Saturday, June 27, 2009

REVIEW: Mary Jo Krolewski at Lazy Pear

by Janet Van Fleet

OK, full disclosure: Mary Jo Krolewski is one of the co-owners of the Lazy Pear Gallery in Montpelier, and I am one of their gallery artists.

But Mary Jo's new little gem of a show, Good Humor: Faux Fur Food Sculpture, is too much fun to avoid reviewing because of humor -impaired worries about conflicts of interest.

Mary Jo has been showing her food-related fur and cloth sculptures at the gallery ever since it opened, about three years ago. Previously, they've been installed in a bakery case (above) next to the gallery counter, which has been a source of fun and conversation as new items make their appearance.

But from June 3 to July 5, 2009 her new work is being shown in an exhibit space just inside the front door, and it is big, bold, and funny. My favorites are two 49" tall Fur-Pops (right), huge suckers covered with ... fur -- patched squares of fake fur in fabulously luscious colors.

Also on exhibit is a group of elegant cloth-covered teacakes, teacups (china, not fur!) holding furry teabags with "Lazy Pear" hang tags. And a berry box of furry strawberries that have the most amazing, soft red fur and silky centers.

Four Fur-cicles (above, each with a bite taken out of it) are displayed in pairs of puffy glove-hands, as though a chubby cloth person couldn't resist a double-fisted binge-and-splurge. And with these prices ($50 each), you might afford to buy two at a time!

Of course surrealist artist Meret Oppenheim's 1936 Breakfast in Fur (at left) is the historical ancestor of this work. Mary Jo's work has fur all over too, except that now it's fake fur, which takes the art history fun and games further down the road and makes it all very much more amusing -- thus Good Humor!

In times like these we really need some good laughs, a good cup of tea, ice cream treats, and art that doesn't take itself and its subject matter too terribly seriously. This show FURnishes it all!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

CALL: Celebtrating the Human Form

Call to Artists:
Celebrate with Evolution Physical Therapy and Yoga at Art Hop!
Celebrating the Human Form

We are looking for art that celebrates our humanity and physicality to display in our Art Hop show. All media types are welcome to submit/apply: sculpture and 3D, painting, drawing, photography, mixed media, and anything else you can think of! Being a space that is devoted to human health and wellness, in both mind and body, explorations of related ideas are encouraged.

Guidelines for submission:
Send or drop-off a CD with small JPEG images of your work if it is digital or if you have digital images of your work in other media. Brief artist’s statement suggested.
Include your name, contact information (phone number and e-mail), the type of media your work is by piece, and how many pieces you are submitting. Do not send original artwork.

Send or drop-off to: Jamie Ebert, Evolution Physical Therapy and Yoga, 20 Kilburn Street, Burlington, VT 05401 OR Contact Jamie at, or (802) 864-YOGA (802.864.9642) to set up an appointment to view and discuss your work.

If your work is chosen for our show, it is required that you be present at our event during Art Hop. If your work is for sale, you must be available to customers to discuss and sell your work. You must register with SEABA to display your work. You must have a brief artist’s statement to accompany your work during the show.

Deadline for submission: July 15, 2009.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

REVIEW: Elizabeth Nelson at Maple Ridge Gallery

by S. Gulick

Several weeks ago I saw a postcard of a work by Elizabeth Nelson and the image on the postcard was of an enormous star-stuffed sky not like any sky I'd ever seen and yet capturing the play of light and dark that fills the heavens overhead on a clear moonless night and fills the viewer with an appreciation of the vast universe we inhabit and our place within it. I'm easily confused and had hoped to see this work in the flesh when I went to see Ms. Nelson's showing of landscapes at Nancy Reid's Maple Ridge Gallery at 1713 Maple Ridge Road in Newark, Vermont, through July 27. The painting, part of the permanent collection of the state of Vermont, is unfortunately elsewhere (at an exhibit of work from the State of Vermont Collection at River Arts in Morrisville). However the works which were in evidence in Nancy's warm and well-lit space did not disappoint. The expansive surreal skies and meticulously rendered lands below were one of several recurring themes which served to tie the works together. The individual works were strong, but several interwoven ideas also allowed the works together to support each other and make an experience greater than the sum of its parts.

