Tuesday, August 30, 2011

PRESS RELEASE: Rachi Farrow at the Christine Price Gallery, Castleton State College

August 30 - October 7, 2011
Opening Reception, September 7 from 4 to 6 pm

Notes on the exhibit by Rachi Farrow:

I won't say much about my work in the 'here's how' category because it's not something I like to do. For me there is true magic in trying to figure out the 'here's how' when it comes to really experiencing art. The less I can figure out on my own the more hooked I am on the art.

I chose to not put titles with the XXXLers for much the same reason. I didn't want to give too much away.

Some of them do have titles - the one with the big pins in it is Marie Laveau (the voodoo queen of New Orleans). The very round one who is playing the role of gallery greeter is Round yon Virgin. Ms. Liberty is the one with a plastic Statue of Liberty pin and several plastic US flags.

And the one over by Marie Laveau is Shventa Marya, please excuse but I don't know how to spell that one. It's St. Mary in Polish. She's named for the very glamorous (oh, the taste of a child!) doll who always had the place of honor on my grandmother's bed. My grandmother used to make her new gowns of satin and lace. I'd run in there to check out that doll first thing every visit. While I was making my Shventa Marya i felt my first ever connection to my grandmother who was mean, bigoted and wore a perpetual frown on her once lovely face for as long as I can remember. I hadn't thought of it until right now, but I am changing the name of my piece to Belle Gordon, even though I didn't like her, that mean grandmother of mine. Those are the only titles - 4 out of 6 so far...

The girls range in height from 8feet to 10+feet. I'm pretty sure they'll be getting somewhat shorter once I finish the one I'm making right now, having found out that trucks are limited in height so as to fit under bridges, etc., and because I didn't make any of my girls with thoughts of potential horizontality... catch my drift!

PRESS RELEASE: Persona at the Darkroom Gallery in Essex Junction

Persona - A group photography exhibit juried by Chris Buck. Eight countries are represented in 46 images for display at the Darkroom Gallery in Essex Junction.

Chris Buck chose 46 images beyond the traditional portrait - more than just an eloquently captured face. They include the uncanny, parodies, distortions, subtle suggestions and in-your-face implications. For Persona we sought portraits devised outside the box (or in one, if applicable). We called for captured characters.

Exhibit runs 9/13 - 10/7/11
Artists' Reception 9/16/11 5-7PM
Darkroom Gallery
12 Main St.
Essex Jct., VT 05452

Image: Juror's Choice: Dream Eater by Brandy Worsfold. Citrus Heights, California USA

PRESS RELEASE: Fran Bull at the Calvin Coolidge Library at Castleton State College

August 29 - October 7, 2011

Fran Bull will exhibit a series of drawings executed on a single day in August (8.15.11), utilizing computer scanning and enlarging techniques. The works take up some of the themes that have intrigued her in the course of her career.

The premise of the exhibition is the creation of large-format drawings employing computer tools while preserving a fresh and intuitive sensibility.

Says Bull, “It was an idea I shared with gallery director Bill Ramage back when I showed the Flanders Fields installation. Bill, ever the lover of experiments in art, replied with the movie classic, ‘Let’s put on a show!’ And so, with some trepidation, here it is!”

“The original concept, and one I will still attempt, was to make an entire show in an afternoon utilizing computer technology. I was going to draw on the Wacom tablet, send a file to the photographer and have him greatly enlarge the images. I didn't have the right software in the end, and so made these as small collages instead and had Don Ross enlarge them to about 44" by 34". Each is a photo enlargement mounted on foam core.

The exhibit can be viewed through October 7th , 2011. The library is open daily. Hours are online.

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

Monday, August 29, 2011

PRESS RELEASE: SculptFest11 Opens September 10 at The Carving Studio and Sculpture Center, W.Rutland

The excitement is building for the opening of SculptFest2011 on Saturday, September 10. The annual Carving Studio and Sculpture Center outdoor exhibition features site-specific sculptural installations by selected regional and national artists. Past works range from directly carving into the quarry wall to land-works and interactive performances.

In response to the SculptFest2011 theme Forces of Nature, guest curator Rick Rothrock selected 11 site-specific works. Artists include Andrew Thomas, Chris Wells, Brigitte Grenier, Jessica Leete, Erica Johnson, Isabelle Garbani, R.G. Solbert, Crystal Ellis, Erica Ehrenbard, Marisa DiPaola, Zoe Marr and Paul Hilliard.

The opening reception for the exhibit, held on September 10th from 5:00--8:00pm, is open to the public with the Fine Art Raffle drawing at 7:00 pm. Preceding the SculptFest event, Stone, Water, Metal, photography by Don Ross, will open at the CSSC Gallery from 4PM.

PRESS RELEASE: Catherine Childs,"Catchi", at River Arts Center in Morrisville

The Gallery at River Arts is pleased to present a retrospective art exhibit of Catherine Childs,"Catchi", at the River Arts Center in Morrisville, VT, September 8 - November 7, 2011. There will be an opening reception on September 8th, from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. The exhibit will feature portraits, still life's, and landscapes painted over her productive career. "Catchi" sees painting as one of the most highly personalized forms of expression, a symphony in which each instrument is a color in the spectrum. When in harmony, beautiful music is created in the painting.

