Category Archives: Gallery

Lisa Viles and painter Sharon Kinney Biddle with Lady's Mantle True Color from The Art Connection
NEK Council on Aging Executive Director Lisa Viles accepts Lady’s Mantle True Colors painted by Sharon Kenney Biddle of West Barnet as the first non-profit organization to receive artwork through The Art Connection, a Boston-based program affiliated with Catamount Arts that places visual art with public-service agencies that might not otherwise afford to buy it.

Council on Aging Receives First Painting From New Catamount Arts Program

The Council on Aging recently became the first mission-driven, client-directed association in the Northeast Kingdom to receive artwork through ArtsConnect@CatamountArts, a new and innovative program facilitated by Catamount Arts.

Established in 1995 to expand public access to art in social-service settings, The Art Connection is headquartered in Boston, and supports Catamount Arts in its efforts to promote visual outreach throughout northern New Hampshire and Vermont, according to Katherine French, who came on board as Catamount’s new Gallery Director last year after retiring as Director Emerita of Danforth Art, a museum and art school located just outside of Boston.

“I grew up in the Northeast Kingdom,” said French who now resides in Barton.  “I know from personal experience how meaningful art can be.  It allows us to see the world through the eyes of others and can have a profound effect on our lives.”

Social-service organizations that might not be able to buy art are invited, at no cost, to select works donated by New England artists for placement in public meeting places in their offices. The Council on Aging, which is reconfiguring how it uses its administrative headquarters in the historic Summer Street School, has opted to place Lady’s Mantle True Colors by West Barnet painter, Sharon Kenney Biddle, in its large conference room.

“We’re grateful to Sharon for donating a painting that brings lightness to often serious conversations we’re having about how best to meet the needs of an aging population,” commented Lisa Viles, the Council’s Executive Director.  “This beautiful painting connects to the natural beauty we all enjoy here.”

Kenney Biddle, a well-regarded art teacher in the Peacham and Danville schools before her retirement, chose to depict Lady’s Mantle—a flower with soft, cup-like petals that capture water droplets after a rain and grows well in shady locations, including the painter’s garden.  The frame for the painting was crafted by Frame Dames of St. Johnsbury, who generously donated their services.

The Council on Aging is now considering acquiring additional art for its ground-floor lobby, a smaller conference room, and for its offices in Newport and Island Pond.  Other human service agencies interested in acquiring original art by regional artists through this new civic-wide initiative can contact Katherine French at kfrench@catamountarts.org.

Oil Paintings of Terry Ekasala in the Dylan’s Annex Gallery

Catamount Arts is pleased to announce a new exhibition of abstract oil paintings by artist Terry Ekasala, on view through May 21 in Catamount Arts’ Annex Gallery in Dylan’s Restaurant.  Located right beside Catamount Arts Center on Eastern Avenue in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, the Annex Gallery at Dylan’s Café offers patrons an opportunity to enjoy original art as part of their dining experience during the restaurant’s open hours: Monday-Tuesday, 11-3 pm and Wednesdays-Saturdays, 11-9 pm.

About the Exhibition:  The current show contains 25 abstract paintings and one mixed media work by local artist Terry Ekasala completed between 2011 and 2013.  Featuring such poetic titles as Breath In, Breath Out (2013) and Heart and Soul, World Time Over (2015), the paintings are an expressive reflection of personal and artistic experience.  All are for sale.

ABOUT THE ARTIST: Born in Weymouth, Massachusetts, artist Terry Ekasala received her undergraduate degree the Art Institute in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and began work as a freelance graphic designer. Drawn to fine arts, she set up her first studio in the Clay Hotel and Youth Hostel on Espanola Way in Miami Beach in 1983, which was at then a broken down palace of art deco dreams inhabited by refugees, addicts, and unsuspecting youth hostel who all contributed to the creative activity of the young artists who had begun to gather in the area.

Inspired by the rich diversity of the scene, Terry began working representationally, but quickly expanded her practice.  She became a member of the Artifacts Art Group, who staged weekly events at  the Miami nightclub “Fire and Ice” and organized exhibits in their own gallery.  She was also part of a group of grapffiti artists who took to the streets to cover the boarded up and abandoned buildings.  This work was eventually featured on the cover of the Sunday edition of the Miami Herald and as background in major advertising commercials on television.

In 1987 Terry visited Paris moved to Paris and worked as a cook in a tea salon while continuing to paint in her tiny apartment.  In 1990 she set up a studio in Belleville, the colorful 20th Arrondissement at La Forge where she was part a diverse community that included  artists of many nationalities.  With others, she organized the first artist’s “squat” or reclaimed space to become legal in Paris, where she painted until 2001.  During this time, her style underwent many changes, moving from figurative to abstract and she was able to sell directly through annual open studios in Belleville, as well as participate in group exhibitions in Paris, Berlin and New York.

