Rachel Mello’s Favorite Things


Photo by Rachel Mello.

Rachel Mello, who joined Kingston’s Associates in late 2015, came to make visual art through her diverse training and professional experiences in theater set design, mural art, and architecture, making her a choice subject to start our new series, five favorites. What follows are things that are on Rachel’s mind, in a range of media, from literature to music.

1. The evening dusk sky over houses and cities

I love the etchings that the silhouettes of the power lines make in the colors of the setting sun. I have a million photos of this that I take all the time. It’s really just an utter joy for me to see, record, and later respond to in my work.


Installation view, (L-R Jane Lincoln, Jamie Bowman, Laurel McMechan, and Rachel Mello, Instinct to Dream, oil on hardboard cut to silhouette. Photo by Will Howcroft.

At its heart, my work is about a sense of place: the roofs, windows, antennas, trees and wires weave a story and make a house into homes, the streets into neighborhoods. I make these explorations coming back to the same subject imagery through a range of media and approaches.

2. The electro-swing band Caravan Palace

I was introduced to Caravan Palace by a friend as part of my project for 2016: to go see 12 new-to-me bands live over the course of the year. They played a super show in May at the Paradise Rock Club in Boston. People tend to listen to the music they heard early in life, and I didn’t want to remain stuck in the stuff I know.  I have experienced live music in new genres including edm/trance music, psychedelic hard core rock, and an all-woman surf rock band. It supports my premise about creativity that if I know how it’ll turn out, I don’t want to do it.


A view of Rachel Mello’s desk as she is at work, shifting from work on the computer to pencils on paper.

3. The A. R. T. ‘s production of George Orwell ‘s 1984.

The night I saw this production (Feb 20, I think), one of the leads was called out for a family emergency.  The director made a stunning last minute decision to use another male lead playing two roles! One was his regular role, and one he subbed in for carrying a script. When they announced this at the beginning I was disappointed,  but the truth was that the outcome was amazing. The way in which Orwell plays with reality and gaslighting the characters was enhanced by the confusion of having the same man in multiple identities. I was gobsmacked.

In addition to being great theater, it was such a great reminder of how we can plan our artwork, and hope it goes the way we’re planning… but, as long as the themes and ideas are clear, it will be possible to roll with whatever comes up.


Janel Echelman’s sculpture, Boston, 2015. Photo by Rachel Mello

4. Janet Echelman’s aerial sculpture at the Boston Greenway.

I went to see this sculpture (As If It Were Already Here, 2015) a dozen times with different friends. It was disarmingly simple: a net with lights on it. The way Echelman pieced it together had the appearance of casual happenstance, but it was truly masterful. I love that it was accessible to everyone. It had the aesthetic of construction barricades, or woven recycled bags. The fishermen who worked nearby could see qualities in it that no one else did about how it was made. It spoke to different people, based on specific aspects of materiality, and so I found it to be more democratic than a lot of public art. Its powerful tactile qualities called on  construction, rigging, chain hoists. A female artist made a huge fiber art sculpture, working with engineers specializing in Autodesk/autoCAD. I also hope to create art that pulls you in with beauty, but then the more you look at it, there’s more to find.


Photo of Janet Echelman’s aerial sculpture, Boston, 2015, photo by Rachel Mello.

5. Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien

What I love about Tolkien is the infinite depth of his work. While, yes, you can enjoy his stories just following the plot, you can also look deeper and deeper and never get beyond the world he created.
Tolkien was a linguist first, and made the stories to hold the languages he created. The languages, and the incidental sculptures half-buried in the grass, all carry thousands of years of “history” in them beyond the surface of the story. For my own work, most of my large sales take place after people look at a piece repeatedly. They get to know my work and then may commission something, or they keep coming back to a favorite. There is an immediate recognition, but sufficient complexity to offer more over time.

