The Artful Mind artzine september 2022

Page 1

TAM september 2022 copy.qxp_Layout 1 8/22/22 9:16 AM Page 1

THE SOURCE AND SOUL FOR PROMOTING THE ARTS SINCE 1994

SEPTEMBER

2022

THE ARTFUL MIND

MICHAEL MARCUS AND TASJA KEETMAN

Photograph by Tasja Keetman


TAM september 2022 copy.qxp_Layout 1 8/22/22 9:16 AM Page 2


TAM september 2022 copy.qxp_Layout 1 8/22/22 9:16 AM Page 3

CHRISTIAN ECKART AT THE RE INSTITUTE Millerton, NY - July 2 through August 28

For further information; www.christianeckart.com The Re Institute; www.thereinstitute.com/ 518.567.5359 Inquiries - McClain Gallery, Houston, TX, 713.520.9988 Wilding Cran Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, 213.553.9190 Trépanier Baer Gallery, Calgary, Canada, 403.244.2066 General Hardware Gallery, Toronto, Canada, 416.821.3060

THE ARTFUL MIND SEPTEMBER 2022 • 3


TAM september 2022 copy.qxp_Layout 1 8/22/22 9:16 AM Page 4

the art of

mary ann yarmosky

THE ARTFUL MIND SEPTEMBER

2022

TAKE THE TIME TO SMELL THE ROSES AND EVENTUALLY, YOU’LL INHALE A BEE. ‐UNKNOWN

SASHA HALLOCK CONTEMPORARY ARTIST

INTERVIEW BY H. CANDEE ...14

TASJA KEETMAN & MICHAEL MARCUS A CULMINATION OF LIFE, LOVE, ART & CULTURE INTERVIEW BY H. CANDEE

PHOTOGRAPHY BY TASJA KEETMAN..20

THE VIRTUAL GALLERY SHOWCASE OF ARTISTS WORK FOR SALE

9.2022 ... 38 AIMEE VAN DYNE FOLK / AMERICANA SINGER-SONGWRITER INTERVIEW BY H. CANDEE ...42

Visit and enjoy— maryannyarmoskyeclecticart.com

RICHARD BRITELL | FICTION SOMETHING FOR OVER THE COUCH— THE WRITING ON THE WALL CHAPTER 14 ... 48

Publisher Harryet Candee

Artist

ELEANOR LORD

Copy Editor Marguerite Bride Third Eye Jeff Bynack Advertising and Graphic Design Harryet Candee Contributing Writers Richard Britell Liz Lorenz Photographers Edward Acker Tasja Keetman Bobby Miller ADVERTISING RATES 413 ‐ 645 ‐ 4114 artfulmind@yahoo.com issuu.com | Instagram

WALK WITH BROWN FENCE PASTEL

See more of Eleanor’s art work

FB Open Group: ART GALLERY for artful minds Box 985

The Artful Mind Great Barrington, MA 01230

www.eleanorlord.com 2 • SEPTEMBER 2022 THE ARTFUL MIND

YFI: ©Copyright laws in effect throughout The Artful Mind for logo & all graphics including text material. Copyright laws for photographers and writers throughout The Artful Mind. Permission to reprint is required in all instances. In any case the issue does not appear on the stands as planned due to unforeseeable circumstances beyond our control, advertisers will be compensated on a one to one basis. All commentaries by writers are not necessarily the opinion of the publisher and take no responsibility for their facts and opinions. All photographs submitted for advertisers are the responsibility for advertiser to grant release permission before running image or photograph.


TAM september 2022 copy.qxp_Layout 1 8/22/22 9:16 AM Page 5

THE ARTFUL MIND SEPTEMBER 2022 • 3


TAM september 2022 copy.qxp_Layout 1 8/22/22 9:16 AM Page 6

4 • SEPTEMBER 2022 THE ARTFUL MIND


TAM september 2022 copy.qxp_Layout 1 8/22/22 9:16 AM Page 7

Carolyn M Abrams Art

A Date with my Soul Oils/cold wax on Paper 12 x 12”

“Soul Visions” an exhibit with Photographer Susan Sabino, Potter MJ Marx & Carolyn M Abrams Art on Main Gallery 35 Main Street West Stockbridge, MA September 29 - Oct 2 www.carolynabrams.com Studio Visits welcome — call for appointment

Open Studio — September 18, 2022

Ghetta Hirsch

Home Studio Visits by appointment: 413. 597. 1716 ghetta-hirsch.squarespace.com

“Opportunity” Oil on Canvas, 2021, 36 x 48 inches

THE ARTFUL MIND SEPTEMBER 2022 • 5


TAM september 2022 copy.qxp_Layout 1 8/22/22 9:16 AM Page 8

6 • SEPTEMBER 2022 THE ARTFUL MIND


TAM september 2022 copy.qxp_Layout 1 8/22/22 9:16 AM Page 9

Visions of Nature From realism to abstraction, from the exquisite detail of a tiny mushroom beneath our feet to vast vistas in vibrant color

CAROL DAYNARD PAT HOGAN NINA LIPKOWITZ CAROLYN NEWBERGER SCOTT TAYLOR THERESA TERRY

September 17 - October 30 In person Reception - Friday, September 16, 5 - 7 pm Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary 472 West Mountain Road, Lenox, Massachusetts 413-637-0320 / massaudubon.org Hours: Friday, Saturday & Sunday 10 - 4

THE ARTFUL MIND SEPTEMBER 2022 • 7


TAM september 2022 copy.qxp_Layout 1 8/22/22 9:16 AM Page 10

Sally Tiska Rice

FRONT ST. GALLERY

KATE KNAPP, DORIES ROCK SUNSET, OIL, 24 X 24”

BARRED OWL, WATERCOLOR, 11 X 14”

View the art work of Berkshire Artist Sally Tiska Rice! Berkshire Rolling Hills Art CLOCK TOWER • Studio 302, 3rd floor 75 South Church Street, Pittsfield, MA

(413)-446-8469 sallytiskarice@verizon.net • www.sallytiskarice.com

Painting classes on Monday and Wednesday mornings 10-1pm at the studio in Housatonic and Thursday mornings 10am - 1pm out in the field. Also available for private critiques. Open to all. Please come paint with us! Gallery hours: Open by chance and by appointment anytime 413. 274. 6607 (gallery) 413. 429. 7141 (cell) 413. 528. 9546 (home) www.kateknappartist.com

Front Street, Housatonic, MA

CAROLYN NEWBERGER

Pleasant Valley Beaver Pond, Monoprint, 16 x 22 inches

cnewberger@me.com / www.carolynnewberger.com / 617. 877.5672 8 • SEPTEMBER 2022 THE ARTFUL MIND


TAM september 2022 copy.qxp_Layout 1 8/22/22 9:16 AM Page 11

Pet Portraits by Sharon Guy

ANDREA JOYCE FELDMAN WATERCOLOR

Visit my website to order a colorful portrait of your beloved pet

Late Summer, Watercolor /Oil pastel, 7 x10 1/2”

Visit: andreajoycefeldmanart.com

Eagle Building 3rd floor 75 South Church St Pittsfield MA 914. 260. 7413

markmellinger680@gmail.com

www.sharonguyart.com

Mark Mellinger Paintings - Collage - Construction THE ARTFUL MIND SEPTEMBER 2022 • 9


TAM september 2022 copy.qxp_Layout 1 8/22/22 9:16 AM Page 12

Photograph by Mike Edmonds

SASHA HALLOCK CONTEMPORARY PAINTER Interview by Harryet Candee

Photographs Courtesy of the Artist

Sasha Hallock is a contemporary painter living and working in Brooklyn, NY. He creates small-scaled paintings with watercolor, graphite and colored pencil. Each piece is populated by geometric forms, vibrant hues and unexpected textures. By mounting the paper on wood panel, Hallock’s work straddles two-dimensional art and sculptural objects. With an Iranian father and American mother, Hallock’s paintings speak to a “bringing together,” of disparate pieces to create an object of beauty. Each painting is the result of meticulous building: one line, shape and color in relationship to the next—an abstract language expressing themes of play, joy and faith. Sasha Hallock is represented by Susan Eley Fine Art. Harryet Candee: Meeting you at your artist reception at SEFA Hudson last week brought me to the point of inspiration where I had to bring you into The Artful Mind, not any later than this September issue. I find your work beautiful and thought provoking. I chose a painting that I would, if I could, own myself, but it is sold, and that’s a good thing! Can you tell us about, “Mercy” Small works no. 122? Sasha Hallock: “Mercy” began with a focus on muted, dusty color and a delicate touch. I have a wonderful set of Agora opaque watercolors from Germany that come in shades of brown. They can be very soft and subtle compared to my Kurateke watercolors from Japan, which tend to be thicker, more oily and aggressive. And so, “Mercy” in 10 • SEPTEMBER 2022 THE ARTFUL MIND

many ways started from this place of quiet thought, a calm after what seemed like a month of storms in my life. I was tired from all the preparation for the show in Hudson, finishing a graduate course and the summer heat in my Brooklyn studio. I wanted to rest in the painting, to build a place of refuge, protection and longing. And as I worked, this form emerged, with a strength and presence that encouraged me. I titled it, “Mercy” because the painting reminded me that when we feel at the end of ourselves, we can still be surprised by receiving a gift we do not deserve, or being saved from what we most fear. This painting was that gift to me. Many of your small works attract me because

you have taken the white space and given it the same importance as the sculptural forms you have created in the space. How do you do this? SH: Thank you for acknowledging the use of white in the paintings and giving it equal value to the sculptural forms. To be honest, for many years I struggled with this white space. I worried that I was not utilizing the entire rectangle, or that the figures were not integrated, seeming to “float”. However, over time, I have come to embrace this aspect of my work. In part I believe the use of white has to do with the sculptural nature of my painting, it provides a place of rest, pause and accompaniment to the centralized forms. In a similar way that you would encounter a sculpture, either displayed on a white pedestal, or surrounded by


TAM september 2022 copy.qxp_Layout 1 8/22/22 9:16 AM Page 13

“Mercy” Small Works No. 122

“Untitled” Small Collections No. 13

7”x 5” Mixed media on paper, mounted on wood panel 2022

7”x 5” Mixed media on paper, mounted on wood panel 2022

the white walls of a gallery. And yet, because they are paintings, the white space does more formally than act as a backdrop for the forms, it becomes a form itself. It’s important to note that I paint the backgrounds after I create the sculptural forms. I treat every inch of the painting with a very small brush, laying in white acrylic to enclose and seal the world of the form. I give equal value and attention to the white space as I do the forms through this process of care. I have experimented with different colored backgrounds in the past, and with extending the sculptural forms to the edge of the rectangle. Most recently, I have used black paint instead of white to enclose the forms. I do seem to always come back to white.

heart instantly—this is the essence of what makes all artmaking significant to me. To make images and objects that inspire and provide opportunities for these types of contemplative, emotional and spiritual moments to occur seem necessary and valuable to me. Apart from these big picture motivations for making art, on a very humble and personal level, painting brings me joy. It is a sacred place to rest, to play, to weep and feel the pain and hope of life, to make something new that has never existed in the world before, that only I can make. It is the experience of loving deeply and being deeply loved. When I paint I feel immense pleasure, a gratitude for making, an awareness of the privilege it is to paint, to make art and share it with the world.

What do you find most interesting, necessary and relevant in your life that needs to be made into art? To be made permanent, to add to our busy, changing world, and above all, to help you see how and why things work, or, don’t work? SH: The act of creating is a profound gift, both to the artist and the world that receives it. Perhaps, this is true of any generative act, but the non-utilitarian arts provide something very special to the world. A moment to pause and contemplate the wonder of our existence, the deepest longings and expressions of our shared humanity, to experience beauty that transcends culture and is felt in the

Sasha, do you get motivated or inspired by the art your children create? If so, what happens between you and them that add more dimension and meaning to your art, and, what do you see happen to them when they are inspired by your art? SH: Yes! I am continually amazed at the art of my children, but in different ways. My oldest son has significant disabilities and is limited in his fine motor abilities, so his art is much different than my youngest son. I think what I notice in both of their art making is their use of space. Their compositions are so intuitive, where they choose to put figures and ob-

jects relative to the rectangle is spectacular. I have never put pressure on my kids to make art, and I have always tried to encourage them to draw and paint with freedom. I hope when they visit my studio and see my paintings they are connecting creativity with their dad and seeing art making as a valuable contribution to the world. Painting is a form of sophisticated play for me, which was my introduction to art making as a child. In this way, my children remind me of the simplicity and joy of painting. Do the icons have any specific names or meanings or hidden spiritual truths to them, or are they spontaneously derived from somewhere cosmic or subconscious? Are some often repeated in different canvases at different times in your art making? (Thank you for putting your thought process into words) SH: I really appreciate your interpretation of my paintings as “icons”. I actually think that is an appropriate way to think about them. Historically, icon paintings tended to be small, often portraits, painted on wood in bright colors for the purpose of religious contemplation and devotion. In a similar way, each of my paintings has a unique essence, or personality that accompanies the work in the world. It causes me to wonder about an image or object’s ability to contain or preserve the spirit they were created in. In a sense Continued on next page... THE ARTFUL MIND SEPTEMBER 2022 • 11


TAM september 2022 copy.qxp_Layout 1 8/22/22 9:16 AM Page 14

SASHA HALLOCK | CONTEMPORARY PAINTER

Sasha Hallock Studio, works in progress, 2022

the works are an extension of myself, my life ex perience, sorrow and joys, my faith, hope and prayer poured into their creation, where the works go, a very real part of me goes with them. My forms come into being spontaneously for the most part. My process involves intuitive building and reacting to each preceding mark, color and shape in order to construct the forms. I find that I am drawn to the forms of physical structures, monuments and statues, buildings, and dwelling places. The permeance and presence a structure has in the world takes on a personification, a real presence in relationship to its surroundings. Many titles also include themes of protection, like “Sentries,” and “Guarding the Tree of Life”. I’m fascinated by ancient stone statues, monuments, and totems. Their sense of personality and presence is very much in line with my work. Many forms, patterns and shapes are repeated in the paintings, almost like building materials or architectural features. They are recognizable and distinct to my design aesthetic and constitute a formal language that has developed over many years. This language is informed by my lived experience in the world, particularly in New York. I 12 • SEPTEMBER 2022 THE ARTFUL MIND

take notice of textures and relationships in the physical world, storing these tactile and aesthetic experiences.

