Arts Calendar: Visual Arts in Southern Vermont
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Carrie Gelfan: Paintings 2008 - 2018
Exhibition May 20 - June 28
Artist Reception: 5:30 to 7 pm o Thursday, May 23 at Main Street Arts in Saxtons River, VT
Presenting oil paintings from the past ten years. With a few exceptions, works include nudes, portraits, and “groupings”, which are paintings inspired by old photos of friends and family.
Carrie Gelfan earned a B. A. in Fine Art from Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio. She also studied at the Art Students League in New York, and Cabrillo Jr. College in Soquel, Ca. At the Art Students League she studied with portrait artist William Draper and with Will Barnett.
For the most part, Gelfan’s work is figurative and includes many portraits and groupings of friends and family members, some from life and some from old photos. Drawing is an essential part of Gelfan’s work, and all of her paintings are preceded by drawings, often many. She has been a member of two life drawing groups in the Putney area, and many of her charcoal life drawings have become the basis of later paintings.
Gelfan’s work has been shown in numerous Vermont, New Hampshire, and on-line venues including the Thorne- Sagendorf Gallery, Stratton Arts Festival, Norwich University, Women to Watch 2010, West Branch Gallery, Crowell Art Gallery, Catherine Dianich Gallery, Hooker Dunham Gallery, and Figure50.com. In addition she has been awarded two fellowships at the Vermont Studio Center’s Vermont Week. Gelfan is currently affiliated with the Oxbow Gallery in Northampton, MA. Carrie Gelfan lives in Westminster, VT with her husband and his cat.
Why do I paint? I paint because I like to create and make things. I like the feel of manipulating paint around the surface of whatever I am working on. I enjoy working alone and independently.
I mostly do figurative work and have always enjoyed painting portraits. I like painting people (and sometimes animals), because it allows me to create an intimacy with my subjects in a very safe way, one where I am in control of the relationship.
Photographs or drawings are usually the starting point for my paintings. The “Groupings”, which are paintings of two or more figures, are inspired by old photos of friends and family or from life drawings I have done. In several of these I have taken figures from more than one photo or drawing, grouping them together. I am not particularly interested in getting true likenesses of the subjects in these paintings. Instead my goal is to create an interesting dynamic between the figures, an essence or atmosphere, and also some mystery, intrigue, or even ambiguity about their situation or relationship. This is also true of the straight portraits, though striving for a likeness of the subject comes more into play.
All of this said, the real subject of my paintings is the paint itself and the dance of painting. The figures are mostly a vehicle for me to express myself with paint. I am interested in how the paint sits on the canvas, its consistency, the relationship of the various colors on the canvas, the spontaneity and rhythm of the brush strokes and lines….. all the abstract elements of the painting.
I feel like I am always learning and re-learning how to paint. Each painting is a struggle and often feels like I am starting from scratch again. Or perhaps it’s more accurate to say that with each painting I take two steps forward, and then fall one step back the next time I start anew.
5/20/19 9:00am - 5/28/19 3:00pm
Main Street Arts, Saxtons River
David Rohn was born in Chicago in 1934 and grew up in the small town of Ludington, along the shore of Lake Michigan. He graduated from the University of Michigan College of Architecture and Design and stepped into a creative life richly lived as cartoonist, puppeteer, printmaker, teacher and painter.
Running parallel to his explorations in abstract painting and printmaking, and during his tenure at Windham College in Putney, Vermont, in the mid-1960s and ’70s, David’s watercolor painting gave relief from the more formal demands and cultural mandates of artistic invention and novelty of non-figurative oil painting. The delicate washes and expansive passages of color represent liberation from an art world of expectation and judgement. His modest still-lifes are deceptively loose and easy, and we’re comforted by the associations we bring to his unassuming and familiar scenes.
In 1953, I was the kid who was good at drawing, actually one of three in eighth grade. I did airplanes. After hundreds of airplanes, then dozens of cartoons, I was introduced to looking at paintings. I began to learn about the language of visual art: not depiction, but the secret language—form, color, symmetry, rhythm. This felt fundamental.
I thought I might give it a go.
There are other secret languages in art, of course, including some I don’t quite grasp. Art, done well, Is a way of twanging the mind, and the mind is infinitely resonant. Who knows what’s coming next? For me it’s mainly the classical ideas of form/color/architecture, plus the paradox of 3-D on a 2-D surface that Cézanne calls attention to.
Working from observation offers an endless variety of visual situations, and has the bonus of requiring prolonged intimate contact with plain stuff—a jar, an apple. I begin by gathering in. I yield to it. Later, I play with what I have harvested, playing the dialogue between the parts.
Sometimes a dynamic equilibrium results—a perpetually self-charging energy source. That’s the goal.
Mitchell-Giddings Fine Arts, 183 Main Street, Brattleboro
Jenny Swanson’s high-fire wall pieces, each one a unique microcosm, are inspired by the art of India, and by floating lotuses she was intrigued by during her residency in Shangyu, China. Also on view are her unglazed, low-fire sculptural vessels carbonized in saggars, in bottle and funnel-like forms. Swanson’s innovative work gracefully curves and undulates.
In contrast, Holly Walker’s terracotta forms are Shakeresque and utilitarian. Rolled coils of clay are glazed with bold colors that are playful, saturated, and luminous. Walker’s painterly designs are geometric, floral, and sometimes alphabetical. Walker’s colorfully patterned rectangular palettes and disc shapes are the foil to Jenny Swanson’s silky black and white ceramics.
OPENING RECEPTION JULY 13, 5-7pm, with Artists' Talk
7/13/18 5:00pm - 9/6/19 11:59pm
White River Gallery @ BALE, South Royalton