"Catchi's" next door neighbor while growing up was John R. Neill, the illustrator for the "Wizard of Oz" books. She posed as a model for the "Oz" children and this inspired her life long work as an artist which began at age twelve. She studied with Leon Kroll and Hans Hoffman in New York. Her paintings are in the private collections of Senator George McGovern, John Daly and Hofstra University. She has exhibited in many United States galleries and in England, Scotland, France, Italy, Israel, Jordan, Japan and Egypt. She had a one woman show at the U.S. House of Representative's Raeburn Building in Washington, DC. "Catchi" now lives with her daughter, Heather Sargent, in Morrisville.

The Gallery at River Arts is located at the River Arts Center, 74 Pleasant Street in Morrisville, VT. Gallery hours: Monday-Friday, 10-2. For off hours, please call River Arts:
802-888-1261. Admission is free. For more information, call or visit their website at www.riverartsvt.org.

PRESS RELEASE: The Green + Blue Gallery show, Stowe

The Green + Blue Gallery located at 645 South Main Street in the Lower Village of Stowe is proud to announce the opening of a new exhibition entitled “PATTERNS.” This exhibition pulls from Vermont, Chile, Montreal, Germany, New York City and Italy. Artists include Glenn Goldberg, Lucio Pozzi, Maggie Mailer, Leslie Fry, Charles Yoder, William Maxwell, Heidi Spector, Sebastian Mejia, Thaddeus Radell, Matthew Beall, and Cornelia Foss. A variety of mediums including watercolor, oil, acrylic, cast and carved sculpture, photographs and collage are included.

Native New Yorker Glenn Goldberg, a return visiting artist instructor at the Vermont Studio Center, has created a group of work based on abstracted nature. His use of patterning and overlapping textural dots of color provoke one to consider dimensions in space and time. Glenn has exhibited his work in countless exhibitions around the world and at the Knoedler Galleries as part of their stable of artists. He teaches at the Cooper Union in Manhattan.

Currently living in Italy, Lucio Pozzi has been a long-time collaborator of Mia Feroleto. Together, they produced a series of exhibitions and performances at such places as Corporate Headquarters for General Electric, the Chicago International Art Fair and the DIA Center for the Arts. Lucio taught for many years at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Although he is Italian, he is considered by many to be the Joseph Beuys of America. His writings and thinking are so pervasive that his influence is apparent in the contemporary art world in many subtle and not so subtle ways. At SVA, he was the teacher of Keith Haring and Kenny Scharf, both art stars of the 1980’s.

The extensive recent New York Times article on the sculpture of Leslie Fry gives her the praise and attention her work deserves. Leslie has a remarkable way of combining nature through patterning of leaves, acorns, blades of grass and animal forms clearly stating that there is no line of demarcation between humanity and nature. She depicts the goddess earth energy in all its glory but with whimsy and grace. The patterning in her work creates a wonderful dialogue with that of Glenn Goldberg.

Painter Maggie Mailer, daughter of author Norman, has chosen color and form to define her creative expression. However, the narrative line in her paintings is clear as they reveal their story of escape and enchantment. Three small watercolors are on view in the exhibition, but please ask to see a box of her unframed pieces. Measuring approximately 4 and ? by 5 ? inches, these watercolors are stunning examples of process and paint.

Heidi Spector’s sculptural paintings bring a vibrancy and lyricism to the exhibition through her geometric patterning. Music patterns repeat in her use of line and color, connecting, in a way, to the chakra system.

image: Leslie Fry. Leaf Dress. Plaster with oil paint. 24" x 16" x 12"

NEWS: Sculpture carried away by Irene- Stowe

Art Center Mourns Loss of Sculpture Exposed 2011 Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition, presented by Stephen Levin and Helen Day Art Center

Sunday evening the effects of Hurricane Irene swept through Stowe, and with it carried such a significant amount of rain that flooded the Recreation Path. Bennett Wine’s sculpture, Landscape in a Portrait Mode, was washed away from its location just past the first bridge. The only thing left was the single wood branch that accompanied the main piece. Other sculptures were left damaged, like Deborah Margo’sPamukkale’s Paramorph, and Tom Holmes’s Star Bursts.

Keep a look out for a large sculpture down stream.

Friday, August 26, 2011

PRESS RELEASE: Group Artmaking and Dale Chihuli Short Cuts at The Art House in Craftsbury

Gallery Show and Movie: Chihuli Short Cuts
Friday, September 2, 2011
6:30 - 7:30 pm

by Sarah Mutrux

For a lot of people, the artistic process is private and introspective. But not all artists work this way. Some of the most famous artists throughout history have worked with a team of artists to produce their work -- Andy Warhol, for example.

Dale Chihuli is a prime example of an artist and visionary who orchestrates a large team of talented artists. Through a group process, each artist adding his or her own flare to the work, Chihuli and his team of underlings produce large-scale blown glass installations all over the world.

I first saw Dale Chihuli's work in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Many tons of glass had been rendered into pre-historic gardens, immense chandeliers, and back-lit glass ceilings. The over-sized installations gave the viewer an other-worldly experience.

I have been thinking about this group process all summer. What happens when we get a group of artists together to create work with one intention? All summer, kids and adults alike have been gathering at The Art House to work on their own projects, and we have been seeing some beautiful results--from playful paste paper to whimsical clay birdhouses. What will happen if we come together with the intention of our many hands and minds creating one body of work?