Japanese and German watercolors, Sasha Hallock's studio, Brooklyn, NY Photographs on this page by Sasha Hallock

I find it very interesting that you mentioned that people have often commented that the work is at first similar and then upon closer examination, foreign or a bit strange, or otherworldly. What is your reaction to this? SH: I love it! I am simultaneously enthralled by history and the past, and science fiction and the future. Both of these genres seem to evoke the mysterious, the foreign, the recognizable, but distinctly different. Perhaps the through line is the humanity present in both the past and future. This connects in some ways to spirituality as well—this otherworldly/ supernatural/ familiar yet foreignness of the divine. And so my paintings evoke a sense of the past (archeological, simplistic, statues/ stonework, totems/ monuments) and the future (geometric, futuristic architecture). Tell us about your studio space, Sasha. The heart of it all. Or, is it? SH: My studio is on the fourth floor of a long


TAM september 2022 copy.qxp_Layout 1 8/22/22 9:16 AM Page 15

Sasha Hallock “Close” 20” x 16” Oil on Wood Panel 2022

dominant factory near the Brooklyn Navy Yard in Clinton Hill. It is a very small space in the corner of a loft that is subdivided into ten studios. I have a row of seven foot windows that face west and look across an alley towards another old factory building that is currently being turned into a hotel/spa. Many visitors have commented that my studio feels like an extension of my paintings. It is orderly and clean. I have a plant, and a coffee maker, my supplies are arranged on a small white shelf and underneath my desk in boxes and drawers. It is a privilege to have the space. It’s the first studio I’ve had that is within walking distance to my home, which has been really nice. Home, studio, church, the park, my son’s school, grocery shopping, and the city pool, are all within a two mile section of Brooklyn that I call home. My studio feels like sacred space. It is a place of respite and prayer, a place of concentration, tears and hard work. It is a place to reflect and host other artists. As a child, what inspired you to become an artist? What was your childhood all about? SH: From an early age making art was central to

my life. Looking back now, I believe drawing was both a form of play (as it is for many children), but also an escape, a way to cope with how helpless I was as a child. I had no control over where I lived or the lack of access that I had to my father, but when I created my drawings, I was safe and could explore and imagine different worlds than the one I was living in. My father is Iranian and my mother is American. They met in Paris in the early 1980s while my mother was studying at the Sorbonne. Unfortunately, their marriage did not last and they divorced a few years after I was born. As a result, I grew up on the northern shore of Cayuga Lake in the Finger Lakes region of New York while my father lived in Manhattan. The loss of my father simultaneously introduced a deep longing and mystery into my life. I felt great wonder at the unknown and a longing for deep connection that was absent with my father. The land became my companion. I was deeply affected by the beauty of the Finger Lakes Region as a child. I grew up swimming in lakes, walking through fields and woods and was very aware of light, particularly in the summertime. There was a visceral, aesthetic quality to the land that formed

me. As much as nature influenced my visual sense of the world, so too did the city. From an early age, I was captivated by New York City. I would draw the skyline over and over again, inventing buildings and different architectural configurations. The diversity, complexity and density fascinated me. I count it a great privilege to call New York my home and raise my family here today. And tell us about the non-profit work, called Transform Arts NYC that you are involved with? It is very worthy for us to know about. SH: Transform Arts NYC is an arts non-profit that works at the intersection of art and religion. We host artist residencies in Brooklyn that combine artistic and professional development with spiritual practices. Along with my team, I help plan and facilitate the residencies and other related programming. Related to this work, I am completing a Master’s degree program from City Seminary of New York in Harlem through which I am researching the feasibility of hosting artist residencies in sacred spaces in New York City. My vision is to create subsidized studio spaces for artists who are in desperate need of space to create Continued on next page... THE ARTFUL MIND SEPTEMBER 2022 • 13


TAM september 2022 copy.qxp_Layout 1 8/22/22 9:17 AM Page 16

SASHA HALLOCK | CONTEMPORARY PAINTER

Sasha Hallock's studio, organization of colored pencils "Untitled" Small Vessels No. 9 7"x5" Mixed media on paper mounted on wood panel, 2022

“Return from Acadia” 12” x 9” Mixed media on paper, mounted on wood panel 2021

"In Between" 7"x5" mixed media on paper, mounted on wood panel, 2022

14 • SEPTEMBER 2022 THE ARTFUL MIND


TAM september 2022 copy.qxp_Layout 1 8/22/22 9:17 AM Page 17

"Untitled" Small Works No. 119 7"x 5" mixed media on paper mounted on wood panel, 2022

Sasha gives the idea of the size of each painted panel

their work in the city. I believe the church with its significant property holdings could be a major supporter of artists through the thoughtful and generous stewardship of their physical spaces. What part of your art process do you find harmonious and what part do you find to be most challenging? SH: I find that scale is my current challenge. Most of my work is quite small, and this scale provides a sense of intimacy and preciousness that is an important aspect of the work. I am very comfortable making small works, but over the last few years I have tried to develop larger work to explore and challenge myself. Like many artists, it is hard to take something that works small and enlarge it. I am learning that it must become something new, not just a larger version of a smaller work. The scale introduces new variables that inevitably must change the work. Allowing this change to happen can be hard and scary, but I think it is where I must go to grow. I will probably always make small works, but larger works are coming as well.

Finding artists that influence us and that we like can be a very time-consuming affair. But, whether we stumble upon artists we want to follow, or intentionally seek them out, we are influenced and that can change our lives and the way we think. Who has artistically influenced you, and what have they brought into your life? SH: I find that I list sculptors first. I love the work of Thaddeus Mosely and Isamu Noguchi – their works in wood and stone are masterful. Painting influences include: Contemporary: Pat Adams, Jonas Wood, Makoto Fujimura, Bill Jensen, Carrie Moyer, Kimia Ferdowsi Kline Past: Jan van Eyck, Rembrandt, Kandinsky, Matisse, Stuart Davis. Literary: Kazuo Ishiguro – the way he writes about memory inspires me and connects to my aesthetic of trying to capture a sense of time in my forms. I am also very interested in ancient art. Persian miniature painting and pottery, jewelry, and sculpture from Egypt, Central and South America, and the Middle East. My studio practice is also influenced by a Japanese/ Danish aesthetic of craft and simplicity. I

Photograph by Mike Edmonds

treat each work with tenderness and care. Each piece of the painting is cared for, treated with attention and consideration. For me, this is not perfectionism, but rather a form of care and respect. From the construction of the forms to the mounting of the paper on the birchwood panels, sanding, laying in the white acrylic background with a 18/0 brush, touch up, and UV varnish—it’s hard to articulate, but in a sense this is a form of love, both for the object being made and for its future life in the world. What was your life during the Pandemic, and how has it permanently affected your world? SH: The pandemic was very difficult for our family. My oldest son Judah was born with a rare genetic condition called “CDG” and as a result he has signficant disabilities. He cannot walk or stand independently and needs help for the majority of life skills. He uses a wheel chair for mobility and requires a feeding tube for nutrition. During the pandemic, we lost all support for him as the schools closed. The city did not have a strategy to help care for children like Judah. Remote school Continued on next page... THE ARTFUL MIND SEPTEMBER 2022 • 15


TAM september 2022 copy.qxp_Layout 1 8/22/22 9:17 AM Page 18

SASHA HALLOCK | CONTEMPORARY PAINTER

Installation View: Sasha Hallock, Jigsaw, 2022, SEFA Hudson

Courtesy the Artist and Susan Eley Fine Art

Sasha’s photograph, a view into his process

ing did not work for him. His school did not return in person until February 2021. I think we are still experiencing the effects of that year—the fatigue, the sadness, and the sense of being alone. Although the pandemic has receded, dealing with the pain, trauma and ongoing grief of caring for my oldest son continues to be part of my life experience. In some ways, my art is an expression of the hope I feel through suffering—this audacious claim that beauty is perhaps all the more needed, a symbol of resilience in the midst of pain. As an artist, how important is selling your work, and how does the new age we live in opened you up to new ways of selling your work? SH: It always feels good to see the work appreciated and valued in the world. Looking to sales for validation can be a slippery slope—there is a degree of affirmation when the work sells, but the art market defies formulas and doesn’t always reward those who work the hardest or are making great work. Selling my work is important in the sense that I love seeing people respond and enjoy the work. Each new collector is a relationship and a bond is created through the shared appreciation of the 16 • SEPTEMBER 2022 THE ARTFUL MIND

work. I never take it for granted and I am continually humbled when people decide to invest in my work. I have been surprised by how Instagram and online platforms like 1st Dibs have contributed to sales. Through these platforms the work has sold to collectors in San Francisco, London and Hong Kong. What humbles you? What motivates you? Can you give us a few lines from a philosophy you follow, something we can learn from, too? SH: Experiencing suffering humbles me, both my own and when I enter into the suffering of others. I think a lot about grief and loss and I am sensitive to the sorrow and pain in other people’s lives. This motivates me to consider the people around me with attention, curiosity and love. One of my favorite passages in the Bible is also the shortest. After the death of Lazarus, it is simply recorded, “Jesus wept”. This ability to grieve and empathize is so important. We need more of this kind of compassion for ourselves and our neighbors in the world.

SH: In painting, figurative work is definitely trending and has been for several years. I think my goal has been to make work that is genuine to me, that only I can make, which has meant staying pretty focused on my current subject matter and direction. You can follow me on: Instagram @sashahallock Website: Sashahallock.com Gallery: Susan Eley Fine Art The artist is represented by Susan Eley Fine Art. The Gallery has featured Hallock's works in both its New York City and Hudson locations. The exhibition Jigsaw is on view at SEFA Hudson through September 18, 2022. The show pairs Hallock's detailed mixed media works with encaustics by Amber George. Their abstracted melding of shapes and patterns is a means to render their personal and imagined universes. Thank you, Sasha!

When people go towards trends, some of us go the other way. What around you have you noticed that is trending, and are you a part of any of it?

H


TAM september 2022 copy.qxp_Layout 1 8/22/22 9:17 AM Page 19

TAKE THE BERKSHIRES HOME WITH YOU

Lonny Jarrett Fine Art Photography Berkshirescenicphotography.com 413‐298‐4221 Lonny@berkshirescenicphotography.com

THE ARTFUL MIND SEPTEMBER 2022 • 17


TAM september 2022 copy.qxp_Layout 1 8/22/22 9:17 AM Page 20

ilene Richard A strong design, playful interplay of color and pattern and a narrative quality are what makes my work truly my own

CLAMS AND FISH FRY

Shows for 2022 OPEN STUDIOS - Clock Tower, Pittsfield September 2 The Artful Mind Art Exhibit - Front Street Gallery, Housatonic - October 1 - 31 BAA Biennial RE: FRESH-Lichtenstein Center - October 7- November 26

Commissions Available by Artist

The Clock Tower, Studio 316

BELLA & RALPHIE

http://facebook.com/ilene.richard | www.ilenerichard.com | ilene.richard@gmail.com | 978-621-4986

Ellen Kaiden Painter of Metaphors Watercolor Artist

Webpage- www.Ellenkaiden.com EllenKaiden@gmail.com 941-685-9900 Artist excepts commissions Please check out The Wit Gallery https:/www.thewitgallery.com to see more of my work Feminine Fury 40 x 50” 18 • SEPTEMBER 2022 THE ARTFUL MIND


TAM september 2022 copy.qxp_Layout 1 8/22/22 9:17 AM Page 21

Nina Lipkowitz One Artist, Two Shows

iPaint on my iPad 510 Warren Street Gallery Hudson, NY September 2-26 Fridays & Saturdays 12-6, Sundays 12-5 Meet the Artist Saturday September 10, 5-8pm

Hot Plum Night Limited edition print on Canvas, 36”X24"

VISIONS OF NATURE GROUP SHOW Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary 472 West Mountain Rd, Lenox, MA Artist Opening September 16 5-7pm September 17-October 30 Friday Saturday & Sunday 10 - 4

Flowering Raspberry Watercolor, Pen & Ink , 18”X24”

Ninalipkowitz.com

ninalipkowitz@gmail.com THE ARTFUL MIND SEPTEMBER 2022 • 19


TAM september 2022 copy.qxp_Layout 1 8/22/22 9:17 AM Page 22

Michael & Tasja inspecting bee hive named "Aphrodite"

TASJA KEETMAN & MICHAEL MARCUS A Culmination of Life, Love, Art & Culture Interview by Harryet Candee

Photography by Tasja Keetman

Michael Marcus is ceramic artist, owner and chef of Bizen Japanese Restaurant in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Tasja Keetman is a photographer, biodynamic beekeeper, gardener and manager at Bizen. Harryet Candee: Let’s start out by satisfying my curiosity with Tasja’s Beekeeping. It sounds like it is a new addition to your life. What’s it like to raise bees in the Berkshires? Tasja Keetman: Both Michael and I are captured and kept by the bees, deeply in love with these fascinating “beeings”. They surprise us and teach us something new every day. We do whatever we can to create a little paradise, sanctuary for them and for all the other pollinators. Every seed, every bush, every bulb we plant is selected to benefit the bees. Since the bees came to us, we are witnessing a whole reawakening of the ecosystem on our land. Every year new plants come up and bloom, which we have never seen before We have so many different pollinators now besides the bees, which is a pure joy to behold. The bird and butterfly population has exploded, the dragon flies have been back, which is 20 • SEPTEMBER 2022 THE ARTFUL MIND

especially wonderful, as their presence is the sign of a healthy eco system, even though they eat an occasional bee for dinner. The Berkshire Winters are long, cold and present quite the challenge. From late October till April the bees overwinter in their Winter cluster and depend on all of the nectar they were able to collect during the warmer month. They are not only using it for food, but also for heating and believe me every drop counts. Even though we wrap and insulate all the hives to offer a bit of protection against the bitter cold many hives do not make it through the long Winter because they were not able to collect enough food, not to mention the Varroa mite. Most years we even have to feed them in the Summer, either with honey, if we have enough from previous years or with a special bee syrup, which I make with organic sugar, a bit of honey, mineral salt and a special herbal tea. This

syrup is better than nothing, but it does not provide the nourishment bees need. Speaking of every drop, only in late Spring, when the apples are in full bloom, the bees have made it safely through the Winter and still have enough honey stores, do I make one jar of honey for Michael and one for my Mum and once our grandson Milo is old enough to enjoy honey, a yearly jar is reserved for him. We have a jar from his birthyear already earmarked for him, unlike other food, honey does not spoil. Many years we have left all the honey to the bees. We get rewarded by them in so many other sweet ways, we really don’t need their honey. Climate change of course also affects the bees and presents another big challenge. Autumn stays warm longer, which is wonderful, but there is next to nothing for the bees to forage on, because nature and we as gardeners have yet to adjust. On


TAM september 2022 copy.qxp_Layout 1 8/22/22 9:17 AM Page 23

Michael having a bowl of Matcha tea in the garden, surrounded by his pottery

the warm late autumn days the bees are flying out, looking for food, thus using their precious winter stores, without being able to replenish them. The Winters fluctuate much more in temperatures, the bees are leaving their cluster, flying out during the warm hours of the day, then the temperature drops and they get too cold to be able to fly back home. Especially in the cold season every bee is important to be able to maintain the warmth in the hive. As we all just experienced, the Summers are getting hotter, with a drought most flowers are not able to produce nectar. On top of this, bees need massive amounts of water, not only to drink, but also to create their own air conditioning, cooling the hive to the perfect temperature needed to raise their young. We create “bee bars” all over the garden, shallow watering sources, with stones and crystals as landing spots, so the bees don’t drown, which we refill almost daily in the Summer. Often we hang out at the bee bars as well, just watching them and enjoying their buzz. Now as Autumn and Winter are approaching with big steps we witness a difference in behavior from all of the pollinators, there is a full food frenzy. Everyone is trying to harvest as much as they can, because Winter is coming. This does not always just mean collecting nectar from sunrise to sunset, but also the bees have to defend their hives from “robbers”. Yellowjackets, wasps, other pollinators and even other bees trying to breach weak bee hives to rob them of their honey. This is the time when I make the hive en-

trances smaller using beneficial crystals or ice cream sticks and hope for the best. In Spring the bees are facing a predator of a completely different size. The Winter hungry bears love a sweet protein snack, the honey covered bee larvae is irresistible to them and of course some more honey for dessert. A few years ago, the bears discovered our bees. Coming from Germany, where an occasional bear is seen high up in the mountains, it took me a moment to figure out, what toppled our bee hives over. We have a tall deer fence around our garden, so I blamed it on a gusty wind the night before, until the same thing happened a few days later. It was 5 am and I was about to leave to the airport for a photography assignment when the bear came back. Michael and I put our thickest clothes and bee bonnets on, the bees are not very welcoming after a bear attack and put the hives back together again. Thank “Beeness” the hives were not too badly damaged and I rushed to catch my flight. We knew now that the bear would be back the next morning for breakfast, so Michael parked his car in the garden close to the beehives and spent the night keeping watch over them. Low and behold the next morning two! bears came back. Michael played Wagner’s ride of the Valkyries on his car stereo, which scared them off and the bees were saved. A few hours later Skip arrived and the two of them built an electric fence, which we found out the hard way is essential when keeping bees in the Berkshires. On a side note, Michael

did all of this after a long day at the sushi bar, if that does not make you love the man… It certainly made me love him even more. Tasja, can you communicate with these creatures? Is being stung a way that they are trying to tell you something? TK: My beekeeping teacher Gunther Hauk always says, bees only sting you, if you need it. Bee stings are very beneficial for us humans, but detrimental for bees. They die after the first sting because their stinger gets stuck in our skin, unlike wasps who can sting multiple times. Bees not only sting because “we need it”, but also in defense, when we are not listening to them and doing something stupid while entering their home, when we do a hive inspection. When we need to open a hive to check on them, the first thing I do is look at the weather, a forecast of rain or thunder storm for later in the day .. stay away. Since we are practicing biodynamic beekeeping and gardening, I am also checking the biodynamic calendar. We only open the hives on flower, fruit and if need be root days. Before opening the hive I ask the bees for permission and explain them what I am about to do. Once the hive is open I see if I am welcome, sometimes I am not and then I close the hive right back up. While we are working with the hive I am staying attuned to the clues they are giving me, does their gentle hum change to a higher pitch, do they get more agitated. They usually Continued on next page... THE ARTFUL MIND SEPTEMBER 2022 • 21


