THE ARTFUL MIND Berkshire Artzine
ROGER MASON, Artist
PHOTOGRAPHY BY THADDEUS KUBIS
JULIE MCCARTHY PHOTOGRAPHER from “THE HOME PROJECT”
413. 298. 3370 JWMCARTH@BCN.NET •WWW.JULIEWMCCARTHY.COM
STEPHEN FILMUS 413-528-1253
“View Across the Housatonic” 24” x 30” Oil
Opening reception Saturday, August 7, 1-5 pm Lenox Gallery of Fine Art
S C HA N TZ G A LLER I ES c o n t e m p o r a r y
g l a s s
featuring the Glass Sculpture of
Lino Tagliapietra through August 20th
Dinosaur 53 x 21 x 8”
3 elm street stockbridge, ma 413-298-3044 www.schantzgalleries.com WWW.ARTFULMIND.NET
JUNE 2010 ~ THE ARTFUL MIND • 1
2 • THE ARTFUL MIND
S UMMER - TIME .2010. / C ALENDAR
MUSEUMS & GALLERIES
APE GALLERY 126 Main Street, Northampton, MA • 413.586.5553 Three local fiber artists and a photographer present a show about the history and process of fiber art at the APE Gallery from June 8 to 26 with an opening reception on Friday, June 11 from 5 to 8pm. The artists host a discussion Saturday, June 19 from 11am to 1pm. Artists include Carly Goss, Kathryn Greenwood Swanson, Christalena Hughmanick and Brendan Murtaugh. BERKSHIRE ART GALLERY 80 Railroad St, Gt Barrington, MA • 528-2690 www.berkshireartgallery.com 19th and early 20th Century American & European art and sculpture, contemporary artists
BERKSHIRE ART KITCHEN CREATIVITY / CONNECTION / CHANGE 400 Main St, Gt Barrington, MA • 413-717-0031 www.berkshireartkitchen.com The Berkshire Art Kitchen is an artist-run social experiment committed to cooking up creativity, connection and change. Our vision is to create unique opportunities for personal enrichment and positive social change through meaningful engagement in art, activism and advocacy. We invite you to join the experiment. BAK is open most weekends Friday - Sunday 12 - 5 and by appointment or good fortune on any other day. CARRIE HADDAD GALLERY 622 Warren St, Hudson, NY • 518-828-1915 DOTS, LINES AND FIGURES an exhibit featuring paintings by Jeff Briggs and Ben Shecter, works in mixed media by Donise English, and the bronze sculptures of Michael McLaughlin will be on view at the Carrie Haddad Gallery until July 5.
CARY HOUSE GALLERY SALEM ART WORKS 19 Cary Lane, Salem NY •518 854 7674 / www.salemartworks.org Donna Wynbrandt: Solo Exhibit: a new series of portraits which will be on display in the Cary House Gallery from June 11 – 27. The portraits are part of a series that Donna has been painting of residents in the local area over the last two years. The exhibition reception will be 4-7pm, Saturday June 19th. Cary House Gallery Open Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 10am – 5pm
OLD CHATHAM COUNTRY STORE CAFÉ GALLERY Village Square, Old Chatham New York Abby Salsbury will have an exhibit of her monoprints, etchings and mixed media during the month of June. “Insects, Soup Tureens and Other Strange Realities - prints and mixed media” and will be on view from June 4 through June 30 with an opening reception to meet the artist on Sunday afternoon, June 6 from 3 – 5 p.m. CHURCH STREET ART GALLERY 34 Church St, Lenox, MA • 637-9600 Significant folk art pieces. Also works by David Eddy, Paul Graubard, Paul Jarvis and Larry Zingale. (Fri-Mon, 11am-4:30pm or by appointment)
CRIMI STUDIO Located 2 miles from the Ancram/Hudson exit of the Taconic State Parkway. • Viewing by appointment • 518-851-7904 July exhibition of oil paintings at Gallery at B & G Wines, Hillsdale, NY. Paintings of rich color and form. Crimi studio in idyllic setting. DON MULLER GALLERY 40 Main St, Northampton, MA • 586-1119 Beautiful American crafts, jewelry and glass, more
FERRIN GALLERY 437 North St, Pittsfield, MA info@FerrinGallery.com • 413-442-1622 SUSAN MIKULA: American Vale: Recent Photographs Solo exhibition of new work. Exhibition: June 26th through August 1st. Reception: Saturday, June 26th from 4-6pm
THE ECLIPSE MILL GALLERY 243 Union Street, North Adams, MA The Third Annual Berkshire Salon, May 21 through June 20, 2010. Opening Reception: Friday, May 21, 6 to 8 PM
GLORIA MALCOLM ARNOLD FINE ART Upstairs at 69 Church St, Lenox, MA • 637-2400 Realistic art that never goes out of style, artwork that evokes the mood and memories of yesterday. Rotating exhibitions of scratchboard by Lois I. Ryder and oils and watercolors by Gloria Malcolm Arnold. Open year round.
HUDSON VALLEY ARTS CENTER 337 Warren St, Hudson, NY • 800-456-0507 Regional and nationally-known artisans JOHN DAVIS GALLERY 362 1/2 Warren St., Hudson, New York Andrew Dunnill, New Work
LAUREN CLARK FINE ART GALLERY 402 Park St, Housatonic, MA • 274-1432 www.LaurenClarkFineArt.com UNWILTED, UNPROCESSED, UNCONVENTIONAL FOUR NEWLY PICKED GARDEN-FRESH ARTISTS Abby DuBow, Joan Ciolfi, Lorraine Klagsbrun, Susan Dibble May 29 through July 4. Reception for the Artists Saturday, May 29 5-8pm Fine art and contemporary crafts and framing service. (Open Wed-Mon 11-5:30, Sun Noon-4, year-round)
MARGUERITE BRIDE STUDIO www.margebride.com Custom House and Business Portraits, “Local Color”, watercolor scenes of the Berkshires, New England and Tuscany. Original watercolors and Fine Art Reproductions. Visit website for exhibit schedule
PARK ROW GALLERY 2 Park Row, Chatham, NY • 518-392-4800 Local Legend Roger Mason Exhibits Paintings at Park Row Gallery "Light and Astigmatism," a solo exhibition of oil paintings by Roger Mason will be on view at Park Row Gallery in Chatham, NY from June 11th - July 31st. Reception Saturday, July 10, 4pm-6pm, and the public is cordially invited to attend.
RUTH KOLBERT FRONT SREET GALLERY • 413-274-6607 Front Street, Housatonic, MA. • 413-229-0380 “Friends, Artists & Special Places” will be on exhibit at Front Street Gallery May 19 through June 12.Gallery open Fridays 1 – 5 pm, Saturday and Sunday 12 – 5pm, and / or by appointment. SCHANTZ GALLERIES 3 Elm St, Stockbridge, MA • 413-298-3044 www.schantzgalleries.com. Feature Exhibition Runs: May 20 – June 31, 2010 “Maestro Lino Tagliapietra” Feature Exhibition Runs: June 20 – August 20, 2010. June 2010 at Schantz Galleries – Stockbridge “Individuals & Illuminations: A Survey of Works by Dan Dailey” “Elements of Style: the Art of Linda MacNeil” Schantz Galleries is on Elm Street in Stockbridge MA. This location has been one of the nation’s leading destinations for those seeking premier artists working in glass. Spring gallery hours are daily 11 - 5
THE LENOX GALLERY OF FINE ART 69 Church St, Lenox, MA • 413-637-2276 Featuring artists such as Stephen Filmus along with many others including Paula Stern, Sculpture WELLES GALLERY Welles Gallery, the Lenox Library, 18 Main Street, Lenox, MA. Featuring two groups of watercolor paintings by Robert U. Taylor from June 5- August 14.
MUSIC, THEATRE AND DANCE
ASTON MAGNA www.astonmagna.org The Aston Magna Festival celebrates its 38th year with a tasty menu of 17th and 18th century music presented in the Hudson Valley and in the Berkshires (Bard College on Friday evenings at 8pm, and Simon’s Rock College on Saturday evenings at 6pm.
BERKSHIRE HILLS CHORUS Gladys Allen Brigham Community Center 165 East Street, Pittsfield, MA • 413.446.3536 is hosting a Girls Night Out On June 15, 2010. BHC is a collection of women of all ages, who enjoy singing exciting songs in 4-part harmony and a chapter of Sweet Adelines International. Do you find yourself singing in the shower, your car, to your kids, grand-kids or dog? We will be hosting an open Guest Night: Tuesday June 15, 2010, 6:30-8:30pm.Then come check us out! Not only will you have a fun time, you will leave with a new appreciation for a cappella music! Bring a Friend and Make Tuesday Girls Night Out!
BERKSHIRE BACH SOCIETY New Marlborough Meeting House, Rte 57, New Marlborough, MA • tix at door - June 27, 4pm. Kenneth Cooper, artistic director.
BACH AND FORTH 426 Stockbridge Rd, rte 7, Gt Barrington, MA • 413-528-9277 Fri, Aug 13, 8pm: Bach and Forth. Classical Music in a night club setting: dinner, dessert & performance by the American Contemporary Music Ensemble: Bach’s Art of Fugue and Two World Premieres
BERKSHIRE ART KITCHEN CREATIVITY / CONNECTION / CHANGE 400 Main St, Gt Barrington, MA • 413-717-0031 www.berkshireartkitchen.com The Listening Room Series will feature live performances and open jam sessions held on the First Friday of each month. The Open Jam Session will allow members of the audience to join in and experiment with creating new sounds together – just remember to bring your instruments! THE HEVREH ENSEMBLE ORIGINAL WORLD CHAMBER MUSIC Hevreh of Southern Berkshire, 270 State Road, Great Barrington, MA. Reservations: 413-528-6378 http://hevrehensemble.com / firstname.lastname@example.org. On Thursday July 22 at 8 PM, Hevreh of Southern Berkshire will present a Gala Fundraiser Concert featuring The Hevreh Ensemble; a group that performs original World Chamber Music by group member and composer, Jeff Adler. The members of the ensemble are Jeff Adler- Composer, Bass Clarinet, Native American Flutes & Percussion; Judith Dansker- Oboe, Oboe D’amore, English Horn & Native American Flutes; Laurie Friedman- Clarinet, Native American Flutes and Percussion; Adam Morrison- Keyboard.Tickets: $15 in advance; $20 at door.
