Wednesday, June 20, 2012

REVIEW: Carolyn Shattuck at Walkover Gallery Bristol

by Joan Curtis


Carolyn Shattuck’s new artwork celebrating the energy of Key West and its environs is featured at Bristol’s WalkOver Gallery July 9th through August 24th.

In her wildly colored, abstract-plus-figurative art, Shattuck’s aim is to show connections and contrasts between the energy in the water and the energy on the street, reflecting the blend of lifestyles she experiences every year during her four months near Key West.  The collages depict two opposing aspects of the area: the loud, boisterous life of the ethnic neighborhoods with music, dancing, motorcycles versus the serenity of life out in a kayak viewing the denizens of the deep. The natural world has its own super-abundance: shore birds – plovers and sandpipers, horseshoe crabs, and other wildlife.  Shattuck documents this barrage of disparate information.

The artist says that her work combines such experiences as the idyllic kayaking trips, where she sees “complexity and chaos in random harmony,” and then on the streets, the “cacophony of the Bahamian village, with chickens and music and dogs and cats and people sitting out on their porches yelling across the street.”  Petronia, a 30-inch-square collage, depicts a sea turtle, sea birds, shells, and marsh grasses in addition to crazy-quilt-type patterns and rollicking rhythms that conjure up the frenetic ethnic life.

Shattuck  enjoys using a variety of seductive materials in these new collages: pieces of artist-created print patterns, Japanese papers to effect transparencies, and prints of her own delicate drypoint sketches, to mention a few.  Some of the collage pieces involve printmaking with fiber dyes and transfer stencils.

The artist is known as a painter and printmaker.  Shattuck also has a national reputation as a book artist -- making artist-created handmade books, a selection to be included in the current show.

The WalkOver Gallery exhibition will be open Monday through Friday, 9 AM to 4 PM, or by appointment (802-453-3188; 15 Main Street, Bristol, VT).  The public is invited to meet the artist at a Reception on Saturday July 14th, from 5 to 8 PM. Shattuck is also giving a talk about the artwork on August 16th at 6 PM.