TAM september 2022 copy.qxp_Layout 1 8/22/22 9:17 AM Page 24

TASJA KEETMAN & MICHAEL MARCUS

Michael whisking a bowl of Matcha tea

give fair warning, first a bee buzzes right in front of you in a high pitch, then they bump you a few times and if you are still not getting the message, they will get painfully more convincing. The communication with the bees also happens on a more subtle level. Quite often I am in the house and get the urge, message that I have go to the garden right now. Rushing down to the garden I am just able to witness a swarm leaving the hive, which is a miraculous experience to begin with, but now I can see where the swarm lands, so I can catch it and give it a new home with some comb and honey to ease the start of this new bee colony. We are living in the middle of the woods and would never be able to spot a swarm high up in the trees, the swarm would be lost and most likely not survive the winter. Often times I was able to drum a swarm back down, not settling on a 60 ft unreachable tree or drum them out of the forest, where I would never find them. It is a simple rhythm drummed on anything that is within reach. Now I always have a few empty miso buckets in the garden for just that reason. We also practice the beautiful tradition of “telling the bees”. Whenever a major event happens in our lives, good or bad, when we leaven or return from a trip, I go to the bees, tell them about it all and they answer with their gentle hum, which happens to be my favorite sound in the world. And yes, we do celebrate all holidays with them. What flowers are you growing that the bees are 22 • SEPTEMBER 2022 THE ARTFUL MIND

Bizen Tea Ceremony Utensils

loving ? TK: We are trying to create a steady food source for them from early Spring to late Autumn, which urged me look at nature in a whole different way. What blooms when, which plants provide more nectar and pollen than the others, which ones are cold hardy, which herbs are beneficial to them and which “weeds” are beloved by the bees. The long Winters and short growing season in the Berkshires make it especially important to plant for the bees since they only have a very short amount of time here to gather the nectar they need to survive the Winter. It is a wonderful time when the Dandelions bloom, Spring is in the air and they are one of the most important early spring nectar sources for the bees and pollinators. I collect their beautiful seeds and try to create Dandelion fields. An even earlier, equally as pretty and important nectar and pollen source is the Pussy willow. We are now home to two of them and I am looking for places in the garden to home some more. We plant a large amount of Buckwheat, 3 plantings at 50 lbs. each. It comes up quickly, the bees love the nectar, the birds love the seeds and everybody is happy. Larger fields of yellow mustard, radish and crimson clover are a big hit on our bee menu. Bees like to pollinate one crop at a time, this is why we plant our flowers in small or large colorful islands. Lacy Phaecelia, Hairy Vetch, Viper’s Burgloss, Sunflowers, Sweet Alyssum, Bee Balm, Poppies, different Clovers, Coreopsis, Calendula,

Chamomile, Thyme, Oregano, Anise Hyssop, Zinnia and Cosmos are just a few on the colorful garden palette. For early spring I plant big areas of Crocuses and Hyacinths. All the blossoming fruit trees especially Apple and Cherry, but also Raspberry and Black berries make a feast for the bees and for us. We have created a special garden with blooming bee bushes like Lavender, St. John’s word, Rosa rugosa, Spirea, Hibiscus, Sage, Catmint, Sedum which keeps expanding, because I have a hard time holding back on these beauties, that are so delicious for the eyes and the bees. We do allow ourselves to take some flowers to use for the seasonal flower arrangements at Bizen, which adds another beautiful element to the ambiance, connects us to nature, the seasons and brightens everybody’s day. I am sure these bees will make great honey. Is honey used in Tea Ceremonies? I know Michael has embarked deeply into the art of the Japanese Tea Ceremony. What does this ceremony actually involve? Where and why is this performed? Michael Marcus: Tea Ceremony, properly called Sado or “The Way of Tea” is the cornerstone of everything we do at Bizen. It informs the interior design of Bizen, how we interact with our customers and the variety and quality of food we serve in Bizen. Sado has two profound elements that we offer in


TAM september 2022 copy.qxp_Layout 1 8/22/22 9:17 AM Page 25

Michael and his climbing kiln named “kisen gama”

Bizen. The first is the ritual of “Tea” The second is the Kaiseki meal served either during or after “Tea” The ritual involves drinking a bowl of ma cha green tea in a special liminal space or “Tea Room” that provides the ambiance where possible transformation can occur. The basic actions of the ritual and the interaction between host and guest is what makes up the activity of the Ceremony. During their short time together, there is a compression or distillation of time that represents the absence of absolute time and the focus only on the very moment of breath. The isolation of the guest inside the 41/2 mat tea room separates the guest from ordinary reality which is manifested by the constantly craving mind which is on an endless treadmill of desire for money, power, fame and possession. The Tea Room offers a thankful reprieve from this endless and fruitless pursuit of scheming and offers instead a depossession, an emptying of earthly possessions and cluttered mind to reveal the stark truths and solutions to the core questions of our existence. Confronted by the unavoidable inevitability of death, the fruitlessness of earthly endeavor is revealed and the power of connecting with our fellow human beings is manifested. The connection of all things becomes the empowering wisdom of Sado. The continuity of space and time dependent on our physical existence ceases to exist. We experience all oneness, a self that is no longer separate but in harmony with the environment and all others. In this way “Sado” is a trick of Zen Buddhism that invites us

to contemplate the most important aspects of life and relationship while enjoying delicious sweets and Ma Cha. The Ma Cha Tea is a catalyst that begins the process of separating spirit from mind while emphasizing the ‘nothingness’ of our reality and the importance of cultivating relationships free of unrestrained grasping and ulterior motive. Kaiseki is the seasonal cuisine of Sado and like the ritual itself it simplifies the offerings of food to the elemental ingredients available. The meal itself is separated into small courses, that are little poems that offer the essence of a particular preparation. All the culinary bases are offered to caress the guest with a comprehensive exposure to differing methods of preparation using the finest ingredients and beautiful hand-made pottery. My Bizen pottery is often used in the Kaiseki meal and is the primary reason why the restaurant was built in 1996: to use hand-made pottery for food presentation as an art form. The Japanese have long believed that the taste of the food is in the dishes. The Kaiseki meal is the vehicle for the expression of pottery and cuisine as a unique art form and has given me a unique opportunity to merge the craft of the potter with the art of the chef. The ritual of the Tea Ceremony creates an incomparable tranquility among the guests and host. This resting of the mind then presents an opening for unusual tastes and masterly prepared cuisine that offers a full range of culinary possibilities and exquisite tastes.

Michael, in many ways you have blended American and Japanese cultures. Do you agree? What are some of the ways you know of that you have experienced and lead the way to making this culmination take place and grow over the years? MM: Bizen as a blend of American and Japanese cultures. I lived in Japan as a pottery apprentice for four years in both Bizen and Mino, a province of Gifu Prefecture. In both experiences I lived in extremely rural villages isolated from western influence and in intimate settings with Japanese families and in intimate relationships with my teachers or sensei’s. I was therefore exposed to their influence and ideas, their ways of thinking and dealing with crisis, there manner of teaching, disciplining and relaxing as well. I was able to form friendships with my fellow apprentices and experience many levels of living in Japan. As a ‘gaijin’ or foreigner I was often given privileges that my Japanese colleagues did not enjoy but as time in Japan evolved the special treatment tended to end and I was treated more and more as a native Japanese. In some ways, the individualism that epitomized my American behavior in Japan became more and more an obstacle in my relationships with my teachers and mentors and it became an arduous struggle to survive in this rigorous climate requiring complete sublimation and submission.I am stressing this one element of my time in Japan beContinued on next page... THE ARTFUL MIND SEPTEMBER 2022 • 23


TAM september 2022 copy.qxp_Layout 1 8/22/22 9:17 AM Page 26

TASJA KEETMAN & MICHAEL MARCUS cause more than any other factor contributed to a development of intensity and concentration of purpose that epitomized my stay in Japan. Every moment was a treasure of opportunity. Every day way an opportunity to experiment, practice, fail, observe, question and learn. When I returned to the U.S.,I would not have the master’s to ask for advice. Making pots, making clay, building kilns, studying ‘Tea” could happen best in the fertile environment of Japan where the treasures of life existed and where the ‘candy’ was always available to eat. Once I left Japan, I was on my own would have to rely on my own resources and intuition. The first step was translating this information into a pottery career, as a pioneering experience to build a workshop and kiln that would sustain producing Bizen unglazed ceramics in a giant Bizen climbing kiln 45 feet long and fired for 12 days and nights. Choosing Bizen in the first place was a stretch since the pottery was rough and plain with only richly fired pieces in the front of the kiln. There were none of the blues, pinks and porcelains of glazed ceramics. The effort to pull this off was monumental since the support was non existent and the resources scanty. With little funds we needed to secure 10,000 specialty firebricks, find rice straw, find charcoal, cut and stack 10 cords of firewood of various dimensions and species.We had to build a watertight kiln shed, a pottery workshop and the most difficult task of constructing the Bizen Nobori gama that could withstand the belching smoke and flame of a wood fired environment at temperatures of over 2300 degrees f. Segway to Bizen the restaurant and very similar principals applied. I had been making Bizen tableware for years and this was an opportunity to use these pieces with the spirit in which they were made. I would be able to complete the equation created by the potter concerning the functional use of the pottery and how it could be showcased in the Japanese cuisine of the Tea Ceremony. It was a golden opportunity. Here was a chance to dig the clay, form the pots, fire the pots in a kiln you built and then use these very pieces for food presentation. This is the major secret of Bizen that most people or casual observers don’t understand, this symbiosis of clay and cuisine. Bizen the restaurant will always be informed by the artistic process as a vision to combine the craft of pottery with the art of Japanese cuisine to create a feast for the eyes. This is not about surviving as a potter. This is in no way about money. This concerns a larger vision even though the pottery influence has had to give way to the realities and demands of the restaurant experience. These gifts of focus and intensity learned through hard, terrifying and lonely moments of isolation enabled me to create Joyous Spring Pottery and Bizen restaurant as an expression of the hardearned spiritual lessons gleaned in Japan. The restaurant today has 4 separate kitchens dedicated to traditional Japanese cuisine: Kaiseki (Tea Ceremony Cuisine}, Robata (Open Hearth Cuisine from the Ainu culture}, Kitchen menu 24 • SEPTEMBER THE ARTFUL MIND

(entrees, tempura, salads and noodles) and the Sushi Bar which is a universe of rolls, sashimi, sushi and specialty dishes. It exists only because of my pure vison to bring these dishes to our community and maintain a certain standard of purity without dairy, without sugar, using the finest sakes, Japanese misos and condiments and the highest quality of raw fish sourced from around the world. You can dine in a Lilliputian room dedicated to the aesthetics of the Tea Ceremony, clean, pristine and alien. You can for a moment enjoy Kaiseki meals that are affordable, delicious and served on handmade tableware. What makes Bizen successful after 25 years of a life troubled by plagues and falling buildings, resurrections and coup attempts is the dedication to an idea that will never be compromised except for the final reality of old age and retirement. This idea cannot be perpetuated by those that do not understand the lack of compromise and dedication to the pursuit of excellence. In the end it was a fantastic whim made into a reality and supported by stubborn perseverance and no quit attitude. Bizen pottery is very earthy. The technique, the style, the history of it goes of the foods we serve. way back to early-- early times in Japan. I appreciate your love of mastering this art. Can you explain how intense the annual firing in no way differently then a pure Japanee actually is? MM: The history of Bizen and its evolution to modern times is extremely intriguing since it began long before the continent of North America was even discovered about 1000 year ago. As with other pottery Traditions in Japan, when the clay source was discovered, a ceramic tradition evolved, a unique body of work dependent on local needs, utilizing local glaze ingredients and meeting the needs of the general public. Japan is unique in its rich history of ceramic traditions popular on all five islands of Japan even as far as Okinawa and Shikoku. In five separate localities in Japan, a clay body was discovered that when fired to stoneware temperatures of 2300 degrees f(1300C) it became vitrified, meaning it became non-porous, durable and non-toxic. In short it became a functional stoneware without the application of a ceramic coating or glaze. In Bizen, this phenomenon became known as ‘yaki-shime’: unglazed vitrified stoneware. Other locations in Japan that were able to sustain a long and brilliant unglazed tradition included Shigaraki, Tamba, Iga and Tokoname. Each of these developed independently of each other creating unique works of art and unique techniques, kiln design, firing procedures and especially pottery forms and styles. Bizen’s early kilns were gigantic ‘ana gamas’ long snake like structures that climbed the hillsides and whose profiles can still be seen today. They were fired for weeks at a time by the entire community who shared in the pot making and kiln firing. Eventually smaller kilns were built in Bizen, managed by individual families with one kiln firing lasting from 10-12 days was not uncommon.

Early Bizen ceramics was used as a form of taxation to the government and included large burial urns and storage urns. Many functional items were produced as well including mortars, dishes and temple wares. In the 16 th century of the Momoyama period, the Tea Ceremony influence became a driving force throughout Japan and created a demand for ceramics explicitly for use in the Tea Ceremony. This included Tea Bowls, water containers, tea caddies, incense vessels, and flower vessels of every kind. Bizen, because of its natural rough surfaces, and natural glazes of running ash and flame became a favorite pottery for Sado because they harmonized so well with things of nature especially flowers. Bizen flower vessels became a favorite of the early Tea Masters who made a strong demand on Bizen potters for Tea Ceremony vessels which aided the aesthetic development of Bizen and improvement in firing and throwing techniques. The Bizen Nobori Gama (climbing kiln) that I chose to build was the final evolution of kiln building techniques stretching back centuries. It produced pottery in all parts of the kiln that were beautiful, using all the firing techniques developed in the preceding centuries. These included goma {natural ash glaze), yohen (kiln change effect), sumi sangiri (charcoal effect) and hidasuki (rice straw effect). All these techniques created beauty even in parts of the kiln located far removed from the original heat source. My Joyous Spring Pottery nobori gama had its first firing(hatsu-gama) on July 4, 1984. The kiln contained 1500 pieces, all raw earthenware which had been made in the winter. It took one week to load, 10 days to fire and consumed 10 cords of firewood. The firing was preceded by a ritual bath in the spring that provided my house with water deep in the forest with members of my team. The firing proceeded beautifully and produced some of the most beautiful works in its history. In one year, we had built the kiln, kiln shed and workshop, cut the firewood and fired the nobori-gama successfully. It was a tribute to our youthful enthusiasm and training. The firing itself is long, hot and dangerous and requires subtle manipulations throughout the firing period, day or night. It begins slowly in the front fire mouth with a very small fire that provides a steady heat that helps dry out the still damp pottery sitting on shelves or lying on bricks flat on the kiln floor. This fire cannot be permitted to go out under any circumstances but must increase in intensity and temperature every day. After a few days of low firing, the pots can accept more intense heat without cracking and the firing proceeds exponentially with the top stoke path opened and split logs thrown on top of the burning embers, Too much wood and the temperature will go down, just right and the temperature will increase. The kiln must be hungering for wood before there is an increase in the fuel consumption. By the eighth day the kiln is a raging inferno and all the pots in the first chamber are glowing white. Speckles of ash are attached to the sticky, molten surfaces and the heat emanating from the front


