If there is any venue in town that has always curated large shows with sparkling clarity of purpose and easy-to-like art, it’s the Albany Airport Gallery.

We welcome this again in “Cut & Color” featuring seven artists from the region and one from Brooklyn.

And yes, you can see first hand the actual work in the third floor space above (and before) the security check-in. It’s a rare chance to see contemporary art in the non-virtual world.

“Cut & Color” is not, for starters, a collage show. Here we have artists who take and make pieces from the likes of wood, cloth, paper, and foam board and then cut and assemble much as a collage artist would, but with dimensional presence.

Take the stunning hanging lattice works by Ruby Palmer, which have an ephemeral visual effect even without knowing they were inspired by glimpses and memories of observations. Their meandering, cut out, mostly grayish grid patterns of paper and muslin are almost shadows themselves, and they play against new shadows created by the gallery lights.

Color, from the show title, gets wilder from here. Melissa Dadourian’s large cloth geometries are like Color Field experiments with just slightly rough edges. But it is their perfectly imperfect assembling that gives them their raison d’être, since your eye is led to expect a precision that thankfully never resolves.

Jean Feinberg’s smallish collections and rows of little wooden blocks not only have color, they are about color and color values. They play with small timbres in hue, supported by never repeating variations in shape and size, hinting at some notion of individuality within broad sameness.

The show’s conceptual cohesion allows for comparing strategies and effects across the gallery. Paolo Arao’s cloth geometries, making diamond and triangle shapes in ordered arrays, contrasts well with Dadourian’s free irregularities. His range of fabrics—commercial cloth to worn old clothes—embeds subtle political overtones into the geometries.

The intricately cut paper designs, layered and multi-hued, by Beth Humphrey are immediately playful. Whether rounded and organic, or straight edged and geodesic, they are complex enough to make you look twice, to peer at the joining of layers and the implied child-friendly nonsense that animates them. As cut paper works, they are a perky, careful counterpoint to Palmer’s large pieces.

Michael Milton makes geometries out of angular panels of cloth over wood that are painted with bold stripes at conflicting angles. They form a battlefield in motion despite their obvious solidity, a colorful echo of those disorienting ship camouflage razzle dazzle designs. And Tamara Zahaykevich pulls off a sense of interior with her quirky foamboard constructions, extensions of other ideas at play in the show, far more expert than they suggest at first glance, and more involving.

Finally, in the rectangular works by Gina Occhiogrosso we seem to return to something like normal painting, with colorful shapes layering over each other in rich patterns. But here, too, we have cut cloth worked into the painted surface, and the works are partly about assemblage and dimension after all. They are also beautifully felt works to simply absorb.

What can be said beyond these teases? This is another necessary show for those interested in the arts of the region. And the Airport Gallery has always been a premiere—maybe the singular best—gallery for representing our area’s best artists and most accessible art. See the show while you can! And cheer up: art is good for you.

If you go:

“Cut & Color” 
When: through Oct. 5
Where: Albany International Airport Gallery, Albany International Airport, 737 Albany Shaker Road
Hours: 7 a.m.-11 p.m. daily
Admission: Free. Note that there is free short term parking for the first 30 minutes, which makes a quick visit painless. Parking after that is $2/hour.
Info: albanyairport.com/art/albany-international-airport-gallery/cut-color or 518-242-2241. View the catalogue at indd.adobe.com/view