RUSTED ROOT TO PERFORM AT WEQX FESTIVAL IN ALBANY July 3. For details: www.rustedroot.com Beloved for their live performances, Rusted Root hits the ground running with a new slew of live dates to support their current release Stereo Rodeo Their first disc in seven years, “Stereo Rodeo” features original members Michael Glabicki (lead vocals, guitar), Liz Berlin (vocals, percussion), and Patrick Norman (vocals, bass, percussion) are joined on this album by Jason Miller (drums, percussion), Colter Harper (guitar), Preach Freedom (percussion) and Dirk Miller (guitar).
THE HEVREH ENSEMBLE- ORIGINAL WORLD CHAMBER MUSIC 270 State Road in Great Barrington, MA• 413-528-6378 July 22nd at 8:00 PM, Gala Fundraiser Concert featuring The Hevreh Ensemble; a group that performs original World Chamber Music by group member and composer, Jeff Adler. Tickets: $ 15.00 in Advance / $ 20 at door.
THE MUSEUM AT BETHEL WOODS Bethel, Rte 17, Exit 104, NY • bethelwoodscenter.org The Story of the ‘60s and Woodstock. Museum located at the site of the 1969 Woodstock Festival.
WORKSHOPS & LECTURES
EN PLEIN AIR CLASSES :: DDFA 518-828-2939 / www.ddfagallery.com Join us at Hidden Pond on Tuesdays in July, Tues. July 6 & 20 – paint with HM Saffer, II, Tues. July 13 & 27 – draw with Maj Kalfus, 9:30am-4pm • $60 per session includes lunch For more information or to reserve a space in one of the classes, call: Located in Mid-Columbia County, on a rise in a clearing surrounded by trees, Hidden Pond provides a serene environment in a beautiful rural setting just five short miles from Hudson, NY.
KATE KNAPP FRONT STREET GALLERY Housatonic, MA (next to the Corner Market) • 274-6607 www.kateknappartist.com also ongoing painting classes Mon, Wed & Thurs 9:30am (gallery hrs: Sat & Sun 12-5, and by appt.)
SABINE VOLLMER VON FALKEN PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOPS 413-298-4933 Sabine offers outdoor workshops for the advanced amateur photographers in June. Dates are: June 6, 13, 20 and 27, 2010. Deadline for calendar listings: JUNE 15 for July WWW.artfulmind.net
WWW.ARFULMIND.NET THE ARTFUL MIND JUNE 2010 • 3
The Artful Mind • June 2010
IS183 ART SCHOOL
ADULT ART CLASSES AND WORKSHOPS
BERKSHIRES ART FESTIVAL JULY 3-5
HOUSE RAISING, BERKSHIRES ART FESTIVAL
Roger Mason, Artist photographed by Thaddeus Kubis
IS183 Water-Colorist, Mel Stabin Kimberly Rawson 9 Roger Mason, Artist Stephanie Campbell 14 Planet Waves Astrology Eric Francis 18 Bob Crimi, Artist Harryet Candee 22
Greater Backfish Roundup Bob Balogh 26
Architecture & Arcadia Stephen Dietemann 27
THE ARTFUL MIND
An artist may say, “It’s a Pigment of my imagination.” PUBLISHER Harryet Candee COPY EDITOR Marguerite Bride PROOFREADER: Rae A. Eastman & Deborah Davis ADVERTISING AND LAYOUT DESIGN Harryet Candee
CONTRIBUTING WRITERS AND MONTHLY COLUMNISTS Bob Balogh, Harryet Candee, Stephen Gerard Dietemann, Rae Eastman, Eric Francis, Thaddeus Kubis, Nanci Race, Kimberly Rawson PHOTOGRAPHERS Julie McCarthy Sabine Vollmer von Falken
One hundred and seventy-five juried artists and artisans from as far as California, Florida, Michigan, and Wisconsin will present their artwork to thousands of enthusiastic art collectors at the 8th annual Berkshires Arts Festival. A wide range of fine art and fine crafts will be on display and for sale in the lush summer setting of Ski Butternut in Great Barrington, MA. Discover works from America’s most talented artists—from blown glass to art jewelry to studio furniture to oil paintings, from wearable art to photography, ceramics and more. There will be craft demonstrations daily, gourmet food and live music. The show will be held Friday, July 3 through Sunday, July 5 rain or shine at Ski Butternut under tents, outdoors and in the air-conditioned lodge. This is a family event and a great experience for the kids. The Berkshires Arts Festival will feature a mix of live music and entertainment, a wide selection of foods, live demonstrations and the opportunity to see one of the most interesting collections of fine art and fine craft. Take a build your own twig “Cut It Out” furniture work shop with Janice Shields. Visit the Art of Clay Tent and see potters at the wheel.. Meet Raku artist Richard Foye and watch continuous Raku firings which ring out the stunning colors of texture Richard and Joanna Rothbard, owners of An American Craftsmen galleries located in New York City, Savannah, GA and Stockbridge MA., are the artistic directors of American Art Marketing, the producers of the event. AAM show director Richard Rothbard is also an accomplished craftsman and woodworker. He will be showing his unique collection of intricately carved boxes “Boxology” at the arts festival. Berkshire Arts Festival - Ski Butternut, Route 23, Great Barrington, MA, www.berkshiresartsfestival.com Dates and hours: July 3, Friday, 10am – 6pm; July 4, Saturday, 10am – 6pm; July 5, Sunday, 10am – 5pm. Admission: Adults- $11, Seniors - $9, Students - $5; Weekend pass - $13; Children under 10 admitted Free. Plenty of Free parking available. “...one of the finest and most charming private galleries in New England.”
IS183 Art School announces its summer class and workshop schedule for adult students including wide range of courses for both novice and expert artists. Featured classes include a text, stencil and paint collage workshop with gifted artist Yura Adams in late May; a weeklong intensive in June with wellknown ceramicist Mary Barringer; an introduction to papermaking course in July and August with talented papermaker Marie-Claude Giroux; and a weekend painting workshop with award-winning watercolorist Mel Stabin in August. A complete list of courses and registration information is available online. Offering a range of programs for novice and working artists, classes are taught by professional artists in a creative, nurturing and inspirational environment at IS183, the Berkshires only year-round community art school. Located half-way between Great Barrington and Pittsfield in Interlaken (a village of Stockbridge) IS183 Art School encourages people of all ages, means, and skill levels to enrich their lives through hands-on experience in the visual arts, with yearround programs in ceramics, painting, drawing, photography, fiber arts, sculpture, mixed media. IS183 also offers weekend workshops for adults; Young Artist programs during school vacations and in the summer; birthday parties; custom classes; and private lessons. Classes are held during the daytime, evenings and weekends, for all levels from absolute beginners to professional artists. Needs-based scholarships and work-exchange opportunities are available. For more information, enrollment fees, scholarship opportunities, faculty bios, or to register for classes, please call 413298-5252, e-mail email@example.com or visit us online at www.is183.org
“The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place, from the sky, from the earth, from a passing shape, from a spider;s web.” -Pablo Picasso
THE LENOX GALLERY O F
F I N E
A R T
DISTRIBUTION R. Dadook, John Cardillo
120 PIXLEY ROAD, GREAT BARRINGTON, MA 01230
Deadline for the JUNE issue is MAY 15, 2010
Our Art....Our way
FYI: ©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
THE ARTFUL MIND JUNE 2010
p a i n t i n g s • d r a w i n g s • w a t e r c o l o r • s c u l p t u r e • m i x ed media works • pastels • portrait commissions
69 Church Street, Lenox, MA 01201 • (413) 637-2276
over twenty-five artists • on two levels
open year round - call for hours
Park Row Gallery
Light and Astigmatism
Paintings by Roger Mason June 11- July 31 Artist reception Saturday July, 11 2010 4-6pm 2 Park Row Chatham, NY 12037 518-392-4800 Parkrowgallery.com
FRONT ST. GALLERY Housatonic Mass.
Summer Classes at Front Street studio now open for registration... Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. Painting Classes are held Monday and Wednesday from 9:30 to 1 pm at the gallery/studio. Thursday class is planned, from 9:30 - 1 pm at different locations, and to be announced weekly. The cost is $30 per class and it is for beginners to advanced, all mediums are welcome.
413-274-6607 • 413-429-7141 • 413-528-9546
THE ARTFUL MIND
JUNE 2010 • 5
LAUREN CLARK FINE ART presents
WILTED PROCESSED CONVENTIONAL
FOUR NEWLY PICKED GARDEN-FRESH ARTISTS
Joan Ciolfi, Susan Dibble, Abby DuBow, Lorraine Klagsbrun May 29 through July 4
Lauren Clark Fine Art
402 Park Street, Housatonic, MA
BERKSHIRE ART GALLERY
View of Toledo, O/C, 33 x 42. Harry H. Boettjer, 1910-2000, American.
80 Railroad Street Great Barrington, MA 413-528-2690
Open Saturday and Sunday Noon to 5 pm and/or by appointment
THE ARTFUL MIND JUNE 2010
"Neon Whale Tail" from the "Motion Capture" series.
NEW DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY
www.myronschiffer.com Online Galleries at
Come browse over the 250 photographs currently for sale online.
RUTH KOLBERT, ROB ROBBINS, 78” X 44”
“Friends, Artists & Special Places” will be on exhibit at Front Street Gallery May 19 through June 12. Ruth Kolbert has been painting since early in her life. She studied Fine Arts in college, concentrating her study with John Ferren, and went on to study at The Art Student’s League in New York. Ruth also studied with Oscar Kokoschka in Salzburg, Austria and Charles Cajori and Nicholas Carone in New York. Ruth has lived and painted in the Berkshires for 21 years, with a studio in Sheffield. She has exhibited in New York and the Berkshires, and last showed a series of barn paintings at Castle Street Café. Her work is in private collections. The main focus of Ruth’s work is people in the creative arts and in her life. These paintings are often life-size or larger, and seem to be barely contained within the canvas, revealing the vitality of her subjects in relation to their environment. The portraits are infused with luminous color, emphasizing her subject’s inner life. Front Street Gallery, Front Street, Housatonic, MA. Gallery open Fridays 1 – 5 pm, Saturday and Sunday 12 – 5pm, and / or by appointment. To reach Ruth in her studio, please call 413-229-0380. The Front Street Gallery telephone number is: 413-274-6607.
