A Fond Farewell

img_3209

My snapshot of Mira Cantor’s painting, Turlough, in her exhibition “Inundated,” October 2016.

In early 2015, I became Kingston Gallery’s first director. An artist-run space, it was a particularly appropriate endeavor for me, as one of my favorite parts of my profession is working with and supporting visual artists.  I’ll never forget the collective gaze of the twenty-five artist members during the final interview. It was intense, in a good way.

img_3197

At an October 15 gallery talk with Mira Cantor & art historian Pennie Taylor

The next year and a half was a blend of me being impressed by the artists, whether during studio visits, at monthly meetings, or installing exhibitions, and learning the rhythms of the commercial art business in a changing neighborhood. Several new galleries opened on our block in 2016, and not long after that, the Globe significantly altered the way they cover visual art. At times, First Fridays seemed to arrive at a weekly pace rather than by the actual months they were scheduled.

Being a visual artist is a brave and adventurous vocation, and my time at Kingston added only further certainty to this reality. Through it all, the Kingston artists remained steadfastly connected to the gallery’s mission to exhibit high-quality artwork by regionally based artists with singular and independent voices.

It was my job to increase the reach and profile of the gallery, and of each artist. I couldn’t ask for a better way to reacquaint myself to the Boston art scene after having spent five years living in Raleigh, NC. Meanwhile, I knew that ultimately, I wanted to curate the exhibitions, to choose the art, the subject matter, and every detail of what went into the shows I worked on. I got that chance when I was offered the position of Curator at Fruitlands Museum in Harvard, MA, an opportunity that I accepted. As a result, I am no longer the Director of Kingston Gallery, but I continue to support its terrific artists and this independent business.

Alternative spaces of this kind bring consistently bright and varied voices to the city’s cultural landscape, enabling the public to put their finger on the pulse of what some of our most talented artists are working on right now. I wish to thank all of the members and associate members for letting me feel like an honorary member, and like a vital part of the gallery.

wessmann2.JPG

Detail of an installation in Ann Wessmann’s solo exhibition, Being: Vertical + Horizontal, September 2016.

ELBOW ROOM CHAT

Jennifer Moses’ Elbow Room: An Interview in Images with Linda Leslie Brown

Jennifer Moses’ quizzical, layered paintings are packed with physical and conceptual content. They also manage to pay homage, in ways both straightforward and sly, to a panoply of artists -some of whose work you may recognize below. Elbow Room, her show on view this month at Kingston, is a visual feast you won’t want to miss.

I met Jennifer for coffee recently to talk about her work, in an extension of an ongoing discussion we’ve carried on over the years. So, we sat around over at Nero the other morning talking about our art heroes and influences, of whom we have several in common.

Here’s one of Jennifer Moses’ works:

-1.jpgJennifer Moses  Bird on Wire 33×30 oil on panel

And one of my wall pieces

nutt-house
Linda Leslie Brown Nutthouse 2016 mixed media

We decided to conduct our discourse in images…

“First, she said, there’s…

440px-gorky-the-liver

…And don’t forget

matteo-di-giovanni

Do you know this one?Sassetta_-_The_blessed_Ranieri_frees_the_poors_from_a_jail_Florence_-_Louvre.jpg

We have to mention  picasso_nudeinanarmchair1929  of course.”

And it seems both of us have a permanent Resident in our studios:

guston-studiophilipgustonweb1975lg

Well, that started a flow of images…murray2450

th   the-weeping-woman

richard_tuttle_the_triumph_of_night_320x240

larger-copy

…as well as images of flow…

101000-coping

until I came out with

4

which started us both laughing. We could go on and on with this!

So I’ll leave it to you, Readers, to search out further references like these in Jennifer Moses’ paintings and collages at Kingston Gallery this November.

See you at Elbow Room!

-LLB

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

 

IMG_2411

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.

MilesPhysostegia

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

IMG_1989

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.

IMG_2110

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.

IMG_2228

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.

IMG_2127

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?

IMG_2148

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).

Photographic postcards from Mary Lang

Mary Lang recently visited Oregon, and one of her destinations was the Columbia Gorge Model Railroad Club in Portland, where she took a number of photos. This doesn’t mean that model trains are a full-blown obsession of hers…yet.

As she said to me, “I’m not sure I’m doing a project on model railroads necessarily, but I’m interested enough to follow this thread.” Lang had always heard about the Columbia Gorge club, and this visit provided her a great opportunity to play around, have some fun, and follow her intuition. It would not be the first time that one of Lang’s photographic series evolved from focusing on something that was interesting, without exactly knowing what would come of it.

As is evident from the images above, the models as Lang shot them involve her longtime focus on the landscape. As miniature built environments, they bring to mind the traces that people leave in sites familiar to them, such as the tiny trucks parked just so, and to alterations made to the land in order to sustain routine, such as bridges joining two facing embankments.

