Two paintings by Art and Design Adjunct Instructor Rich Harrington were accepted into the Roberson Regional Art Exhibition 2021 recently, and one piece “Queen of Jacks: Clubs” garnered a First Place award in this juried exhibition. “The Regional Art Exhibition began 14 years ago, as a way to showcase artists who live and work in the Southern Tier, Central New York, and Northern Pennsylvania” according to Roberson’s home page.
“The artwork in Roberson’s Regional Art Exhibition represents the incredible talent in our region,” said Executive Director Michael Grasso (A.S. ’05), who also has a piece of digital art in the show. “This community is home to sculptors, metalworkers, printmakers, potters, photographers, furniture builders, pastel artists, and painters like Rich Harrington, who won Best in Show for his piece, ‘Queen of Jacks: Clubs’. It’s the Museum’s privilege to host this wonderful exhibition featuring professional and emerging artists side-by-side.”
Harrington was interviewed by Ricky Sayer of WBNG 12 News and the interview aired Sunday evening, February 28 during the 6:00 pm and 11:00 pm news broadcasts. The two discussed the importance of being accepted into an exhibition of this scale and what it means for the community. Harrington expressed the importance of exhibiting the work of artists from within a 100 mile radius of Binghamton in the context of exposing the community to the diverse talent in our area. Having the opportunity to see what professional artists are creating is an invaluable experience for people living both locally and regionally.
When asked what he was “trying to convey” with his work, Harrington explained that the core of his work (which he describes as “autobiographic social commentary”) is about intersecting familiar iconography and cultural constructs with those associated with the LGBTQ+ community, thus giving it long overdue visibility. “When one first looks at the work, one sees something familiar, (A Twister game mat, a giant playing card), but upon closer inspection, the work actually becomes something else. In this moment, a world not seen or represented in the mainstream becomes visible and an integrated part of the familiar but in its own unique way. He feels this brings us one step closer to an equitable representation of a marginalized and invisible demographic.
Harrington, (who has taught at SUNY BCC for seventeen years and is currently teaching two fully enrolled courses entirely online) hopes his work can be used as a vehicle through which dialog can be created. Talking, discussing, asking questions, listening and engaging are vital to understanding and acceptance. Harrington’s work infuses a sense of humor which he has found is an effective way of drawing viewers in and making the work accessible and non-threatening; it is also very much a part of his personality.
By sharing this work and its message with his students, he creates a safe environment in his classes where ideas, questions and discussion flourish. This affords students the opportunity to engage in informed discussions on a variety of topics, some related to his own experience in the LGBTQ+ community.
The exhibition will run through July during Roberson’s regular hours of operation:
Wednesday: 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Thursday: 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Friday: 12:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Saturday: 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Sunday: 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm
The museum is closed Sunday and Monday.
For more information, you may contact Roberson Museum and Science Center directly at +1 (607) 772-0660
Submitted by: Rich Harrington