Rachel Mello uses a variety of media to express a sense of place, bringing her background in architecture and mural art to this body of work. She has been a resident at Vermont Studio Center and at the Ucross Foundation in Wyoming, a three-time recipient of the Somerville Arts Council Artist Fellowship Award, and a finalist for the Massachusetts Cultural Council’s Artist Fellowship in Painting. Mello works extensively with community art around the Boston Metro area, especially in Somerville. She has a MFA from Brandeis University and a BFA and a BArch from Rhode Island School of Design. Look for her first solo show in Boston, “That Space Between Flying and Falling” at Laconia Gallery opening on Friday, November 4, 2016.


Installation view, Rachel Mello, Instinct to Dream, oil on hardboard cut to silhouette,”Our Voices,” August 2016, Kingston Gallery. Photo by Will Howcroft.


Paper-Making on Appleton Farms: Q&A with Laurie Miles



Artist Laurie Miles, topping onions at Appleton Farms in Ipswich, MA.

Laurie Miles is part of Kingston’s current exhibition, Our Voices. In addition to being an active Associate Member at our gallery, she is also in the midst of a Residency at Appleton Farms, Ipswich, MA. Miles, who lives on Boston’s North Shore, will work on the farm through the end of August. I recently talked with her to learn more about her time there.


Laurie Miles, Phystostegia, clay, sand, fiber, recycled plant container, pigment, wax on panel, 15.25 x 18 inches, 2016. Currently on view in “Our Voices” at Kingston Gallery.

SDG: Laurie, your work in Our Voices is lovely. I especially like the pieces with graphic qualities, with black marks on dense, textured grounds that look almost like parts of an alphabet of the future. Are the works you’re making at Appleton Farms related in appearance to these works?

LM: Thank you. The graphic element will carry through the new work, but handmade paper will take center stage, creating lighter, more sculptural pieces.

SDG: What made you interested in this residency? How did it come about?  Do they typically have one resident per season at the farm? 

LM: I introduced myself to the farmers last fall, asking to collect garlic and leek stalks that they had no need for, other than compost, of course. I’ve always been drawn to farms, and a residency was not only a great way to collect organics, but it offered the chance to immerse myself into farming


Dried paper swatches made from cabbage pulp.

routines, to satisfy my personal curiosity, and to inform my work in the studio. Appleton does not have a residency program, but they are seriously considering it now.

SDG: What have you been up to so far?

LM: My main project is Organic Papermaking. For the past four weeks (and weeks ahead), I collect and process farm and field material to create an inventory of pulp. The resulting work will be an expression of haute couture textiles, referencing my experience at Appleton Farms and our relationship to the land.


Cabbage leaves after the harvest.

SDG: When you say haute couture textiles, will you be incorporating them into any wearables? 

LM: The work will not be wearable, but will reference fashion details–collars, necklines, fasteners, seams. It’s not uncommon for me to find inspiration from the runway.

SDG: Excellent. Tell us more about the materials that you harvest. 

LM: Materials and experience with the farm and farmers will be referred to in the work. To date, I’ve made pulp from cabbage leaves, broccoli leaves, grass, hay, onion, garlic, and leek stalks, swiss chard, phragmites, and cat tails. This week’s challenge will be extracting the pre-processed fiber from cow manure. Stay tuned.


Cows ready to be milked.

Interacting with the farmers also influences what I make. Dairy farming starts with a scenic field of grass. It’s actually a varying recipe of Alfalfa, Timothy Grass, Reed Canary Grass and the weather. It makes up a cow’s diet and effects the flavor of the milk and cheese we consume. Most memorable—standing in a quiet  barn at 3:30 am waiting for the cows to shuffle in to choose a spot at one of the stalls. I didn’t know what was going on but they did.

Vegetable farming is a daily expression of teamwork, camaraderie, volume and repetition. It is a massive feat of time management and coordination. I think I gained their respect the day I spent 4 hours topping onions. It was a behind the scenes opportunity for me to get a large supply of resource material, while doing a job that freed a staff member up to do something else. I used the onion tops in my paper-making.


Miles’ pulp beater. 

SDG: That is fascinating. It’s a veritable salad of materials. What else is special about the farm?

