“First Fridays Artswalk”, 09-06-13

There were small hints of the approach of fall during the time of the last writing; definitely more this week.  More than a few folks were “ghosting” their tomato plants.  Be that as it may, it was a fine evening for an “Artswalk” in Pittsfield.

My busy schedule doesn’t allow much for painting or exhibiting work these days, but I was very happy to help out and contribute when Fidel Moreno asked me to be involved with Healing Winds “Pathways to Peace” exhibit at the First United Methodist Church.  So, before I met a colleague to make the “Artswalk” rounds, I needed to duck into the church and tag a few pieces from my archives that I submitted for the show.

Group W

Once all was set there, I slipped around the corner to head into the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts for the first “official” stop of the evening.  Group W’s “Resurfacing” is the current offering there and this one definitely fires on all cylinders in the wow zone.

Group W

Referencing the group’s recent hiatus as well as their re-energizing and revitalization, “Resurfacing” puts these artists back square in the public eye with punchy new work from each of its members.  The work here zips with high voltage narrative in sculpture, paint, drawing, and found objects and stands both jagged and rounded off, on all fours and in high heels, to bring the viewer further along the path these talented artists have made inline, online, and beyond the fabled metaphorical bench/benchmark of their origin.

Group W

Photograph (c)Susan Sabino.

Group W is comprised of brothers Bill, F.x., and Jay Tobin, Mark Hanford, Michael Melle, and Jesse Tobin, daughter of Tobin brother, F.x.  Though my arrival was early on at close to 5, the Licht was already beginning to fill up nicely.  By 6 and beyond, it was wall to wall and in the street.  If you missed the jam-packed reception, please get yourself there sometime this month.  Another so fine, not be missed Lichtenstein show.

Group W

Back south on Renne Avenue and around the corner, the contrasting serenity of the First United Methodist Church made for a nicely candled, sanctimonious welcome as we felt the soothing rhythms of the “Pathways to Peace” exhibit.  This special display and event, which ran from Friday to Sunday, was held to bring notice to and herald the International Day of Peace (September 21).  It featured artwork, performances, and crafts that encouraged healing and growth through peaceful means.

"Pathways to Peace"

Photograph (c)Susan Sabino.

 

"Pathways to Peace"

Among those contributing work were Analesa Rose Berg, Jermaine Gomes, Mary McGinnis, Lisa Merullo, Fidel Moreno, Wendy Rabinowitz, and myself.  On Friday, September 20 at 12:15, one minute of silence will be observed at the church to honor the day of peace occurring on the next day.

"Pathways to Peace"

The evening’s path, path now being an operative theme I guess, brought us next to the Whitney Center for the Arts on Wendell AvenueSeptember inaugurates the venue’s gallery space officially as Gallery W @ The Whit.  This show brings a select group of Pittsfield artists into a show entitled, “Homegrown.”  Chosen by curator Nayana LaFond Glazier, the group includes Ken Bastard, Carl Bowlby, Janet Crawford, Katherine Mahoney, Susan Miller, Rodrigo Santamarina, and Scott Taylor.

Gallery W @ The Whit

The work here is diverse, topically strong, and pulls together brightly painted, high contrasting scenes of local interest and angst with renderings and interpretations of personal growth and self-exploration.  Kudos to curator Glazier for kicking off the newly named space’s schedule of shows with such a strong offering.

Ken Bastard

 

Ken Bastard

Photograph (c)Susan Sabino.

During my conversation with Glazier, I was given a nice synopsis of what is in store for subsequent Gallery W shows.  Beyond this beginning, look for the venue to not only expand its viewings with work selected from a broader geographical area, the scope will be international, but from a greater range of genres as well.  Upcoming shows include extreme realism and fiber arts.

Susan Miller

Photograph (c)Susan Sabino.

From the Whitney, we made our way northward across the town square, onto the main thoroughfare, and came to the Onota building on the eastward side of the street.  Mxlolisi Dolla Sapeta’s “Bloodline vs. Deadline” is a sobering look at the baser instincts and brutally harsh realities of life within a war zone.  Building, planning, hope, is virtually non-existent in these areas and, this as a concept, is essentially just a vague idea to the vast majority of the residents of Berkshire County.  Every second of every day in a war zone teeters on the razor’s edge of life and death.

Dolla Sapeta

 

Dolla Sapeta

Photograph (c)Susan Sabino.

Sapeta works in a broad range of mediums in his work and for this show, focuses often on the gross degradation and marginalization of women and girls in these zones.  In many of these pieces, created amazingly within the past two months, a solitary pregnant female figure, rendered as the same individual in each subsequent piece, is pushed to one side, peripherally, by a vast color field of lost identity.  Other figures, representing the media and stable communities, are also shown facing this overwhelmingly stifling marginalization.

Dolla Sapeta

Across the thoroughfare and a bit further north, we came to Dorothy Napp Schindel’s mixed collage show of recent work at Steven Valenti’s Clothing for Men, 157 North Street.  A sampling of local scenes are juxtaposed here with material focusing on Mexican locales.  Schindel’s collage methods extensively make use of photo transfers from her own photography work, exquisitely exotic papers, and paints of various mediums.

Dorothy Napp Schindel

Photograph (c)Susan Sabino.

She builds scenes that represent the whole impression of a particular place, incorporating people, objects, structures, scenery, and shapes that bring the viewer there in a visceral sense; time and all time come to time in her work.

Dorothy Napp Schindel

After our conversation with Schindel, we made our way to the always-delightful warren of studios and gallery space at 311 North Street.  For September, NU Arts gallery + studios is featuring the work of Susan Himmel and Sally Tiska Rice.  The exhibit here is entitled “Side by Side” and displays gorgeous selections of Himmel’s and Rice’s work in oil, acrylic, collage, and watercolor.  Colorful local scenes, florals, and festive seasonal fun infuse the gallery with bright cheer.

Susan Himmel and Sally Tiska Rice

Sally Tiska Rice

Himmel and Rice are very active in community arts projects and believe in the power of art to transform lives.  As such, 25% of all sales in this show will be donated to the Berkshire Art Association’s Fellowship Fund, which targets arts field trips for area high school students.

Susan Himmel and Sally Tiska Rice

The last show of the evening we visited was a bit further north at Y Bar“A Collection of Images by Chris Frisina & Eamonn McBride” brings these two young gifted photographers together in a black and white show of exciting, kinectic work that does due justice to “transforming the commonplace into the extraordinary,” as their postcard reads.  Both hail from upstate New York and this is the first showing of work by each of them as well.  We’ll be seeing more.  Congrats!

Chris Frisina and Eamonn McBride

Chris Frisina and Eamonn McBrideI have to say it was another really super evening in downtown Pittsfield’s Upstreet Cultural District.  Really strong upscale art shows, great conversation, and photo-ops and people-watching galore.  And of course there are always the after show events as well…

DJ BFG

Jay Tobin

Hope everyone had a great time and if you missed the openings, another gentle reminder that most of the shows are up for an entire month, so…don’t be a stranger.  See you soon!