These are landscapes, and Vermont country landscapes at that, and there are many images which evoke the constantly changing seasons that make life in the Northeast kingdom such a pleasure to observe. Among the unifying themes are roads, the sides of which converge and vanish in the distance; the massive impressionist skies which complement the detailed features of the landscapes below; and the interplay of field and forest, hill and valley which set the Vermont farmlands apart from places where flat land lends itself to industrial agriculture. There's a technical trick Ms. Nelson uses as well. She incorporates photographs into her paintings and matches the painted surfaces to the photographs. In some of the works the delineation between paint and photograph is easily discerned while in others it's a game for the observer to try to find the photo and pick out where it stops and the paint starts.

But in my mind there are a couple of dangers in this process. From a technical point of view, the photographic and painted media are different and could age differently. Colors which match when the paint is applied might look very different after a few years, and I would worry that the photographs might be prone to lifting from the canvas or the board on which they are attached. From an artistic point of view, this is after all a sort of sleight of hand, a trick, and there's a danger that the trick will distract from the choice of subject, mastery of media and interpretation of reality that the artist is presenting. The incorporated photographs are an interesting feature of much of Ms. Nelson's work, but there is enough consistency of theme and technique to hold the attention of this viewer without them.

A few individual works which caught my eye:

Choice is a panorama of not one but two roads disappearing into the future, with similar yet slightly different points of convergence. There's something vaguely schizophrenic about this picture. Perhaps it's the multiple vanishing points. I felt a little dizzy looking at it, as if I should be wearing special glasses to see the extra dimensions.

Summer Cottages, one of the few watercolors in a mainly oil paint show, inverts the surreal sky/realistic ground motif. The staid and stable cottages and trees along a lakeshore are broken in the foreground into a cubist kaleidoscope by the reflections from the ripples on the lake.

Tree Line (right) has a beautiful palette of the pastel colors that often infuse the monotones of the winter landscape. Faint touches of pink and green are emphasized by the background blacks and whites and greys. I found myself engaged in the game of finding forms in the clouds that one often plays and spotted a reclining pink kangaroo; my friend thought it was a rabbit but no bunny ever had a tail like that one…

Snow Road (above), another road vanishing into the future, is an affectionate rendering of the rutted roads that characterize mud season here in Vermont. There are some who would take exception to this portrayal of what can be a difficult two weeks in a Spring that seems to take its time coming here in the Northlands, but I feel every road is a lesson if you choose to learn.

The Maple Ridge Gallery is a bit off the beaten path, and I would advise those who haven't been there before to get good directions and not to depend on GPS to get them there. You can contact the gallery at 802-467-3238. But a little exercise in navigational skills will be well rewarded by a pleasant period spent in the fields and seasons evoked by Elizabeth Nelson's landscapes.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Press Release: Fox Hill in Poultney open call

Here's an unusual press release from a new gallery in south-west Vermont...

Monday, June 15, 2009

PRESS RELEASE: W.David Powell at Pine Street Art Works

Reception: Friday June 19th 5-7
Artist's Talk @ 6:30
Contact: Liza Cowan 863 8100

Pine street art works announces an exhibition of selected works of traditional and digital collage by Plattsburgh artist W. David Powell. Collage as an art form was introduced to the canon of Modern Art by such masters as Picasso, Braque and Kurt Schwitters. Using the classical ripping and gluing techniques as well as the contemporary technology of digital montage, Powell combines images from diverse sources including comic books, scientific treatises and advertising to present evocative and colorful works that have a hook.

