Image left: A self-portrait CORINNE BALAYTY RIBNER. Image right: A backyard scene by Corinne Balayty Ribner, part of the November exhibit at the Colonie library.
ALBANY–Corinne Balayty Ribner, born in Albany in 1926, was a prolific artist for five decades, painting over 500 pieces. Nearly 70 of her paintings will be on display through November at the William K. Sanford Town Library, 629 Albany Shaker Rd., Loudonville (Colonie).
Stephen Ribner, Corinne’s son, and his wife Monica Tan curated the exhibit, showing the range of Corinne’s work from the 1960s to 2009. Her early work, painted on Masonite board, featured subject matters that continued throughout her career: femininity, abstract landscapes, and dimensions of spirituality. Ribner received a bachelor’s degree of fine arts at Empire State College and took graduate level painting courses at Skidmore College.
“I loved all of my mom’s art. I always told her that I had never seen artwork like hers. I once asked her about her abstract landscapes, wondering where they were from, and she said, “It’s our backyard; don’t you see it?” said Steve Ribner.
Melinda Ribner, Steven’s sister, recalls, “With the exception of being a wife, and a mother raising and loving her children, painting was her greatest love. As her daughter and as a child, I always remember her painting in the basement of our house. My father Isaac Ribner would lovingly build frames for her paintings, even though she did not exhibit her work. When she moved to Florida, she eventually selected a community that had an art community where she could paint at least once a week with other artists. In between sessions, she painted in her home.
“I remember one time, as a child, my mother sat me in front of an empty canvas with an invitation that I paint on to it. I was unable to do so. An empty canvas seemed a bit intimidating to me. Yet my mother loved to sit before empty canvases to see what would come forth from within her. And what would come through her came fairly immediate. She could finish a painting in one or two sessions. For my mother, painting was a form of meditation, therapy and prayer. Painting not only calmed her, it allowed her to express what she was feeling about her life and life in general.
“In the style of Van Gogh, my mother loved to use lots of color in her work. Her paintings primarily focused on women, though she also did some nature scenes. There is one self -portrait of me meditating as a college person and another painting of my brother. Even though my mother studied art briefly in Saratoga, she was basically self-taught. Each painting offered her an opportunity to learn and grow as an artist.
“Because it is often difficult for a creative person to actually get out there to market their work, my mother sold few paintings.
“It pains me on some level that my mother did not have the opportunity to exhibit much of her work before this showing. Unfortunately, my brother and I were very busy with our own lives and also did not know how to help her. She would have loved to share herself and her work in this way. It would have been wonderful for her to share her thoughts about her work. I have questions that I never thought to ask her about her painting that I did not think of until it was too late.”
Many of the paintings at the library exhibit will be for sale with all proceeds benefiting Capital Region food pantries. “I have always said that I want my mom’s art to be seen and to be owned by someone who could appreciate her unique style —who loves her art, said Steve Ribner.