Tuesday, June 19, 2012

ORGANIZER’S ESSAY: Benefit for Kerry O. Furlani at Ilsley Library in Middlebury

by Alice Eckles

On June 8, at 5:00 PM a silent art auction to benefit stone sculptor Kerry O. Furlani was held at the Ilsley Public Library, Middlebury.  For every work of art, book, or other donated item there was bid sheet I created, with an event slogan and image, a four leaf clover and the words “artists helping artists”.  Generosity served as the only jury process to bring this art together in this venue. All the artwork was donated by artists to help compensate a fellow artist whose work was stolen from her exhibit at the Ilsley Public Library earlier this year. Though foot traffic was low despite much advertisement in advance, a significant amount of money was raised for Furlani by 7:00 pm when the auction closed.
The variety and caliber of art both sold and unsold in the auction was a testament to the quality of generosity in art. I have to think that generosity is a character trait that glows through the work of artists who have it.

Marc Awodey’s Ape in a Cage, an acrylic/mixed media painting on canvas, was one of the larger paintings that sold and it couldn’t have been more different than Robert Gold’s Madison Ave., a similarly sized (I’m remembering about 3-by-4-foot) unframed print on paper that also sold. While both these works featured an interesting use of red, Gold’s print contrasted super saturated bright magenta on tomato red. Awodey used more somber tones of red in keeping with his less bright theme of captivity, bringing bricks to mind. Also the technique of drawing is featured in the Awodey’s Ape in a Cage as if it is the only freedom we the viewer can see, the artist’s freedom to draw, in any situation, and thus bring freedom of mind into the physical world. Gold’s print relies more on direct use of photography, a sort of evidence of the real world that he has colorized and manipulated to express what pleases him most in the preliminary image of his starting photo. Both artists work from photos but in very different ways. Reds, a smaller painting by Caroline Tavelli-Abar also featured red, a luscious abstract brush stroke of it, a warm color for a heart-warming event.

Tina Olsen, whose work is featured at the library all month donated a spontaneously expert watercolor landscape, only about 8-by-11-inches, framed appropriately in a rustic white wooden frame. The piece did not sell and is still available at the library for sale with her other artwork. Frankly I was partial to it for myself but had already bid my limit on some other works I plan to give as presents, and anyway I live in a round yurt with no wall space for art. Olsen brought her guitar to the event and was singing songs of freedom, civil rights songs, and songs by Leonard Cohen. Some of us enjoyed singing along. This theme of freedom also seemed to be rise out of the exhibit. Our actions  and our vision  make us free. Another thing that helps is that the artists who were present spoke of staying in touch … having a soiree in the future. Tina Olsen spoke of the sixties and how grateful she was to come of age in that time.
Pilgrimage Studies, No.15 colored pencils on arches paper with acrylic, by Joan Curtis also sold. Set in a deep box frame it had a color and vibrancy that appeared textured, giving me the impression of an intricate mola. Other artists who generously donated works to the silent art auction: Sarah Wesson, Thea Price-Eckles, Lyna Lou Nordstorm, Mike Mayone, Patty Lebon Herb, Anna C. Fugaro, and Alice Eckles

Photographs by Alice Eckles