Photographers often become recognized for specific aspects of their craft: the cropping, the timing, the lighting. Lang’s photography embraces stillness. The stillness that she captures with her lens is a type of attention that magnifies what we see to the degree that it seems as though she invented the textures, colors, and contours that shape her subjects.

You can learn more about Mary Lang at her website, www.marylang.com, and find her on Instagram @marystuartlang.

Friendship and Creativity: Beauty Squared

IMG_3818

A glimpse of the opening reception for “I Know Just What You’re Saying” at Kingston Gallery on January 8. To the left, springs eternal, a lovely porcelain piece by Christina Pitsch.

This month at Kingston is all about the value of artists influencing and supporting each other. Our current exhibition, I Know Just What You’re Saying, is an all-members effort and a game of “telephone” made visual. While its concept opened selections up to chance and some improvisation, the final result is elegant and thought-provoking. It’s up until Sunday, January 31.

In a lovely case of kismet, a former Kingston artist member, Richard DeVeau, wrote an article on Medium about the fellowship of artists, including his time at Kingston Gallery. The piece primarily focuses on artwork and friendship linking artists Amedeo Modigliani and Chaim Soutine in the first half of the 20th century.

DeVeau writes, “Given the number of portraits they painted of each other, especially the number of times Modigliani painted Soutine, it’s clear they were best friends. Their studio/living spaces were in the same building. And they had a lot of time to talk with an easel between them.”

One of the best things about Kingston Gallery, that’s not always apparent to even a frequent visitor to the exhibitions, is the lively chaos in the form of witty banter and passionate dialogue between members at the monthly  meetings. Kingston IS its artists. As DeVeau mentions in his article, it is one of the oldest artist-run galleries in the nation.

It’s no secret that creativity increases when we share ideas, whether directly related to a body of work, generally about art-making, or about life in general. Earlier this week, a friend and former student, Jessica Yvonne Lewis, posted on Facebook:

Do you have to make art consistently to be an artist? Can you be a creative person without a visual element involved? Do you need people to see it for it to mean something? What about conversation? What about how you see and interact with the world?

As is often the case with contemporary art, the questions are more interesting than the answers. Lewis is based in Portland, Oregon. Find her on Instagram @furrawnyvonne.

Finally, in case you missed it, an all-too-relatable cartoon, What Do You Do? by Jack Sjogren on Hyperallergic.

Snapshots from Barbara Moody’s Residency

Image

Barbara Moody is a resident artist at the Vermont Studio Center this month. She kindly sent photos of her studio and the drawings and paintings in progress. Like much of her work, these pieces possess rhythmic compositions that make the imagery seem to float, despite the elaborate compositions.

Those of you who visited Kingston Gallery this month may recall Moody’s large biomorphic, abstract piece in I Know Just What You’re Saying. It is the first piece you see when you walk in the door, and when you visit the exhibition page of our website: kingstongallery.com. My favorite part of it are the scratches into the surface of the varied colors.

Have a look, and take note that Moody’s next solo exhibition at Kingston will take place in April 2017. Stay tuned for other opportunities to see her work in Greater Boston and beyond.

I Know Just What You’re Saying: A Visual Game of Telephone

IMG_0083

A sneak peak from an unexpected angle. Foreground: detail of work by Ann Wessman. To the very far left: glimpse of work by Barbara Moody. Photo: Susan Emmerson.

This post is by Jennifer Moses, one of our fabulous member artists who helped install the current exhibition, I Know Just What You’re Saying

The January show, the brainchild of Shana Garr, presents an unusual opportunity for making connections between members of Kingston Gallery. Although the members are very familiar with each other’s work, this show is the first of its kind where members respond directly to one specific piece of their peers.
IMG_0082

L-R: Sarah Meyers Brent, Stacey Alickman. Photo: Susan Emmerson.

The “game” process consisted of a chain of members: one person responded to a piece by sending it to the next person, to the next, and so on. This process yielded interesting interpretations and connections between artists and functioned much like the game of telephone. Color connections, form emulations, idea continuities, and intuitive responses fill the gallery with work, the last piece having a very different direction than the first. All in all, it’s been a great way for gallery members and visitors to the gallery to gain a deeper and singular understanding of individuals and a manifestation of the gallery cooperative.
-Jennifer Moses
I Know Just What You’re Saying is on view from January 6 to 31. Join us at the opening reception on Friday, January 8 from 5:30 to 8pm. 
IMG_0074.jpeg

Installation view, I Know Just What You’re Saying, L-R: Hilary Tolan, Ann Wessman, Conny Goelz-Schmitt, and Mira Cantor. Photo: Susan Emmerson.