Monthly Archives: May 2015

GOAT: Gartel Original Art & Technology Workshop

GOAT: Gartel Original Art & Technology
Click image to purchase.

Monday-Friday, August 10-14, 10:00am-4:00pm

Instructor: Laurence Gartel

Location: Catamount Outback Artspace

Workshop fee: $249
(2 scholarships available: one for a St. Johnsbury Academy Student and one for a Lyndon Institute student – call 802-748-2600 ext. 108 for details)

Registration deadline: August 1

Internationally-acclaimed digital media artist Laurence Gartel will offer GOAT: Gartel Original Art & Technology, a week-long workshop for high school students. Students will develop a body of work using existing digital tools such as smart phones, laptops, tablets, and downloaded apps which can be used to manipulate, change and alter images to articulate a personal point of view.

The workshop is for high school students who are energetic about technology and have no fear. They will be given an overview of digital art over the past 40 years, and will go into the field to take pictures and develop these images into digital works of art, both still and moving. They will also learn to brand build their creativity on social media, such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and blogs and will develop their own GOAT websites. Students might create their own e-books or publish images as a class project using online book publishing software such as Blurb or Lulu.

Laurence Gartel is a globally acknowledged pioneer of the Digital Art movement with family ties to the Northeast Kingdom. Born and raised in New York City, he had the opportunity to teach Andy Warhol how to use the Amiga computer. He attended School of Visual Arts with graffiti artist Keith Haring, and earned his BFA in Graphics. He started his electronic career working side by side with Nam June Paik at Media Study/Buffalo in upstate New York.

Gartel is considered the father of the Paintbox Era (circa 1986), because he started this technique 10 years prior to any software being written for painting and photo-manipulation. His work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, Joan Whitney Payson Museum, Long Beach Museum of Art, Princeton Art Museum, PS 1, Norton Museum and in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of American History and the Bibliotheque Nationale.

Gartel has created artwork for Coca Cola, Absolut vodka, and pop culture stars such as Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears. He also created the artwork for the 2015 Grammy Awards.

Clouds of Sils Maria – A Review – A Modern Day Reflection

Clouds of Sils Maria is a beautiful looking movie that features some very good performances from its leads. It tells the story of a famed actress named Maria Enders (played wonderfully by Juliette Binoche), who is asked to perform in the revival of a play that helped launch her career twenty years ago but as the older woman. Along with her assistant, Valentino (played by Kristen Stewart giving a rather nuanced performance), she departs to rehearse in Sils Maria, a region located in the Alps. As she meets the actress who is set to play role of Sigrid in the play (originally played by Maria Enders twenty years earlier), Jo-Ann Ellis (played by Chloe Grace Moretz, giving a pretty good inspiration of a young Hollywood rebel), she begins to see her own Jo-Ann as a reflection of her own self.
Clouds of Sils Maria is certainly a beautiful looking movie, and it contains some absolutely fabulous imagery. Olivier Assayas is a skilled French filmmaker and it shows in this film. In particular, there are impressive use of shots of the mountains and the clouds, particularly “The Snake”, which are usually accompanied by classical music scores, giving the movie a recurring motif.
The acting in the movie is quite good, especially by the three top billed female leads. Juliette Binoche is as good as ever as a middle aged actress. In particular, her best scenes are when she’s crying or being overly emotional. The amount of energy she gives to her character is great. Kristen Stewart starts out with little emotion and acting kind of bland. However, once her character develops, Stewart seems to be get into her role, and her performance brings a level of more realism, especially when compared to Binoche’s flashier role. Chloe Grace Moretz doesn’t have much screen time, but she’s fine as a young up and coming actress who’s gotten into trouble with the law more than once.
Another thing I liked about the film was the relationship between Maria and her assistant, Valentino. While at first, it seems like Maria doesn’t care for her, as the film progresses and we see things such as them going for a swim, walking, or even sitting by a fireplace for the night, we really get a sense these people do have respect for each other. Even at the end, Maria says that Valentino is a great person, which is a nice reference.
The film suffers from being a bit long, having its scenes be drawn out with too much dialogue, and constant use of fade-out shots. It has some very nice imagery and symbolism, but where the film falls flat for me, is in its portrayal of its characters who often times come off as incredibly unsympathetic.
Overall, Clouds of Sils Maria is a well-made, well-acted movie. It’s not for everyone but it mostly impressed me because of its camerawork and not its story, but if you like good female-centric movies, then I’m sure you’ll like this one.