Entering its fifth year of business, Berkshire Digital is an art service that offers very high quality digital photography of paintings as well as Giclée printing on archival papers and canvas. Artists & photographers use BD to create limited editions of their images. Private collectors and galleries use BD to document their collections. Whether the photography needs are for archiving, printing or internet use, BD adheres to very strict color controls along with delivering stunning detail by using a large format camera with a Better Light™ digital scanning back for photography and Canon™ printers using archival pigmented inks for prints. In addition to the photography and printing services, Berkshire Digital also offers graphic design, enabling clients to create show announcements, post cards and brochures. The website has a complete overview along with prices. Owner, Fred Collins, has been a commercial photographer for 30 years with studios in Boston and Stamford. Fifteen years ago, he began working with the software manipulation program Photoshop™ and gradually added extensive retouching capabilities to help with his client’s needs. His wife Alison owns The Iris Gallery, located in Great Barrington & Boston. Berkshire Digital, Mt Washington, MA, (413) 644-9663, www.BerkshireDigital.com
JAMES AUGUST WEBER PROFESSIONAL
James August Weber, a professional woodworker since 1976, has had an eclectic variety of experience. Boat building, silo construction, gazebos, decks, porches, barns sheds, as well as dozens of custom homes and structure renovation, you name it and Weber has probably done it. Teaching Furniture Design and Building in Poughkeepsie, New York led Weber to open a successful shop and retail gallery on Martha’s Vineyard which he operated from 1979 until moving to the Berkshires in 1986. Working on the Vineyard also provided an opportunity to work on the interior of many fine sailing vessels. In the Berkshires, Jim learned the craft of the Timber framer, building post and beam homes and log timber homes, as well as common methods of “stick framing”, while applying the skill of the fine woodworker artisan. “Our current undertaking is a custom home on Blunt Road in Egremont, MA. It was designed in our office, and is scheduled for completion this summer. Please contact me to have a look around. I love to talk shop!” You may have seen Weber as “the guy with the whistle” that leads the Berkshire Bateria Samba drummers, but he also leads his crew of experienced artisan builders. Through the J.W. Construction, Webber has been offering his General Contracting and carpentry services in the Berkshires for over 20 years. J.W. Construction: James Weber: 413-528-6575, website: www.berkshirecontractor.com
“It’s the best you can do that kills you.” -Dorothy Parker
JUNE 2010 WWW.ARTFULMIND.NET
THE ARTFUL MIND • 7
MYRON SCHIFFER FINE ART PHOTOGRAPHER
Established as a pianist and teacher in the Berkshires since the late 60s, Myron “Mike” Schiffer has an established history of exploring the avant garde. Prior to living in the area, Schiffer lived and worked in New York City, studying with John Mehegan and Hall Overton as well as playing, teaching and hanging around the fringes of jazz. Fascinated with music and the visual arts since childhood, Schiffer enrolled in photography at The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. Working in black and white at the time, he was most notably inspired by Richard Avedon’s fashion photography. Once introduced to color, he was deeply moved by the mystical color fields of Georgia O’Keefe and Mark Rothko and considers this work his strongest influence. Now that he’s entered his ninth decade, he’s fulfilling his dream of indulging his interest in photography which he started to explore in the 1970s. For the last year he’s been busy exhibiting his work at galleries, frame shops, Kimball Farms retirement community, Castle Street Café and in the North Adams Open Studio show. A small selection of Myron’s miniatures can also be seen at the Red Lion Inn Gift Shop in Stockbridge, MA. His current work is a minimalist expression of color, light and space, also revealing a strong influence of contemporary jazz and classical music, e.g. “Intuition” by Lennie Tristano, the first recorded example of spontaneous collective improvisation. Schiffer’s graffiti and urban “Street Art” follow along the same lines, capturing aleatory and found images. After a five month run, his Castle Street Café exhibit is taking a break until it reopens with new work in the fall. This show will feature more canvases from his “Motion Capture” series. His website showcases an ever-expanding gallery of this series and others such as Urban Scenes, Found Textures, Street Art, Graffiti, and Jazz Musicians. Myron Schiffer - 413-637-2659, www.myronschiffer.com.
BERKSHIRE ART KITCHEN HANNAH SCHINDLER, POMEGRANITE. PHOTOGRAPH
On exhibit at the Berkshire Art Kitchen through June 30th is Vanitas, an exhibition of recent photography by Hannah Schindler, a recent graduate of Bard College at Simon’s Rock. Vanitas, inspired by 17th century Dutch still life paintings, uses food to portray death as an inevitable part of life. “For my series of photographs, I have attempted to convey aspects of my identity through arrangements of objects and food. The photographs themselves have evolved to articulate my own personal fascination with life and death. I see these photographs as vanitas images and therefore to be viewed as metaphors. I truly believe it is the viewer who completes the image; I hope that others can find their own meaning within them.” Please join us for an Opening Reception with the artist on Saturday, June 5th from 4-7. Hannah Schindler will give an artist’s talk at 6. Other BAK News…Introducing the BAK Listening Room Series! The Listening Room Series will feature live performances and open jam sessions held on the First Friday of each month. The Main Show will bring to you original music and/or spoken word performances by accomplished artists. The Open Jam Session will allow members of the audience to join in and experiment with creating new sounds together – just remember to bring your instruments! On June 4, First Friday in June - the featured guests: 8 Foot River. Originally known for a brief time as FHAUS, 8 Foot River consists of Glenn Geiger – guitar & vocals, Gabrielle Senza – cello, keyboard & vocals, Steve Dietemann, guitar, bass & vocals, Steve Praus - drums. Check them out at 8footriver.com. Doors open at 7:30pm, show starts at 8pm. $6 + byob; instruments optional The Berkshire Art Kitchen is an artist-run social experiment committed to cooking up creativity, connection and change. Our vision is to create unique opportunities for personal enrichment and positive social change through meaningful engagement in art, activism and advocacy. You are invited to join the experiment. BAK is open most weekends Friday - Sunday 12 – 5 and by appointment or good fortune on any other day.. Berkshire Art Kitchen, 400 Main Street, Suite A, Great Barrington, MA 01230 413-717-0031, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.berkshireartkitchen.com
Barbara and Joseph – Fiddlers Two – performers for many years at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in NYC. Seen above at a Waldorf NY’s Eve celebration.
BARBARA AND JOSEPH— FIDDLERS TWO HERE ARE SOME OF OUR CLIENTS AND
WHAT THEY HAVE TO SAY ABOUT OUR MUSIC...
“...Our wedding guests have not stopped complimenting us for your music. They could also hear themselves speak and enjoy quiet conversations. We blew up a picture of Fiddlers Two serenading us at our table and it now hangs permanently in our living room!” - Marcie and Steven Jacob “...Your music was fabulous and made our events at Tavern On The Green and at Lincoln Center a smashing success!” -The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership
“...We appreciated your participation in our special bridal show.” Regis Philbin Show
“...Your violinists were tremendous and really helped to make our event a special one.” -Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
“...As Fiddlers Two strolled through our Employee Appreciation party, I observed that you were short of being worshiped by our employees – you were that well received!” -National Benefit Life
“...Our guests were thoroughly entertained – thanks to your professionalism in knowing just where to be, what to play and when to play it.” -Mademoiselle Magazine “...To some, it might seem bewildering that just two violins could sound so good.” -Associated Musicians of Greater New York
“...Rare it is indeed when expectations are precisely matched, but your performance at our cocktail reception was one instance when they were surpassed!” -Vladeck, Waldman, Elias & Engelhard, P.C.
“...Any bridal couple would be enchanted to have Fiddlers Two play for their wedding event.” -Brides Magazine “...Our good choice of your music was reinforced by numerous guests who have heard and enjoyed your music at other affairs.” -Nemco Brokerage
“...Thank you very much for your wonderful gift of music.” -The Four Seasons – NYC
“...Your beautiful music lent that special “touch of class” to our annual Gala.” -NYC Judge – Rudy Greco
“...Such elegance and panache – you certainly were ‘the topping on the cake.” -Mr. & Mrs. E. Kontokosto
“...You are deserving of the many fine compliments we’ve received for your music.” -American Stock Exchange, Inc. For information and brochure for Barbara and Joseph— Fiddlers Two, please call 413-458-1984.
THE ARTFUL MIND JUNE 2010
IS183 ART SCHOOL OF THE BERKSHIRES
MEL STABIN WATER-COLORIST by Kimberly Rawson
Internationally known teacher, author, and award-winning watercolorist Mel Stabin will be gracing the Berkshires this summer when he returns to IS183 Art School in August to teach his renowned workshop based on his best-selling book of the same name, Watercolor: Simple, Fast and Focused. Recently Mel kindly took some time out of his busy schedule to tell us about his artistic influences, his favorite places to paint, and his upcoming workshop at IS183.
When did you become interested in art? Probably around eight or nine years old. How did you discover your talent for painting? When I attended Pratt Institute. What was your first introduction to watercolor? While studying under Ed Whitney at Pratt Institute. Which art movements have you been influenced by? The Renaissance, the Impressionists and the PostImpressionists. Are you influenced by a particular space or place around you? My passion is for painting on location. There are many places in the world that inspire me. Where is your favorite place (or places) to paint? Tuscany, Provence, Cornwall, Ireland and Switzerland. Are there any historical or contemporary artists that you specifically admire? Manet, Monet, Van Gogh and Sargent. Where do your ideas come from? Would you tell us something about your creative process? My ideas come from many places and situations…landscapes, people, architecture. Before I begin a painting, I try to understand my reaction to a given subject and emphasize the essence of what I feel. What have been your favorite projects to date in your career? Authoring two books on watercolor, doing two videos of painting on location and writing numerous articles for major art magazines. Tell us about your painting technique? What are the materials you prefer to work with? I paint in a loose representational style, very quickly and simply so that I arrive at the “essence” of the subject. I use Arches coldpress 140 lb. paper and an assortment of brushes and paints from various manufacturers. What do you enjoy most about working in this medium? Watercolor has a life of its own and will do beautiful things on the paper. When water and paint are set free, images are created that cannot be captured with any other medium. What challenges have you found in your work? The constant desire of discovery. I’m always aware that there are new paths to take.