Well, come and see! On September 2nd the gallery will open with an exhibit of pieces created by Craftsbury residents and visitors. I can't tell you what it will be--the group hasn't decided yet.

The Art Talk will be a showing of several short film clips illustrating the power of the group-art process featuring the work of Dale Chihuli. I hope that some of our own artists will be there to talk about the experience of being one in a big group of artists, and the work that they produced. Followed by a reception at 7:30 pm.

The Art House Gallery, Studio & School is located at1146 North Craftsbury Road, Craftsbury Common, Vermont 05827

PRESS RELEASE: Opening at Edgewater Gallery TONIGHT! Middlebury

Edgewater Gallery is pleased to present its first ever sculpture and mixed media exhibition, formally opening on Friday, August 26, from 5-7pm. Come explore the cool elegance of Joe Gitterman's bronze and stainless steel "movement" sculptures; the provocative, contemplative contemporary collages of Erika Lawlor-Schmidt (a reincarnation of Marie Antoinette, for example); dangerously precious nail & eggshell creations by Jennifer Maestre; large-scale, rusted and stately, reincarnations of playful jumping jacks from David Tanych; quietly profound Shaman wall structures by Pat Musick, and much more - including raku fired ceramic chickens by Eleonora Lecei, glass window structures by Terry Zigmund, and found object sculptures by Charles Gibbs.

Also on display throughout August is young phenom

TJ Cunningham, whose impressionist portraits have garnered him wide-spread recognition, and whose new collection of landscapes perfectly exemplify the last golden moments of summer.
bottom image: Jumping Jacks, rusted steel, by David Tanychtop
image: Ute, metal and wood, by Charles Gibbs
middle image : September's Memory, oil on canvas, 18" x 24", by TJ Cunningham

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

PRESS RELEASE: Bunny Harvey at Korongo Gallery in Randolph

Listening / Vermont
September 2–October 12, 2011
Reception/Vernissage: Friday, September 2, from 5 to 7 pm

Bunny Harvey has been painting the familiar Vermont landscape for many years. Her observations, while primarily visual, include all the senses. The pieces exhibited here at Korongo are particular examples of work in which, she says, “everything around me animates my awareness; shifting winds, the songs of insects and birds, the scent of hay and manure, even the interruption of a distant chainsaw, all find their way onto the canvas. Watching and waiting for dragonflies helped me focus on sounds of the pond as they merged with my awareness of the huge variety of shapes and lights at water’s edge. The feel of my feet in the water, the aromas of changing layers of air, the sounds of the grasses—all these textures make the wait into a reverie.

Bunny Harvey paints in Vermont, and she has lived in Rome, Rhode Island, Vermont, and New York City. Harvey is a Prix de Rome winner, and has been a professor at Wellesley College for 35 years. With exclusive NYC representation since ’76, her paintings are in many private and public collections. Website/resume: bunnyharvey.com

Korongo Gallery
18 Merchants Row
Randolph, VT

Image: Frank Gave Me a Blue Mountain, 2000, oil on canvas, 44" x 44"

PRESS RELEASE: HIGHLOW Project Street Exhibit in Downtown Montpelier

A deeply introspective exhibit into the lives of Vermont’s at-risk youth will be on display through October 12, 2011 in downtown Montpelier. Called HIGHLOW, the large scale photographs pasted onto building exteriors are paired with audio components available through a toll-free number. The project is presented by The Vermont Coalition of Runaway and Homeless Youth Programs (VCRHYP), and the Washington County Youth Service Bureau/Boys & Girls Club, in partnership with Montpelier Alive.

Photographer Ned Castle partnered with at-risk, runaway and homeless youth in Vermont to produce an illustration of the experiences that have shaped their lives. The HIGHLOW Exhibit pairs 12 sets of large-scale diptychs with recorded personal stories contrasting high and low moments during their lives. HIGHLOW has been exhibited throughout Vermont in various gallery settings. The Street Version brings the photographs and audio narrations “onto the street”. Youth from the Basement Teen Center of WCYSB and the Northfield Teen Center had the opportunity to curate the exhibit by choosing the locations and placement of the images within downtown Montpelier. Installation was executed by the youth curators working alongside staff, community partners, and other volunteers. It also allows for the local VCRHYP agency to use the exhibit as an outreach tool to facilitate youth access to services, and tell their stories to a broader audience.

Calvin Smith, VCRHYP Director, reflects on the evolution of the project into the public art realm: “By extending the exhibit to outdoor spaces on buildings, parks, and along streets, all members of the community are able to view the imagery and experience the audio narration. This street-based concept is only possible through a collaborative community effort with support from youth, community organizations, and property owners.”

“We wanted to help bring this project to downtown Montpelier because it utilizes streetscape in an innovative way,” said Phayvanh Luekhamhan, executive director of Montpelier Alive. “Montpelier is a great place for public art. And HIGHLOW goes a step further by encouraging conversations of a topic that’s not normally in the public discourse.”

