Capsule Previews

Ronald Slayton, "Last Supper," at the T.W. Wood Gallery at the Center for Arts & Learning.


by Brian Goslow

Juxtaposing the “satiated and the hungry,” the 10-panel “The Hunger Dream” highlights the “Ronald Slayton: Master of Watercolor” exhibition on view from May 1 through June 29 at the T.W. Wood Gallery at the Center for Arts & Learning, 46 Barre St., Montpelier, Vermont. Seen as one, the 1985 work “becomes more than the sum of its separate parts. Slayton’s almost naive, simple, boldly stated images directly confront the viewer today as much as in the past.” It’s joined by a second watercolor mural, “The Last Supper,” as well as 12 late-period watercolor works from the private collection of Billi and Bobby Gosh. Slayton, whose early career included employment as an artist in the Vermont Division of the federally funded Works Progress Administration (WPA) from 1936-1939, passed away in 1992. Also on view: Slayton’s woodcuts “Social Activities of the ‘30s,” “Clearing the Fields” and “Fuel.”

“Identity: The Women’s List Portraits” is a collection of large-format photographs of artists, actresses, major cultural figures and ground-breaking women by photographer and documentary filmmaker Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, whose work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the National Portrait Gallery. Opening May 3 and continuing through June 24 at the Southern Vermont Arts Center, 930 Southern Vermont Arts Center Drive, Manchester, Vermont,“The portraits call attention to cultural progress as exemplified by these women who have overcome obstacles to achieve success in disparate walks of life.”

“The Art of Assemblage,” featuring 12 artists who create work in the vein of assemblage — also known as found object sculpture — runs from May 4 through 24 at the HeARTspot Art Center and Gallery, 1970 Pawtucket Ave., East Providence, Rhode Island, which is nearing its first anniversary. “Featured artist Michael deMeng (Vancouver) has three pieces in the show, one of which (‘La Llorona’) is featured in his book ‘Dusty Diablos,’” notes gallery owner Jennifer Gillooly Cahoon. “The work of Brenda Atwood Pinardi (1941-2010) is being displayed posthumously, courtesy of her husband, artist and retired art professor Enrico V. Pinardi.” The show is followed on June 15 by “Beyond the Diagnosis,” a show of local artists intended to publicize and assist the cause of children and their families struggling with the realities of living with a rare disease.

“Lonnie Holley: Who Locked Up the Rules?” — on view from May 4 through June 10 at the New Hampshire Institute of Art’s Sharon Arts Center Gallery, 30 Grove St, Peterborough, New Hampshire — could turn out to be one of the surprise highlights of the year. Born in Birmingham, Alabama in 1950, Holley is both a visual and a musical outsider artist whose unique improvisational style earned him a one-month artist-in-residence with the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation in Captiva Island, Florida. “His art and music, born out of struggle, hardship, but perhaps more importantly, out of furious curiosity and biological necessity, has manifested itself in drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, performance and sound,” his website explains. “Holley’s sculptures [which will be seen in this exhibition] are constructed from found materials in the oldest tradition of African American sculpture. Objects, already imbued with cultural and artistic metaphor, are combined into narrative sculptures that commemorate places, people and events.”

“Two Lives, One Passion: American Impressionist Paintings and Sketches by William Jurian Kaula and Lee Lufkin Kaula” opens on May 18 and continues through September 9 at the D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts at Springfield Museums, 21 Edwards St., Springfield, Mass. Part of the museum’s “Rediscovering American Artists” series, the show showcases the couple who first met and fell in love at the start of the 20th century while painting in the French countryside, before marrying and fine-tuning their craft at the Boston School of the Fenway Studios — a location which, on its own (for those of us who’ve driven past the landmark in more recent times) should spur great curiosity and interest; they would share bordering studios there till William’s death in 1953. While highly talented, the duo — according to Heather Haskell, director of the D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts — “resisted imposed threads and kept out of the limelight.” The views captured in William’s landscape drawings and paintings had the look of “scientific accuracy,” making “the ideas of botany, atmospheric conditions, and the chemistry of the landscape blossom and billow in a way that makes his landscapes something far more than pigment on canvas.” Lee concentrated mainly on portraits of women and children, and included scenes of children at play. “The women are dressed in sumptuously colorful and textured clothing, in domestic, interior settings” which modern reviewers have noted include a slight gesture “that adds a layer of joy and mystery to each portrait, drawing the viewer closer to the personality of the woman depicted.”

“David Martsolf: The Rational Surrealist” continues through May 20 at the Gallery Z Artist Co-op, 167 Market St., Lowell, Mass. “You will have an opportunity to view the best of my oil paintings and smaller colored drawing works, some of which have never been exhibited anywhere before,” Martsolf said. “Most of the larger oils make use of traditional photorealism or fully realized fantasy techniques, with great attention to detail and easily recognizable illusionistic spaces. The smaller works make use of a more personal line drawing style in ink that is then transformed into fantastic objects and abstractions that inhabit smaller more intimate spaces that welcome the observer to enter and explore.” Three of Martsolf’s architectural sculptures can also been seen in the “From All Sides” sculpture show that runs through June 10 at the Arts League of Lowell, 307 Market St., Lowell.

