[Text Walker Downey]
Tucked away in the heart of the Catskills, a region as renowned for its profusion of artistic talent and scrumptious cuisine as it is for its rolling mountain landscapes, the Center for Photography at Woodstock (CPW) was alight with laughter, festivity, and flashbulbs as dozens gathered for SLIDELUCK Woodstock II hosted by CPW. The evening began, as all Slidelucks do, with a colorful, diverse, and deliciously fresh array of homemade and handmade dishes from both local haunts and attendees with an artisanal bent.
The food was piled high on CPW’s porch. The evening’s culinary delights featured simmering stews and crisp salads as well as cakes and pastries. Featured highlights from some of the region’s finest eateries included artisanal pizzas from Woodstock’s Cucina, delicious Asian Noodles by Yum Yum, tasty wraps by Bistro-to-Go, and Polenta with Dill Cream bites by Oriole 9. Jane’s Ice Cream and Lucky Chocolate satisfied the collective sweet tooth with sumptuous and decadent spreads, and a chilled variety of Brooklyn beers was on hand to help wash down the proceedings.
Traveling from such exotic locales as Chicago and New York City, attendees flaunted their culinary handiwork for the cameras as they filtered into the fanfare, and as the night wore on bowls were scraped clean and the crowds gathered in CPW’s galleries for the evening’s other main attraction: a stunning wide-ranging, and often pointedly poignant selection of photographic work from artists both local and international. The presentations traced every inch of the emotional and artistic spectrum, tugging heartstrings and provoking chuckles, dazzling in both technicolor brilliance and solemn black and white.
The musical components chosen by each featured artist were as thrillingly diverse as the work they accompanied. While the rootsy, home-grown aesthetic of wet-plate photographers Craig Barber and Francesco Mastalia found a perfect complement in plangent piano and plucky bluegrass, artists Mike Fernandez and Deborah Hughes respectively opted for spooky, static-laden noise and thrumming heart-beats, making for fantastically chilling viewing experiences. Mark Lyon, whose series “Landscapes for the People” set its sights on the appearance of scenic vistas on the walls of waiting rooms, offices, and other mundane interiors, drew a swell of laughter with his fantastically tongue-in-cheek audio choice: an ACE Hardware wallpaper installation tutorial.
After the lights fluttered back on and the slideshow ended with a sea of applause, guests in various states of satisfaction and overstuffing trailed back out front into the cool mountain air to commune, converse, and reach for just one more serving of cheesecake. Brooklyn bottles clinked in the glow of tea-lights, friends both old and new parted ways, and the masses dispersed with a series of fond farewells, having been treated to a truly singular Slideluck experience.