TAM september 2022 copy.qxp_Layout 1 8/22/22 9:17 AM Page 27

Meeting of the Headchefs and one of the head waitresses From left : Luis Arias – Robata Bar, Sato Saturo – Kitchen and dessert, Michael, Mito Masami -Kaiseki, Ivory Wong – head waitress, Shu Ping Liu – Sushi bar Discussing menus and pairing with Michael’s handmade Bizen ware

fire mouth is beyond hot. Without protective clothing you would be burned badly on the face and hands. Still the firing must proceed. As the peak temperatures are reached, the accumulated ash on the glistening surface of pottery is visible and at 2300 f an alchemy occurs and the ash begins to melt into rivulets of golden glaze. Now a crucial decision must be made to stop the firing here unless the ash melts itself to the kiln shelves and the brick floors. After this is determined, the charcoal firing begins and charcoal is shoveled directly on top of the pots which causes toxic fumes to the face but creates rich hues of iridescence on the pottery exposed. This is what a wood firing is like. You fire the pottery and are burned in turn by the fire. This is the willing sacrifice of the wood fired potter. Mastering an art takes years of learning, inspiration, and mentoring. Who were some of your original teachers in the Berkshires and beyond that taught you pottery, and what did they specifically teach you that is priceless? MM: My original teacher in the Berkshires was Richard Bennett may God rest his soul who had studied in Japan in a place called Matsue on the Japan Sea side facing Korea. This was a very pretty glazed folk craft pottery that was easy to sell and was very attractive. He built a climbing kiln for glazed pottery with the help of his Japanese teacher in Housatonic MA. and had a thriving business and apprentice program for years. I was very drawn to the wood firing and experimented with unglazed pots placed on the floor of the kiln in innocuous place so as not to disturb the

firing. This connection to unglazed wood fired pottery continued even more strongly, led me to study Japanese and spend four years in Japan to study Bizen ware, the epitome of wood fired ceramics. The apprentice program consisted of mastering four forms that were given to you and which you repeated every day after you finished the other chores of the pottery. An apprentice could never master all four forms by the time that the two-year apprenticeship period ended. The apprentice learned a lot however if they were determined including kneading clay, throwing off the hump, trimming the pots, slipping the pots, glazing the pots and finally firing them in a wood fired kiln lasting about 30 hours. As one could not learn everything during a two-year apprenticeship it became important to dream of the next opportunity to for instance learn how to throw large forms or learn the arduous craft of wood-fired unglazed ceramics which one could only really expect to study in Japan. The spiritual lessons one learns from their teachers is a priceless bi product of apprenticeship. I learned many of these life lessons that would later help me greatly in fulfilling my dreams. Once I settled in Bizen in 1977 with difficulty I became an apprentice of Matsushima Tsutomu a brilliant potter who had left the brick factories of Katakami to join the swarm of young potters seeking a fortune in the boom town of Imbe, Bizen. He would give me a form to make and I would struggle to master it every day revealing the glaring flaws in my throwing techniques. Every day however was a revelation in discovering everything about Bizen from under the rice

fields from where the special Bizen clay was hiding to where pots were being formed, kilns were being fired and the life of a pottery town continued unabated. When you exited the small train station in Bizen which bisected rice fields and busy roads transporting goods east and west across Japan the unmistakable smell of burning pine immediately wafted across your olfactory. The smell of a firing kiln is always present in Bizen no matter where you are. Walking up the main road of the town of Imbe, you are immediately accosted by the proliferation of Bizen ceramics in galleries and workshops that line the streets, alleyways and temples, Pottery is everywhere and where to start and what is considered good becomes the first question of a young seeker who wants to invest their immediate future in studying this venerable art form. Then where and how am I going to find a teacher in this village full of teachers but who refuse to accept a foreign student with little Japanese and an abundance of baggage? After the police escort to a potter who had an American female apprentice named Donna failed to secure a position, we finally surrendered to the inevitable reality that we were not in control and we needed to surrender to anyone who would have us. It became suddenly very clear that there was not one teacher, one technique, one way to build, load, fire a kiln successfully. There was not one way to throw a pot, trim a pot, make a tea bowl. Imbe the town was the teacher. Inside the town was the treasure of knowledge accessible to those that listened, struggled, yearned day and night for Continued on next page... THE ARTFUL MIND SEPTEMBER 2022 • 25


TAM september 2022 copy.qxp_Layout 1 8/22/22 9:17 AM Page 28

TASJA KEETMAN & MICHAEL MARCUS the hermetic knowledge that surely abounded just out of reach. And so, the town of Imbe became my greatest teacher. By day working alongside Matsushima San, by night practicing my throwing techniques, by night taking a graveyard shift at another kiln or helping build or load or fire another kiln. The days sped along pregnant with the knowledge of pottery dripping off of every kiln shed, inside every workshop. Eventually I accumulated in my dangerous mind a standard of aesthetics that I was naturally drawn to. Some potters could manifest this mysterious unquantifiable thusness called ‘funiki’ Others could not no matter how hard they tried. Working side by side with my kind teacher every day, I looked for this ‘funiki’ and secretly searched for it in every shop and watching any potter who would let me observe. Besides Matsushima there was Isezaki, Kaneshige and others who manifested this uncanny ability to create emotional beauty with clay. I also worked in Mino with Toyoba Seiya sensei who was the disciple of the Living National Treasure: Arakawa Toyozo, a legendary personality in Mino who had personally resurrected the shino kilns of Momoyama Japan. Toyoba was the strictest teacher I have ever experienced and his uncompromising teachings helped me continue during difficult times in America. One look of severity from Toyoba San, and all self serving ideas and foolishness quickly evaporated from your mind. Reminding readers, that much of this art of pottery is left up to nature to provide. For example, the straw that covers the pots when you. enter the kiln, is like life: it is there, then gone, but leaves a mark that lives on. And, the broken pieces of pottery that bust for some reason, they also must signify the meaning of impermanence and fragility, even, humility. Thoughts, Michael? MM: Bizen-ware has sometimes been called “chilled and withered” which though an odd description, references the major essence of Japanese aesthetics known as wabi sabi, the beauty of poverty. Also, an essential element of Sado, it defines beauty in a very understated way and avoids an attraction to shiny surfaces and garish colors. Instead it favors the understated, rough, flawed and naturally created colors of the unglazed created by the dynamic forces of nature inside a raging kiln. When you hold a piece of Bizen pottery, you behold the universe of subtlety and the shadows of beauty. The colors may be compelling but the subtlety and rough textures chill the heart to its core yet attract the need to touch and possess. Natural materials such as straw, ash, charcoal and embers interact with the pottery and leave n indelible shadow of beauty on the unglazed surface. Each piece that emerges from the kiln is a snapshot of the monumental forces that embraced it during the highest temperatures and blistering flames. Rice straw wrapped pots known as hidasuki leave a memory of the wrapping around the 26 •SEPTEMBER 2022 THE ARTFUL MIND

piece and reveal a shadowy whisper of the gossamer straw surrounding them. The firing may be perceived as accidental but in fact it is a precise and extremely complicated method of bringing pottery to vitrified temperatures requiring advanced kiln design and firing techniques only acquired after many years of observation and experience. At any moment the kiln could collapse, the years’ worth of pottery destroyed and your entire livelihood jeopardized. Mastery and confidence are essential to begin a firing, humility and doubt are all that remain at the end. Only after ten days of cooling will the potter truly know what his efforts have produced Back to you, Tasja…Tasja, I am a big fan of your photography work. Can you explain to us the process you went through, the behind the scenes take of these photos on Michael? How did you figure out what to take, and was any of the photos particularly challenging? Being Michael’s partner, I believe you can let us see the real Michael, yes? TK: It is always especially challenging to photograph your loved ones, the people closest to you, because you know so many more aspects of them. Often times that magical first meeting of the photographer and the muse, which any person I photograph is to me, creates a special, creative atmosphere of exploring and getting to know the unknown from which the whole photo session unfolds. In our case the advantage of that magical first meeting happened a good while ago, though I still remember it vividly. The Zen saying of “Ichigo-ichie” “one meeting/moment, one chance” really rings true for photography on so many levels That magical moment, the perfect glance, the light just being right for one blink of an eye, for one click of the shutter. Trying to conceptualize our photo session it quickly became clear to me that I wanted to show the parts of Michael’s life that most people don’t get to see. Everybody knows Michael behind the sushi bar, donned with his Japanese headband “tenugui” and sushi knife in hand creating delights. But very few people know his meditative tea ceremony practice, the joy flower arrangements bring him, the deep connection he has to his kiln named “kisen gama”. The bliss and inspiration he experiences when we are with the bees and in the garden. There are so still many images in my mind, we did not have the chance to take…yet. Like Michael sitting on the steps of our terrace playing the accordion. Most people know that Michael is an avid music lover, we try to see operas and concerts wherever we travel, but few people know that he was a consummate musician in his youth playing the accordion. Once I had the feeling and ideas clarified, it was the hardest part to find the time to create the photos together. In the super busy Summer season, where there is hardly enough time to breathe, it was beyond challenging to carve out the time and the inner space of calm and creation. It required

laser beam focus on my part to remind Michael to keep that time uninterrupted from ordering fish, checking deliveries and the usual restaurant craziness. The next challenge was to get the “Michael manager” to trust my process and vision. I had to remind him at times of the “Omakase” concept, where the guest surrenders and trusts the choice of the chef and that this “chef” has practiced photography longer than Bizen exists, which is a proud 26 years. But once we entered the creative process it was a beautiful, exciting, fruitful collaboration, where our ideas and visions could flow freely. We were supportive of each other, our artistry and made the work better in the process. For me it was especially wonderful to see Michael unfold in front of my camera, offering parts of himself that even I had not seen before. I could not have asked for a better muse. One of the most fun, but difficult photographs was the recreation of the meeting of all our head chefs and head waitresses. Usually, we have these meetings before the season starts, when things are a bit quieter and the Bizen rocket ship has not blasted off yet. I knew it would be quite the challenge to corral all the master chefs together. But I needed to take this picture, showing these amazing human pillars of Bizen, who bring everything to the table and have sustained and inspired its vision for decades now. As a professional photographer I was part of endless photo sessions with all kinds of celebrities, Michael Jackson, Jennifer Lopez, Beyonce, Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, Richard Gere, Kofi Anan, Hillary Clinton, Steve Jobs to name a few. People with incredibly busy and tight schedules. Often times I had to fly to whichever obscure location to meet them, when they had a moment for us to take their portrait and who at times only allow 10 min for the whole photo session, from hello, taking that perfect photo to good bye. All this paled in comparison what I had to go through to wrangle our head chefs and waitresses together. Dragging Shu Ping out from behind the sushi bar, while he was feverishly filleting mountains of fish for the dinner shift, making sure Sato San is not escaping to one of his delicious dessert baking sessions, asking Luis to interrupt his gargantuan Gyoza prep. As hard as I tried, there are still some key people missing, like Sai our beloved head waitress, who leads the front of house crew with unparalleled kindness, gentleness and an endless amount of experience. As I finally managed to gather almost everyone together, they gave me a full 51 seconds! before everybody rushed back to their stations, not missing a beat. Thank the heavens I had the chance to hone my skills with all these other celebrities in the years prior. My next vision is a group photo of the whole team, without their dedication, talent and sheer hard work the magic and the dream that is Bizen, Michael’s “Gesamtkunstwerk” would not be possible. I can not even begin to imagine the fun this will be …. Michael, the world has changed since COVID,


TAM september 2022 copy.qxp_Layout 1 8/22/22 9:17 AM Page 29

Tasmanian salmon sashimi in Bizen Te-oke hatchi, handheld bucket made by Michael

into a new phase of enlightment in many ways. And for you the same? How do you view your life and your art now after the world is trying to re-cooperate from the pandemic? MM: Maintaining Bizen during the pandemic required a major shift in approach and a reaffirmation of our core beliefs and methodology. Not only did we have to adjust every aspect of the restaurant procedures to covid, we had to adjust to the lack of product, paucity of workers and tight restraint imposed upon us by the government. Despite all these factors it was the ability not to give in to the pandemic and persevere at all costs that helped us to survive. Bizen, like all restaurants is a service establishment and what patrons want even more during Covid is more service, At the very least they demand the comfort food that they were accustomed to before it all hit the fan. When the concept of PPP money began circulating many restaurants closed their doors, took a break, put their employees on unemployment and profited from government largess. The Feds literally rewarded them for staying closed. Bizen stayed open during the Pandemic, kept all our employees on the payroll and filled the cavernous needs of our clientele satisfied to the best of our abilities. On the other hand, the Bizen team became a much stronger entity, drew closer than ever together and our relationships became more intimate and essential in order to survive the demands made on Bizen by a frightened and infected world. The most important change was directed at the health and well being of our employees, to ensure that they were not exposed and that they were educated how not to expose their fellow workers. To this day all employees at Bizen must wear a face mask regardless of CDC guidelines. To this day the sushi bar seating area is closed to the general public and our chefs are segregated from exposure to possible contamination.

As a sushi chef I thrived on my relationships with customers and friends during business hours. It is a very social and public activity. No longer would I be able to joke around or serve my customers. No longer would I be able to dispense free psychoanalytical advice to those that would listen. Overnight I became a disembodied sushi chef unable to cultivate social interactions. Now I realize how precious those interactions were and how much I miss the patrons who became dear friends and confidants. For three years, the people who you associated with, your customers, disappeared becoming phantoms of my dreams and faint memories of another, vibrant and dynamic era. In 2020, the Town of Great Barrington stepped up in a big way to try to help the local merchants survive in this crisis and offered the restaurants sidewalk dining and later by closing Railroad Street on Friday and Saturday summer nights, a pedestrian mall with live entertainment. Overnight however, we went from being a fine dining establishment with elegant private tatami rooms to Gutter dining, seating our patrons in the street with the noise and ambiance of the ‘hood’. Railroad Street became the Champs Elysée with Eifel Tower above and the Tuileries Garden below. Despite all these revolutionary changes, it has become more important than ever to maintain the essence of the Bizen experience and the values and standards we have tried to uphold. We have strived against all odds to persist in offering Kaiseki to the public which is the highest form of Japanese cuisine by not compromising the menu choices, quality of preparations and the unparalleled ambiance of the Kaiseki tatami rooms. Kindness, patience, humility are all the human qualities challenged most by the Covid pandemic as we have had to navigate the roughest waters of human interactions with our customers and staff all petrified and terrorized by the events of the past three years. After all, New York City has

moved full time into the Berkshires, joining an already multi- cultural population. We often fail in maintaining those essential human qualities but hold them up as a higher aspiration especially when times are most difficult. Our dear patrons have been grateful as well for our perseverance, for always being there to nourish them and providing healthy food but also nurturing food for the spiritual miasma inherent in our world. Until someone thanked me for being their constant and dependable culinary oasis in these times of crisis, I never realized how important we were to them and to our community. Has anything of importance to you dropped off the list and been replaced with something new as a result of the pandemic? Ethically and philosophically, I mean. MM: Aging and the fragility of health, concepts of succession and retirement, preparing Bizen for the next generation, the next iteration of someone else’s dream; will Bizen end now or will it continue for another 25 years? Who will feel so compelled to take on this mantle, this concept after I can no longer be an active participant in this marvelous experiment? The stress level is now exponentially higher, so I seek the quiet, cool forests of Monterey. I want to drink Barolo facing the blooming fig trees of Piedmonte. I want to hear one more aria from Cecilia Bartoli in the gorgeous Partee of the Zurich Opera. Or walking through the streets of Vienna, imagine Mahler, Freud, Schiele and Klimt inhabiting these very streets in the miraculous year of 1900. Yet musing on these dreamlike possibilities, the commitment to this work is still strong within me. Performing the Tea Ceremony and experiencing the change in awareness of my guests while they consume a miraculous meal prepared by Kaiseki chef Mito is more than enough to sustain me and Continued on next page... THE ARTFUL MIND SEPTEMBER 2022 • 27


