Saturday, August 22 was one of those days in the arts where a big chunk of good lines up in one day; weather, events, good vibes, everything seemed to be on a pleasingly positive page. As with last weekend, the arts indie intuition seemed to be with rolling wheels south. First stop, as morning transitioned to afternoon, was to Sienna Patti Contemporary in Lenox for an artist’s talk given by the gallery’s current featured exhibitor, Bettina Speckner.
As luck would have it, after an understandable period of mistrial, I was able to secure a spot right on Main Street directly in front of the gallery. The odds? A goat would have trouble making the climb. And the result…I was early enough for chat time and photographing the work beforehand.
Speckner’s show is titled “Things of this World Keeping Their Difficult Balance.” Her work here has, over a period of time, and in small increments, evolved to a place of profound universality and unique simplicity.
By way of careful research using “Mr. Google” and the help of many caring and very thoughtful guides, Speckner is now producing pieces that judiciously incorporate an authentic adaptation of the tintype photography process.
And the images that she creates are earthy, grounded, and have developed as a personal language in symbols and representations of ideals and hopes for quiet dignity and stability; often an object or group of objects lies dormant in her modest studio until just the right time for symbiotic communication with the artist.
This language dictates the form for each piece, and as such, furthers the universality of the whole through geometry; we see lots of familiar and comfortable shapes here, each having found their own measured balance.
A hallmark of a fabulous piece of jewelry is an inherent timeless quality. Speckner has achieved this in large doses through her use of materials, images, and forms. “Things of this World Keeping Their Difficult Balance” runs through October 4 at 80 Main Street, Lenox, MA.
Still in Lenox, and only a short walk down a back driveway, I stopped in for a visit to see the latest photography show at Sohn Fine Art. “abstrakt”, which opened last Saturday, August 15, is a group show featuring gallery artists John Atchley, Peggy Braun, Denise B. Chandler, Seth Resnick, and proprietor Cassandra Sohn.
On the walls here, besides the unifying abstract quality of the exhibit, we also see a good deal of transition and ways to interpret transition. In this selection of Atchley’s work we see the subtlest of transitions with warm, almost fuzzily comfortable, color relationships that are soft and pleasing to the eye.
Braun’s pieces are the busiest, compositionally speaking, in the show, yet also exude a comfortable familiarity in nostalgic hues and layered mannerisms. These also tread the closest towards owning their representationalism with self-identity on the cusp of assuredness.
Emerging artist Chandler shows good promise here with work that implies movement in both streaks of light and primary-colored moons that rise and set on a black background.
Resnick’s transitions come by their identity via the hardest path, with jagged juxtapositions of texture and eye-popping organic color that show our mothership in all its capricious glory.
SFA gallerist Sohn combines the best of many worlds with her selections; soft transitions work playfully with sharp flares of light, while patterns and textures show the way for waves, drifts, and billows of color.
So glad I had a chance to take this in. “abstrakt” is on view through October 4 at 69 Church Street, Lenox, MA.
And by now it was a good thing that the next gallery stop was also a very fine place to do lunch. The too-hip-to-be-trendy No. 6 Depot was soon to host a reception for the also too-hip-to-be-trendy “Panorama” group show later in the afternoon/early evening. Time and schedule didn’t allow for a sync to that time slot for me, but I thought a sit down over food would be nice at the venue.
I was drawn to this particular show after it came to my attention that several of the artists that are in “Exquisite”, the collaboration show I covered in the last post, also have work in this exhibit, but as individuals.
Curated by Sue and Philip Knoll, “Panorama” features Cynthia Atwood, Morgan Bulkeley, Carol Diehl, Stella Elliston, Betsy Friedman, Sean Greene, Brece Honeycutt, Sarah Horne, Erick Johnson, Mary Newhouse, Mark Olshansky, Jon Piasecki, Dee Shapiro, Julie Shapiro, Linda Stillman, Audrey Stone, Jeff Starr, Matt Tiernan, and Geoffrey Young.
To say the least, the scope of this show is broad indeed with a veritable “Panorama” of materials, perspective, and approach adorning the gallery space that is located in the oldest train station in the Berkshires. Lines, shapes, and patterns make way for delicious fields of color that rest in comfortable juxtaposition with work that strolls back and forth as if on well-earned holiday with the more representational pieces; a symbiosis between earth and sky greets the viewer here and all the creatures of town, forest, field, stream, and ocean are pleased with the collaboration.
“Panorama” will be on view in this Euro-cool West Stockbridge venue located at 6 Depot Street through October 1, so plenty of time to stop in for a look over a delicious breakfast or lunch or sampling of what the wonderfully eclectic microshop has to offer.
And meanwhile, back in our little town, canvas progress moves forward steadily. I’m pleased and happy to post that my last completed canvas, “A Fine Pair” has been curated in to be a part of the Fresh Paint Gallery exhibit at the Berkshire Artist Museum. The exhibit opens during this coming Thursday‘s Downstreet Art in North Adams and the piece will be on view through the end of the museum’s season.
“A Fine Pair”, oil on canvas, 36″x48″. (c)Leo Mazzeo.
Image courtesy of the Berkshire Artist Museum.
Image courtesy of the Berkshire Artist Museum.
Also, a new one is under way. This, in answer to a Call for Artists I was invited to via a Facebook event created by fellow Tamarack Hollow Board Member Stefanie Weber. (Speaking of Tamarack Hollow, the super, duper big annual Drum and Dance Fest benefit is on its way in October. Please mark your calendar to attend at Berkshire Community College on Friday, October 16, 7:30PM. Thank you!)
The show, to hang in the Whitney Center for the Arts in Pittsfield, MA for the month of October, is part of a month-long multi-media happening to benefit Weber’s dance-making project in Nairobi, Kenya. Weber, as Founder, directs the project, They Dance for Rain, in collaboration with photographer/artist Monika Pizzichemi and tap dancer Josephine McDonald.
Very excited to be contributing a new piece for this. Less line work and more space for the eyes to rest than the previous pieces. So far, I am here:
And to the end of the post we’ve arrived. Maybe we’ll see you Thursday at DownStreet Art? Thanks for reading. Hope to see you soon!
Article by Leo Mazzeo. Photographs and images by Leo Mazzeo except where indicated.