Ned Castle is a native Vermonter whose photographic work has ranged from documentary and ethnographic to conceptual art. A graduate of Williams College, Castle attended photography schools in Florence, Italy and New York City. His projects, including In Their Own Words and Indigenous Expression, have been exhibited across Vermont. The Vermont Coalition for Runaway & Homeless Youth Programs (VCRHYP) is a statewide coalition of 13 community agencies working with at-risk, runaway and homeless youth, providing crisis-stabilization, shelter programs, and family support services.

Image: Photo credit: Top, Heather Pipino
Bottom two: From HIGHLOW project

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

PRESS RELEASE: Abstract Photography at PHOTOSTOP Gallery in White River Junction

Light-Struck: Abstract Photography Today, a juried exhibition, will be on display at the PHOTOSTOP Gallery in White River Junction, VT from September 2-30, 2011. An opening reception will be held on September 2 (a White River Junction, VT First Friday) from 5-8 pm and the public is invited to attend. Exhibit juror Ellen Carey will give a gallery talk at the opening at 7:30 pm on abstract photography.

Considered a pioneer in the camera-less photogram and lens-based Polaroid photographic and contemporary art field, juror Ellen Carey is an internationally and nationally recognized artist, whose work (1978-2010) has been the subject of forty-six one-person exhibitions in museums, alternative spaces and commercial galleries and several hundred group exhibitions. Carey is an Associate Professor of Photography at the Hartford Art School in Connecticut.

The Light-Struck exhibition will feature photographs that are, as scholar and curator Lyle Rexer said in his book The Edge of Vision: The Rise of Abstraction in Photography, “photographs without pictures, or rather, photographs that refuse to disclose fully the images they contain”. For this show, Carey selected 34 photographs from nearly 400 submitted images. The chosen photographs will be coming to the PHOTOSTOP gallery from all over the continental United States, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Brazil and will display a wide variety of techniques and approaches to the medium.

PHOTOSTOP Gallery is located at 85 North Main Street, Suite 150, on the first floor in the TipTop Building, White River Jct., VT. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Saturday from noon - 5. First Fridays and opening nights the gallery is open ‘til 8 pm. Other hours are available by appointment. For more information call 802.698.0320 or check the website .

Long View, Julie Anand and Damon Sauer, 108" x 42"
Hae #2, Yong Hee Kim, 8 x 10 Pinhole Cibachrome, 40" x 50"

Sunday, August 21, 2011

REVIEW: Karen Peterson Retrospective at Chandler Gallery in Randolph

Alive and Rhythmic Bronze
The Karen Petersen Retrospective at Chandler

by Dian Parker

The current show at Chandler Gallery is a retrospective of Karen Petersen’s work, featuring primarily her bronze sculptures. Bronze is an alloy of copper and tin and expensive to cast, especially in the United States. Since the 1990's Petersen has been working in the foundries in Thailand and most recently in Shanghai. Her generous gift that now sits out front of Chandler was cast in China. It still seeks a title, so go into the gallery and submit your idea. The winning entry will be announced at the end of the show, on September 25.

The sculpture you see from the street has its maquette in the gallery, a tiny bronze replica of the big piece. This smaller piece has a shining, green and gold patina that virtually glows.

There are 38 works of art in Petersen’s show, and 12 of them are paintings. Her abstract paintings are large, 3 and 4 feet on the longest dimension, with swirling blasts of color. Even though the paintings don’t have the power and beauty of her bronze sculptures, they offer a colorful counterpoint on the walls. The show as a whole is lovely. When I first walked in, without any lights on, the sculptures scattered around on the floor felt animated and alive, twisted into shapes that at first aren’t discernable.

One of my favorites is Playing Figure, an earlier piece Petersen created in the early 80's. A woman lies on her side with her torso twisted. She has large, peasant feet, Gauguin-like. She is playful yet demure as she contorts herself. She remains serene and tranquil in her face, even though the rest of her body is in an impossible position. The sculpture is also reminiscent of Matisse’s The Dance.

Another gorgeous bronze is I’m Listening. A woman appears pregnant but on closer examination you see a bird spread out against her body. She seems to be holding the bird as its wings engulf her shoulders. Both the woman and the bird have their eyes closed. There is a powerful stillness in this piece, and so much love.

Kenya, a bronze gazelle, has sleek lines and tiny delicate hooves. Sunshine, a maquette of her bronze life-size deer, is proud and bold with its thick arched neck, standing on its spindly legs - a bright Bambi. Both are joyful, tender animals, alive and prancing.

Petersen has a series of Flower bronzes which are small and elegant. All of her bronzes are tactile, begging to be stroked. She has a fine sense of form that is strong, forceful and masterful. I’d love to see her return to the style of her earlier work, like Playing Figure, where there is movement and a playful exuberance.

There are two gallery talks where you can hear Karen Petersen speak about her work; August 23 and September 20, both at 7 pm. Here is an opportunity to ask questions and to learn more about the difficulties in working in bronze. It is an exacting process involving many hours of intensive labor.

She has also put together an impressive power point presentation which shows the step by step process involved in the making of her bronze gift to Chandler that now sits outside the building. There is, as well, a printed self-conducted walking tour of the exhibition that Petersen wrote. Both are available in the gallery and well worth taking the time to view and read.

All artists are a law unto themselves. Petersen’s sculptures are a dynamic testament to her commitment and passion. These bronze sculptures will exist for a long time; indestructible and elegant. May the artist do so as well.