LM: In addition to the farmers, the event staff also work hard. They create opportunities for the public to learn about and celebrate the farm experience. They host farm dinners, cooking workshops, tours, and camp for kids. Just like everyone else, they love their job and never have enough time or money in the budget. I contributed a high energy day, making paper with 40 Farm Camp kids using recycled pulp.

 SDG: Wow, that’s a good number of kids. 
LM: Yes, and keeping them away from the hose (water is a key part of papermaking) during our recent heat wave was important. It was just another way to point out the value of conservation during our severe drought. It’s top of mind for all of us and effects everything, including our spirits.
SDG: Indeed, that makes sense. Anything else you’d like to add?


Grass fields for hay.

LM: Every facet is connected. It’s a place where not much ever goes into the landfill.

Laurie Miles is a mixed media artist, coming to fine art after a career in print advertising—an industry saturated in design. She works closely with nature, both in and out of the studio, and has led several community art programs related to the environment. Miles received a BFA from the Massachusetts College of Art. You can follow her on Instagram (@milezart).

Visual Art and Music Inspire each other at Kingston and Beyond

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Jim Zingarelli, Chord & Color watercolor study, 2015.

This week wraps up the solo exhibition Syngergy: Chord & Colorby Jim Zingarelli. It is on view through this Sunday July 31- you still have nearly a week to see it! The paintings refer to jazz music, in detailed and technical ways, merging the influences of visual and aural expression with a finely calibrated technique (read more about his work on this press release). This show inspired us to look into other contemporary artists creating work that is influenced by music, other than album covers.


Kingston’s Center Gallery was host to much lively discussion during the opening reception on Friday, July 1. Visitors included many of Jim’s fond students and those inspired by the series. Installation view, Synergy: Chord & Color, 2016.

Lincoln Hancock, in collaboration with the collective Yuxtapango, created the riotous installation, Exploded Hipster, with clothing sourced from music lovers in North Carolina. This work was exhibited at the Nasher Museum of Art in Durham, NC in 2015. It reflects the region’s strong contemporary music scene, which includes Merge Records and the Hopscotch Music Festival. Hancock, who is also a musician, worked with sound in another way in 2014 in another collaborative project, Detroit Gold Record. As he wrote on his website,

The Detroit Gold Record project uses tools and methods of music, art, and design to provide a means for communicating Detroit’s re-imagined dream to those of us floating on our own planets, living day-to-day in our own remote galaxies, perhaps yet to reckon with the full impact of profound and monumental change.

Hancock opted for an open-format method to consider Detroit as a place that both mightily struggles in the post-industrial era and stimulates creativity and imagination.

Like Hancock, Yuko Mohri is both a visual artist and a musician. At the Yokohama Triennale in 2014, she created I/O: Chamber of a Musical Composer. This automated assemblage, which features long, arcs of paper rolls, makes subtle sounds by reading dust that has gathered on the paper’s surface. It is part of a series of works made with secondhand, found objects. A recognized part of Japan’s avant-garde music and visual art scene, a crucial part of Morhi’s process is personally collecting the items that become part of her kinetic, sound-making creations (which takes place internationally). Many of her creative decisions are founded in musical rather than visual concerns.

Earlier this spring, the Harvard Art Museums and the Ethelbert Cooper Gallery of African & African American Art co-hosted an exhibition containing a wealth of modern and contemporary artists. A three-part exhibition, Art of Jazz included memorable work by artists including Lina Iris Viktor and Whitfield Lovell. Jazz played This final example may be closest in spirit to Jim Zingarelli’s Chord & Color series because it is also inspired by jazz.

View More: http://ebersolephotography.pass.us/zartwork

Jim Zingarelli, Chord and Color #2 (detail), oil, graphite, and galkyd on linen over panel, 2015, entire work 42 x 16 inches.

What else? Did this post remind you of your favorite art/music synergy? Tell us about it in the comments!