Edvard Munch – Free Film and Lecture

The ScreamSaturday, May 9, 2015, at 2:30 pm

A free lecture and screening of the film “Edvard Munch: Paintings” will be held at Catamount Arts at 2:30 pm Saturday, May 9. The film and lecture, which focus on Munch’s most famous painting “The Scream” are free and open to the public.

The 40-minute film was produced, directed and filmed in 1968 by Clifford B. West. Through extensive use of a hand-held camera, the film focuses not only on Munch’s best-known masterpieces, including The Scream; it also offers a particular insight into works from his later years, which, until recently, have rarely been shown. The narration is based exclusively on Munch’s own writing. Bente Torjusen, the executive director of the AVA Gallery and Art Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire, will also give a lecture on the film, one of thirty documentaries on art and architecture made by West, her late husband.

Publicity surrounding the work of the Norwegian artist Munch (1863-1944) has escalated considerably in the past few years, not least because of the then-record auction price fetched in 2012 for the sale of one of the four painted versions of his reverberating Scream. December 12, 2013, marked 150 years since Munch’s birth and worldwide exhibitions throughout his anniversary year gave testament to his significance as a pioneer of modern Expressionism.

Clifford B. West (1916 – 2006), painter, muralist, teacher, photographer and documentary filmmaker, lived and worked throughout the Unites States, in Guatemala, in Norway, and, for almost two decades, in Italy. He spent the last 25 years of his life in New England, where he was particularly involved with the Lebanon, New Hampshire-based nonprofit organization, AVA Gallery and Art Center, both as an exhibiting artist and as a senior faculty member. His work, which includes large-scale murals in the United States and Guatemala, has been exhibited nationally and internationally. West received numerous awards for his paintings and films, including three Cine Golden Eagle Awards.

Bente Torjusen has been AVA Gallery and Art Center’s Executive Director since 1986. An art history graduate from the University of Oslo (Norway), her scholarship centered on the art of Edvard Munch. As Curator of Education for Oslo Municipal Art Collections, of which the Munch Museum is a part, she has written extensively on the art of Edvard Munch, including for the catalogue of the major Munch exhibition at the National Gallery in Washington, DC, in 1978. Her monograph, Words and Images of Edvard Munch was published in 1986 by Chelsea Green Publishing. She has also written narrations for several of the 16mm documentary films on art created and produced by her late husband, artist and independent documentary filmmaker Clifford B. West.

Mr. Turner – A Review: Art Into Life

Mr. Turner Review: Art into Life
Dan Davis

Mr. Turner is the latest film from director Mike Leigh, known for films such as Secrets & Lies (1996), Happy-Go-Lucky (2008), and Naked (1993), among others. Leigh is a filmmaker who tends to make films about the British working class. Mr. Turner is no different in that regard, it explores the last years of eccentric 18th/19th Century British painter, Joseph William Turner, played brilliantly by Timothy Spall. Turner was a man whose life had been affected by his misfortunes and his relationship with a seaside lady in Chelsea, all of which inspired his art. Mr. Turner is a well-made film, and as a work of art, it’s actually quite interesting.
Mr. Turner is a series of vignettes, all of which star the same character, that being Joseph William Turner, as we explore what he does with his life. The film opens with its recurring motif of two people’s shadows walking in the distances. This technique that Mike Leigh uses in the film is quite brilliant. One of the scenes, using this shadow technique, involves Mr. Turner walking off and painting in the sunset. Also, like most of Mike Leigh’s movies, there are plenty of scenes of characters talking to each other for long periods of time. Most of the dialogue is improvised, as Mike Leigh doesn’t write actual scripts. Instead, Leigh lets the actors’ performances feel more natural by allowing improvisation. The title sequence of Mr. Turner is very great, as well, as we’re shown a piece of art being warped to show itself further and further.
Though Mr. Turner has a large supporting cast, the movie is really more of a one-man show for actor Timothy Spall, and Spall takes advantage of that. As the grouchy, but also somewhat charming, Joseph William Turner, Spall convoys a lot of energy. While in a lot of the film it may seem like Spall is mumbling his words and bringing his usual level of frumpiness to the role, his conviction and delivery of improvised lines are impeccable. In particular, he shines in the scenes where Turner (Spall) is crying and where he’s giving his speech, “how can I appear the same”.
Mike Leigh has a clear love and appreciation for art, and it shows in Mr. Turner. Some of the art at the art galleries shown are simply stunning. The amount of art that they used for this production simply left me speechless. Clearly, there was a lot of devotion on the filmmakers’ part to make this film as authentic as possible.
The musical score by Gary Yershon is great and very interesting. It conveys a wide range of emotions. It can be bombastic, mysterious, dramatic and more. For example, in a scene where Mr. Turner (Spall) is walking into an art gallery, but it sounds like he’s about to go into a concert performance instead. The use of the musical score throughout this film is one of its strongest features.
While Mr. Turner is a well-made movie, having a two and half hour run time means, depending on the person, you will either find Mr. Turner absolutely fascinating or you will be challenged to sit through it. Since much of the film doesn’t really have an actual main plot, I’ll admit that at the times, it did seem like the movie unnecessarily stretched out its long run time. Despite these problems, Mr. Turner is still a very nice period piece that is not only worth watching for a great performance by its lead actor, Timothy Spall, but also, for those who appreciate and love art as much as the film clearly does.