This review was first published in the Randolph Herald on August 18, 2011

Images: Overview of Chandler Gallery, Playing Figure, Maquette

Friday, August 19, 2011

PRESS RELEAE: Pat Adams & Bhakti Ziek at BigTown Gallery in Rochester

August 24 - September 25, 2011
Opening Reception:
Saturday, August 27, 2011, Reception 5 - 7pm
Artist Discussion 4pm

A crosscurrency among genres, a resonant energy emerging from disparate media, is a felicitous occurrence, and rare. Complementary juxtapositions can bring forward resonant textures and undercurrents in works by different artists that, though they are expressed in highly individual figurations, seem to wrestle with similar concerns. So it can be seen with this pairing of the abstract paintings of Pat Adams and the weavings of Bhakti Ziek.

Spending time among the mixed-media paintings of Pat Adams (of oil paint, grit, shell, paper, foil) and the recent textiles of master weaver Bhakti Ziek (hand-painted silk threads, wool, cotton, textured yarns, digitally manipulated photography), one witnesses the similarity of abstract shaping and the layering of language, color, and texture. Their large and small worlds are intricately detailed and concretely physical, defining metaphysical and emotional landscapes of powerful clarity and accomplishment. Look for it in the frission created by the proximity of the painted elemental shapes invoked by Adams, or those seeming to appear on Ziek's complex woven surfaces. They each hold firm to their deftly claimed and formed spaces, yet indicate as well the larger design and movement at work. We are taken with the intuitive exactness and precision of thought, with its communication of a specific lexicon for entering the contours of the work at hand, and for evoking a larger context from its coherency.

Works selected for this exhibition by Pat Adams date from 1977 to 2010. She has been a significant influence in abstract art for half a century, exhibiting exclusively with the New York gallerist Virginia Zabriskie since 1954. In his Jan. 13, 2005, New York Sun review of Zabriskie's 2004 restrospective of Adams' career, Pat Adams: Paintings: 1954-2004, Lance Esplund says succinctly of the artist: "She is not a romantic. Nor is she a cold formalist. But she is interested in getting at the root – the genesis – of emotion...." Donald Kuspit, writing about Adams for ARTFORUM in Sept., 1992, says simply, "Pat Adams' abstract paintings symbolize and explore intimacy...[her forms] are in effect figures in intense emotional relation."

Bhakti Ziek is showing all recent pieces in this exhibition. She is internationally known for her work, which ranges in technique and execution from backstrap weaving to digital jacquard. She is the co-author, with Alice Schlein, of The Woven Pixel: Designing for Jacquard and Dobby Using Photoshop, the definitive book on comtemporary digital design for textile. Her weavings have been widely exhibited and collected, and are included in the permanent collection of the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City. Ziek is a recent recipient of a creation grant from the Vermont Arts Council.

Pat Adams,
Arc, Diagonal, Circle, Square, 2004, Collage, Pen, Grit on Paper, 19" X 15" Framed Bhakti Ziek, Constellations, 2011, Natural Dye Extracts, Silk, Bamboo, Cotton, Rayon, Chenille and Boucle Yarns, Painted Warp, Handwoven Weft-backed Jacquard, 52" X 27.5"

PRESS RELEASE: Three Floors of International Contemporary Artists at the BCA Center in Burlington

Opening Friday, August 26th at the BCA Center on Church Street in Burlington, Burlington City Arts is proud to present Outdoor Excursions, guest curated by Art In America writer Gregory Volk. Featuring work by thirteen national and international artists and taking place on the first, second and fourth floors of the BCA Center, Outdoor Excursions opens with a reception on Friday, August 26th from 5-8pm, and Artist Talks at 6pm, and runs through December 3rd, 2011.

Celebrating Vermonters’ love of nature and outdoor-oriented culture, curator Volk uses artworks to transform the galleries into his version of a wilderness adventure company, with artworks offering “excursions” to the Swiss Alps, Icelandic volcanoes, the deep forest, suburban backyards, outer space, and Vermont ski areas, among other destinations. “We are extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to work with Gregory Volk who has brought such amazing international talent right here to Vermont,” says BCA Center Chief Curator Chris Thompson.

Several of the artists will be present the week prior to the opening, to create their work on-site, and discuss their creative process.

Image: Kayak, by Swiss artist Roman Signer, whose temporary sculptures, or sculptures-as-events, are presented as video documentation

PRESS RELEASE: Fifth Annual Exhibition of Fine Art in Grafton

The vintage village of Grafton, Vermont will once again provide the backdrop for the fifth annual Exhibition at Grafton, a select juried art event of original works by noted professional artists from the East Coast. The exhibit, which is open to the public free of charge, will be held August 26 through September 7. A special reception to preview the works and to celebrate awards to artists will be held at The Old Tavern Inn on Saturday, August 27 at 6 p.m. This event is also open to the public.

Grafton, cited by USA Today as one of the most beautiful towns in the U.S. and by the Boston Globe as an art lovers stopover, is the ideal setting for the serious artist to display his/her talent. The historic town of 600 already has four galleries.

Exhibition at Grafton 2011 will feature a selection of top artists’ work in oils, pastels, watercolors, acrylics, mixed media as well as sculptures in various media. The sponsors of the Exhibition -- The Old Tavern at Grafton Inn and the Hunter Gallery of Fine Art -- will provide their facilities to display the works from 9:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. daily during the show. Art displayed will be for sale.