Jim Zingarelli (BFA Pratt Institute, M.A. Trinity College, CT, Nicoli Botteghe Artistici di Scultura, Cararra, Italy) is a painter and sculptor who has been teaching art for 36 years and is currently Professor of Art at Gordon College, Wenham, MA. He has taught at The Salzburg Institute, Salzburg, Austria as well as The Orvieto Semester, Italy and The Carving Studio & Sculpture Center in West Rutland, VT. His work has been exhibited at the Andrea Marquit Gallery (Boston), Pepper Gallery (Boston), Vorpal Gallery (NY), Dartmouth College, Yale University, Berklee College of Music, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and the Attleboro Museum. He resides and works in Amesbury, Massachusetts.

The Generosity of Drawings

shon Macdonald orange interference 2016

Shona Macdonald, Orange Interference, silverpoint on prepared paper, 2016

I have always been partial to drawings because they feel personal and open, able to freely share information about how they came to be. It is as though paintings, sculptures, and videos are rehearsed speeches, and drawings are one-on-one conversations over drinks.

jeff hull

Jeff Hull, Ink Series, ink on paper. (See more of Jeff’s work at Hallspace in Dorchester, MA in July 2016.)

Some of these conversations are hushed and secretive, while others are peppered with laughter and banter. Sometimes the drink is water, in other cases it is coffee, and every now and then, it is a heady glass of champagne. You get the idea.

Through July 31, Kington hosts a group exhibition, From Atmosphere to Edge, which brings together drawings done in a range of styles. Curated by member artist Jennifer Moses, the show includes work work by Helen Beckman, Rick Fox, Nona Hershey, Craig Hood, Jeff Hull, Shona Macdonald, and Leslie Roberts. Moses sought drawings that respond to traditional drawing materials and present a spectrum of artists’ touches. She also waxed metaphorical about drawings in her statement:

Atmospheric or hard-edged, conceptual or concrete, the works range from delicate silverpoint and pencil drawings to bold charcoal and gouache. It is the directness of drawing and the unique light of paper that interests me—if painting is flesh, drawing is bone.


Nona Hershey, Scanning, charcoal and gouache on paper.

Earlier this year, I reviewed the exhibition Drawing Redefined at the Decordova Sculpture Park + Museum on the online arts magazine, Big Red & Shiny. The show included sculptures and sought to expand the consideration of drawing beyond lines drawn on a flat surface. It also prompted questions about the utility of categorizing artwork in the 21st century. Many of the sculptures in the exhibition had a similar open quality that I associate with drawings. From Atmosphere to Edge, although focusing on two-dimensional work, presents a similar spirit of exploration with the ranges it presents: whether line weight, narrative, and composition, each artist delves in a unique direction. Some of the art seems to have been prized from the secretive sketchbook pages of a talented scribbler, and others seduce us with a soft and thorough finish.

With such a delightful range of approaches comes a celebration of diversity, and more than usual, the gallery feels like a dynamic conversation among opinionated friends (kind of like a members’ meeting!) Visit through Sunday, July 31 to see what I mean.

Learn more about the artists in From Atmosphere to Edge:

Leslie Roberts Artists 800 pixels

Leslie Roberts, Artists, gouache on paper mounted to panel

Press release and exhibition webpage 

Artist websites and Instagram accounts:

Helen Beckman: helenbeckman.com

Rick Fox: rickfoxpaintings.com

Nona Hershey: nonahersheywork.com

Craig Hood: www.craighoodpaintings.com

Jeff Hull: jeffhullartist.com

Shona Macdonald: www.shonamacdonald.com

Leslie Roberts: leslierobertsart.com


Paintings and Poems by Judith Brassard Brown


Judith Brassard Brown, Berm #9, egg tempera, collage, wax, and resin, 2016, 6 x 8 inches.

Judith Brassard Brown‘s new solo exhibition, Smallish, features new paintings and a word/image catalog that she authored. The burnished, tiny, egg tempera paintings continue Brown’s tendency to resolve conflict and seemingly disparate entities through image-building, whether written, collaged, or painted. In her hands, memories and small revelations coexist with ancient concerns; multiple, subjective realities coexist to form a more robust hold on both reality and daydreams.

One of her poems accompanies the painting Ridiculous:


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Judith Brassard Brown, Ridiculous, egg tempera, collage, wax and resin, 2016, 6 x 8 inches.