The show features work from several bodies of work including
The Progress Report and Between Soft Machines and Hard Science. A large collage on board, Everybody Loves McMoney from the Big Art Corpus displays Powell's acerbic take on history as presented by ripped and layered posters. Also included are new works from an homage to Dick Tracy and a series that references Martha Stewart.

The diversity of work presented here is not just about beauty; it has both meaning and wit. A common thread of cultural and social commentary runs through this collection of work and unites it, without resorting to polemics or bumper-sticker slogans.

The work will be on view until the end of June. There will be an artist's reception and presentation on Friday June 19th from 5 -7 pm. Artist's talk at 6:30

PRESS RELEASE: Rutland's Gallery at the Brick Box

The gallery at the Brick Box is pleased to announce the opening of an exhibit of paintings by Charles Parness. Parness' work has evolved into two forms, 20 inch square self-portraits and larger narrative works. Parness is the subject of all his paintings as he explores his humorous relation to the universe. As he puts it himself, "Who else should be the fool falling out of the boat in "Ship of Fools." Believing that more is better, one experiences more shapes, more actions and more colors which are meant to "reach out and grab, like a vandal."

Parness received his MFA from Pratt Institute in 1969 and has since showedextensively throughout the country including one person exhibits at Fischbach Gallery and G.W. Einstein Gallery in New York City. He has been reviewed in Art in America, Cover, New York Times and American Artist to name a few. Recently, he was a participant in the "As Others See Us" exhibit at the Brattleboro Museum (2008).

The Brick Box is open 11am - 6pm Thursday - Friday and Saturday 10am - 2pm, and during Paramount Theater performances.

For further information, please call Beth Miller at 235-2734, or Wendy Fannin at 235-2412.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

PRESS RELEASE: Good Humor: Faux Fur Food Sculpture Mary Jo Krolewski

The Lazy Pear Gallery is proud to present “Good Humor: Faux Fur Sculpture” a show featuring the playful food-inspired sculpture of Mary Jo Krolewski. With her use of colorful faux fur, she creates ice cream, fruits, vegetables, and cakes that capture the joy food brings to our lives. “Good Humor” helps us to understand that good art can be fun.

The Lazy Pear Gallery is located at 154 Main Street, Montpelier, VT. It has off-street parking and is ADA accessible. Additional information is available from the gallery at (802) 223-7680 or at their website --

Saturday, June 6, 2009

REVIEW: Artists Reflect on the Historical Collection of the Sullivan Museum

by Cully Renwick

Preserved artifacts give us a glimpse of people in other circumstances. In that glimpse we can see ourselves as well. By inviting eighteen artists to make modern art pieces referencing museum artifacts, the Sullivan Museum at Norwich University in Northfield has opened the window a little wider.

Each artist's work is displayed adjacent to the artifact to which it is related. M. Angelo Arnold’s Home Front references a nurse’s starched white hat. The gurney-like sculpture he built and fitted with stiff white canvas has the aspect of a lawn chair, not flat but in a shape that might hold a convalescent on the hospital grounds. But there’s something odd about how this construction is supported: behind and under the white canvas is a support made of crutch pieces, to which are attached two wheels, mounted at right angles to each other. Turning in circles is the best that could be expected of this contraption. The white lounge-chair aspect speaks of convalescence, but it will never function properly. According to Angelo, “My concept derives from a dreamscape of encompassing ideals of Norwich University, Nurse Hat and the Vietnam War.”

Riki Moss gives a surprising and poetic reading to a soldier’s steamer trunk, entitled Gone. The steamer trunk and the empty tree trunk face each other over a small gap between the bases on which the rest.

Janet Van Fleet’s waltz with the folkloric “short snorter” asked the art community to Put Your Mouth Where Your Money Is by writing on paper currency and, of course she involved the greatest possible number of people in the fun. The long strip of bills is suspended, hanging from the rafters, and it is more than a little bit difficult to see what is written on the bills at the top.