The juried collection of work will be judged by two returning Vermont-based judges: Janie Cohen, Museum Director of the Fleming Museum in Burlington and Jamie Franklin, Curator at the Bennington Museum. One best in show award and four merit awards will be given during the show.

More details on the show can be found online at ExhibitionAtGrafton.com or by calling 802-843-144

Image: Robert Carsten, Self-Portrait on Recycled Glass, pastel

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

PRESS RELEASE: Margo Russell at the Red Mill Gallery in Johnson

An exhibit of paintings by Margo Russell at the Red Mill Gallery in Johnson, Vermont from August 24 - August 30.
Opening Reception, Wednesday August 24th at 7:00

Self taught painter Margo Russell grew up in Odessa, Texas and came to Vermont in 1996. A year later Don Sunseri invited her to work at G.R.A.C.E. in Hardwick (a community arts program) where she painted for a few years. After that she was employed at Out and About (an adult day services facility) in Morrisville in the kitchen, then used the Out and About art room as a painting studio.

Ms. Russell works exclusively from imagination, using and reusing the motif of houses, water and waterfalls, skies and fields as a hook to hang her ideas about color on. When she paints she works and re-works the colors, changing them constantly until the work is done.

Information - (802)744-6859

Image: Waterfall, 10x8"

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

PRESS RELEASE: Judy Kniffin at Bennington Museum in Bennington

For me, the process of painting is both a meditation on -- and thanksgiving for -- the natural beauty that surrounds us all. It is this quiet sense of awe that I wish to convey through my paintings. -- Judith Kniffin
On view through September 25 in the Regional Artists Gallery at the Bennington Museum is On Hallowed Ground, works by Judy Kniffin. Kniffin has so entitled her exhibit because “this is what my paintings reflect back to me: We visit our brief lives upon this sacred ground, and, like good guests, would give it our due respect and grateful thanks.” Join the artist on Saturday, September 3 from 3:00 to 4:30 pm at her reception held at the museum.

Kniffin grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia during the post-war years of the 40s and 50s, when industry switched its focus to crank out all the conveniences of mechanized living inside homes, on neighborhood blocks, in Anytown, USA. “Bike rides to the countryside, catching tadpoles, and summer camp in surrounding farmland notwithstanding, I had very little sense of the earth under and around me. Cloud formations, weather patterns, rocks, soil, and the plant and animal growth they nurture were not part of my consciousness in the suburbs.” states the artist.

Painting with watercolors and oils, Kniffin explores these natural surroundings — the woodlands, mountains and waters, corners of her gardens, and streets in her towns. Her style is representational, while always teasing out the rich colors and patterns that a cursory glance at nature often overlooks. Kniffin explores the color relationships, shadows, reflections, textures and visual distortions of the objects. “Painting is my way to focus in on the quiet and sometime surprising beauty around us; to tune out the "noise" of modern technology and fast-paced lives.” she reflects. Recognizing that we are not in control of nature On Hallowed Ground nods to our fragile relationship with it.

Kniffin pursued studio painting at Skidmore College in New York, the Silvermine Guild Art Center in Connecticut, and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia. Her works have been on view at NAACO Gallery, North Adams, MA; Bennington Arts Guild and Southern Vermont College, both in Bennington, VT; The Heart’s Eye Gallery, Athens, GA among others. She serves on the board of the North Bennington Plein Air Competition, North Bennington, VT. Visit her website at www.judykniffin.com

The Bennington Museum, located at 75 Main Street (Route 9), Bennington has the largest public collection of Grandma Moses paintings in the world as well as the largest collection of 19th century Bennington pottery. In the other seven galleries, the museum presents a 1924 Wasp Touring Car, one of only twenty produced, military artifacts, one of the earliest ‘stars and stripes’ in existence, fine and decorative arts, and more. On view through October 30 is “Grandma Moses and the ‘Primitive’ Tradition.” The museum is just a short ride from Manchester, Williamstown, and eastern New York, and open every day in September and October from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults, $9 for seniors and students over 18. No admission is charged for younger students or to visit the museum shop and café. Visit the museum’s website www.benningtonmuseum.org or call 802-447-1571 for more information.
Images: On Hallowed Ground, 2010, 38” x 38”, oil on canvas Kniffin in her studio

PRESS RELEASE: Joan Curtis at Brandon Artists Guild in Brandon

An exhibition entitled Greener Grass, with richly colored drawings by Joan Curtis, is featured during the September/October foliage season (September 2 - November 2, 2011) at the Brandon Artists Guild gallery.

The artist explains that the Greener Grass title may be interpreted a few ways. The pictures, which seem to tell stories, can convey a gentle sense of longing or yearning for “greener grass.” Alternatively, many of the images are so serenely bucolic that we imagine the scenes depicted to be the “greener grass” we seek.

The artist, in her visionary figurative work, often conjures up the feeling that a Quest is taking place.

This body of work, created since January 2011, comprises colored-pencil drawings on archival Arches paper. The surprise for the viewer is the layering of papers, a technique which allows a shallow three-dimensional appearance.

The public is always invited to BAG opening receptions; this one will be Friday, September 2nd, from 5 to 7 PM.