TAM september 2022 copy.qxp_Layout 1 8/22/22 9:17 AM Page 30

TASJA KEETMAN & MICHAEL MARCUS keep the fires of inspiration glowing like the coals of a firing kiln. I now realize that the connection between host and guest is the paramount achievement of this endeavor. Michael, did you ever wonder what was it in your childhood that attracted you to becoming a ceramist? Tell us your findings and discoveries that came out of your growing years. Paint us a mindful picture. MM: Pottery was in my peripheral vision from my early days and seemed to pop up wherever I wandered, throughout Europe in the 60’s and side trips in the U.S. Finally at Queens college during my senior year after trying unsuccessfully to register for a ceramics class, I accidentally wandered into the arts building and saw a line pre-registering for a ceramics 101 class. When the registrar told me I could not register for the class since I was not an art student, I rudely informed him that I was going to register no matter what he said and so this was the original path to clay. Later I was driving my friend home from Queens on the day she received a package from a potter in the Berkshires. She opened it to reveal a striking blue mug made by Richard Bennet in Housatonic who would later become my teacher. I had never seen anything so beautifully crafted and went on to become his apprentice for two years. He had trained in Japan and built a wood-fired kiln. After my apprenticeship, I opened Joyous Spring Pottery on Spring Street in Soho and then went on to a four-year apprenticeship in Japan before building my kiln in the Berkshires in 1982. At the risk of being too sanctimonious, I have come to believe that there are times in your life when you are guided along a path that is mapped out precisely for you. The day I appeared for the pre-registration, the day I met the blue mug and countless other days in Japan and America that guided me on my path with clay and cuisine. I have come to believe that a simple, handmade object can have the power to transform one spiritually, to inspire and to create a hunger for human expression. The firing of a wood burning kiln is another one of those power objects that compel and lift one past the normal doubts and restraints of human fallibility. Holding a Japanese Raku tea bowl in my hand transported me to another time and era. Every nuance, finger mark and workmanship of the bowl whispered to me the path the bowl had made from deep in the earth, to the potter’s hand and finally through the incandescent heat of the fire to be born as a final work of art. The desire to achieve the ability and consciousness to create such a bowl has become the pursuit of my lifetime. My path to ceramics and wood firing is complicated and mysterious. My parents were humble and hardworking immigrants who had come from Europe after surviving the holocaust. They came from a line of merchants and farmers who struggled for survival along with most of the people during that tumultuous era. Pottery was a crude art form in Europe used for everyday purposes and not in anyway tied to a higher aesthetic. I’m 28 • SEPTEMBER 2022 THE ARTFUL MIND

sure that my attraction to pottery was somehow informed by their close connection to the earth and survival. My desire to find a viable craft also led me to ceramics because it was such a practical art form that could yield results with a solid commitment and years of training. My family was in the survival mode after arriving post war and so they instilled in me the need to have a practical occupation in which I could make a living. My attraction to wood-firing is more complicated and perhaps the answer will ever be in the unconscious. Let me say the that the events of World War Two definitely contributed to my choice of firing technique. I was powerfully attracted to the kiln as a source of creativity and beauty beyond comprehension. Even a potter who made inferior wares could fire pots with amazing beauty, even masterpieces. It always remained a challenge for me to make sure that the pots allowed to be fired in the Bizen kiln were the best I could make because they would be immortal and judged by more than just the firing effects by posterity. The tragic destruction of an entire race of human beings in the gas chambers of Auschwitz may have something to do with my choice of using my kiln only to create beauty and dedicate my work to the higher standards and spiritual redemption of mankind. A kiln created for goodness could begin to undo the demonic and evil intentions of those bent on annihilation and genocide. I know you must be planning! Despite being busy with the restaurant, what activities and travel plans are you thinking of doing? MM: Tasja, my partner and I love travelling both as a form of relaxation and discovery but also to experience other restaurants and get inspired and educated by other visions of excellence. We love treating ourselves to an occasional Michelin meal or eating pizza and prosecco at an obscure osteria facing the Verona Amphitheatre. The Steiereck in Vienna is the one restaurant we hold ourselves up to wherever we dine in the world. Our travels often piggyback our culinary interests as we try to upgrade our understanding of wines and sakes. In Japan we sampled sakes at sake ‘Kura’s in Kyoto. I visit my pottery teachers in Bizen and Mino. Italy is a cornucopia of varietals from Nebbiolo to Sangiovese. In Austria and Germany, it is the Gruner Vetliner and Riesling that you can sip watching the blooming apples along the Danube River. All these activities are tied together by music and opera which literally sets our itinerary before anything else can be scheduled. In Berlin there are three opera houses that offer unparalleled performances. Vienna has the Staatsopera and Zurich has the most gorgeous facility. Munich is the finest we have known and Parma is another destination for the annual Verdi festival. Anyone who has not experienced the Metropolitan Opera House in New York should put it on their bucket list. The Buddhists say that a day without work is a day without food, but for us a day without opera is a sad day indeed. Our gratitude to the BSO and Tanglewood for bringing the finest musicians and

singular operatic moments to our very doorstep. We have the further honor of serving some of the finest musicians such as Andres Nelsons, Yo-Yo Ma (who composed the first potty cantata for solo cello in Bizen’s new bathroom dedicated to him), Manny Ax, John Williams, Joshua Bell, Christine Goerka and Speedo Green, Haken Hardenberger, Leonidas Kavakos and my dear friends from the Boston Symphony. What final word would you like to add to this interview, Michael? MM: There remains so much left to learn, so much left to achieve and to discover. Having been an alchemist transforming wet clay into volcanic beauty by directing the scorching heat of a wood burning kiln and then seeing how these miracles of molten fire become vessels for the human consumption of food, there remains only wonder: that we have slowly learned to harvest life’s greatest source of energy and harmonize with those elemental forces of creation. After having spent 26 years of hard labor and unyielding perseverance to make the connection between clay and food more transparently clear, I have somehow failed to convey the essential epiphany of this journey, this inherently Japanese idea, universal idea that objects made by hand, and fired by wood can leave a lasting, unforgettable and transformative emotional catharsis on the human soul. Much like music or Greek Tragedy, these pieces can profoundly inspire, motivate and bring a moment of wonder and joy that enhances the beauty of one’s life. To this end, along with Tasja, I would like to create a book that expresses some of these enduring ideas and pictorially shows the power of wood-firing and the emotional impact of clay to function and transform. I would love to show the transcendent qualities of Sado, ‘the Way of Tea’, that uses simple objects in a liminal space to guide us to greet our own spiritual potential for connection and peace despite the inevitability of death. I would like to show the world what we have accomplished in our lifetime of discovery, failure and success. Rikyu cut down his whole garden of gorgeous morning glories to show Hideyoshi the essence of beauty and for one brief moment share a perfect instant of love between two men who could never be friends. He tried to show in the instant of death, that a sublime beauty could still prevail and that we could express that beauty while alive. May this be the expression of Bizen and my future endeavors. Thank you, Tasja and Michael! ありがとうございました h


TAM september 2022 copy.qxp_Layout 1 8/22/22 9:17 AM Page 31

AMBER GEORGE, POSTCARD I (2014) MIXED MEDIA AND ENCAUSTIC ON BOARD, 10 X 10”

RW 1, 2022, ARCHIVAL DIGITAL PRINT ON SELF-ADHESIVE CANVAS TEXTURED VINYL, 47.5" IN DIAMETER. EDITION OF 8. COPYRIGHT CHRISTIAN ECKART 2022

SASHA HALLOCK, UNTITLED, SMALL VESSELS NO. 1 (2021), MIXED MEDIA ON PAPER MOUNTED ON WOOD PANEL, 7 X 5”

JIGSAW AMBER GEORGE & SASHA HALLOCK Susan Eley Fine Art presents a two-person exhibition, Jigsaw, which features recent work by Amber George and Sasha Hallock, on view until September 18 in Hudson. Both George and Hallock harness the power and possibility of abstraction to craft thoughtful, detailed images. Their melding of shapes and patterns is a means to render their personal and imagined universes—marked by their idiosyncratic approaches to media and materials. Amber George favors encaustic, a pigmented wax inlay technique. Embracing line and color, she conjures the aesthetic and the feel of interior scenes—manipulating forms with her layers of hot wax. George sometimes incorporates physical objects, such as paper roadmaps or fabric bed sheets, into her assemblages. Her intricate patternations record visual memories and lived experiences. George writes: “My work is a visual and increasingly literal patchwork quilt containing little and big pieces of myself and the archetypal imagery developed over the course of my practice.” The artist lives in CA and is represented by SEFA. Sasha Hallock creates small-scaled drawings with watercolor, graphite and colored pencil. Each piece is populated by geometric forms, vibrant hues, and unexpected textures. By mounting the paper on wood panel, Hallock’s work straddles two-dimensional art and sculptural objects. With an Iranian father and American mother, Hallock’s paintings speak to a “bringing together,” of disparate pieces to create an object of beauty. Each painting is the result of meticulous building: one line, shape, and color in relationship to the next—an abstract language expressing themes of play, joy and faith. The artist lives in NY and is represented by SEFA. The next exhibition at SEFA Hudson will feature Rachel Burgess and Jared Abner, on view from September 22—November 6, 2022, with an opening reception on Saturday, September 24. Susan Eley Fine Art - 433 Warren Street, Hudson, New York. Gallery open: Thursday— Monday, 11AM-5PM, susaneleyfineart.com

CHRISTIAN ECKART

LISTEN TO THE WIND, 23 X 29” KAIDEN’S ENVIRONMENTAL SERIES

PART OF

TEXAS 2022

ELLEN KAIDEN I often hear “Oh Flowers”….sometimes in a naive and condescending way. I choose to paint flowers because they are a perfect vehicle for me to convey my emotions and tell a story. I was trained in all mediums of painting I chose watercolor because of its uncontrollable vitreous nature. I love being able to capture movement in water and am able to get extraordinary depth and color saturation. I work in a technique called “wet on wet” in a style that I call “Idealized Realism”. Katharine Bernhardt, from CAS in Chicago said, “Ellen Kaiden is to watercolor what Chihuly is to blown glass.” My favorite subjects are flowers, sunflowers and roses especially, oh well maybe poppies and peonies too. I love the architecture, geometry, and innate sensuality of my chosen subjects. To me, watercolor is vastly underestimated as a medium because of its unforgiving nature. Flowers like sunflowers and roses, I believe, can show every emotion possible. When Roe v. Wade was overturned by the Supreme Court, the painting “Feminine Fury” came pouring out of me. Each petal represents 100,000 underserved women. I don’t just paint pretty flowers. My paintings are metaphors. I hope they touch you the way they were intended to. For the last two pandemic years, and the death of a husband, painting is truly my meditation. If you want to learn more about me as an artist, please go to my website visit my studio in Lee, Massachusetts. In her work the “final flower”, Patti Smith the Rocker, wrote about Robert Mapplethorpe’s photos…. “He came in time, to embrace the flower as the embodiment of all the contradictions reveling within. Their sleekness. Humble Narcissus. Passionate Zen”. Ellen Kaiden - www.Ellenkaiden.com Please check out The Wit Gallery / https:/www.thewitgallery.com to see more of my work

For almost 40 years I’ve been producing hybrid painting/sculpture objects either mechanically or, more recently, digitally. My goal has been to articulate a hyper-object relative to the arthistorical notion of The Sublime. Through the deployment of multiple series, I’ve attempted to approach and illuminate the contours of the ineffable while re-framing Western artistic praxis in general as proceeding from a Judeo-Christian heritage predicated upon the manufacture of sacred and ritual artifacts. As much as possible I’ve attempted to prioritize the “presentational” over the “representational” to objectify and enhance the present and presence. It’s my belief that “art” is the product of an interaction between a viewer and some kind of construct, most often in a specified and/or rarefied context, that demands deeper than normal engagement and attention. My practice is conceptual insofar as it is located at a point where “painting” intersects with the concept “art” although it’s based, ultimately, upon generating objects/experiences that project properties such as beauty, pleasure, grace, reverie, rigor, and solemnity. (Unfortunately, dear reader, this is me trying as hard and sincerely as possible to explain my imperatives and motivations as clearly and concisely as possible.) Christian Eckart, www.christianeckart.com, 713-373-1240, eckart.christian@gmail.com. Instagram:@christian_eckart

Follow, share, participate, be seen, comment, love

ARTFULMIND @ YAHOO . COM

THE ARTFUL MIND SEPTEMBER 2022 • 29


TAM september 2022 copy.qxp_Layout 1 8/22/22 9:17 AM Page 32

PAINTING BY TRACY LEVESQUE

KATE KNAPP

LATE SUMMER, WATERCOLOR AND OIL PASTEL, 7”X10 1/2”

FRONT ST. GALLERY Pastels, oils, acrylics and watercolors…abstract and representational…..landscapes, still lifes and portraits….a unique variety of painting technique and styles….you will be transported to another world and see things in a way you never have before…. join us and experience something different. Painting classes continue on Monday and Wednesday mornings 10-1:30pm at the studio and Thursday mornings out in the field. These classes are open to all...come to one or come again if it works for you. All levels and materials welcome. Private critiques available. Classes at Front Street are for those wishing to learn, those who just want to be involved in the pure enjoyment of art, and/or those who have some experience under their belt. Front Street, Housatonic, MA. Gallery open by appointment or chance anytime. 413-528-9546 at home or 413-429-7141 (cell) www.kateknappartist.com

“Jim said that bees won’t sting idiots, but I didn’t believe that, because I tried them lots of times myself and they wouldn’t sting me.” – Mark Twain The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

SUNFLOWER, WATERCOLOR AND INK, 5”X7”

ANDREA FELDMAN Soon after moving from the Berkshires to Florida, our settling in was disrupted by the pandemic. The clubhouses in our development closed down. Many seasonal residents went back north. Our watercolor group fell apart. It’s 2-1/2 years since I launched the ‘Drawing On Purpose’ art group on Zoom, my own silver lining of Covid. Members call in from places such as Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Seattle. Being women of a certain age, participants come to the group with various drawing and painting experience. By creating a safe space and providing themes or challenges to experiment with, we have all noticed improved skills, greater self-confidence, and an increased capacity for play. I see that, through practice and trying new things, we all have the ability to grow. Andrea Joyce Feldman Andreajoycefeldmanart.com / 413-655-7766.

Learn Conversational Spanish Learn the fundamentals and conversational Spanish the fun way! All levels. Via: Zoom, Skype, Whatsapp video call, & Facebook Messenger: Esteban Valdés Author of the acclaimed book: Con Permisito Dijo Monchito (Amazon.com) References available 15 dollars per hour.

Contact Esteban for information on how you can begin!

estedelfin@yahoo.com.mx

30 • SEPTEMBER 2022 THE ARTFUL MIND

PARADISE CITY ARTS FESTIVAL Leaf peeping takes a back seat to spectacular art in Northampton, the cultural heart of New England, at New England’s most acclaimed fair of fine craft, painting, and sculpture. It’s a short, lovely ride from the Berkshires for the chance to see the remarkable work and hear the stories of 220 extraordinary artists and makers. The Paradise City Arts Festival is held inside three airy buildings connected by covered walkways, keeping patrons comfortable and protected, rain or shine. Each artist’s booth is a tiny, sparkling gallery or boutique, erected just for the weekend of the show. The 12,000 square-foot Dining Tent commands a grassy lawn surrounded by outdoor sculpture. With scores of brand-new artists, delicious food by local chefs, a chocolate maker and a craft cocktail bar, attendees are kept entertained, enthralled, and well fed all weekend long. This show’s sensational themed exhibit “The Wild Blue Yonder!” focuses on a world beyond our own, of depth and endless space. It’s also all about the color blue, which represents both the sky and the sea and is associated with open spaces, freedom, intuition, imagination, inspiration, and sensitivity. From the deep blue of sapphires, lapis lazuli, and indigo dyes to a lifesize interactive sculpture of a space capsule, be prepared to get lost in the magic of blue. Take this opportunity to support the arts and bring your holiday shopping list to Paradise City. Paradise City Arts Festival, October 8-10, at Northampton’s 3 County Fairgrounds, 54 Old Ferry Road off Rt. 9. For complete show and travel information, advance online tickets and discount admission coupons, visit www.paradisecityarts.com or call 800-511-9725.