Do you try to make a statement with your art? I try to be honest with my reactions to subjects and hope that comes through in my finished work. What are you working on at present? I’m busy conducting workshops throughout the U.S. and abroad. Are you planning to write another book? I would like to…if I can find the time! What advice would you give a young watercolor artist just starting and wondering where to begin? Find a good teacher and work hard. Tell us more about the three-day workshop you’ll be teaching at IS183 in August. The workshop will take place outdoors on locations painting landscapes and people in landscapes. What can your students expect to experience in the class? Daily demonstrations and critiques within a casual, friendly atmosphere.
a director for the American Watercolor Society's 2005 and 2006 exhibitions and was a Juror of Selection for the American Watercolor Society's 2006 Annual International Exhibition. In 2009, Mel was honored with the Creative Catalyst Award at the 30th National Exhibition of the Georgia Watercolor Society, the Friedlander Award at the 28th Annual Adirondacks National Exhibition of American Watercolors, the Joseph Krasnansky Memorial Award at the 78th Annual Exhibition of the Hudson Valley Art Association, the Swede Johnson Memorial Award at the 36th Annual Rocky Mountain National Watermedia Exhibition, and the Cheap Joe's Art Stuff Award at the 41st Annual Exhibition of Watercolor West. Mel is the author of Watercolor: Simple, Fast, and Focused and The Figure In Watercolor: Simple, Fast, and Focused, published by Watson-Guptill, and has written feature articles for American Artist, The Artist's Magazine, Watercolor Artist, Watercolor Magic, and Watercolor. For more information, visit his website at www.melstabin.com IS183 Weekend Workshop Watercolor: Simple, Fast and Focused with Mel Stabin August 6 through 8, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tuition: $475 This outdoor on location workshop, painting landscapes and people in landscapes, is designed for beginners to advanced painters and includes daily morning demonstrations with a step-by-step simple explanation of solutions to every problem presented by the subject, personal instruction, and class critiques. The workshop reflects the methods presented in Mel’s book, Watercolor: Simple, Fast, and Focused. Emphasis will be on design principles with the objective of building strong paintings by seeing and thinking simply, painting quickly and energetically, and focusing on the “idea” of the painting. Mel creates a casual, friendly atmosphere allowing an easy, open dialogue with his students making each workshop a joyful experience. For more information and to register for the workshop call 413-298-5252, e-mail email@example.com or visit IS183 Art School online at www.is183.org . IS183 Art School encourages people of all ages, means, and skill levels to enrich their lives through hands-on experience in the visual arts, with year-round programs in ceramics, painting, drawing, photography, fiber arts, sculpture, and mixed media. Located half-way between Great Barrington and Pittsfield at 13 Willard Hill Road in Interlaken (a village of Stockbridge), IS183 offers weekend workshops for adults; Young Artist programs during school vacations and in the summer; birthday parties; custom classes; and private lessons. Classes are held during the daytime, evenings and weekends, for all levels from absolute beginners to professional artists. Needs-based scholarships and work-exchange opportunities are available. Kimberly Rawson is a writer, editor and communications strategist who lives in Pittsfield, Mass. ******(Berkshires in the Summer - unbeatable !!! -hpc)
“Watercolor has a life of its own and will do beautiful things on the paper. When water and paint are set free, images are created that cannot be captured with any other medium.” What do you like about teaching at IS183 Art School? It is located in the beautiful Berkshire Mountains. The staff at IS183 is great to work with. Do you find the Berkshires an inspiring place as an artist? There is a choice of many inspiring locations in and around Stockbridge. It is an ideal place to paint watercolors.
ABOUT THE ARTIST Mel Stabin is a signature member of national art societies including the American Watercolor Society, National Watercolor Society, Allied Artists of America, Transparent Watercolor Society of America, and Watercolor West. His paintings have been the recipient of numerous national awards and have been represented in major exhibitions including the American Watercolor Society, National Watercolor Society, National Academy of Design, Transparent Watercolor Society of America, Watercolor West, Allied Artists of America, Butler Institute of American Art, North East Watercolor Society, and New Jersey Watercolor Society. Mel has had sixteen one-man exhibitions of his watercolors. His paintings are in many private and corporate collections. His work can be viewed in the "Featured Artists" section of the New American Gallery website at www.newamgallery.com. Mel was
JUNE 2010 THE ARTFUL MIND • 9
AARDENBURG IMAGING & ARCHIVES
Aardenburg Imaging & Archives, founded in 2007, is located in the historic Hyde House in Lee, MA. AaI&A primarily conducts research and real-world aging studies on the permanence of digital print media in collaboration with photographers and printmakers around the world. Photography and printmaking has been a passion of AaI&A’s director, Mark H. McCormickGoodhart, for over 40 years. Mark is a materials scientist, and he was formerly the senior research photographic scientist for the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC from 1988-1998 before returning to the private sector to continue preservation research on digital imaging technologies. “My family moved to Lee in 2007. The Berkshire Mountains are breathtaking, and there is clearly a vibrant community for both the performing and the visual arts”. Although much of Mark’s work is scientific in nature, Mark is also an avid photographer and printmaker. In 1996, Mark co-founded Old Town Editions with partner, Chris Foley, in Alexandria, Virginia. “I learned digital fine art printing in its early and formative stages with IRIS 3047 printers and the emergence of Giclée printing for artists. Collaborating directly in the digital printmaking process with other artists has made me a better photographer and printmaker. To my surprise, it has also made me a better scientist”. Because the research at AaI&A encompasses state-of-the-art digital printing technologies, the company maintains a small print studio with modern wide-format inkjet printers. These printers need to be used frequently in order to keep running smoothly. In order to accomplish this objective Mark has recently decided to offer the excess capacity of these amazing printers at reasonable rates to local artists wishing to create digitally mastered prints, paintings, and photographs. If you are a photographer or an artist looking for digital print output of the highest quality and/or want to learn digital imaging and printing from an expert, please contact Mark. Aardenburg Imaging & Archives, Hyde House, Lee, MA. 413-243-4181, www.aardenburg-imaging.com
PARK ROW GALLERY ROGER MASON, JOE’S TAVERN
LOCAL LEGEND ROGER MASON
ROBERT U. TAYLOR WELLES GALLERY ROBERT TAYLOR, O TON ADONIN
The Welles Gallery in Lenox is featuring two groups of watercolor paintings by Robert U. Taylor from June 5- August 14. One exhibition is a series of large autumn and winter paintings of the south county of the Berkshires, expressed in a tight realism depicting both the powerful chiaroscuro of sun and shade, and an overlooked side of winter – that it can have, in strong sunlight, as bright and powerful a range of colors as autumn. The other exhibition is subjectively many-layered; a group of very specific and detailed subjects, from Greece. These paintings depict subjects of great age and character; woven into these images is another layer; reflections and echoes of the lyrics of Sappho, poetess of pre-Classical Greece. Taylor studied painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the University of Pennsylvania, and Yale University in Scenic Design. He went on to professionally design on and off Broadway, over 700 commercials, and feature film SFX and special format film design. He has had ten one man shows of his paintings. Taylor, who has been on the faculty at Princeton University , Hunter College in NYC, has also taught graduate classes in CGI film design at the R.I.S.D. and Yale University . His works are on exhibition at the Smithsonian, the International Theater Institute, and at the San Antonio McNay museum’s permanent collection. He has also won two Drama Desk Awards, the Maharam Award, and two Obie Awards. Welles Gallery, located in the Lenox Library, 18 Main Street, Lenox, MA.
“Light and Astigmatism,” a solo exhibition of oil paintings by Roger Mason will be on view at Park Row Gallery in Chatham, NY from June 17 - July 31. There will be a memorable reception with the artist on Saturday, July 10 from 4-6pm, and the public is invited to attend. “Light and Astigmatism” features approximately 20 vivid paintings of the local region in Roger Mason’s polychromatic style, where the color of light and shadow are painted through the prism of the artist’s visceral experience. While deeply engaged in the present, Mason’s work evokes the past by abstracting the essence of small town scenes that he’s drawn to. It’s almost as though he stops time through the strength of his gaze, and leaves the viewer with an immutable impression of a solitary place, as if it were a revelation. Mason is infatuated with color, but in love with light. Indeed, he pursues light from dawn to dusk and even chases it into the night when he sees some radiant neon sign hanging in front of an ageless theater or bar, lighting up a darkened street corner. The artist says he’s drawn to these old world scenes because they remind him of the places he played in during his years as a musician. But he’s also intrigued with the distorted perception of color one experiences at night, and challenged by the desire to illuminate his canvas with electric pinks, reds and oranges pulsing against a midnight blue sky. For a painter-musician, it’s probably as close to jazz or the blues as one can see. “Joe’s Tavern,” “Slatterly’s,” “Crandell Theatre” and “Hudson Opera House,” are a few titles of paintings in the exhibition at Park Row Gallery in Chatham, and refer to local places that Mason has captured and commemorated for posterity. Occasionally there are people in Mason’s paintings that seem to personify a reflective state of introspection. And there are objects, like an old car or mailbox, that act as characters to deepen his dialogue with history. A blend of abstract expressionism and realism, the artist paints large, luscious fields of light, blinding and overexposed at times, as if he’s searching for some miracle or mystery in the shadows. But there are details too – a striped awning, American flag, “Fresh Eggs” sign, Pepsi Cola bottle dispenser, barbershop pole, 1951 Chevrolet – that create a rich narrative and poignantly remind us of country life in this slow moving, but rapidly vanishing, American landscape. Roger Mason sets up his easel and paints on street corners all over the world, but still calls Chatham, NY his home. Park Row Gallery exhibits some of the finest artists in the region, Park Row Gallery offers a full range of services to their clients. Working with seasoned collectors, designers or individuals simply looking for a work of art to add to their home, Jeff Risley can assist with private consultations, installing works of art, or arranging special commissions. Park Row Gallery, 2 Park Row, Chatham, NY. Gallery hours are Monday, and Wednesday through Saturday, from 11am – 5pm. (518) 392-4800, www.parkrowgallery.com
“A tremendous amount of preparatory work and continuous training is necessary in order to turn your vague wish into professional excellence, so that in the end you are not a talented diletante but a true actor.” - Alexander Taerov
THE ARTFUL MIND JUNE 2010 WWW.ARTFULMIND.NET
PLACE DU TERTRE, O/C, 15 X 19. LOUIS JACQUES VIGON 1897 - 1965, FRENCH.