Image: End of Day, 2011

PRESS RELEASE: Joseph L. Smongeski at Towle Hill Studio in Corinth

Towle Hill Studio in Corinth will present a retrospective show of the paintings and drawings of Joseph L. Smongeski (1914 - 2001). On Saturday, September 24 and Sunday, September 25, the show, organized by Smongeski’s daughter, Josette Lyders of Peacham, Vermont will also feature the 2009 biography about Smongeski, written by Lyders. Designed by Dean Bornstein, renowned book designer and owner of Perpetua Press, Joseph L. Smongeski: A Life in the Art World will be available for purchase, as will some of Smongeski’s paintings.

The gallery will be open on Saturday from noon to 6 p.m. and on Sunday from noon to 3 p.m. Lyders and her sister, Mary Patch of Boothbay Harbor, Maine, will be hosting a reception with refreshments on Saturday from 4 to 6 p.m.

Joseph L. Smongeski studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and began his working career in 1941 in the art department of Western Printing Company in New York City. Five years later, he was invited to join D. C. Heath Company in Boston, where he served as a book designer for 31 years. He painted as well during all these years, creating an extensive inventory of landscapes, portraits and still lifes. In addition, he taught adult art classes for more than 25 years in Quincy, Milton, Weymouth, and Cohasset, communities on the South Shore of Massachusetts.

Altogether, Smongeski had 40 one-man shows including two very large invitational retrospective exhibitions near the end of his painting years, one at The Rahr-West Art Museum in Racine, Wisconsin, and the other at the Milton Art Museum, in Milton, Massachusetts. He also participated in some 30 group shows in Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio, Massachusetts, New York, and Vermont. He was elected to membership in the Salmagundi Club of New York City and he was given the honor of “Copley Artist” by the Copley Society of Boston.

Critics wrote favorably about his art. A few remarks regarding the larger exhibitions reveal much about his style and achievement:

From Virginia Freyermuth, The Patriot Ledger (Quincy, Massachusetts), June 19, 1984, p. 15. “Color, spatial control and simplicity of form give the subject an added dimension of importance. . . .Although the aim of Smongeski’s work is to capture the moment at hand with a concern for color and light, the paintings are not impressionist in style. In fact, there is something very American about his style. . . .”

From Sandy Coleman, The Boston Globe, April 15, 1990, p.9. “The beauty of the painting (“Model in the Garden”) comes in the way the artist allows the light to play throughout, as if a gentle breeze is blowing color here and there. . . . Smongeski creates his vividly striking paintings by building them through layers of ‘constructive color.’ You can almost separate the color into planes, but they all form one harmonious unit, the painting.

From Constance Gorfinkle, The Patriot Ledger, April 19, 1990, p.32. “Color, bold and bright, is what most strikes the viewer about the. . .paintings. Smongeski’s landscapes and street scenes in particular are sunny evocations of a simple life. . . .[his] landscapes convey a sense of peace. . . .Smongeski often celebrates summer in his works. . .yet it is not just the season that we see in his paintings, but its place in our feelings and memories.”

Renowned Cape Cod artist, Richard C. Bartlett, a dear friend of the artist, wrote a tribute to Joseph Smongeski for the Towle Hill Studio show. He noted: “Joe and I were colleagues as book designers at D. C. Heath. . . . Joe had the taste required of a fine artist, and it showed in his judgement in how he presented an author’s manuscript visually. His typographic solutions were reasoned, making the author’s intent crystal clear for the reader. . . .he ran the Bookbuilders of Boston printing workshop with John Manganelli . . . and he taught adult ed classes in painting. If you can believe it, he still found time to paint! We sometimes went out sketching together. Joe could work as rapidly in oils as I could in watercolor, reputedly the quicker medium. . . . When you look at Joe’s paintings, you can tell they are the work of a happy artist.”

Lyders has written in her book about her father: “Perhaps it was the result of his growing up in a very large family and noticing the importance of everyday things on the progress of life. Perhaps it was the huge constraints of his student years in the Great Depression that made grandeur out of reach. Or, perhaps it was just a warm and caring nature that influenced his choice of humble subjects to paint. In my recollections of my father, I see a man who consistently found beauty in the world around him. It could be pastoral scenes, as he found in his visits to Vermont; it could be a small bouquet of flowers given to his wife; it could be in the look on a face. I see a man who never lost the wonder of life. I remember certain observations he would make: “Oh, God, look at that–how beautiful!” and, “I would like to paint that!” His subjects were never grandiose and never done for effect. He found the desire to paint in the intrinsic worth of the subject and he reveled in the joy of transforming that subject into his art.”

For the Towle Hill Studio show, Lyders has selected some twenty works representing different time periods in the artist’s body of work and a sampling of landscapes, portraits, still lifes, and more.

In the summer and fall seasons since 2009, Mark Nielsen, owner of Towle Hill Studio, has presented weekend exhibitions featuring the work of area creative artists, including painters, photographers, sculptors, and more. For more information about the gallery, visit the Web site www.towlehillstudio.com, or email Mark Nielsen at

For more information about the artist and about Lyders’ book, Joseph L. Smongeski: A Life in the Art World , email josette@fairpoint.net.