Marc Awodey uses a set of drafting tools as a bridge to a poignant story, World Trade Center – 1963, told in two letters, one from him, one from his dad. Marc’s father at age 29 was one of the twelve architects who designed the World Trade Center with Minoru Yamasaki. The design and destruction, he says, “became the bookends of my father’s career”. I’ll remember Marc’s piece a long time.

With our typewriters who art in heaven Alex Bottinelli makes you catch your breath at the pure Oriental beauty of her triptych, as stylish as the old Smith & Corona typewriter that she salutes. Arthur Shaller found a perfect artifact: the leather-encased unidentified apparatus (inscribed in French) he chooses to render as Handheld Oracular Device. It’s even more preposterous and more unexplained than the original. One my favorite pieces was Romy Schroeder’s Shuck & Jive, 2009 in which she cuts the mammy bench down to size and gives it good African knotting!

In speaking with the rather wonderful Museum Director who designed this project, Marilyn Solvay, I learned that the Sullivan is not a military museum, that she and her staff hire on in independent non-military status, and that the Sullivan has exhibits all the time that have nothing to do with the military, such as the Inuit art exhibit that just preceded this one. She also mentioned that about half of the students were not ROTC these days. Nonetheless, it’s relevant to this show that the artifacts were military-related and on military turf, and interesting that, quite logically, eleven (plus or minus) of the eighteen pieces expressed some degree of political tension, nine on the topics of war and the military, one speaking to civil liberties, and one to the artist’s personal preoccupation of questioning technology.

The level of art was occasionally wonderful. The staging of artifact and art together was thought provoking. I would like to have seen more attention given to the artists’ texts. For instance, Riki Moss’ poetically rendered text for her piece let us see the line of thinking from artifact to paper tree stump and to share what she saw in the combination; it was an important part of the viewing experience. In the end, what I enjoyed and admired most was the inventiveness and thought that it takes to wrangle abstract concepts from artifacts and, on top of that, to make art of it. I liked looking through that window and thinking about what I saw there.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

PRESS RELEASE: David Smith at Claire's in Hardwick

Claire’s Restaurant in Hardwick, VT continues its exhibition program with an exhibit of paintings by Vermont artist David Smith. Smith’s oil paintings concern themselves with light and its interplay with the world. He chooses to work in a representational style because of the challenges he finds in pushing boundaries and looking in a alternative way. According to Smith,“The point of view in my approach is not as an observer of a scene, but as a participant.”

David Smith’s paintings will be on view at Claire’s from June 2 until August 4, 2009. There will be an artist’s reception on Monday, June 8, 2009 from 4:00 to 6:00. Claire’s Restaurant is located at 41 South Main Street, Hardwick, VT 05843. 802-472-7053.

Image: Poplars, 22"x32", oil on Linen

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

CARTOON: James Sturm featured

This month in the Utrecht Learning Center celebrates sequential art with renowned comic artist and co-founder of The Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction, James Sturm.

Utrecht has a brief interview with Sturm HERE and great examples of how he drafts and then completes his work.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

PRESS RELEASE: John Cuomo at Gallery in the Field

Gallery in-the-Field presents Birds and Other Creatures, an exhibition of sculpture by John Cuomo, New Jersey-based artist who began creating his entrancing “creatures” of clay and tempera paint, at the age of 78. The son of Italian immigrants, Cuomo and his wife Rosa were the owners of an Italian Salumeria in North Bergen, New Jersey. Cuomo has exhibited his work in New York City at The Chelsea Studio Gallery and his birds have been bought by collectors worldwide.

The exhibit is on display at Gallery in-the-Field from June 6 – August 23, 2009. There will be an opening reception on Saturday, June 6 at 2pm.

Gallery in-the-Field is located at 685 Arnold District Road (just off Route 7), Brandon, VT 05733
Hours: Sat & Sun 1-5 and by appointment