In 2001 Terry moved to Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, where she set up a studio in the small village of Lyndonville, but continued exhibiting—notably in a solo exhibition of large abstract oil paintings in NYC’s Metalstone Gallery in 2003.  After the birth of her son Zack in 2004, she created smaller acrylic on board works that were shown at the Metalstone Gallery in 2005.  Terry Ekasala now resides in East Burke, VT with her family, continuing to work on large and small abstracts in what she calls a dream studio in nearby West Burke.

Gallery reception for “Jon Imber: Curious Narrative” Friday, March 27, 5:30pm

Jon Imber
Filmmaker Richard Kane filming Jon Imber painting George Nick during filming of Jon Imber’s Left Hand. Photo: Jill Hoy.

Jon Imber—Curious Narrative

Dear Friends,

Please join me, Jill Hoy and filmmaker Richard Kane for a special event this Friday, March 27 at Catamount Arts Film and Art Center in St. Johnsbury, Vermont in celebration of a screening of the film Jon Imber’s Left Hand and opening of a new exhibition of Jon’s work entitled Jon Imber: Curious Narrative.

5:30-7:30 pm: Opening Reception in Catamount Arts Gallery

8 pm: Film screening, followed by conversation and Q&A with me,  Jill Hoy and Richard Kane

For more information about other screenings as part of the Green Mountain Film Festival, or to sign up for Catamount Arts newsletter, please visit our website.

Hope you can come this Friday or at some point in the future! I look forward to welcoming you.

All best, Katherine

Katherine French, Gallery Director
Catamount Arts Film and Art Center

 

In the Gallery – Matt Brackett – Dark Waters/Grateful Daughters

Catamount Arts is pleased to Dark Waters/Grateful Daughters, an exhibition of work by Boston painter Matt Brackett.  On view in the main gallery from February 13-March 22, 2015, the exhibition will be the first show curated by newly appointed gallery director Katherine French.  There will be a reception for the artist on Friday, February 20 from 5:30-7:30 pm.  All are welcome to attend.

About the Exhibition

Dark Waters/Grateful Daughters tells a complicated story of self-doubt, mortal fear and artistic solace.  Loss had been a common theme for the artist Matt Brackett, but the onset of serious illness brought him a host of unsettling images.  Then with improving health, Brackett’s paintings revealed graphic evidence of his recovery—flowers emerging from once frozen ground during spring thaw.

The earliest paintings in Catamount Art’s current exhibition date from the economic uncertainty of 2008, which also coincided with the birth of Brackett’s first child.  Following the death of his grandmother and loss of his family’s ancestral home, the painter welcomed childcare as a way of becoming engaged with a new generation.  However, fewer hours in the studio resulted in the loss of creative time and Bracket struggled over this.  Immersed in his daughter’s picture books, he began to see animals appear in stream-of-conscious drawings in which he and his wife were transformed into bemused creatures, trying to make sense of changing circumstance.

At first Brackett resisted animal metaphor, but a serious cancer diagnosis and birth of a second daughter caused him to embrace the menacing beasts who inhabited a place remarkably similar to his grandmother’s former home.  Yet, instead of finding comfort in this familiar landscape, these animals were both threatened and threatening: sheep inexplicably threw themselves off cliffs; fish rose gasping for air; snakes twisted in agony on a deserted beach.

By the spring of 2013 Brackett was recovering from surgery and optimistic about his treatment.  Walking his oldest daughter to school as the weather warmed, he was struck by budding trees and flowers emerging after winter.  “It seemed sentimental to be moved by such familiar signs,” observed Brackett when “not long before I had wondered “whether my life would last long enough for me to see my young daughters enter grade school.”  Final works in the show are floral images painted using his daughters’ favorite colors, revealing a painter’s gratitude “for the universe’s astonishing generosity.”

 About the Artist

Representational painter Matt Brackett graduated with a BA in painting from Yale University, studied at the Chautauqua Institution, and has held residencies at both Yaddo and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.

Exhibiting widely, Brackett has enjoyed solo exhibitions at Boston’s Alpha Gallery and Danforth Art, as well as group exhibitions at the Brattleboro Museum, the DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, and the Yale University Art Gallery.  He has been featured in New American Painting and is the recipient of numerous awards, including grants from the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation; the Massachusetts Cultural Council; the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, and the George Sugarman Foundation.  Brackett’s work appears in the permanent collections of Danforth Art and Wellington Management, as well as numerous private collections in the England, Germany, India, and the United States.

For more information on the artist and his work, see www.mattbrackett.com.

 

August in the Gallery: Ann Young and Michale Estar

Two of the Northeast Kingdom’s most creative and highly respected artists will share the Main Gallery at Catamount Arts for the month of August.
Ann Young will present her latest oil paintings in a show titled “Autumn Pond Abstract: Recent Paintings,” while Michale Estar will display new collages in a show she calls “The Healing Art of Collage.”