BERKSHIRE ART GALLERY HARRY BOETTJER
COLLAGED MONOPRINT AND ETCHING
OLD CHATHAM COUNTRY STORE CAFÉ GALLERY
Abby Salsbury will have an exhibit of her monoprints, etchings and mixed media in the Old Chatham Country Store Café Gallery during the month of June. An artist and potter who grew up and was educated in Berkshire County, Abby and her husband moved to northern New Mexico in 1996. Her show is called “Insects, Soup Tureens and Other Strange Realities prints and mixed media” and will be on view from June 4 through June 30 with an opening reception to meet the artist on Sunday afternoon, June 6 from 3 – 5 p.m. When she was five, Abby and her family moved to Housatonic from New York City where she was born. Enrolled in a children’s workshop at the Great Barrington Pottery, she took to ceramics immediately with teachers Liz Rudy and Michael Marcus. After her education in the Berkshire Hills Regional School District, where she studied art at Monument Mountain Regional High School with Primm and John ffrench, she went to Philadelphia College of Art to study ceramics with William Daley, Liz Stewart and Alec Karros. She then did a year at University of Colorado at Boulder studying with Betty Woodman and Scott Chamberlain. After their marriage in 1991, she and her husband, sculptor and furniture maker Dean Pulver, settled in the Berkshires for five years and had their studios and a gallery called The Artistry in Housatonic. While there, Abby taught ceramics to children and adults. In 1996 she and her husband moved to the Taos area where they built their earthship home and later their studios on the mesa. They have been there since then, making their art and being very involved in the New Mexico Artists’ community. Once her ceramics line, Butterpie Productions was up and running, Abby turned to making monoprints and collages. In 2007, she was selected as one of New Mexico Women in the Arts and her work was shown at the Harwood Museum in Taos. As an artist she has participated in Art and Craft shows all across the United States, and has won several awards. Her work has been featured on Guild.com and her work is in many private collections. The Old Chatham Country Store is located in the center of Old Chatham. Serving breakfast and lunch, the store’s hours are 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Information about the Store and its merchandise, dinner menus, and about the Gallery can be found on the website at www.theoldchathamcountrystore.com
“Original World Chamber Music”
Jeff Adler- Composer, Bass Clarinet, Native American, Flutes & Percussion Judith Dansker- Oboe Oboe D’amore, English Horn & Native American Flutes Laurie Friedman- Clarinet, Native American Flutes and Percussion Adam Morrison- Keyboard
THURSDAY JULY 22ND 8:00 PM
Hevreh of Southern Berkshire ~ 270 State RoadGreat Barrington, MA Tickets: $ 15.00 in Advance / $ 20 at door. SPONSORING ORGANIZATION: HEVREH OF SOUTHERN BERKSHIRE
THE LENOX GALLERY OF FINE ART
Harry Boettjer’s love affair with the world of line and color, This painting by Stephen Filmus depicts a summer day on drawing and art, began as a child sketching in his father’s grothe banks of the Housatonic. The river and Berkshire farmland cery store in pre-Depression Brooklyn. As a teenager he sold his beyond are framed by a small grove of birch. work in Greenwich Village to make ends meet. The adventurous Filmus’ artwork reflects the essence of the Berkshire landwould-be artist decided to hitchhike across the country in the scape. His ability to perceive and interpret the character of the midst of the Depression, ending up in Oregon where he continscene results in a believable sense of place. ued to paint and sketch. When he returned to New York he atStephen Filmus lives and works in Great Barrington, Mastended the Art Students League, and exhibited at the Salons of sachusetts and has lived in the Berkshires for many years where America and Forum Gallery show in 1934. He painted a critihe has established his reputation and following. His work is in cally acclaimed mural for one of New York’s famous wateringnumerous collections and he has exhibited widely including holes, P.J. Moriarty’s Bar, and since his studio was in Manhattan, David Findlay Jr. Fine Art in New York and locally at the Berkhe was awash in other urban subjects, including city skylines, shire Museum and the Norman Rockwell Museum. waterways and buildings. There will be an opening reception for the artist at the Lenox After service in World War II Boettjer returned to New York Gallery of Fine Art on Saturday, August 7, 1 -5pm. and worked with anthropologist Margaret Mead and painted a Stephen’s work can be seen at the Lenox Gallery of Fine Art, mural at the Museum of Natural History. Perhaps influenced by 69 Church Street, Lenox, MA. 413-637-2276 and at the New York School (he had met Jackson Pollack), Boettjer’s www.stephenfilmus.com style became colorful, dynamic, light and painterly. Edward Hopper’s influence also is evident, particularly regarding Boettjer’s attention to the permutations of shadows and light on buildings during different times of day, especially the structures he favored as subjects in Spain and on Fire Island, Block Island and Cape Cod. The architectural look of a place shapes Harry Boettjer’s pictorial drama, while an austere style, narrative sparseness, avoidance of sentimentality, inspirational play of light and shadow, and lush brushwork make paintings like View of Toledo, mysteriously compelling. Boettjer lived and painted in Spain in the 1970s. Formerly at New York’s The Berkshire Art Gallery features a *Rainbow Room wide range of 19th and early 20th century American and European artists, and select *Waldorf-Astoria Hotel contemporary artists who paint in the Berk*Windows On The World shires. The Berkshire Art Gallery, 80 Railroad Street,Great Barrington, MA. Gallery hours Th e E leg an t St r oll i n g Vi o li n - D uo are noon to 5PM, Saturdays and Sundays all year round, or by appointment or BARBARA & JOSEPH “Barbara and Joseph – Fiddlers Two – chance. Parking for patrons is available in FIDDLERS TWO performers for many years at the front of the Gallery. For information, conWaldorf-Astoria Hotel in NYC. Seen tact Jack Wood at 413-528-2690 or above at a Waldorf NY’s Eve celebration.” berkshireartgallery.com
A Gala Fundraiser: Featuring The Hevreh Ensemble
VIEW FROM ACROSS THE HOUSATONIC, 24” X 30”, OIL
Party Music Extraordinaire!
...now residing in the beautiful Berkshires, will bring the melodies you love“from Broadway to Vienna” to your special event. Enjoy “magical” renditions of show tunes, Gershwin, Porter, Italian, French, Viennese favorites... and your guests’ requests! Perfect for your ... *Home Entertaining *Formal Dinner *Gala Event *Civic/Business Function *Wedding!
For information & brochure, please call
Fiddlers Two is a unit of The Black Tie Orchestra JUNE 2010 ARTFULMIND.NET THE ARTFUL MIND • 11
THE HEVREH ENSEMBLE
ORIGINAL WORLD CHAMBER MUSIC
On Thursday July 22 at 8 PM, Hevreh of Southern Berkshire will present a Gala Fundraiser Concert featuring The Hevreh Ensemble; a group that performs original World Chamber Music by group member and composer, Jeff Adler. The members of the ensemble are Jeff Adler- Composer, Bass Clarinet, Native American Flutes & Percussion; Judith Dansker- Oboe, Oboe D’amore, English Horn & Native American Flutes; Laurie Friedman- Clarinet, Native American Flutes and Percussion; Adam Morrison- Keyboard. The Hevreh Ensemble was formed in 2001 when oboist Judith Dansker invited a group of acclaimed musicians to perform a special Selichot concert for Hevreh of Southern Berkshire in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Based in New York City, the members have performed concerts at such venues as: the National Yiddish Book Center- Amherst, Massachusetts, The Northampton Center for the Arts, Arizona Jewish Historical Society, The Jewish Federation of the Berkshires, Harlem School of the Arts, New York City, Synagogue for the Arts, New York City among many others and are currently Ensemble in Residence for Hevreh of Southern Berkshire. The members of the ensemble have honored by and affiliated with organizations such as: The Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, Alice Tully Hall (Lincoln Center), Carnegie Recital Hall, The Library of Congress (Washington, DC), Merkin concert Hall (New York City), The Blossom Music Festival-Cleveland Orchestra and Hofstra University, among many others. Hevreh Ensemble performances have been called “spiritually uplifting” and: “strikingly original”. The ensemble will travel to Eastern Europe in September 2010, where they will present concerts in Prague and Poland. They have also recently been invited to present concerts for the Segal Centre in Montreal and are currently planning a collaboration with the Brooklyn College Academy in New York, where they will present concert and workshops for students from the BCA World Ensemble. They have also been invited to present concerts for the Hofstra University Emily Lowe Art Gallery in conjunction with two upcoming art exhibits: “Soweto” The 30th Anniversary of the Uprising” and an exhibit by Holocaust survivor and painter Yonia Fain. Hevreh of Southern Berkshire, 270 State Road, Great Barrington, MA. http://hevrehensemble.com, firstname.lastname@example.org. Tickets: $15 in advance; $20 at door. Reservations: 413-528-6378.
THE ARTFUL MIND JUNE 2010
CONCERTS AT TANNERY POND
Twenty years ago, Tannery Pond Concerts had its inaugural season in the beautiful wooden post and beam Shaker building, once a tannery, where we have been ever since. That season was emblematic of the aim of our artistic director, Christian Steiner, to present young talent working to establish a performing career as well as to bring established world-class performers to our community. The very first Tannery concert featured the 21-year-old violinist Chee-Yun and pianist and famed chamber music promoter Charles Wadsworth. Chee-Yun had just won a competition sponsored by the Young Concert Artists; over the years since, she has become a sought-after violinist who has performed with the world’s major orchestras. Many of the young performers who have appeared at the Tannery have gone on to similar success, helped early in their career by the chance to perform at respected venues like Tannery that recognize and encourage burgeoning great talent. And though that concert did not sell out, others that season did, including the performances of the already famous Jessye Norman and the Emerson String Quartet. The performers who have filled the Tannery these last 20 years are exceptional and read like a who’s who in the classical music hall of fame: Midori, Gil Shaham, Jaime Laredo, Jeremy Denk, Maria Joao Pires, Stephen Hough, Richard Goode, Roberto Diaz, Carter Brey, Christopher O’Riley, David Finckel, Christine Brewer, Ben Heppner, Susan Graham, Maureen O’Flynn, Todd Palmer, Paula Robison, the Borromeao, Emerson, Lark and St. Lawrence String Quartets to name but a very few. This summer, we also a program of wonderful musicians; Brentano String Quartet, Paula Robison, Romero Lubambo & Cyro Baptista Trio, Jeremy Denk, Kirill Gerstein, Vivica Genaux & Craig Rutenberg, Jennifer Frautschi, Eric Rusk, & Pedja Muzijevic, and to end our season on September 25th, Alon Goldstein with actors, Robert Mackenzie, Markus Hirnigel & Stephanie Schmiederer. Located on the grounds of Darrow School, New Lebanon, NY. For detail information, please go to www.tannerypondconcerts.org and/or 888-820-1696.
