NORTH ADAMS, Mass. -- Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts’ (MCLA) Gallery 51 has announced that its new manager is C. Ryder Cooley, an interdisciplinary artist, musician and performer who has performed at the College and in downtown North Adams for several years at a wide variety of events, including those for MCLA Presents!, DownStreet Art and MCLA Gallery 51.
A working artist for more than 20 years, Cooley has worked in a number of capacities within the non-profit arts sector - from curating community exhibits at the San Francisco Public Library to teaching youth programs at Time and Space Limited in Hudson, N. Y.
"I feel like I already belong here, having participated in residencies at the Beaver Mill, exhibits at MCLA Gallery 51, the Tricks of the Trade series, and performing for MCLA Presents! and at events for DownStreet Art," Cooley said. In addition, Cooley has worked with the MCLA students as a visiting artist by giving lectures, workshops and creative feedback, and has collaborated with Melanie Mowinski, an assistant professor of art at the College and the founder of the PRESS gallery in downtown North Adams.
"My relationship to the region stretches back to 2005, when I exhibited at the CAC in Beaver Mill for the first time," Cooley said. "This community has always felt like a second home to me, and I’m very excited to become more involved.
"I’ll also be drawing from the pool of artists that I know the Hudson Valley, the New York Capital District, San Francisco Bay Area and New York/Brooklyn areas. I hope to have some shows that will respond to themes of ecology, identity/queerness, as well as performance/installation documentation, artifacts and residue," she said.
Other plans include some cross-programming with the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, and other arts organizations in the Berkshires.
"I think it’s important to get as many different people represented by the Gallery as possible," Cooley continued. "I’d like to show work that pushes the edge for both the students and the community." Cooley’s first show will be the upcoming "100 Hours in the Woodshed IV," MCLA Gallery 51’s collage biennial, which she will co-curate with Susan Cross, curator at MASS MoCA. This event will return to galleries in downtown North Adams on Thursday, Jan. 24. The exhibition that will result from their work will open on Tuesday, Jan. 29.
A "meet the artists" event will be held on Thursday, Jan. 24, 5-7 p.m., in MCLA Gallery 51. The Woodshed exhibition will open on Tuesday, Jan. 29, at an opening reception from 5 to 7 p.m.
All Woodshed events are free and open to the public.
A resident of Hudson, N.Y., Cooley plans to move to North Adams.
Cooley received a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in Sculpture, and an MFA in integrated electronic arts at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. In early 1993, she moved to San Francisco, Calif. , and became an active member of the local art and music scenes. She has performed and collaborated with several bands including Fall Harbor, the Jug Stompers, the Darklings, Corner Tour and Down River.
Cooley has participated in a wide variety of exhibitions, performances, collaborations, public works and educational projects. Her work has been presented at locations including White Box and Exit galleries in New York City, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and Theater Artaud in San Francisco,Robert Wilson Watermill Center on Long Island, N.Y., Pan-American Art Projects in Miami, Fla., Dorsky Museum in New Paltz, N.Y., and roctors Mainstage Theater in Schenectady, N. Y. She also completed public art projects in Indonesia, El Salvador, France and the Czech Republic.
"100 Hours in the Woodshed IV" runs through Feb. 24. MCLA Gallery 51 is a program of MCLA’s Berkshire Cultural Resource Center. It is at 51 Main St., and is open every day from 10 a. m. to 6 p. m.