Sometimes, things are just silly or unexpected.

Like this hill I saw this past November.

red and green like Christmas,

tied with a ribbon of road with teeny bows

imitating trees on the tippy top and falling off the side.

Respite from other random, more disturbing offerings

which only increases my pleasure.



Parts of this series were published in this year’s Spring Review of Four Way Books, a biannual electronic literary journal from the non-profit, independent literary publisher Four Way Books. The album of paintings may be viewed at this link: http://fourwayreview.com/artwork-by-judith-brassard-brown/

The artist is also exhibiting her work in Double Visions at the Art Complex Museum in Duxbury from May 2nd-September 4th, 2016. This show features twelve artists from the museum’s permanent collection, alongside work by a guest artist invited by each participant.


Judith Brassard Brown, Berm #9, egg tempera, collage, wax, and resin, 2016, 6 x 6 inches.

Brown’s guest is Montserrat College of Art graduate Catalina Viejo. Other exhibiting artists include Phyllis Berman, Marilu Swett; George Nick, Julia von Metzch, Eric Aho, Dorothy Krause, Jessica Strauss, Antoinette Winters and Chris Gustin.

Additionally, her work is part of a group exhibition of Art and Giving Artists at the Motherbrook Arts Center 123 High Street, Dedham, MA 02026 from June 14th-August 7th.

Smallish is on view from July 1st-31st, 2016. The Opening Reception is First Friday, July 1st, 5:30-8:00 pm. 


Judith Brassard Brown is represented by Kingston Gallery in Boston with solo and group shows in the US and in Europe. She is a professor at Montserrat College of Art where she teaches painting and drawing. She founded their Summer Intensive Studios in Viterbo, Italy, returning most summers as faculty. Follow her on Instagram @judithbrassardbrown and visit her website at www.judithbrassardbrown.com

This Saturday: Meet the Artists!


Joan Baldwin and Ellen Solari will be at Kingston Gallery this Saturday, June 18, from 3 to 6 pm.

Feel free to arrive anytime between 3 and 6pm, as no formal talk is scheduled. This is a great opportunity to meet the artists and talk with them without having to negotiate the crowds of First Friday.


Joan Baldwin, Horse Sense, oil on canvas, 33 x 42 inches, 2015.

The Marshes is a solo exhibition by Artist Member Joan Baldwin. The works imaginatively present saltwater marsh scenes, with birds, insects, mammals, reptiles, and fish in their natural habitats. Her vivid imagery reveals a keen eye for detail and composition as well as her background in illustration, and her subjects demonstrate her sense of humor and appreciation for the setting where she draws inspiration, the Nauset marshes at Cape Cod. The resulting imagery incorporates a range of wildlife in surreal scenes that hint at larger narratives.


Ellen Solari, strata, sculptural basket, 8 x 3 x 3 inches, 2015.

Ellen Solari’s solo exhibition, forest primeval, conjures a sense of mystery and at times unease by integrating the functional tradition of basket weaving with the expressive capabilities of sculpture. Her works combine traditional and found materials, such as rusted wire and old rubber tubing, with rushes and small branches. With traditional techniques such as coiling and simple weaving, Solari works the materials so that the texture, color, and materials inform one other. Many of the sculptures continue to hold utilitarian shapes, but they also bend and reach in ways that hint at multiple interpretations and invite paradox.

The two solo exhibitions complement each other, and their evident connection to the outdoors are well-suited to this time of year. You can also catch the lovely Members’ Gallery exhibition, Reconsidered, by Conny Gölz-Schmitt. These exhibitions are on view through Sunday, June 26.


Jane Lincoln: Vibrance and Light

Kingston Gallery Associate member Jane Lincoln creates reductive paintings whose subjects, methods, and effects center on color. In an increasingly image-driven world, color’s significance is undeniable. Pantone releases an annual color that sets the tone for design trends internationally. One need only type “the dress” into a Google search to find, at the top of the results, one of the most explosive viral phenomena of 2015, a bitter disagreement about whether a striped dress was black and blue or white and gold (go team #whiteandgold).