A special reception honoring Young and Estar will be held from 5 – 7 pm Friday, August 8, at the Catamount Arts center on Eastern Avenue in St. Johnsbury. The reception is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Young has been living in Vermont since 1970 and has been a painter since 2001. Previous to 2001 she was a sculptor. She has spent most of the years working on painting the human figure with an occasional foray into landscape or animals. Her work has often exhibited a strong tendency to social commentary.

Her new show is a departure from the past. The paintings may seem to be abstract but, in f act, they are a realistic rendition of extreme close ups of decaying floating pond leaves. They are an example of pure nature worship. Young feels that there is no end to the color and design that she can find in these simple little leaves.

“When I go out paddling on May Pond, I see all of the things that one expects to enjoy on a lovely autumn day in Vermont,” Young commented recently. “There are the hills, brilliant in their fall colors, the sparkling sky, a loon or maybe two.”

“At the shallow end of the pond, I find the Water Shield plants that become riddled with the trails of leaf miners and spots of decay. All of this makes for a stunning array of color and pattern,” she continued. “The paintings in this new show are a reflection of that joy in natural color and form. I feel that my paint brush has been recruited into the service of a common, little water plant.”

Estar also believes that her most inspired and creative work comes from the natural world.

“The creative process begins when we are children and are given the opportunity to play freely with simple materials such as sand, water, clay, wood, paper, paint, music. Rhythm, words and so on,” she said. “In adults, this creativity becomes the combining of color, form, line, texture and familiar objects into art.”

Estar, who attended Cooper Union College of Art and holds a BA from Goddard College, incorporates objects that people use every day such as dungarees, brown paper shopping bags and other found objects to create the symbols and symbolism she uses in her collages to explore life’s questions through artistic expression.
“Art is meant to awaken our soul’s capacities,” Estar said. “Art allows the soul to be given alphabets of understanding and alphabets of expression.”
Visitors will be invited to interact with Estar’s exhibit, including touching the collages, taking them off the wall and exploring the many hidden pockets and messages that are included in them, and even walking on one large collage displayed on the gallery floor.

Both “Autumn Pond Abstract: Recent Paintings” and “The Healing Art of Collage” will be on view in the Main Gallery at Catamount Arts until the end of August.
The galleries at Catamount Arts are open free to the public from 11 am – 6 pm Monday through Saturday and before and after each film screening.

In the Gallery: March 2014 – Seven Artists

Seven ArtistsThe Fine Arts faculty of St. Johnsbury Academy, including Dyan Wallace, Kreg Owens, Rodney Reis, Rosie Prevost, Florence Darling, Bill Darling and Kim Darling, will hold an exhibition of their work “Seven Artists” from March 1 – 31 in the main gallery at Catamount Arts.

            The public is cordially invited to attend a free reception for these seven artists from 5 – 7 pm Friday, March 7 in the gallery.  Refreshments will be served.

            Along with their teaching careers, all of the artists involved in the show maintain professional studio practices.  Their studio experiences form a foundation upon which they build their teaching.  Although this group of artists has largely been working together for many years, this is the first time they will all participate together in a show.

            Each artist will display original work from his or her particular area of expertise.  Wallace, who teaches fashion and digital design, will be showing a gown of her own design and construction.  Owens, who teaches ceramics and sculpture, will show furniture, ceramic sculpture, and vessels.  Reis, who teaches drawing, painting and AP Art, will be exhibiting landscape oil paintings.  Rosie Prevost, the chair of the Academy’s Fine Arts Department and teacher of photography, will be showing silver gelatin images.  Florence Darling, new to the Academy art faculty this year teaching drawing and printmaking, will exhibit etchings and copper relief prints.  Bill Darling, teacher of printmaking and drawing, will be habiting large format etchings.  Kim Darling, who teaches oil painting, drawing, and Fine Art Capstone, will be showing oil paintings and intaglio prints.

            Kim Darling said about the collaborative show, “Artists can’t work in a vacuum – we have to get out of the studio and put our work before the public eye.  This show is a great opportunity to do that.”

            This is also an opportunity for the students to see their teachers in another light.  “We want our students to see that we are artists as well as teachers.  It is good for them to see our work,” said Prevost.  “In fact, the idea for having this group show came from seeing all of our students’ work displayed together. The energy and excitement was palpable.  The inspiration between teacher and student is a constant loop.”

            Academy Headmaster Tom Lovett said, “The exhibit will show what I say all the time about the members of our art department; they are some of the most talented artists in New England, and their high quality of professionalism gives our students an example to emulate.  Not only are they outstanding teachers, they are outstanding practitioners as well.”

            Jody Fried, the Executive Director of Catamount Arts, added, “They Academy Fine Arts faculty members are also some of the most creative artists in all of Vermont.  “Seven Artists” will be a special opportunity for area residents to see some of the signature works by these outstanding teachers and representatives of our local arts community.”

            The galleries at Catamount Arts are open to the public free of charge from 11 am – 6 pm Monday through Saturday and before and after each film screening.

            For more information on the Fine Arts Department at St. Johnsbury Academy, please visit www.stjacademy.org.