’s an image-based movement that works from poetic imagery,” she explains. “It’s not linear, not a story; rather a meditation. First you get the image, then you embody it and move with it, then get another image and try to match them; it’s like a zen koan. Then you get a third image and start pasting them all together. It’s a very creative process.
Overall, Hicks says, she has a vision for 11 Jane St., but it’s not set in stone. “I know where I want it to go, and it’s going in that direction. Right now, it’s beautiful: a space where people create work. And hopefully by next year, if not sooner, residencies will be in place and artists will have a good month to create works in the space and engage the community and their work. Involving the community is huge for me; it’s a big problem. I don’t want to be an island. I really want it to be an open space, where the artist learns something from Saugerties and Saugerties learns something from the artist, and maybe they can talk to each other.
For more information on 11 Jane St., visit www.11janestreet.com
Shows by Colin Chase and Andrew Neumann begin Saturday at 11 Jane St.
11 Jane St. in Saugerties presents two simultaneous art vernissages on Saturday, June 8. Gallery South features the work of sculptor Colin Chase, curated by Jen Dragon. Represented by the June Kelly Gallery in New York, Chase’s work uses a variety of materials and devices to encourage contemplation. Ideas, shapes and textures are synergistically juxtaposed and nestled in incongruous combinations that defy formal spatial logic. Chase’s work has been included in solo and group exhibitions at several galleries, including the Jamaica Arts Center, Socrates Sculpture Park, the Studio Museum in Harlem, and the Neuberger Museum of Art.
Gallery North presents the work of Andrew Neumann, curated by Jennifer Hicks. Neumann primarily works in time-based media, combining disparate elements into hybrid sculptural pieces. He is also active as an electro/acoustic improviser, working with both analog and digital synthesis. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and an LEF Foundation Fellowship, among other awards. He has three recordings on Sublingual Records and a new CD to be released. Last year he was resident at AIR in Krems, Austria. Additionally, he has been a guest at MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, Ucross Foundation, i-Park, Djerassi, and the Experimental Intermedia Foundation.
Opening of Colin Chase and Andrew Neumann ExhibitionsSaturday June 8, 5-8 p.m., 11 rue Jane, Saugerties, www.11janestreet.com