THE MUSIC STORE
As the Berkshires’ summer symphony begins, we at the Music Store celebrate our second summer in our new location, at the end of the Railroad Street extension in Great Barrington. Acclaimed as one of the area’s best music stores, The Music Store specializes in fine, folk and unusual musical instruments, accessories, supplies and music motif gifts. The Music Store offers music lovers and musicians of all ages and abilities a myriad of musical merchandise that will help them illuminate the longest winter night and enliven the shortest day. Music lovers and professional and amateur musicians alike will find an exciting array of both new and used name-brand and hand-made instruments, extraordinary folk instruments and one of the Northeast’s finest selections of strings and reeds. Music Store customers enjoy fine luthier handmade classical guitars, the peerless Irish Avalon steel string guitars, the brand new Baden Pantheon USA guitars as well as the handmade Badens including the USA Handmade Bourgeois/Pantheon Baden and guitars from other fine lines including Avalon, Rainsong and Takamine, as well as Alvarez, and Luna and from designers including Greg Bennett. Acoustic and electric guitars from entry to professional level instruments are available. Famous names including consignment Rickenbacker, Gibson, Gretsch and Fender guitars and basses join less-well known brands which appeal to those seeking high quality but are on tight budgets, providing any guitarist a tempting cornucopia of playing possibilities. A wide variety of Ukuleles (including the Connecticut made Flues and Fleas) join banjos, mandolins and dulcimers as well. Unusual instruments are also available, including the Connecticut-made Fluke and Flea Ukeleles and the peerless and lovely Stockbridge-made Serenity bamboo and walking stick flutes. New and used student orchestral and band instruments are available, including violins from $159 to $3000. An extensive array of international strings and reeds provides choices for the newest student to the symphony performer. Children’s instruments, as well as a fine line of international percussion including middle eastern and hand made African instruments along with many choices of industry standard drums, stands, heads and sticks, as well as tuners, forks and metronomes can be found as well. All new instruments are backed by The Music Store’s lifetime warranty which provides free set-up and adjustments on any new instrument sold. For repair and restoration and maintenance of fine stringed instruments - guitars, banjos, mandolins and the like - The Music Store’s repair shop offers expert luthiery at reasonable prices on instruments of all levels, as well as authorized repairs on Warwick Basses, and Lowden and Takamine guitars. Those in search of the perfect present for music lovers will find a treasure trove of gift favorites such as bumper stickers (“Driver Singing,” “Go Home and Practice,” Tune it or Die” and more), tee shirts, caps, scarves, miniature musical instruments and instrument magnets, nightshirts, music motif mugs, socks, totes and ties. Small bronze and metal musician statues and cuddly ‘Music Lover’ stuffed animals, whistle pops and earrings add additional possibilities to gift giving customers. A proud server of the community for over nine years, The Music Store’s warm and friendly staff are available for help in tuning, stringing or instrument repair. Help in choosing tuners, capos, mutes shoulder rests and strings is as happily given as help in selecting instruments themselves. Since our mission is to support and encourage our musical community, consultation and advice are always free. Professional musicians seeking the finest or unusual strings or accessories are welcome to call in advance. We will make every effort to satisfy the need!For capos to kazoos, guiros to congas, rainsticks to violins, bows to bodhrans, mandolins to ukeleles, strings to reeds and rods, sticks and earphones to microphones and stands, local artist’s CDs and harmonicas to picture frames and scarves, music motif ornaments and more. The Music Store, 87 Railroad Street, Great Barrington, Massachusetts, open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 to 6, and on Sundays from 12 to 5. Call 413-528-2460 or email us at email@example.com. And look for us on Facebook at The Music Store Plus for special tips and events!
The Aston Magna Festival celebrates its 38th year with a tasty menu of 17th and 18th century music presented in the Hudson Valley and in the Berkshires (Bard College on Friday evenings at 8pm, and Simon’s Rock College on Saturday evenings at 6pm; see the website for more details). Performed on period instruments and in historical instrumental and vocal styles, the Festival’s musicians aim to illuminate the cultural and historical background of the featured works, as well as presenting colorful and entertaining fare. A pre-concert lecture one hour before each concert will further contextualize the music. Here is a brief description of the four programs’ content: I. Aston Magna’s Artistic Director, baroque violinist Daniel Stepner, plays the three Partitas for solo violin by J. S. Bach. These works, along with the three unaccompanied Sonatas, constitute a sort of Old Testament for violinists. The Partitas are dance suites, and Stepner will chat briefly between these works, focusing on how the many dance forms included in these collections make up a sort of travelogue – a tour of dances from both the old world and the new. [June 18 at Bard; June 19 at Simon’s Rock] II. “Mozart’s Winds I” features classical oboist Stephen Hammer and clarinetist Eric Hoeprich, along with a string ensemble. Both Hoeprich and Hammer are internationally acclaimed performers/scholars on their respective instruments and have recorded extensively. Both custom-make their own instruments based on historical models. Mr. Hoeprich recently published an engaging and exhaustive history of his instrument (The Clarinet, Yale University Press). Rounding out this program is an early 19th century arrangement of Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante, for string sextet. [June 25 at Bard; June 26 at Simon’s Rock.] III. Aston Magna celebrates the 300th birthday of the Neopolitan master Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, known for his Stabat Mater, but more so for his comic opera La Serva Padrona (The Maid Made Mistress), which is be presented in full here, with recitatives in English and arias in the original Italian. Also on the program is Pergolesi’s little known cantata Orfeo, for tenor and strings, and a trio sonata which attentive listeners will recognize as music Stravinsky appropriated for his Pulcinella. Soprano Kristen Watson, tenor Frank Kelley, and baritone David Ripley, will be accompanied by an instrumental ensemble will be led by Daniel Stepner. [July 9 at Bard; July 10 at Simon’s Rock]. IV. A multi-media program entitled What Artemisia Heard, directed by lutenist/guitarist Richard Savino. Artemisia Gentileschi, one of the great unsung painters from early 17th century Italy, lived a dramatic, sometimes violent life in several countries, and knew many of the prominent musicians of her time. [July 16 at Bard, July 17 at Simon’s Rock]. Aston Magna - www.astonmagna.org
VLADIMIR PLESHAKOV NEW CHORAL WORKS
The distant memories of angle voices … Choral works created by Vladimir Pleshakov and presented by Aoede at St. Patrick Church in Watervliet on Saturday, June 19, 7 p.m., offer a unique world class experience that is both rare as it is special. Most people, event those familiar with choral works, don’t have a great familiarity with the Russian Orthodox Choral traditions that span centuries. Vladimir’s works burst out of this tradition of keeping a surprisingly light lyric feel in the rolling Slavonic tongue. Having spent his first 16 years growing up in China, Vladimir has subtle hints of eastern influence in his works as well as touches of more modern choral works of the early 20th century. The fusion created takes a complex structure that fits lightly on the ear, yet rich in tradition and warmth. This bold undertaking faces stiff competition from great Russian composers from the past who left a few masterpieces in that genre, especially Rimsky-Korsakoff, Tchaikovsky and, above all, Rachmaninoff. Vladimir’s music is sufficiently independent of these works, and he is happy to take up the challenge. The world premier will take place in St. Patrick’s Church, patterned after the Church in Lourdes France, which provides one of the best if not best acoustics for the human voice in upstate New York. Vladimir is known as a world class pianist, often performing with his equally talented wife Elena. His new choral works are recent, starting with a gushing of creativity after a recent hospital stay, the work has flowed from him in months on complex works that may have taken others years to compose are being captured as part of a documentary in an attempt to peer into the creative process. Performed by Aœde Consort (directed by Dan Foster), the Capital Region’s Premier Chamber Choir, Aoede’s focus on new works was a solid fit with Vladimir, a group willing to take risks on new works and composers, yet with the quality and energy to take on the challenge of an aggressive powerful new work. The mix of the performers, space and composer create an event that should not be missed. The Music of Vladimir Pleshakov, Saturday, June 19, 2010 7:00 p.m., St. Patrick’s Church, 515 19th Street, Watervliet, NY 12189, $20 suggested donation. www.aoedeconsort.org, Vita_mp@ymail.com, 518-263-3330.
FRONT STREET GALLERY JAZMINE HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!! JUNE 1 !!!
Remember during difficult times the best investment is something that uplifts the spirit. There is no greater gift than a wonderful painting. Please come pick one out and make every day of your life richer. Ongoing large selection of still life and Berkshire landscapes. All work sold at “recession concession” prices. Time payments accepted by appointment or chance. The Front St. Gallery was established fifteen years ago by seven local artists; Kate Knapp was one of the original founders. Designed as a cooperative showing many Berkshire artists’ work, today it is not only a gallery but primarily Kate Knapp’s studio. The space is obviously a working studio with many racks filled with canvases new and old, offering a great choice to anyone interested in looking. Kate has been studying art for 40 years. Her paintings are found in collections all over the country. Front St. Gallery is a beautiful and intriguing space located next to the Corner Market looking out at the mountains and passing trains. The paintings hanging on the walls are filled with color and light reflecting Kate’s training in the impressionist school. There are portraits, still life’s and landscapes done in oil and watercolor. Wonderful paintings of the rivers, farms and flowers found in the Berkshires are inspiring. There are also vibrant seascapes painted on Block Island, RI., where Kate has a home and loves to paint. The key word here is “loves”. These paintings are filled with an intense joy and passion for life. The wild rapids of the river, old farm trucks parked in a field with cows and waves breaking on rocks and shore are painted with great feeling. Prices are negotiable. Spring and Summer Classes at Front Street studio now open for registration...Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. Painting Classes are held Monday and Wednesday from 9:30 to 1 pm at the gallery/studio. Thursday class is planned, from 9:30 - 1 pm at different locations, and to be announced weekly. The cost is $30 per class and it is for beginners to advanced, all mediums are welcome. Front St. Gallery, Housatonic, MA. 413-274 6607, www.kateknappartist.com and 413-528-9546, 413-429-7141.
The Berkshire Gold & Silversmith
Silver and semi precious stones. Artfully designed and handcrafted jewelry pieces. Isn’t it time to have something especially designed for you?
