by Carly Proulx

Edwin Falk has been creating art for over 40 years. You can see his work on display at the Mohawk Valley Center for the Arts, opening on June 16, 2022. There will be a conglomeration of sculptures from whimsical to functional yard art, a form of art that’s safe to say the Gallery, even pre-pandemic, hasn’t seen in quite some time.

Falk’s sculptures are made up of just about anything and everything, including the kitchen sink. Most parts have been recovered from junk piles, old ramshackle farms, and scrap yards. And just as many tools as he’s tinkered with through the years, times that by 10 and you’ll get an approximation of the number of stories that come along with Falk’s work. Upon realizing you’re gawking at old 19th-century stove legs, even older corn and bean shellers, and automobile parts from the 30s, these pieces become a type of road map for our own American history.

I had the pleasure of chatting with Edwin at his 48-acre solar-paneled homestead up North where he and his wife Pam have been living off-grid since buying the property back in 1975. Much like visiting a sculpture park Falk’s art, weathering the outdoor elements, beckons the viewer to marvel in wonder. Falk expressed “Because of my years of repairing stuff I know how to best assemble my work so it has integrity. I’m conscious of the best foundation for each piece.” A moving kinetic sculpture rests atop one of Falk’s largest sculptures, a three-tier octagon-shaped carousel made of beams and trestles from a 100-year-old train barn. Facing West the carousel that Falk began creating in 2010 overlooks a yard strewn with character, two greenhouses, and Edwin and his wife Pam’s lovely stone home. Save a couple of ponies, it saw completion in 2020. Did I mention its functioning? Did I mention it runs on a 120-watt solar panel?

Falk has been making art since 1976 when a good friend and art teacher from Lowville first inspired him. He has participated in many art exhibits in the North Country over the past 30 years. At the View Center for Arts & Culture at Old Forge, Falk won 1st prize in 1994 for his sculpture “The Dove,” and in 1996 won a master’s chip for his sculpture “Handyman.” More recently Falk took 3rd prize at the View’s Central Adirondack art show for his sculpture “Deep Water Dream 2.” In the early 2000s his prized sculptures at the Gibson Gallery in Potsdam were “Friskie” and “Vultures Victuals.” Many of Falk’s sculptures resemble their names, while the not-so-obvious ones are equipped with double-edged humor, alluding to certain historical and or societal faux pas. Whether these pieces are free-standing on bases or welded together, Falk is all about recycling materials and resurrecting parts of history that would otherwise be lost and forgotten.

“Echoed in 3 R’s, recycled, renewable and rusty my process either starts with a story and I find its parts, or I find a part and the story finds me. The work sometimes reveals itself piece by piece, and I’m waiting for that one 50-year-old barnyard item at the bottom of some long-gone farmer’s junk pile to fully execute my vision.” Anything Falk has learned he’s taught himself from the ground up. Lucky for the rest of us non-self-sustaining, burning the midnight oil folk, he chose the path of art to show off his many earned talents.

Edwin Falk is not only an artist, he’s a historian, an environmentalist, and overall, just a really clever, well-humored, and humble human being. Not to mention he was once a Little Falls local. We hope he will talk to us about his art, his process, and his journey from repairman to creator living off the land. MVCArts is open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 12 PM – 4 PM at 403 Canal Place, Little Falls, NY 13365.

Call 315-823-0808 for information or to make an appointment. The opening coincides with the Art Walk that will be held the same evening.