TAM september 2022 copy.qxp_Layout 1 8/22/22 9:17 AM Page 33

THE ARTFUL MIND SEPTEMBER 2022 • 31


TAM september 2022 copy.qxp_Layout 1 8/22/22 9:17 AM Page 34

Exhibit Visions

SCOTT TAYLOR As a painter I am inspired by the color in nature and as my age increases my attention to its detail becomes more intuitive and less defined. I like where I am at this moment. I find that there is now room for the viewer to finish off the narrative. We’ve all walked on the Pleasant Valley trails and know their beauty. I hope my paintings in this show will help to invoke a sense of serenity and peace and allow the viewer to own the narrative. Scott Taylor scotttaylorpaintings@nycap.rr.com

of Nature

CAROL DAYNARD

Carol Daynard is a mixed media artist. She explores the extended boundaries of the landscape and possibilities for engaging the viewer in the rhythm of the natural world and its inhabitants. Her life in the studio brings memory, photography and on-site sketching as the basis for her creative process. Carol works in her studio in Lenox as well as in Boston. Her time in the Berkshires has given her the gift of more natural environments in her recent work. Carol Daynard - cdaynard@gmail.com

CAROLYN NEWBERGER

The Berkshire forests are buzzing, blooming, twining, gurgling, decaying, and regenerating with the unstoppable forces of nature. In the Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary’s majestic barn, six Berkshires artists share their visions of the complexity and grandeur of the natural world: Scott Taylor, Carol Daynard, Carolyn Newberger, Pat Hogan, Nina Lipkowitz and Theresa Terry. Their paintings take us from realism to abstraction, from the exquisite detail of a tiny mushroom beneath our feet to vast vistas in vibrant color. Each artist in his or her own way, expresses nature’s power to move and inspire us. Visions of Nature exhibit will run from September 17-October 30, 2022 at the Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, in Lenox Massachusetts. A reception will be held on Friday, September 16, 5-7 pm.

32 • SEPTEMBER 2022 THE ARTFUL MIND

Nearly every day I enter the forest with my eager little dog, Lily, a rescue who was born to leap logs and snuffle in forest crevasses, flushing out chipmunks she never seems able to catch. I carry a foldable stool over my shoulder and fanny pack stuffed with a watercolor box, brushes, a small jar of water and a 5 1/2 x 8 inch moleskin watercolor notebook. My eyes search the forest as eagerly as Lily’s, but for a shiny red mushroom that catches my eye, or a tangle of tree roots on the brook’s edge. My view of the forest tends to be intimate, maybe a tree stump that reveals a lush, intricate world growing within its decaying folds, revealing in its own way the vastness of the universe. Carolyn Newberger - cnewberger@me.com


TAM september 2022 copy.qxp_Layout 1 8/22/22 9:17 AM Page 35

September 17 - 30, 2022 Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary

NINA LIPKOWITZ

PAT HOGAN

My work is inspired by nature, particularly The Berkshires, the Maine Coast, and the vanishing islands of the Chesapeake Bay. Each unique landscape provides a stunning connection with the beauty of our earth and wildlife, and the chaos associated with climate change and human disregard for sustaining a healthy planet. Pat Hogan - phgbma@gmail.com / Pathogan.com

“The process of making art is mysterious. Whether painting on paper or canvas or mixing media or using the touch screen of an iPad, carving stone or throwing clay on a potter’s wheel, my art is always work of inspiration and improvisation. The first thing I do is get out of my own way. I sit quietly, pick up my materials, take a breath, let go and see where the moment takes me. I am always surprised and often amazed.” Nina Lipkowitz was born and spent most of her adult life in New York City, where she earned a degree in art history and later studied almost everything offered at the Art Students League. Fueled by her endless curiosity and deep belief in the power of spirit, Nina has been a sculptor, a potter, a painter, an educator-guide at the American Museum of Natural History and a yoga teacher. Today, living in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, in the magical Berkshires, she has found the freedom to explore her many voices. Nina and her husband, wildlife photographer and master printer John Lipkowitz, are founding members of the artist-owned 510 Warren Street Gallery in Hudson, New York. She is a member of the Guild of Berkshire Artists, and a lifetime member of the Art Students League of New York. Her work has been exhibited in both group and one-woman shows throughout the United States and can be found in private collections in North America and Europe. Please contact the artist for information on purchasing and exhibiting her work. Nina Lipkowitz - Ninalipkowitz.com, ninalipkowitz@gmail.com

THERESA TERRY I have always had a love of creating art. Throughout my college years, I managed to take some type of art each semester to fulfill my creative needs and maintain my sanity. After retiring from my career in education, I returned to art by exploring different mediums. I continue to play with acrylics, collage, and pastels; however, I truly enjoy the beauty and challenge of watercolor. I have learned watercolor techniques from accomplished artists including Vera Thyberg, Ann Kremers, Irena Roman, Jean Mackay, and Pat Hogan. My art has been shown through the Guild of Berkshire Artists, at the Art School of Columbia County, the Spencertown Academy, the Honest Weight Coop, Berkshire Coop, MCLA Gallery 51, and the former Artful Mind Gallery. I am influenced by the art created during the Art Nouveau movement especially when I paint water lilies. I like to capture the curving sensual lines of the water lily pads contrasted with the sharpness of the lilies. I find inspiration in nature’s beauty and sometimes its flaws when I paint flowers, trees, water, and mountains. I find pleasure painting mushrooms, fruits and vegetables because they provide a wealth of shapes, colors and textures to capture. Working with something before me is always translated into something I perceive. Theresa Terry - 518-392-4212, tmterry2002@yahoo.com

In the barn at the Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, Lenox, Massachusetts Open gallery hours: Friday, Saturday and Sunday 10 - 4

Please join at our Artists’ Reception Friday, September 16, 5 - 7pm THE ARTFUL MIND SEPTEMBER 2022 • 33


TAM september 2022 copy.qxp_Layout 1 8/22/22 9:17 AM Page 36

Bruce Panock

Birch Tree Photograph.

www.panockphotography.com bruce@panockphotography.com 917-287-8589

SUSAN SABINO Photography

MARY DAVIDSON

My New Hat Series # 9, Acrylic, 40x32 inches

WHERE THE LIGHT SHINES

My New Hat Series #9 will be on display June 4 - Sept. 11, 2022 ART OF THE HILLS Berkshire Museum, 39 South Street, Pittsfield, MA. __________

LIMITED EDITION ARCHIVAL FINE ART PIGMENT PRINTS

www.davidsondesigncompany.net

Studio 6, 6 Elm Street, Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Hours Thurs – Sunday 1-5 pm or by appointment. www.sabinofineartphotography.net • 413-770-1936

Studio appointments, please call 413-528-6945 Keith and Mary Original Artwork for Sale Studio/gallery, South Egremont, MA

34 • SEPTEMBER 2022 THE ARTFUL MIND


TAM september 2022 copy.qxp_Layout 1 8/22/22 9:17 AM Page 37

“FIERY SUNSET” OIL ON CANVAS 2022, 18” X21”

GHETTA HIRSCH Painting on the French Atlantic coast is usually a pleasure. Sadly, in the Summer of 2022, I had to paint late in the evening when the temperature was more bearable. You have certainly heard about the heat wave on the French coast. At 107 degrees during the day, one could not go out for too long. We could not go on the beaches for the unbelievable heat - even the terrasse cafes were empty. However, the days are much longer in France, and we were out in the evenings into the nights. Sunset would begin around 8:30 p.m. You could easily have dinner and then decide to go for a walk to view the end of the day by the beach. You could go surf fishing as this painting shows. When I sketched this landscape, the temperature was in the high 80’s, the fisherman had left his fishing rods and trusted that fish would just bite on their own. A peaceful beach it seems, except for the fiery sky which was reminding us that forest fires were raging 2 miles away. The air was heavy, the colors were more ochre and brown than the gentle yellows and oranges of our usual sunset. Nature

was suffering around the beach and the smoky atmosphere reminded us that fires were threatening us not too far. Insects were panicking and flying all over, looking for a cool spot; deer, squirrels and rabbits were fleeing the burning forests as well. It was a beautiful sunset, but I hope it relates to you the despair in the air. My ocean vacation was making me wish for the cooler Berkshires. I welcome September this year. I will participate in Art Open Studio in Williamstown on September 18 from 10:30 to 5:30 pm. This is part of the Berkshire ArtWeek events in the Berkshires. I will open my studio at 30 Church St. On September 22, I will do an oil painting demo from 2:30 to 5:30 at the same address. Space is limited so come earlier if you wish to explore my studio. One of my paintings will be displayed as a banner in Williamstown, as part of “Eyes on Art Town” on September 18. The same painting can be viewed in our local Spring Market & Cafe at 66 Spring Street in Williamstown from September 12 to October 9. Starting October 1, some of my work can be seen in Housatonic, as part of The Artful Mind group exhibit at Front Street Gallery. Finally, I will exhibit at the Southern Vermont Art Center as part of the Fall Members Exhibit. Opening Reception will be at SVAC in Manchester, Vt. Saturday November 19, so mark your calendars. Meanwhile my studio is always welcoming you on Thursdays. Just text or call to let me know. Ghetta Hirsch - at 413-597 1716, ghetta-hirsch.squarespace.com

RED HAIR GIRL

ILENE RICHARD

STUDIO OPEN TO PUBLIC Ilene Richard is an amazing artist who has been living in the Berkshires for the past 5 years. The artist has exhibited her work in various galleries from Florida to Vermont and is a member of Rockport Artist Association and the National Association of women artists. Recently, she has decided to move her studio to the Clock Tower in Pittsfield, MA. This new studio will offer her more space and better lighting, which will allow her to create even more beautiful artwork. Ilene is looking forward to having a place where she can work undisturbed and share her art with others. She is also excited about being part of the Clock Tower community and getting to know the other artists who are working there. If you’re in the area, be sure to stop by and check out her studio. Ilene Richard - www.ilenerichard.com, ilene.richard@gmail.com, 978-621-4986. 75 South Church St, Pittsfield, MA

THE ARTFUL MIND SEPTEMBER 2022 • 35


TAM september 2022 copy.qxp_Layout 1 8/22/22 9:17 AM Page 38

Artists and cultural organizations of all kinds across Berkshire County will be participating in ArtWeek Berkshires 2022 (September 15-25). This free-to-participate, cross-discipline event now in its second year, is led and organized by the county’s five Cultural Districts (Great Barrington, Lenox, North Adams, Pittsfield, and Williamstown) and 1Berkshire. Registered events benefit from expansive free promotion, including listings on the www.berkshires.org event calendar and social media posts on Facebook and Instagram accounts managed by 1Berkshire. The 10-day festival is also supported through billboards, print and web advertising, radio promotion, and signage, making it easy to participate and focus on the creative elements of an event, rather than also having to handle marketing. For the county’s individual artists and cultural organizations, ArtWeek Berkshires comes at a particularly auspicious time of year. “The buzz of the summer has quieted down and fall leaf-peeping is on the horizon,” explains Lenox Chamber of Commerce director and Cultural District Co-

Chair Jenn Nacht. “But for artists, that sweet spot in early fall is when activity picks up again, whether that’s gallery shows in New York or theater, film, and opera seasons around the world. We want audiences to know the Berkshires cultural season is year-round, too, not just in summer.” “ArtWeek Berkshires 2022 is not your everyday art fair or music festival,” says 2022 cochair Cecilia Hirsch, “With more than 70 artists registered, this county-wide event encompasses everything from painting and African dance to theater and pottery, with activities that appeal to kids, families, and adults alike. There will be open studios, demonstrations, and hands-on events. It will truly capture in 10 days why the region has always attracted the world’s great creative minds, including the next Edith Wharton and James Van Der Zee. Carolyn Cole, Mass Cultural Council’s Cultural Districts and Local Cultural Council Program Officer, spoke about the impact this kind of initiative can have. “I talk regularly about our Cultural Districts in the Berkshires being a best practice model for regional collaboration. The strength of this District partnership is a driving force for initiatives such as ArtWeek, successfully aiming to attract artists, cultural enterprises, and tourism to an area by thoughtfully supporting creative entrepreneurship and fostering local cultural development.” ArtWeek Berkshires 2022 https://berkshires.org/artweek-berkshires/.

COLORADO

JOHN HOUSEMAN I am a dedicated surrealist, though have done automotive, architectural and people portraits on commission. This image displays a blending of the surreal and automotive showing a rendered, made-up hot rod in a most unusual setting. I’ve been drawing and painting since I was 5. I did study at The School of Visual Arts which helped but I was well on my way as far as technique and my love for the surreal were concerned. I mostly work in gouache for brilliancy of color and ease of fixing mistakes. Please check out my website. John Houseman john-houseman.artistwebsites.com

Diedre Bollinger DBA

homespun productions

diedrebollinger@gmail.com 518-429-9658

~ landscape design gardening ~ certified designer & horticulturalist; insured; references 36 • SEPTEMBER 2022 THE ARTFUL MIND


TAM september 2022 copy.qxp_Layout 1 8/22/22 9:17 AM Page 39

CUSTOM HOUSE PORTRAIT IN WATERCOLOR NEW HAT WITH A BLUE FEATHER

MARGUERITE BRIDE WATERCOLORS

MARY ANN YARMOSKY When I first started painting, I was asked why I usually painted women. This simple question helped me to clarify. Why did I feel the need to paint at all and why did my subjects most often involve women? I have been blessed both professionally and personally to know many incredible women. Some have climbed the corporate ranks through hard work and tenacity, some have struggled as single parents barely making ends meet. Some have lost parents, spouses and even children and somehow, they keep moving forward with grace and dignity. The stories vary, but the inspiration remains. My paintings represent my curiosity about what makes each of us tick. What gives us the courage to move forward with faith and determination and yes, with love and compassion. I have always had an artist’s heart and insights. I studied fashion design in Boston, worked for the Boston Opera Company designing costumes and later for Sardella of Newport in Newport, Rhode Island, where we designed and made clothes for Newport’s elite, outfits that were photographed for Vogue and National Geographic and were worn to events held at the cliff walk mansions and beyond. My artistic ability then was confined to fashion sketches, imagining how fabric could be transformed into something beautiful and intriguing and then sewing what I visualized into something wearable. MaryAnn is presently exhibiting at the Gallery West Art Gallery, September 3 - 29. The theme is Welcome Autumn. The gallery is located at 204 Monument Road, Orleans, MA. MaryAnn Yarmosky - 413-441-6963 ,myarmosky@comcast.net, maryannyarmoskyeclecticart.com

It is not strange to be thinking about the holidays. NOW is the time to make plans if you would like to commission a house portrait. And for those who commit before October 1, 2022, you will be able to take advantage of lower prices which sadly but unavoidable, will be increased on October 1. It’s a lot easier than you think to commission a house portrait. The artist will visit the home and take photos (if local) and come up with some sketches that depicts the view you are looking for. Once agreement is met on the view and season, what is to be included and not included, and the size of the painting, then the painting process begins. It seldom takes more than 3 weeks from start to finish. A custom house portrait is a personal and cherished gift for any occasion. Most often adult children commission a piece for their parents, other times it’s an anniversary, retirement, or holiday surprise gift, and sometimes it’s a gift for yourself because you love your home. Whatever the occasion, it is always a happy process for everyone. Marge Bride would love to paint your home for you! “Visit my website to see many of the homes I have painted. You will find plenty of ideas to inspire you, and answers to all your questions. It is such a pleasurable journey for the gift recipients and for me as well.” Also, Marguerite Bride will be exhibiting 2 pieces in the Berkshire Art Association’s RE*Fresh Exhibit to be held October 7 - November 26 at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts in Pittsfield. My two pieces that were accepted into this juried show are “Rookery I” and “Railroad Alley”. A reception will be held on Saturday, October 8, from 3-5 pm. Marguerite Bride – Home Studio at 46 Glory Drive, Pittsfield, Massachusetts by appointment only. Call/text 413-841-1659; margebride-paintings.com; margebride@aol.com; Facebook: Marguerite Bride Watercolors