All About Aubergine

Jane Lincoln, “All About Aubergine,” from the Color Zone series, acrylic on paper/hardboard, 16 x 20 inches, 2015.

Lincoln has said that color is a chameleon, and she explores that observation in terms of both pure color relationships and as observed in nature. She is fascinated by the slippery quality of an individual color as its context changes, and her work involves the optics and the emotions involved with experiencing specific hues.

Since the earliest days of art-making, when a basic palette of five colors (red, yellow, brown, black, and white) reflected the organic materials that artists could locate in their environments, the implementation of color has combined discovery, experimentation, and emotional expression.

Lincoln exhibited her work in the solo exhibition, All About Color, in the Center Gallery in October 2015. This post includes installation shots of that show to accompany our recent conversation. While the images give a great idea of what the exhibition was like, experiencing the paintings in person heightens their effect. This is due to Lincoln’s obsessively consistent color application, and their powder-smooth finish. Each color in her paintings is so soft and precise that it seems tangible, rather than representational. There will be another opportunity to view her work this August at Kingston Gallery in TEN Kingston Associates/Our Voices.  Follow us on social media for related updates.


Installation view, All About Color, Center Gallery, November 2015. photo by Will Howcroft.

SG: Jane, it is clear that color is crucial to your work. You have shown different series at Kingston Gallery in the past two years, giving us an idea about your range of curiosity and methodology. What are some of the things that set each series apart from each other?

JL: Yes, color is my concentration. I work on several types of work in order to remain fresh and stimulated. Each series is my own invention in order to visually work with the interaction of color.

Benevolent Butterscotch

Jane Lincoln, “Benevolent Butterscotch,” from the Color Zone series, acrylic on paper/hardboard, 10 x 10 inches, 2015.

I invest the most time in the series Color Zones. They reach the largest dimension of my work, referencing sculpture as they project out from the wall and cast a colored glow onto the surrounding surface. Each painting will shift as the viewer moves in front of it. I invite the viewer to come close to inspect the razor-sharp edges and to experience what from a distance exists, but up close may disappear.

In my series Personal Puzzles, I discuss color preferences with people, and find it interesting to work with their color choices. It is my style of painting a portrait. I believe that the grid belongs firmly in our century of art. I combine this fact with the game of Sudoku puzzles to express a person’s color selection. The exchange of chance versus choice makes creating these works a surprise.

The Color Conversations series are white-line woodblock prints based on Josef Albers’ text Interaction of Color, in which the same color can appear to look different. I place an identical color as one square in both the right and left grid of each print. Because of their placement, the matching pair will appear as different colors. Each print begins as a conversation between two colors. How they connect and how they dispute become the subject of the work. The grid itself is a polarizing force, so placing two grids adjacently is an ideal way to prompt a conversation.

Ice Blue%2C Burnt Sienna.jpg

Jane Lincoln, “Ice Blue, Burn Sienna,” from the Color Conversation series. white-line woodblock print. (The matching color is the top center of the left grid and the middle right of the right grid.)

SG: Do you work on these series simultaneously, or focus on one at a time?


Jane Lincoln, “Erica,” Personal Puzzle series, 2015. A portrait of Erica Licea-Kane, a Member of Kingston Gallery.

JL: There are times when I concentrate on one series, particularly the paintings, as they require the most time. But mostly I shift around. The materials and colors fluctuate between the series. For example, the scraps of painted paper from my Color Zone paintings are cut into 2 inch squares so I can tape them onto my Personal Puzzle grids to test the composition. Various color selections from any of the series may be explored further in another series.

SG: What do you plan to show at the Kingston Associate’s exhibition this August?

JL: I will be exhibiting my Color Conversations, which you can read about on my website under Prints. I feel these will be appropriate with the tile of our show “Our Voices.” I plan to include around six of them and will let those installing determine the layout and combinations. This becomes like a small installation – again affected by color interaction. I also plan to exhibit a Color Zone painting titled “Outgoing Orange.”


Installation view, All About Color, Center Gallery, November 2015. photo by Will Howcroft.