A Fond Farewell

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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.

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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.

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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

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Linda Leslie Brown Nutthouse 2016 mixed media

We decided to conduct our discourse in images…

“First, she said, there’s…

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…And don’t forget

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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:

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Well, that started a flow of images…murray2450

th   the-weeping-woman

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…as well as images of flow…

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until I came out with

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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

Rachel Mello’s Favorite Things

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

 

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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

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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.

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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