The Wrecking Crew – A Review

The Wrecking Crew: A Review
Daniel Davis

The Wrecking Crew is an interesting musical documentary dealing with a subject that rarely gets addressed, the back-up vocalists for many popular bands and singers, such as The Beach Boys, Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra. The film highlights the title group, known only as The Wrecking Crew, and their performers. Including interviews with surviving members, as well as, established and popular musicians, this documentary is a fun film to watch, and sometimes that’s all a film really needs to be in order for me to like it.
The Wrecking Crew was made by Danny Tedesco, son of Tommy Tedesco, who was one of the guitarists of the Wrecking Crew. Tedesco has made the film as a tribute to his father, and as a way to tell his own story. He did a good job incorporating archival footage with new interviews. As the film opens with a shot of children playing on the playground, cuts to pictures of musicians performing placed around a colorful background with actual singing, and then, Tommy Tedesco starts his narration. For a minute, I almost thought I was watching an episode of an A&E Biography, instead of an actual documentary, not that there’s anything wrong with that.
The film is divided into several different sections. Each section highlights various accomplishments of the group up until the 1970’s when The Wrecking Crew began to fall apart. This is a good approach for the documentary and provides the audience with enough information one feels personally satisfied. The film although nothing deep, but satisfying, nevertheless.
The film details many stories of the members of The Wrecking Crew, and there were a lot of members of the group. Among the members were Tommy Tedesco, Jimmy Webb, Carol Kaye (Bass), Al Casey, Larry Levine, and Plas Johnson, shown doing a very nice jazz rendition of Henry Mancini’s Pink Panther theme. Some of these members are given five to eight minute sections dedicated to them, while others are only mentioned in passing. The film also includes interviews with other musicians who were also associated with The Wrecking Crew. These musicians includes Brian Wilson (Beach Boys), who mentions how The Wrecking Crew helped work on the Pet Sounds album. This film also has a great scene with various shots of Beach Boys performing. Other musicians included Glen Campbell, Cher, Dick Clark, Micky Dolenz, Leon Russell, and each of these interviews gives us an idea of how the group worked and acted.
As a whole, The Wrecking Crew is a pretty good documentary and if you’re a lover of music, it’s a must see. Not only does it highlight some unsung heroes of the music industry, but it provides new information that you probably weren’t familiar with before.

Out Late with Diana DiGioia

Diana DiGioia

Smart, sexy, funny and irreverent all describe the songwriting of Diana Di Gioia. Based on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and raised here in the Northeast Kingdom, Diana and her band Out Late are delighted to be returning to Catamount Arts on Saturday, May 2 at 7:30pm.

The Cape Cod Times calls her songs “Finely honed narratives with telling details sung with confidence and determination”. Together with family members Keith and Maura Leon and wife Melody Masi, Diana displays “sharp lyrical skills and smart songcraft” in styles from acoustic rock, to blues to folk. Selections from their 2 CD releases can be heard here on their web page (

Several of Di Gioia’s tunes describe the landscape and culture of rural Vermont, including the autobiographical “Family Scrapbook”, which sketches her family’s 1970’s era life in a 200-year-old Sutton farmhouse. Out Late’s first CD garnered praise in the lesbian and gay community, where it was chosen for a featured spot on the nationally-syndicated American Public Radio program “This Way Out”. The band’s second disc, “Either or World”, features eleven tightly-crafted songs, varied in topic and style and written with a diverse audience in mind. At their core, they are heartfelt stories of love, life and authenticity, full of courage and free of inhibitions.

Tickets: $12 Adults, $10 Members