“Industrial Maine: Our Other Landscape,” an exhibition of paintings, photographs, prints and sculpture by 27 Maine artists focusing on industrial architecture, including the structures and environments of some of Maine’s most prominent industries and lesser-known work sites, continues through June 1 at the Atrium Art Gallery, University of Southern Maine Lewiston-Auburn Campus, 51 Westminster St., Lewiston, Maine. The show was curated by painter Janice L. Moore, who has a longtime interest in Maine’s industrial landscapes and how they have shaped communities both physically and culturally over time. “The resulting exhibit includes realistic and abstract works, from highly detailed to the lyrical and poetic.” Her paintings focus on working factories, abandoned work sites, and repurposed structures throughout the state. She describes industrial landscapes as “the architecture of our usefulness.”

Selected from over 500 entries and juried by abstract painter Eric Aho, Newport Art Museum senior curator Francine Weiss, and painter and Reynolds Fine Art gallery owner Robert Reynolds, the Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) 2018 Annual Juried Exhibition of Fine Art runs through June 2 at the Mystic Museum of Art, 9 Water St., Mystic, Connecticut. The exhibition includes a wide range of works including acrylic, oil, pastel, pencil, charcoal, watercolor, ink, mixed media, fiber, photography, wood and sculptures in ceramic, clay, terracotta, stone, bronze and steel. William M. Simpson of Granby, Conn. was awarded Best in Show for his charcoal piece, “Site No. 2, St. Paul’s.” Cara DeAngelis of Brookfield, Conn., took second prize for her “Snow White with a Laid Table of Roadkill” oil painting, with third place awarded to Sean Patrick Kane of Quaker Hill, Conn., for his pastel piece, “Tell Them That It Is Human Nature.” The CAFA show coincides with “The Contemporary Scene,” works of contemporary life by Roger Beers, Sarah Stifler Lucas and Rachel Petruccillo.

There are two strong outdoors-related photography exhibitions on view at the Bruce Museum, 1 Museum Drive, Greenwich, Connecticut. “In Time We Shall Know Ourselves,” black-and-white photographs by New Haven photographer Raymond Smith, is on view through June 3. Taking inspiration from Robert Frank’s “The Americans” and Walker Evans’ 1930s photographs of the American South, Smith (who studied under Evans at Yale University) in 1974 set out from New England with Suzanne Boyd in an aging Volkswagen on his own exploration of the South and Midwest. While the three-month adventure was intended to serve as material for a Ph.D. thesis in American Studies, it became “a moving suite of portraits, works that are at once down-to-earth, melancholy and filled with surprise.” “Wild Bees: Photographs by Paula Sharp and Ross Eatman,” on view through November 11, features over two dozen photographs of wild bees in their natural habitats, along with native bee specimens that can be viewed under a video microscope, bee houses and giant model bees at 20x scale. The images are the result of a three-year wild bee project undertaken in July 2014 by photojournalist and writer Sharp and nature photographer Eatman to document wild bees inhabiting New York’s Rockefeller State Park Preserve, a haven for wild bees located in Pleasantville, New York, and neighboring Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture.

“Women Artists in Paris, 1850-1900,” which showcases the remarkable artistic production of women artists working in Paris during the latter half of the 19th century, opens on June 9 and continues through September 3 at the Clark Art Institute, 225 South St., Williamstown, Mass. “Paris was the epicenter of the art world during this period, and while it was a cosmopolitan city, it remained strikingly conservative, particularly with respect to gender. Nevertheless, many women chose to work and study there.” The exhibition spotlights the breadth and strength of their achievements and features paintings created by women of varied nationalities and fame, ranging from the well-known — Berthe Morisot, Mary Cassatt and Rosa Bonheur — to those less recognizable to United States audiences, such as Kitty Kielland, Louise Breslau and Anna Ancher.

“Life, Death and Revelry,” which opens June 14 and continues through September 3, is an in-depth look at one of the most treasured works at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 25 Evans Way, Boston, Mass. The exhibition will study the history of the Farnese Sarcophagus, “widely considered the most important ancient Roman sarcophagus in America,” integrating recent scholarship on the piece and new work inspired by it in the form of a 3D digital projection by 2012 artists-in-residence Paul Kaiser and Marc Downie of OpenEndedGroup. “This exhibition traces this artwork’s journey from ancient Rome to nineteenth-century New England, and allows us to place it in conversation with a contemporary new media artwork,” said Dr. Christina Nielsen, the William and Lia Poorvu Curator of the Collection. The four-sided, intricately carved marble object features glorious images of cavorting satyrs and maenads and is a masterwork of classical art. It was created by Roman sculptors around 225 AD and originally used as a coffin.

While he has had over 40 solo shows in his career, the “John Moore: Resonance” exhibition, which remains on view through June 17 at the Center for Maine Contemporary Art (CMCA), 21 Winter St., Rockland, Maine, is the first in a Maine Museum for the Belfast, Maine painter. The majority of works in the 10-year survey were completed in his home studio, where Moore has lived, first seasonally, then full-time, since he retired from the University of Pennsylvania. Born in St. Louis, “Moore is widely admired for his evocative, beautifully rendered composite images that range in subject from a mill town in eastern Pennsylvania and a manufacturing site in Philadelphia, to urbanized locations from Bangor to Belfast in midcoast Maine.” His work originates from “drawings, on-site visits, sketchbook notations, photographs and other source material” before becoming, depending on the piece, a depiction of a specific site or a carefully put-together composition of several sites, with the power to cause the viewer to declare that they know where the captured landmark is. As the show’s announcement said, Moore intends that, “Everything in them is real however,” he says, “or should have been real, or could be real. That’s the only rule: it could be real.”

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