THOMAS PARKER Jewelry Designer
152 Main St, Great Barrington
(next to Eagle Shoe and Boot) 413-528-0013 (Tues - Sat 10:30-6 pm)
In the GALLERY : JUNE ...Ken and Debra Story, woodburnings // Thomas Parker, Photography
JUNE 2010 ARTFULMIND.NET THE ARTFUL MIND • 13
ROGER MASON Written by Stephanie Campbell Photographed by Thad Kubis
He has been called one of the great painters of his generation. His paintings adorn the homes and offices of some of the more powerful people on the planet. Yet Roger Mason is still a familiar sight on the streets of Columbia County, putting final strokes on a canvass that captures a moment of time.
Jan Constantine, Gen. Counsel of The Authors Guild and Partner of Constantine Cannon LLP, along with her husband, Lloyd Constantine, writer and Counsel of Constantine Cannon LLP, divide their time between New York City and Chatham. They are art aficionados and great admirers of Mason’s work. “From the moment I saw Roger’s Hudson and Chatham scenes I was hooked,” said Mrs. Constantine. “We have two of his paintings in our New York apartment to remind us that we need a country fix. The familiar scenes together with the fabulous colors makes Roger’s work a “must have” for Lloyd and me.”
When asked what was so special about Roger Mason’s paintings, Mr. Constantine said it lay in Mason’s ability to capture emotional components with his unique use of color.
“I love the way he uses color,” Mr. Constantine said. “He uses color to create mood. To me he creates a kind of mood with his color that Edward Hopper did. His work strikes me as the same kind of mood as Los Angeles, 1944. I look at his stuff and think, China Town, LA Confidential, or True Confessions.” Mr. Constantine added that Mason creates a mood with the
14 • THE ARTFUL MIND
subject matter he uses as well. “I also like the fact that he has become the painter laureate of the area,” he said. “Roger has chosen to preserve various scenes of the area. In that way, he is a historian. Jan and I have several paintings of his. The one I like most is an evening scene of the Hudson train station. It’s an important place to preserve.
“I went out and started to use it,” he said. “Sculptor Steve Day would come up and watch me paint. It took me a long time to figure out what I was doing, especially with the night paintings I did under mercury vapor lamplight. I had no idea of what colors I was using. I wasn’t taking it seriously when I was doing it, but when I put it under incandescent light it took on a life of its own.”
Mason has never tried to sell his art. “People have always found me. Andy Warhol sold his work because he was a great marketer. I am not.”
While he was exploring Chatham one evening, a neon sign caught his eye. No one was there. He was compelled to paint.
“Art is like food,” he added. “We either like it or we don’t. It doesn’t matter what the specific ingredients are. Food either tastes good or it doesn’t. Roger’s art really tastes good. I could tell you about the specifics, but the bottom line is that I really like it.”
While Mason divides his time between other areas in the country, including Telluride, Colorado, he chose to live in Chatham because it is a remarkable place. “I could be anywhere, but I need a place to hide my hat. This place speaks to me.”
Mason first blew through Chatham in 1968. The little upstate New York town had an anachronistic sense to him. Although it was in the 1970s, it seemed to Mason that Chatham was still in the late 1940s, early 1950s.
For starters, Jack Palladino gave him a meat tray to mix his paints from the butcher shop. Then Mason found an old wooden easel that he realized would fit in his 1963 Chevy.
As an artist who needs stimulation and input, Mason’s favorite time to paint is at night. “I like being in the moment,” he said. “It’s not that I like danger, but there is something so lonely at night that I have to paint my way out of it. It is part of the adventure.”
It was the first place Mason felt comfortable painting outside. As a student at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY, Mason was intimidated to paint outside the studio because it was dangerous. “I was used to having coke bottles thrown at me,” he joked. One night while painting, a man pulled a gun on Mason. What seemed like a minutes Mason stood with a .44 magnum pointed in front of his face. Mason has painted in some spooky places. “I really enjoy painting at night,” he said. “What I’m doing is transferring emotion. I do this by translating light into pigment. To me, images are much more abstract at night than they appear.” Some artists see color when they paint or images that pull them
Paintings on wall by Roger Mason, from his studio
into the canvas. For Mason, it is music that resonates through his head which often energizes his brush – specifically, Rockabilly Blues, like John Lee Hooker’s music.
When Mason first began showing his art in New York City, during the 1980s, no one was doing Representatioanalism. “Now everyone and their mother are doing that,” Mason said. “It’s always been what’s been in my head.”
His paintings are about real stories, either accidental or otherwise, and there is a direct connection between where the artist was emotionally while painting and the piece itself. The late actor David Carradine once asked Mason to accompany him to Iraq. Mason agreed, only if he could bring his paints with him. “It’s how I assimilate my life,” he recalled. “I really paint with my heart.”
While Mason has been imitated by other artists, he never imitated anyone other than himself. His preoccupation with the awning at the Grainery on Main Street, for example, is an image that has shown up in several of his works and has a story all of its own. While painting one Fourth of July, Mason noticed the awning was casting a shadow on the old barbershop that used to be next to the Grainery. It appeared turquoise. “It was a piece of modern art to me,” Mason said. “I was painting the turquoise shadow and then put the other stuff in it as filler.” He was recently told that another painter who is a fan of his work is now copying Mason’s style and painting awnings. “I could probably make a good living doing Wal-Mart pictures,” he laughed. Then he became serious. “I couldn’t do that. I would die.”
Mason’s work has evolved over the quarter of a century that he has been showing his work. It has changed – become better, faster, and more specific. When he was in art school he studied German Expressionism. But his work isn’t German Expressionism. He does not go out in the street and draw. The German
Expressionists taught themselves by being outside and drawing. But to Mason, painting and drawing is two distinctly different things. “For me, painting is more like sculpture,” he said. “It’s layers and layers of sculpting.” Considering that Mason started his artistic career as a marble sculptor, the layering technique he uses makes sense. For Mason, painting is a process where certain colors move backwards and forwards.
“It feels like I’m carving something in the rectangle canvas, where depth and light are crucial,” he said. “I’m fabricating that; making it up as I go along. And I’m doing it with pigment. It’s not like Trump Royale or fooling the dice. It’s like I have a chisel and I’m chiseling the paint. Maybe I’ll actually chisel with marble one day but right now I’m working with paint.”
Mason refers to the Hudson train station painting to describe the process. “I would go to Hudson every night and paint the train station,” he said. “It took a long time. I was hanging onto to that painting for dear life. I painted it during my divorce which was excruciating. But I was miserable and needed something to help me through it. It manifested itself. How do you paint misery? I don’t know. How do you paint a clown funny?”
Painting for Mason is a way to process emotional experiences. It is his emotional experience that is on display on the canvas.
“I am bad with words,” he said. “I could talk the ass off a dead mule but I paint because I’m not a good writer. If you have to explain the painting in a lot of words, then I think you failed as a painter. Picasso used to say a lot of things but not about his paintings. The paintings tell the story.”
Each painting really does tell a different story. Although it is hard to generalize Mason’s work, one could call it a dialogue in disguise. “I look to choose things that the subject matter is ter-
tiary,” he said. “It helps when the subject has a sense of mystery. Some people think that I just paint old buildings but that’s not the case. It has to say something to me.” He jokes, “Sometimes they whisper obscenities to me in Spanish…but they talk to me…”
There is a stark difference between his day and night paintings. Most people either like one style or the other. There is a kind of hellishness to the night paintings. But they can also be viewed as a light study. Daylight is a whole other thing. Light is obviously different during the day. But at night, Mason uses the light of the moon to paint. He first started painting in Chatham when his son (who is also now an internationally performing musician) kept him awake at night.
There is a tradition in Europe called the nocturnes – those who work at night. Musically, the term nocturne was applied to pieces of music that were created during the eighteenth century and played at night. The word was later used to describe a movement among artists in the nineteenth century.
Mason’s nocturne pieces have a quality that can be described as tranquil, expressive and lyrical, sometimes containing a sense of intense melancholy. But they are always a beautiful arrangement of colors in harmony – sometimes contrastingly so. Light and color always play off each other in an elegant dance that draws the viewer into the artist’s soul.
Although he has been compared to Hopper, Mason pointed out that Hopper’s most famous pieces were from photographs. As to the question of what the difference is between art and illustration, Mason responded that he is not an illustrator; he is a painter.
“I am a sculptor of pigment,” he replied. “It is hard for me to put into words. But I am using paint to build something on canvass that is three-dimensional. Not to sound trite, but I love the process.” Continued on next page... JUNE 2010 THE ARTFUL MIND • 15
One wonders whether or not the craving to address some unspoken need is ever satisfied when an artist paints. Mason said that when he paints, he falls short of the feeling of satisfaction. “I am never truly satisfied with my work,” he said. “I always feel as though I can do better. But that is what propels me and keeps me working.” Mason used to destroy paintings that were particularly unsatisfying to him, although now he does much less of that. One of his patrons saved a painting he worked on that was of the inside of the Crandall Theater. Mason painted it during the week the serial killer Wiley Gates murdered members of his family. The painting looks like an interpretation of the gates of hell opening up. “I didn’t know that at the time, but I was picking up on something unbeknownst to me,” he said. “Now the painting is owned by the head of the Rockefeller Institute.”
Mason knows how to tell a good story. As far-fetched as some stories may sound, what is intriguing is that they are true. He is not one to name-drop for the sake of getting attention. Instead, he shares pieces of himself, his life, and those close to him, with others. That many of the friends he keeps are often celebrities is irrelevant to him.
Take this story for instance: “In 1988 I was painting in Provence, France. A guy came out of the darkness and said, ‘you’re painting with a light on your head.’ The guy ended up buying the painting and paid for my whole trip. He was sort of my mentor.” That guy turned out to be the famous Canadian sculptor, Jim Ritchie.
TWO AWNINGS, ROGER MASON
His stories begin with his larger-than-life father, a World War II hero.
“I just lost him a few years ago but it took me my whole life to figure him out,” Mason said of the 6”4 paratrooper who jumped out of a plane into machine gun fire in Normandy and later out of a truck during the Battle of the Bulge.
Mason carries a piece of his father’s parachute in his wallet, who rarely spoke to anyone about his experiences in the war. Before his father died, however, Mason wanted him to talk about it. So he told his son a couple of stories.
“He described jumping out of the plane at 600 feet and seeing bullets going through the floor of the plane,” Mason said. “He spoke about planes going down in flames and knowing that there were guys in those planes who were dying. What really freaked him out was opening the gates of the Dachau concentration camp. I remember he said he could smell the camp ten miles away.”