MY NEW HAT SERIES #59

MARY DAVIDSON Mary Davidson has been painting on a regular basis for the last 16 years. Davidson’s paintings are a two-dimensional decorative visualization of line, color, design, shape, patterns, and stamping. As you begin to study the paintings, you will find the foreground and background tend to merge, with overlaid patterns. “I love the intense complexity and ambiguity of space and dimension.”. The effect can be startling: the longer you look at the piece, the more you see. Davidson’s New Hat series consist of 70 paintings. “I start with a basic drawing, building with color and shape, coming to life with gesture and flow. As the title suggests, the hats are important, and the millinery designs emerge. There is much joy in their creation and my passion for playful designs is reinforced by their bright colors, linear rhythms and patterns leading our eyes around and through the painting. My newest series is even more abstract, with an even stronger emphasis on design. I do like to use stamping, along with painting, because I love the result. When I finish with a painting, I adhere the canvas with mat gel to gator board, creating a nice tight surface. My paintings are always framed.” Mary Davidson - PO Box 697, South Egremont, Massachusetts; 413-528-6945 / 413-717-2332; mdavidsongio@aol.com, marydavidson83155@gmail.com, www.davidsondesigncompany.net

“Most people don’t have any idea about all the complicated life going on inside a hive. Bees have a secret life we don’t know anything about.” – August

THE ARTFUL MIND SEPTEMBER 2022 •37


TAM september 2022 copy.qxp_Layout 1 8/22/22 9:18 AM Page 40

T.A.M VIRTUAL GALLERY

9.2022

Artists’ work easily accessable to Everyone. All art is available for purchase. Support our Artists

CAROLYN NEWBERGER

Varnish Cap, 6 x 17”

Srping Symphone, Watercolor, 12 x 16”

Carolyn Newberger: 617-877-5672 cnewberger@me.com

www.carolynnewberger.com 38 • SEPTEMBER 2022 THE ARTFUL MIND


TAM september 2022 copy.qxp_Layout 1 8/22/22 9:19 AM Page 41

MARY ANN YARMOSKY

Pedicure Date Night

Ode to My Dog

“It’s up to you to decide who my ladies are and what they are thinking. They only came to me with the first stroke of a brush and a little paint. I don’t know their stories or where they hale from. I only know that they now exist, and some will love them, and some will not. Such is the life of a woman.” -Mary Ann Yarmosky

Stoodu Up

Mary Ann Yarmosky: 413-441-6963 myarmosky@comcast.net • Face Book Instagram maryannyarmoskyeclecticart.com THE ARTFUL MIND SEPTEMBER 2022 • 39


TAM september 2022 copy.qxp_Layout 1 8/22/22 9:19 AM Page 42

T.A.M VIRTUAL GALLERY 9.2022

ILENE RICHARD

Colorful Company

Year of the Clowns

Reflections of Rockport

Ilene RIchard: 978-621-4986 Versatile subject matter / distinct style • COMMISSIONS • STUDIO VISITS The Clock Tower Eagle Buidling, 3rd floor, 75 Church St, Pittsfield, MA Studio 316 http://facebook.com/ilene.richard

www.ilenerichard.com • ilene.richard@gmail.com 40 • SEPTEMBER 2022 THE ARTFUL MIND


TAM september 2022 copy.qxp_Layout 1 8/22/22 9:19 AM Page 43

T.A.M VIRTUAL GALLERY 9.2022

MARK MELLINGER

Patriarchs, 2018, Triptych, Acrylic and Collage on Canvas, 3 panels, 40” x 16”

Stellar Nebula, 2021, Acrylic,48” x 60”

Sawfish, Rusted Saw, Glass Door Knobs, Pine and Shark Teeth, 2021, 16” x 54”

Mark Mellinger : 914-260-7413 The Clock Tower . Eagle Building, 3rd floor, 75 South Church St, Pittsfield, MA

markmellinger680@gmail.com THE ARTFUL MIND SEPTEMBER 2022 • 41


TAM september 2022 copy.qxp_Layout 1 8/22/22 9:19 AM Page 44

Photograph by Edward Acker

AIMEE VAN DYNE FOLK / AMERICANA SINGER-SONGWRITER Interview by Harryet Candee

Photography Courtesy of the Artist

Born into a musical family, with both folk and classical influences, Aimee began writing songs while still an art student at Brown University. Aimee began her musical career in New York City, performing at venues such as The Bitter End and Rockwood Music Hall. Her original songs, characterized by catchy hooks and three-part harmonies, reflect influences such as Neil Young, The Beatles, and Lucinda Williams. Later she became a member of the female singer-songwriter collective, “Chicks with Dip”. After a fifteen-year hiatus, she has returned with a collection of songs in her long-awaited album, “Broken Love Songs”. Harryet Candee: To understand your most recent artistic music achievement, tell us about the meaning and experiences behind your latest CD, Broken Love Songs? Aimee Van Dyne: Well, the songs actually span many years. Some of these songs are fairly new, while others were recorded on my previous CD, which was released 20 years ago. When I began compiling these songs, I realized there was a common thread linking them; they were all stories about moving through adversity and finding myself, and my voice, on the other side. In terms of more recent events informing these songs, many were written during the dissolution of my 23-year marriage and my subsequent relocation from Brooklyn to the Berkshires with my two children. I had lived in NYC for over 30 years, so there was a lot of upheaval and change and growth during this time. The music reflects all of this, but it also has a certain hopefulness. One of the lyrics states, 42 • SEPTEMBER 2022 THE ARTFUL MIND

“on the other side of dark comes the dawn,” and I think this expresses the theme of the album quite well. You seem to be a mellow, soft-spoken person, and that could easily reflect the sound and style of your music. Folk, country-twangy, with guitar, gentle, flowing harmonious sound is how I interpret your present music. I am wondering was there a time in your life, as far back as you can remember, when you created music that was of a totally different nature? AVD: Yes! Actually, I’m a big fan of bands like Talking Heads, Television, and Radiohead, and in my very early home recordings, I experimented a lot with layering electric guitars with very dissonant, discordant harmonies. We performed some of those songs live in NYC with my very first band, and it was a little nutty! Truth be told, I cannot play the electric guitar in any meaningful

way, but it was fun to experiment. How has your direction in music changed since living now in the wilds of the Berkshires? What motivates you, Aimee? AVD: Since moving to the Berkshires, I’ve become much more absorbed in what is called Americana or Roots music. Just the idea of people sitting in a circle with a fiddle, banjo, or guitar, and making music, singing traditional songs, resonates deeply with me. So I’ve added a lot of traditional songs to my repertoire. A big influence was participating at the song circle at The Dreamaway Lodge. You never knew who was going to be there, and occasionally some really amazing players would show up. I still feel very much like a novice in that world, but I am very drawn to that type of music and the many local song circles throughout the Berkshires, so I always enjoy singing and playing along, and I learn so much.


TAM september 2022 copy.qxp_Layout 1 8/22/22 9:19 AM Page 45

I”M ONE I went down to the water To lay my worries down I couldn't find a friend And I didn't hear a sound In the silence over me I thought I heard my voice She told me I was free She said I had a choice

Latest CD

I heard you played live at the Foundry in West Stockbridge, MA in early Spring 2022, since then, where have you performed, and how have you felt your experiences to be? It’s so exciting that your music is being played at radio stations around the country, don’t you agree? AVD: It was a privilege to be asked to perform at The Foundry. It is a very special venue with fabulous acoustics. Amy Bretano, the owner, supports a wide spectrum of artists, and has made it her mission to make the Foundry a very inclusive environment. Another really exciting show was my recent performance at the Egremont Barn, which has special significance since The Barn was the very first venue I performed at after a long hiatus. After my twin daughters were born, I took 15 years off from music to concentrate on raising them. When I finally started playing again, I had to re-learn guitar, re-learn how to sing, and even needed to re-learn my own songs. The Egremont Barn, along with places like The Foundry and The Guthrie Center, were essential in encouraging and supporting me on my journey back to music. Another really exciting event is an upcoming concert called “On Your Radar” which will take place at Rockwood Music Hall in New York City on October 11th. This event is hosted by John Platt, a beloved DJ at WFUV, who created this showcase to shine a spotlight on artists he is excited about, so I am honored and thrilled to be selected. As for radio airplay, “Broken Love Songs” is doing extremely well and is being played on Folk, Americana, Roots, and AAA (Album Adult Alternative) radio shows all around the country, as well as in Canada and The Netherlands. The album has placed on the Alt-Country chart, the Roots Music Weekly Top 50 Chart for Massachusetts Artists, and has placed on WVIA’s AAA chart three weeks in a row. It has also placed on the Folk Chart, so this is all extremely exciting for me! Several radio stations have hosted feature segments on “Broken Love songs,” including

All images on CD byTricia McCormack

WSBS and WBCR in Great Barrington. What better way to heal and get through life changes then having music as your best friend. Do you come from a music background? In your family, who played music and what venue? AVD: Yes, music is the most healing medicine I know, and writing these songs got me through one of the most difficult periods of my life. I do come from a musical background. My grandmother, Anna Vorona, was an opera singer who toured all over the country. I have a framed program from one of her performances at Carnegie Hall hanging on my wall at home. My sister is a musician, and my cousin was a member of the Celtic band Whirligig. I also recently found out that I am a third cousin of Nanette Workman, who is a very well-known singer in Canada. I had another cousin who was a child prodigy on the piano, but he didn’t pursue music. Instead, he became an accountant! Playing music is not exactly a lucrative career….. So, looking over your body of work, who and why, can you say is your strongest influence and mentor as you move forward with your music career? Past and present mentors? AVD: By far, my biggest musical influences growing up were Neil Young, John Lennon, and the Beatles. You can definitely hear Neil Young’s influence in my music, very much so. In terms of current influences, I have been listening to a lot of Mary Gauthier’s music lately, so she has become an important influence, and I recently participated in a songwriting workshop with her in Woodstock. My teenage daughters have also turned me on to a lot of artists, people like Lucy Dacus, Maggie Rogers, and Sara Bareilles. The best part of listening to my daughters’ music is that most of the artists are female. When I was growing up in the 70s and 80s, almost all of the musicians I listened to were male. I love that Continued on next page...

A giant slate-blue crane Lifted slowly into flight And I feel that I am changed Struggling off into the light And I wanted you to see How strong I had become Alone here by the sea Emboldened by the sun I'm One I went down to the garden Where my struggles grow A tangled web of half-truths I didn't want to know And the loneliness for peace I long to know for sure Behind every broken promise Beyond every open door I'm One And I could never Lay my head down where I belong I could never find a home Find a home Find a home Find a home Find a home Find a home —Aimee Van Dyne Broken Love Songs

THE ARTFUL MIND • SEPTEMBER 2022 • 43


TAM september 2022 copy.qxp_Layout 1 8/22/22 9:19 AM Page 46

AIMEE VAN DYNE FOLK / AMERICANA SINGER SONGWRITER

HOLD ON Heading down the road in front of me Holding up just enough for today Riding off to find another dream Ending up lost and rough on the way

Even though I’ve lost my way, my heart still sings Guess I never had a taste for finer things On the other side of all that sorrow brings Find your wings, Find your wings

Hold on, hold on Til the broken dreams you borrowed are gone Hold on, hold on On the other side of dark comes the dawn Hold on

Heaven is a place inside of me Where I go when i run far away But I could never hope to be that free Or to know life's enough anyway And I know a thousand trials await for me caught in every thought and every fault I see On the other side of all that sets you free Follow me, Follow me

Hold on, hold on Til the broken dreams you borrowed are gone Hold on, hold on On the other side of dark comes the dawn Hold on

Hold on tight Choose the fight

women are finally gaining a place and a voice in this field. Does your musical background include an interest in the actual history and development of Folk, Country and Rock? AVD: I do find the history fascinating. I’m constantly trying to educate myself on traditional Americana and Appalachian music, and living in the mountains, being exposed to that type of music in a more direct way, has been really inspiring to me. Do you ever compose songs based on politics or world events? AVD: Well, everything that is going on politically does end up in my songs, but it usually is expressed in relational terms. For example, my song “Not Even You” sounds like it is about a relationship, but it’s actually about finding my voice and learning how to speak truth to power. The lyric, “I am not afraid of anything, not even you” is really about becoming brave enough to speak your truth.

You’re alright On the other side of dark comes the light Hold on

—Aimee Van Dyne Broken Love Songs

44 • SEPTEMBER 2022 THE ARTFUL MIND

Who helped you in making the CD Broken Love Songs, or, was it a one-woman creation? AVD: This album was definitely NOT a onewoman creation! I certainly could not have achieved this level of professionalism without the help of Jim Henry, a brilliant musician and multiinstrumentalist who co-produced the album and managed almost every aspect of the process. Alongside him was David Chalfant, who recorded and mixed the album. The album was tricky to

record because we were at the height of Covid, so we needed to record almost everything remotely. The basic tracks were recorded David’s studio in Northampton, and then I recorded my lead and background vocals at Jim’s studio, in isolation. Next, Jim recorded all of the stringed instrument overdubs at his studio, and then a whole bunch of stellar musical guests recorded their parts remotely. These guests include pedal steel player Jon Graboff, who has toured with Cyndi Lauper and Ryan Adams, Grammy-award-winning multiinstrumentalist Jon Carroll on accordion, and the Berkshires’ very own Ben Kohn on piano and organ. When you are not working on your music, what do you enjoy doing? Do you have a large or small window of time that you can explore the Berkshires? AVD: Well, I moved up to the Berkshires to raise my two daughters, so that occupies most of my time when I am not working on music. The three of us love animals and nature, so we spend a lot of time going on hikes and visiting farms. One of my daughters loves musical theater, and the other loves visual arts, so we really landed in the right place! When I do get a moment to myself, I love to travel, especially to New York, Boston, and the many local music festivals we have nearby. I also work as an activist when I can find the time. Since moving to the Berkshires, I have also become an obsessive gardener! Are you planning another CD with new music? I would absolutely love to record a follow-up CD


TAM september 2022 copy.qxp_Layout 1 8/22/22 9:19 AM Page 47

fairly soon, but I have a feeling it will take a few years. In my case, the time simply isn’t there. Songwriting is a really slow process for me, and I have to be in the right mindset. Having said that, I already have two new songs that I will probably start performing live soon. Keep us posted on that, Aimee. I wish we can see music if we were deaf, and hear visual art, if we were blind. It all comes from pure love in one’s heart that we need to have a bonding with sound and visuals. What do you think? AVD: Yes, I definitely think it’s all connected, and it’s all about expression. I was an architect for many years, and my architectural training translated directly into what I do now when I write and arrange songs. Of all the art forms, I think music has the most direct and immediate impact. It’s also the most subjective. People have very particular tastes and opinions about music, to the point where many people define themselves by the music they love. Tell us about “Chicks with Dip”? And, “What A Wonderful World” video, which came out as a result of Covid. AVD: Yes, the “Chicks with Dip” is a group that I created with some songwriter friends back in the 1990s. We were all living in NYC and were regulars at an open mic at The C-Note, a club on the Lower East Side. We became friends and started meeting at each other’s homes every month or so and, over wine, cheese, and DIP, played music and critiqued each other’s songs. The group expanded over many years to include more women, and there are quite a few well-known folk singers among us. When Covid hit, we tried to figure out a way to help each other through the isolation. We

started a weekly zoom chat group, and then decided it would be fun to record a video together, just to give ourselves a musical project work on. The end result was “What A Wonderful Life,” a video that features all of us performing the song together. To create the video, we each recorded different vocal and instrumental segments of the song, and then one of our members, Katherine Etzel from the band Bobtown, compiled and produced the final audio and video.

What is one of your most fondest memories related to music that you can share with us? AVD: Hmmmm… I was a fanatical Neil Young fan when I was a teenager. When I was 16, I befriended one of his assistants, and I was introduced to Neil Young backstage at one of his concerts. We chatted a bit and then he thanked me and shook my hand and looked deeply into my eyes. The expression in his eyes was extraordinary. I was looking into the eyes of a genius.

