Tuesday, August 30, 2011

REVIEW: Artists Envisioning Tunbridge at the Tunbridge Library

by Dian Parker

Having reviewed art for the past year in our area, I have been continually surprised and delighted to find so many talented and dedicated artists living here. Along with the commitment of our local galleries to showing art, we are indeed rich to have such wealth. Spending money on art in the present economy is a low priority and cuts in art programs are now common. For myself, I'd rather go without eating for a while than give up buying art to adorn my home. Art is a lasting richness that can feed your imagination and heart.

ArtSpace at the Tunbridge Library is a gallery that continually offers fine art shows. Its current show, Artists Envisioning Tunbridge: Celebrating 250 Years of History, has over 20 artists contributing 30 pieces in glass, painting, collage, photography, and assemblage. Each piece is a private view into a passion for the local area. The lovely show is nestled above and next to the shelves of books and under the sun-filled skylights.

Hackett Barn, an oil painting by Roberta Henault, shows the character of an old barn set in a field of overgrown grass and wild flowers, its roof all aglow in the sunlight. Marsha Higgins and her two teenage grandsons, Galen and Gage, each painted a section of an acrylic triptych of Whitney Hill in autumn, titled Whitney Hill View. Their three unique touches unite in a cross generational germination.

Marc Barreda's exquisite Torus 1-A is blown glass of a dizzying torus with no beginning or end. The middle could be a worm hole with no way out. Henry Steiner's Early Winter Graces the Old Barn is a classical photograph. Its strong composition of a leafless tree, a wooden fence and a proud old Vermont barn in the snow is a striking testament to the durability and grace of the Vermont barn.

Lisa Kippen's Riffing Blue Willow is a proud little watercolor paper collage in Prussian blue and white. Two elegant oil portraits by Joan Feierabend of Jean and David Wolfe array the first wall of the library in rich textures of light and dark that truly captures the essence of the librarian and her husband.

It is wonderful to see George Lawrence branching out with new ideas and techniques in his Howe Veiled. The mysterious portrayal of the Howe farm is his giclée print worked over with acrylic. The result looks like a formal English garden overview. It is difficult to orientate yourself to the view, offering an appealing displacement.

In Betsy Gaiser's watercolor, Whitney Hill Ski, two skiers are draped in the mauve, turquoise and white falling snow, amidst the stark line of dark trees. Tops of Tunbridge (first imageabove) is the ingenious work of John F. Parker. It is a large hanging assemblage of many colorful tops of old wooden barrels; Gold Medal flour, granulated sugar, Snowflake (detergent?), ...pelier crackers (Montpelier?).

And I can't leave out the gnomes of Emily Ferro. These three adorable blue eyed creatures are made with needle felted local wool. Ferro also has five strong photographs; one called Room with a View with 4 roosters peering out a frozen window with their brilliant red combs held high. Also Catching the Red Eye, a red window of a grey barn. All her work is charming and humorous.

There is more but you'll have to go see for yourself. Don't miss this show. It runs until September 23.

This review was first published in the Randolph Herald on August 25, 2011.

Images (photos by Dian Parker):
John F. Parker Tops of Tunbridge
Galen, Marsha, and Gage Higgins Whitney Hill View
George Lawrence Howe Veiled