Saturday, June 11, 2011

REVIEW: 50 Area Artists on Display at the Chandler Gallery in Randolph

by Dian Parker

Every spring the Chandler Gallery offers an opportunity for area artists to exhibit their work. This year 50 artists display more than 140 pieces of their art in the expanded gallery. You’d think it would be impossible to show that many pieces without the gallery feeling crowded, a mish-mash of art. Instead the show is a wonderful surprise. Not only is the show pleasing as a whole, there are also many different genres of art displayed. To consider each of the artists is not possible so I have selected only a few.

Two landscape artists, Kathleen Fiske and Katherine Ravenhorst-Adams, have 3 paintings each in the show and they alone would be worth the visit. Fiske’s Swimming Hole on Locust Creek, oil, is striking with its meandering stream with sunlight splashing across the water, and when seen from a distance takes on new dimension. Ravenhorst-Adams’ Wet Meadow, oil, with its luminescent wildflowers dotting a lush green field, is well done and luscious.

Bob Eddy’s Tsunami Nuclear, acrylic on linen, is a painting after the great ukiyo-e (“pictures of the floating world”) artist, Hiroshige, whose painting of the blue wave with mountains is famous. Looking closely at Eddy’s painting you can just make out his alteration: the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant on the distant shore, burning, with no birds in the sky. This would make a striking New Yorker cover.

Sally Penrod’s gouache, Rust to Dust, is a delightful composite of 6 views of an old rusted Citroën in the woods. Tamara Wight’s woven basket with embedded driftwood, From the Marsh, looks like one of Dale Chihuly’s glass seaforms. So does the huge carved ash burl Peace Be With You by Jim Ludwig, where you can see the knots and rings of the great tree. And at such a reasonable price!

John Parker’s assemblages are created using old painted wood. The Blues, – blue wood with an old wooden Borax cover and My Little Piece of Earth, an old metal tool sticking through a wooden framework and a child’s block at the end with a painting of a miniature house – are both whimsical and elegant.

Intriguing 3D maps of Vermont and New Hampshire in wood by Norman Kinzre contain the precise details of a topographical map. I have no idea how he managed to do them. Norma Wasko’s photographs are rich in light and complex detail. Kitty O’Hara, Lost Pond, with copper and gold reflections, is serene yet vibrant (she should stick to landscapes). Michael Williams deftly made two large farm tables out of maple and spruce. There is a wonderful oil pastel, San Juan Island, by Jane Cathey and a lovely watercolor Woodstock, Vt by Marcia Hammond, with splashes of color along a country road. Jan Fowler’s beautiful Red Barn deserves a better frame. Jim Robinson’s 2 photographs, Tulip Curves and the inside of Orange-Purple Tulip are gorgeous. I loved Helen Hesslop’s three photographs, especially Masai Settlement from the Air, which looked like a delicate pale abstract painting.

Tim Clifford’s The Rainbow, in oil, is poetry with the still quiet of a farm after a rain storm and cows lying down in the field. (Is it really true that cows lie down before the rains come?) Christopher Kerr-Ayer’s delicate glass sculptures of polar bears and giraffes are adorable (and at a tempting price). The watercolor by JoAnn DiNicola Surrounded by Autumn Gold II with a proud old rusty car in the forest makes you curious about its history. Lou DiNicola’s photo, Orange shoes on Beach with the two shoes left behind as if the person walked away on the water leaving no footprints, is provocative.

There’s the bronze sculpture Music in the Reeds by Bonnie Willett, a swirl of sleek elegance, and Frank Gardiner’s Sitting, a wonderful Degas-like gouache on paper. Connie Thurston offers fine details in colored pencil, like the fur of her Cougar, that nearly jumps out of the frame. Tom Batey’s Solar Max, a large hanging sculpture made with metal, wood and glass, depicts the dangers of our sun with painted nail heads as the star above and charred wood of the burning earth below.

This is only a fraction of the artists displayed. The show has a large range of talent and expertise. The prices also show diversity, ranging from $35 to $4000. Go and see for yourself and pick out your favorites. You’ll be surprised at what inspires artists in our region. The show runs til July 10.

This review (without Dian Parker's photos) first appeared in the Randolph Herald on June 9, 2011.

Images (top to bottom):
Kathleen Fiske, Swimming Hole on Locust Creek
Tamara Wight, From the Marsh
John F. Parker, My Little Piece of Earth, mixed wood and metal
Tom Batey, Solar Max, mixed media; wood, metal, glass