Images: Sugar Shack #1, 1976, oil, 16" x 22" A Rose, 1941, oil, 12" x 9" Reflections, 1985, oil, 10" x 14"

Saturday, August 13, 2011

REVIEW: Art in the Park in North Bennington

14th Annual North Bennington Art in Park Show
Part Two: The Paintings

by Bret Chenkin

For the 2nd year in the row, the North Bennington art show featured a cavalcade of local painters in the North Bennington train station. Called the Train Station Gallery for the show, this quintessential Victorian marvel offers much light and space to the benefit of the paintings exhibited. Jillian Casey of the Forum Gallery selected the exhibitors and organized the presentation.

Many names from last year's show are on the bill – Ann Pibal, Amy Podmore, Colin Brant, Pat Adams, Paul and Anima Katz – as well as a few newcomers. Some sculpture is also on display both in and around the building. As with the sculpture, there is a democratic sampling but almost all the artists are very well established, many with gallery representation. Casey had her hands full for sure, but she deftly filled every wall imaginable, and her sincere sentiment captures the real tone of this show's focus: "It's a pleasure to work with these artists that are not only extremely talented but also genuinely possess a desire to give back, support and further teach this rural area that has always been so culturally and artistically rich." And she could not be more right, for there is an artistic richness to this output.

Although sculpture was primarily featured outside, some smaller pieces are showcased inside. Before walking in, for instance, one encounters Jon Isherwood's bulbous form, Inner Sense, carved from a yellowish stone with rosy streaks, set on bronze plinth; in size and appearance it resembles an African basket. Once inside, in a commodious front room, well-endowed with ample light, Amy Podmore's Mark takes central stage, with two bone white plaster-cast hands sanctified by Klein blue dots (like inverse stigmata) rolling across a white floor (they are connected by toy rubber tires) making a Zen-like calligraphic mark on a flat grey surface: it leaves one wondering about art and spirituality and the idea of the hand in all that.

Tom Longtin's geometric construction of angled wood beams, resembling an elongated mental puzzle game, also occupied the floor. Teru Simon's poignant Self-Portrait at 40 and Matt McGovern's fired vase were strong example in clay. One more sculptural work that straddled painting and conceptual art was Daniel Richmond's meditation on storytelling, biography, and myth -- an homage to a friend's experience with a puma in Vermont -- that was drawn in sand on a driveway and over time disappeared. Longtime participants Elaine Witten and Gregory Smith also exhibited their respective works.

What is interesting about the types of visual art shown is that in an age dominated by photography and prints only two such images were featured: Kevin Burbriski's forceful portrait of a Nepalese Buddhist boy in large format photograph dominating a gallery room (one sees every scar of this boy's life in exquisite detail) and a lithograph and pigment print, Untitled, by Thorsten Dennerline, that had two creatures swirling about that might have emerged from Hans Bellmar's world.

Everything else was painting, and more fascinating was the preponderance of landscapes. I do not know if this has to do with a collective penchant for a halcyon past, or the geographic power of this region's beauty, but almost a dozen paintings had some connection to the land. Viola Moriarity did an interior woods scene of Shaftsbury stream that channeled Twatchman , while Brian Campion, Stella Ehrich, Barbara Sussman, Evan Wilson, Tony Connor, and Judith Kniffin all depicted some aspect of Vermont's natural splendor in various seasons. Wilson's snowscape, a theme in melancholy blue, was nicely rendered. Colin Brant also contributed a work in this key, The Proud Robin, rendering the red-breasted woodsy denizen atop a stump, with vegetation that appears to be a nod to Heade. Evan Wilson's other contribution was a large Frostian moment, The Apple Pickers, a pastoral with figures relishing the bounty of an apple harvest, whose garb and demeanor could place them in a Hardy novel, or in a Vermont community farm today.

There is certainly something for everyone in these rooms: a bit of art history kookiness in Anima Katz's "Breakfast on the Green" (a wiggly reconfiguring of Manet's infamous picnic scene), a focused depiction of entomological life after chloroform in Leslie Parke's giant The Collection, a meticulous study of water and sky in a linear composition of blue and black with Ann Pibal's Pool (V. 3), oversized portraits (John Recco’s La Teanesa and Lara Sorenson's Lakshmi) that in their scale and coloration become unintentionally creepy, and two Biblical scenes playing off of abstract expressionism by Renee Bouchard. Interestingly, Pat Adams's Go No Further, a serene study of repeating rings in a melancholic green, and Katherine Porter's Arachne, a softly modeled view of a web as hushed filaments and rubbed moments, can also be considered oblique connections to landscape.

Andy Spence and Mary Lum were missed this season, and one knows many other artists from the area could be in those rooms too – but that is for next year. The question comes up to edit or allow freedom to reign, and Philip Wofford's hectic electric neon Glyph, with crunchy paint globs and stacked canvases, makes a resounding vote for freedom. But I recommend a gate keeper stay in place.

Images from the top (photos by Fred X. Brownstein): Amy Podmore, Mark , plaster, chalk, mixed media
Foreground: Bob Howe, Frost/ Paran Bridge and Norton Kennedy, Tree study #4, watercolor; Background: Matt McGovern, Fired Clay Vase and Phillip Wofford Glyph, mixed media on board
Jon Isherwood, Inner Sense, travertine
John Recco, La Teanesa, oil on board
Leslie Parke, The Collection