Joni Mitchell, CSN & Young, James Taylor, Bob Dylan, to name a very few, how do you relate to these musicians? AVD: Well, I think you can certainly hear their influences in my music, especially CSN, since my songs have such strong harmonies. That era was a very special time in history, and the music deeply effected me in my formative years. I think I relate so strongly to those songs because it was a period when people truly believed that music could change the world, and it did. The songs have an integrity and honesty and depth and power that still resonates today.

If there was any time in history that you could have lived in, when and where would that be, and what would influence you to choose this particular time and place? AVD: Well, I have always felt I was born into the wrong time. Growing up, I was always a hippie, and I totally identified with the 60s era. I’m a huge Brian Jones fan, so I could see myself hanging out in Swinging London in the 60s, or maybe San Francisco. What an amazing time!

Aside from your music, who would you recommend us to listen to that you think is interesting, and why? AVD: There is so much great music out there, and music is so subjective, I find it hard to make recommendations. Having said that, some of my biggest musical heroes are Elliot Smith, Patty Griffin, Lucinda Williams, and Brian Wilson, along with the others we have already mentioned. I really love Adrianne Lenker’s new album, and I also recently discovered Justin Townes Earle. All of these people are phenomenal songwriters. There are so many great artists out there, many of whom are not household names.

What is your favorite kind of guitar you love to use and will always get the same of when needed? Why is that? How do you find a guitar that works with your voice? AVD: The two guitars I play when I am performing are both Taylors. I always seem to gravitate to the sound of a Taylor. Unlike Martin guitars, which tend to have a deeper tone, Taylors have a much brighter sound and I guess that complements my vocal range. However, I think I will soon start playing electric guitar again on stage, so the next time you see me, I might be playing my aqua-blue Danelectro. Thank you Aimee!

h

ARTFULMIND@YAHOO.COM Be seen on these pages... artfulmind@yahoo.com Support the artists by letting them know you saw their work in this issue Celebrate life in every artful way possible

THE ARTFUL MIND SEPTEMBER 2022 • 45


TAM september 2022 copy.qxp_Layout 1 8/22/22 9:20 AM Page 48

Dandelions Heretics! Blond botanic beasts, Disobey Green Only Grass Dogma, masquerade with sunny gold coin faces, as they prosper in prolific profusion despoiling manicured lawns. You must be killed! Mowed under, Rounded up, Executed, Poisoned to death. But their ghostly globes send their offspring aloft, downy parachutes, floating unfettered, rooting in rebellion, staging a perpetual resurrection. Testament to a defiant Immortality.

AUTUMN GOLD, WATERCOLOR, 16 X 20”

SALLY TISKA RICE BOBBY MILLER PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHER GREAT BARRINGTON STUDIO My teacher, master photographer Lisette Model, taught me that the secret behind a great portrait is the relationship between the photographer and his subject and the artistic capture of the moment. In my studio in Great Barrington, I do hair, make-up, styling, lighting and photography, thereby creating a finished portrait that tells a story even in its simplicity. I believe in incorporating both the classic tools of the camera and newer technologies like Photoshop. In that way my portraits correct the small flaws that nature has bestowed on us. I create images that show us not only as who we are but who we can be as well. So, if you feel daring and inspired to have a portrait that defines you at your very best, I encourage you to come sit before my camera. Bobby Miller Studio, 22 Elm St, Gt Barrington 508-237-9585. By Appointment Only.

—Rose Oliver

Andrea Joyce Feldman

nyuk-nyuk

46 • SEPTEMBER 2022 THE ARTFUL MIND

Sally Tiska Rice was born and raised in the beautiful Berkshires. She is the youngest of four children. Sally lives in a rural town with her husband, and pets, where she is inspired by her surroundings. As a young girl she would sit with her father as he designed and drew many blueprints. This was the start of her love for art in all its forms. While painting and drawing she feels spiritually gratified and relaxed. She is a spine injury survivor that finds her creative nature healing. Sally focuses on blending and layering to achieve depth and dimension. She also experiments with light and color to create a piece that will be enjoyed. Sally employs many different techniques into her paintings, using acrylic, watercolors, oil paints, pastels, as well as mixed media. Her love to travel has given Sally opportunities to further her understanding of art in all its forms. She has been able to visit many areas in the Northeast, ranging from the majestic mountains to the scenic shores. Sally has enjoyed art abroad while in Italy, Greece, Spain and the Caribbean as well. These experiences have encouraged her knowledge and appreciation of the history of art throughout the world. Sally uses spontaneity to compose artwork. She also creates many beautiful commission art pieces for customers internationally. Her commission pieces are usually created from one or more images that the customer has chosen to blend together to form a one of a kind piece of art. Sally also has many customers that have purchased fine art prints. Call to set up a studio appointment at the Clock Tower Business Center, 75 South Church Street, 3rd floor, studio 302, Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Sally Tiska Rice - 413-446-8469 http://www.sallytiskarice.com, http://sallytiskarice.com/STR/The_Artist.html, https://www.facebook.com/sally.t.rice, https://mobile.twitter.com/RiceTiska, https://www.linkedin.com/in/sally-tiska-rice-cpo5230777a/, https://www.instagram.com/sallytiskarice/ https://pixels.com/profiles/sally-rice.


TAM september 2022 copy.qxp_Layout 1 8/22/22 9:20 AM Page 49

BERKSHIRE DIGITAL Since opening in 2005, Berkshire Digital has done fine art printing for artists and photographers. Giclée prints can be made in many different sizes from 5”x7” to 42”x 80” on a variety of archival paper choices. Berkshire Digital was featured in PDN magazine in an article about fine art printing. See the entire article on the BerkshireDigital.com website. Berkshire Digital does accurate hi-res photo-reproductions of paintings and illustrations that can be used for Giclée prints, books, magazines, brochures, cards and websites. “Fred Collins couldn’t have been more professional or more enjoyable to work with. He did a beautiful job in photographing paintings carefully, efficiently, and so accurately. It’s such a great feeling to know I have these beautiful, useful files on hand anytime I need them. I wish I’d called Fred years ago.” - Ann Getsinger We also offer restoration and repair of damaged or faded photographs. A complete overview of services offered, along with pricing, can be seen on the web at BerkshireDigital.com The owner, Fred Collins, has been a commercial and fine art photographer for over 30 years having had studios in Boston, Stamford and the Berkshires. He offers over 25 years of experience with Photoshop, enabling retouching, restoration and enhancement to prints and digital files. The studio is located in Mt. Washington, but drop-off and pick-up is available through Frames On Wheels, 84 Railroad Street in Great Barrington, MA (413) 528-0997 and Gilded Moon Framing, 17 John Street in Millerton, NY (518) 789-3428. Berkshire Digital - 413 644-9663, www.BerkshireDigital.com.

NEW STUDIO SPACE AT THE CLOCKTOWER IN PITTSFIELD, MA PHOTO BY MARK

MARK MELLENGER ARTIST STATEMENT WORTHLESS I’m not famous and my artwork should not be considered an investment. Furthermore, due to its eclectic variation in style it’s not appealing to galleries. Fortunately for me I don’t depend on art sales for a living. My practice of psychoanalysis provides adequately. I have no interest in developing a consistent style, in fact, actively avoid it. It’s endlessly engaging to explore different methods, materials and ideas. I’m pleased to join Picasso and Gerhard Richter in this rejection of consistency. I’ve moved my studio into an exciting new artist’s collective in the Berkshire Eagle Building, 75 South Church St, 3rd floor, Pittsfield. Mark Mellinger - markmellinger680@gmail.com, 914-260-7413

THE WATCHER

SHARON GUY

LAND, SEA, AND SKY While I quietly observe and paint the land, water, and skies, the ordinary world around me is transformed by light and shadow into the sublime. My goal is to share my deep connection with nature with those who take the time to stop and look. I enjoy painting birds, animals, and scenes from the Gulf Coast to New England. My work is in private collections in the United States and Canada. Sharon Guy - sharonguyart@gmail.com, 941-321-1218, https://www.sharonguyart.com

ARTFULMIND@YAHOO.COM Join us for OCTOBER. 2022 Supporting Artists everywhere! Be seen on these pages....

THE ARTFUL MIND SEPTEMBER 2022 • 47


TAM september 2022 copy.qxp_Layout 1 8/22/22 9:20 AM Page 50

Something For Over The Couch PART 14

The Writing On the Wall After the terribly awkward moment when Hanna explained how her doctor husband had closed my father’s eyes after he died of stab wounds, she continued with the story of Judith and her paintings. It was a painful moment in the conversation, and she perhaps thought to treat it as though nothing had been said, like two people in a movie might continue to play cards without looking up, after the wall of their apartment is blown to pieces in wartime. “Max introduced Judith to the absurd idea of her doing a set of abstract paintings. As you know, she had a fierce temperament that had earned her the title of ‘killer,’ simply based on the fiction that she was said to have murdered her father. No person in the bar where she worked knew anything about her, and so the suggestion Max made to her of doing some paintings as some kind of research or experiment, was said doubtfully, hesitantly, because he was quite well aware of the absurdity of his proposal. Now there are all kinds of love at first sight. There is love of a person and the love of cars. There is the love of places, and the passionate love of ideas. Sometimes a sudden commitment will rise up in a person's heart entirely unexpectedly and no one sees it coming. The sure sign of the event is silence and a troubled countenance, as the soul reconfigures its desires, and sets its sails for a new destination. Goethe wrote this beautiful sentence: ‘A bright day is like a dull day if we look at it unmoved; and what can move us but some silent hope that the inborn inclination of our soul shall not always be without an object? This desire was suddenly met for Judith and she began to imagine herself an artist. The ground for this transformation had been accidentally prepared for her because of her job, which exposed her to the banter of the arts, and who can resist or ignore the banter of the artists. Max, my husband at that time, and his friend Francisco were unfortunately not composed of the same substance as Judith was. They were not consumed with any passion for anything at all, but the both of them considered contemporary art to be just a shallow but profitable scam. They talked the talk, and certainly knew the words, but for them the sale of big paintings to a rich collectors was a thing for jests, but simply between the two of them, because publicly they sought to appear both serious and ethical. On her day off Judith went to the Met. She went to the Modern, she went to the Guggenheim, and the Whitney. She was so upset by a painting she saw in the Whitney that she could not sleep all night, and was late for work the following day. Later she procured a map of the art galleries and went to every 48 • SEPTEMBER 2022 THE ARTFUL MIND

one without exception. In the meantime she continued to wait tables at the bar where we all would gather, but her behavior underwent a subtle but noticeable change. She would linger for a moment to listen to the end of someone’s sentence, and was obviously tempted to offer a comment, but would think better of it and walk away abruptly as if to make up for her lost time. So it came to pass that Max introduced Judith to Francisco’s studio and she found herself face to face with the question of what she was going to paint. She was certainly inspired, and anxious to begin, but as for ideas of how to go about it, she had none. In many ways, being just a child, she jumped in exactly where Francisco had left off. A half painted hollow core door was sitting there on the easel, and she simply finished the painting, as if she was Francisco’s unpaid apprentice. Now you might ask the obvious question, Didn’t she realize that in today's modern world a person is expected to do something unique, and unexpected? Why would anyone think that?” All the art she had seen in the galleries in the week leading up to these events struck her as rather interchangeable, and she looked at it all in this way: large canvases covered over with paint of various colors. To her that was a complete description of our art in 1962, just a few years ago. Having finished her first painting, she invited Max to have a look, and he was dumbfounded when he saw what she had done. “What is this?” he asked. “You have finished Francisco’s painting with the same colors and even his brush marks.” “Brush marks?” she replied, as if the idea that different people might have different brush marks was a strange and novel idea to her. But Judith had no idea of the artist as some great genius, and she started the project just like a person who has been hired to complete a house painting job. But Max set her to rights, so that what began for her as a simple but interesting project, now became a strange, unsolvable, even inexplicable difficulty. “How on earth?”, she asked herself, “is one person's paint brush marks to be considered more interesting than some other person’s brush marks. To her brush marks, like footsteps, or heartbeats, or even bowel movements, were all obviously the same sort of thing, so how might one be more important than another?” Max even shouted at her, “Don’t you understand the significance of Picasso’s line?” What could such a sentence possibly mean? But you can’t forget that it was Judith he was lecturing, Judith with an indomitable will, no knowledge of art whatsoever, and a wicked tongue, so she just screamed back at him. “I don’t see why, if I draw a line, it is not just as good as Pick Ass Hole’s line.” What was Max, whose life and career was founded on selling the art of the dead, supposed to do with this remark. How many times in his life had Max uttered the words “Picasso's Line,” as if such a concept was just the same as talking about the ‘Tiger’s Spots’, or the ‘Lion’s Roar,’ in short, a fundamental truth of art. I was at this point in Hannah’s story that I interrupted her, not in a combative way like before, but simply with a philosophical question that crossed me mind at that instant, so I said, “Do you agree with what Judith said, that one person’s line, is just as good as another person’s line?” “Well, art is like religion, in that its values do not

conform to external measures. So, who is to say that one person's religion is superior to any other. But still, there is the Pope.” So Picasso is sort of the Pope, and people have got to worship his line then?” “Shall I go on?” she said, and so commenced her story. “It didn’t matter at all that Judith believed her brush marks were ‘just as good,’ and she was bothered by Max’s criticism of her first painting, and so for a few days in the studio, she did nothing but sit in a chair and stare at her next canvas. When she found that for several days her mind was just as blank as the canvas, she began to think of giving up on the project as something only of interest to the college types in the bar, and not urchins like herself. “What if they find out I never graduated from grade school, she wondered. It was at this point in her life that God intervened, and began to take a particular interest in her paintings. Apparently, as it later turned out, God had a specific message he wanted to convey to the world, and he decided to use Judith as a means to an end.” I objected to this comment of hers about God, and again interrupted her story. “Do you really believe in God, and do you think God intervenes in human affairs? I asked her. After a long pause she said, “Well, yes and no.” “Then at least we agree about something,” I said. She continued, “Judith was going home on the subway, and the train stopped at one of those elevated stations where you find yourself looking into somebody's ancient apartment. Above the apartment windows there was a cornice and on the cornice there was written in white paint, ‘Frank is the greatest.’ Well you know how it is with those subway stops on the elevated, you never know what the view is going to be, since it depends on what car you are in, but the message about the greatness of Frank presented itself to Judith three times in a row, and if that is not Divine intervention, I do not know what is. This message, this writing on the wall, so to speak, had been painted by some house painter, dead long ago. Frank went to work early one morning, and before he painted the cornice white, he first took a big brush and wrote his statement about himself on the wall. After that, he painted his message over with new paint, and so, about a century later the weather had washed enough of the second coat of paint away so it was possible for Judith to read his important message to her. As the train pulled out of that stop that morning Judith had a brain storm. She would paint cryptic messages in big lettering onto her paintings, and then cover the messages up with new paint. In this way her statements would be discovered some hundreds of years in the future. This would be her secret, and as a finishing touch, the messages would be the title of her paintings, known only to her. The next day she did her first message painting, it was called, “Judith is the Greatest.” She wrote her message in white, on a white gesso ground, and then covered it over with thick white paint.

AT

—RICHARD BRITELL PARTS 1 THROUGH 13, SPAZIFINEART.COM (SHORT STORIES)


TAM september 2022 copy.qxp_Layout 1 8/22/22 9:20 AM Page 51

EDWARD ACKER PHOTOGRAPHER

Time Flies • Get Pictures EdwardAckerPhotographer.com 413-446-8348


TAM september 2022 copy.qxp_Layout 1 8/22/22 9:20 AM Page 52

UN / SPOKEN PASSION

THE ARTFUL MIND art exhibit matt chinian yana van dyke ghetta hirsch mark dylan hyde

11

lonny jarrett kate knapp mark mellinger carolyn newberger bruce panock ilene richard mary ann yarmosky

OCTOBER 1 - 31, 2022

129 FRONT STREET HOUSATONIC, MA 413. 645. 4114

/ octoberatfront@yahoo.com

HOURS: Thursday through Monday 10 - 4 and by appointment