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It's about time (for artist Katya Roberts)

Artist Katya Roberts has a show at the turret gallery in The Castle.
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It usually takes Rochester artist Katya Roberts more than a year to create enough new work to hold a gallery show.

Inspiration and a smaller gallery space helped her bring a new show, "This Side of the Sun" to the Castle last month.

Quitting Instagram and backing off social media didn’t hurt either.

"Suddenly, I had a lot more time," Roberts said.

Roberts last show, "Traverse," closed in January of last year. With her free time, she began drawing with charcoal on paper.


"I wanted to go back to the basics," she said.

Naura Anderson, the director of Threshold Arts at the Castle, invited Roberts to exhibit work in the third-floor gallery that would specifically complement the third-floor turret space.

Although Roberts’ show isn’t the first in the space, it was the first in which the artist was asked to design a body of work to highlight exposed historic features of the 105-year-old building, Anderson said.

The turret gallery stands out in the renovated building not from what was added to the room, but what was left. Exposed ceiling beams let visitors peer to the curved roof and into the structure of the turret tower.

Just as erasing charcoal from paper can create shapes and images, removing plaster from a wall and a drop ceiling, allows visitors to see the bones of the historic structure.

Some of Roberts' work in "This Side of the Sun" employs subtractive drawing technique -- and not always with an eraser to paper. Pieces made of plaster show wear from their exposure to water; a black-and-white video of wind carving a canyon in a bank of snow resembles images from a canyon carved by millions of years of erosion.

Roberts said she jumped at a chance to build a show around the gallery space. With her newfound time, she began producing more work and contemplating what she used to do with the time she spent using social media.

"I started to think about how we feel time," she said.


A piece in the turret hangs down into the gallery above a reflective surface creating the illusion of an endless line.

"I absolutely knew I was going to use that vertical space," Roberts said.

A piece depicting a 2,500 year-old crater in the Icelandic highlands adorns the 105-year-old brick wall of the gallery. Under that, volcanic rock tens of thousands of years old is strewn on the floor. The result is a piece of layered work in which the old brick wall stands as brand new against the crater and rocks.

Other works in the show depicting the Icelandic highlands also offer a commentary on time. As long as people have dared to travel in the region, the risk remains high. One piece carries a description featuring a warning written hundreds of years ago for travelers to the region. Next to that is a piece that features in its description a news account of a rescue effort by hundreds of people to save 39 stranded travelers earlier this year.

Those works, next to pieces showing the transient nature of things and the passage of time, stand as a baseline contrasted against change.

Roberts will host a gallery talk March 7 at the Castle at 10:30 a.m. The talk will be moderated by John Molseed of 507 Magazine (the writer of this article).

Like most things, the show too is impermanent and will only be up through March 27.

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What: Katya Roberts "This Side of the Sun" gallery talk

When: 10:30 a.m. Saturday, March 7

Where: Les Fields Hall, The Castle, 121 Broadway Ave. N., Rochester

Cost: Free

Related Topics: ARTGALLERY
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