Mason’s father also received a citation for going behind enemy lines and mining a bridge on the Salm River, in Belgium. “He fell in the water, which was 10 degrees below zero,” Mason said. “When the bridge blew, witnesses said that thing went a mile high.”
It took Mason 50 years to understand his father, who was featured in Time Magazine and the New York Times as one of the troops walking in Normandy in June 1944. In the photo, six men are walking. It turned out that only Mason’s father survived the war.
Oddly enough, Mason’s father himself had wanted to be a painter.
“When he was in Holland, he landed in a guy’s backyard and hid in his foxhole for a month. The Dutchman who owned the property was a painter and taught him how to use a brush,” Mason said. “I remember the smell of paints as a kid. My father and I were closer than I thought, even though I was the bad boy.” Neither of Mason’s brothers was interested in painting. Mason recalls polishing his father’s parachute boots, but one day his father threw everything out. “I wasn’t even allowed to have a BB gun growing up,” he said. When his father passed away in December 2004, Mason recalls having dizzy spells. “I felt him dying, “he said. “We were really connected. I’m still processing it.”
Much to his mother’s chagrin, Mason first knew he was going to be a painter when he was eight-years old. His dad gave him
16 JUNE 2010
SLATTERY’S, ROGER MASON
his oil paints and Mason would do comic book characters. “I tried to paint a tree and it didn’t work,” he said.
The connection between art and music has been intertwined most of Mason’s life. Although Mason studied art at Pratt Institute, he had already begun his music career long before he set foot in college.
It was competition combined with an illness that started Mason on the serious path to music. During his teens, Mason came down with mono and was out of school for almost a year. His father gave him a beautiful Gibson guitar. Day and night Mason played that guitar, so that by the time he emerged from his illness, he was a skinny, gaunt teenager who knew how to strum. Mason played in his first band when he was 14-years old with musician Mark Johnson and traded his guitar for a bass. That same guitar now sells for $22,000 and the bass is worth $600, but Johnson gave Mason a career. “It saved me from a home life with mom drinking 15 pots of coffee a day with a three-pack Chester cigarette habit, and dad with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder),” he said. Mason’s mother later died from emphysema, denying that cigarettes had anything to do with her terminal illness. Although music came easy, art school did not for the young
artist. While everyone else was flinging paint at their canvasses, Mason looked out the window and watched as raindrops dried on the copper roof. It started his preoccupation with realism.
“I remember a guy asking me as I was packing up to leave art school if I was going to be a painter or a musician,” Mason said. “I told him I didn’t know. I still don’t. Each one compliments the other.”
The music has been fun for him, while painting has always been work, in part because his sense of reality always changing.
Among the musical giants Mason has played with are Bob Dylan, Itzhak Perlman, John Denver, members of The Band, the Carradine Brothers, and even produced Levon Helm’s producer Larry Campbell, to name a few.
For 13 years, Mason played music on Broadway for shows such as “The Best Little Whore-House in Texas, The Robber Bridegroom”, and “Fox Fire”, where he met Keith Carradine, Hume Cronyn, and the late Jessica Tandy, who became surrogate parents to the young musician/artist. “She used to run her fingers in my hair and call me Samson,” he recalls of Tandy. He sold his first painting to Tandy when he
JOE’S TAVERN, ROGER MASON
was working on Broadway. Mason painted with emotion, rather than any specific technique. People would drive by and hoot and holler at him, but he kept on painting. Now he makes a living as a painter, but ask him how it happened, and he’ll say he doesn’t know.
Mason was represented in Colorado by a woman who used to work for Elvis Presley and in the past 15 years his paintings have appeared in the living rooms of the likes of the head of the New York Commodities and Exchange Commission, the CEOs of ATT, Sony, Ford Motor Company, the Weather Channel, EBay, Time Warner, Goldman Sachs, Outback Steak House, Jack Chrysler, Robert Altman, Sir Rex Harrison, and Daryl Hannah.
Throughout the years, Mason sold paintings out of his studio in Chatham and traveled throughout the US and Europe to paint
scenes he found stimulating.
“Chatham was always the home when I was away at the office,” he said of the places he traveled to. “There are a lot of people I like here, although many of the old timers are gone now.”
The liquor store on Church Street was the first outdoor location Mason painted. He moved on to Delson’s Department Store. The Delson sign is in his basement. It’s one of Mason’s quirks: he always walks away with a souvenir of a place he paints.
The reason he paints on sight is because Mason has no memory whatsoever. “I don’t know how to operate a camera, still,” he said.
An entire generation of painters has been impacted by his work. Like his father, Mason has appeared in the New York Times and Microsoft featured him in an article before he even owned a computer. He has painted in France, Cuba, Colorado, Tahiti, Corsica, had a great show in the Netherlands, painted all over Buenos Aires, Mexico, and said that Key West was good. Tuscany was great, and he’d like to go back to Tokyo and stay for a while, while New Mexico Mason came close to experiencing his own version of God. And if all goes well, he intends to be the first painter on the moon. “Can you imagine those night scenes with the earth rising,” he asks.
But for now Mason moves from his studio in the Chatham Clocktower to the streets that call to him, and everywhere there is light or darkness outside with a signature cigar, preferably Cuban, to smoke.
“Light and Astigmatism,” a solo exhibition of recent oil paintings by Roger Mason will be on view at Park Row Gallery in Chatham, NY from June 11th - July 31st. There will be a memorable reception with the artist on Saturday, July 10th from 4pm-6pm, and the public is cordially invited to attend. For further information, please call Jeff Risley or Park Row Gallery at (518) 392-4800, or visit: www.parkrowgallery.com
THE ARTFUL MIND JUNE 2010 • 17
Jupiter and Uranus arrive in Aries this month, forming a spectacular, visionary conjunction on the Aries Point -- the first degree of the zodiac. For all of us, this is a leap-ahead point; a chance to embrace a new dimension of potential and to release the emotional and mental baggage that has held us back in the past. I know that every self-help book ever written offers a prescription to help us do precisely this. Victor Hugo said that nothing is as powerful as an idea whose time has come. Now, imagine this applies directly to you.
Aries (March 20-April 19)
There are times when we try to redefine ourselves, and times when we simply discover that we're someone new. Despite your best efforts to assert who you are, events this month will give you a whole new basis for how you know yourself, think of yourself and relate to your own existence. This sounds like a tall order, I know, though the astrology is not subtle. You're likely to discover that the most significant developments are ones that were in progress for many years prior to their becoming obvious. And they relate to whom you associate with as much as how you consider yourself: the two are closely related. Let new encounters give you the space and freedom to be a new person.
Taurus (April 19-May 20)
You exist with a 'self within yourself', and this can be confusing, or challenging, because it's not always possible to access that inner being. Then there are times when that entity announces its presence and gets your attention. You may find yourself making decisions based on entirely different criteria; you may find yourself in a struggle to resist or deny the inner changes you feel. It's never easy to be at odds with who you are. True, being entirely oneself presents certain challenges, but at least they are part of a quest for authentic existence. We are entering a time of mandatory integrity -- and for you, that means being true to your existence from the inside out.
Gemini (May 20-June 21)
You don't ask too much from life, but rather far too little. Life is offering you a series of opportunities to see what is possible, and to allow that to expand the bounds of your perception. Observe the extent to which you've allowed the groups of people you surround yourself with to define who you are. You've been tired of this for a while, and you appear ready for the alternative: to make your own scene. This means to step out of what's expected of you in such a vivid way that you take leadership in your own life, and in the world around you. When you're done, you will be surrounded by people who you influence more than they influence you.
Cancer (June 21-July 22)
You now have the freedom to break through any glass ceiling that's holding you back: particularly in your career, but in truth, in any other aspect of your existence. In your continuous quest for perfection, or truth (depending on the day), you may have overlooked the prerogative to define your existence in your own way: this, as a divine right. It is true, your parents thought of you a certain way, and as you grew older, you made a series of revisions in the name of practicality. The options you now have, and the potential that is about to come due, will help you break free from the past, and assert your freedom to choose in ways
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THE ARTFUL MIND JUNE 2010
that you would have never imagined possible.
Leo (July 22-Aug. 23)
We are all limited by our beliefs, and by our idea of what we think is possible. You seem to be aware that how you define yourself simultaneously defines your potential experience. Therefore, stretch all your definitions of yourself: what you're capable of, where you will travel, how far you will take your creative aspirations and most of all your faith. It's true that the angle where the most spectacular astrology occurs this month is on the angle where we look for information about religious influences or ideas about the 'higher self'. For you, I would say that agenda item one is: having faith in yourself. Logic and reason will get you so far; then you will take the leap.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22)
One of the most popular discussions in self-help circles these days involves the notion of 'sacred contracts'. An extension of the idea of karma (cause and effect). Caroline Myss, a proponent of this idea, says, "I believe that we each agree to the terms of our contract before entering the physical realm of this world." But since most of us don't remember that realm of reality, it's a little like waking up and telling you that you're subject to an agreement you made while you were talking in your sleep. For you, this is a moment of choosing as regards all contracts, agreements and understandings, whether made 'consciously' or not, whether in this realm or some other. To do this will require being alert and awake to an unprecedented degree, though that is always the price of freedom.
Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23)
Everything is a relationship, and every relationship comes back to the one you have with yourself. Now is the time to take it to heart; to see the process in action. Certain events this month will seem to be coming from 'outside of you' -- that is, originating entirely in circumstance, or in the minds of others. And yes, you have the ability, the responsibility and indeed the privilege of responding. Yet what, that you are experiencing, has its origins in your own consciousness and life path? What choices have you made that have led you to this moment? Note, you're subject to those choices but you're not a prisoner of them. In fact, the more clearly you see that your vision is what you get, the more you're likely to refine your vision and therefore create what you want
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22)
After 20 years of doing metaphysical consulting I have come to the conclusion that most people don't know they exist. I know that many think they know they exist, but thinking you know something and actually knowing it are two different matters. You are in one of those moments where you discover, and know beyond any doubt, that you are actually part of this world. Yet to maintain that awareness takes vigilance. It's not like collecting your bachelor's degree. It is possible to forget that you are both in and of the world, and that your awareness and therefore ability to choose is the most prominent driving factor of your experience. You are about to have some radical wakening experiences, and to make the most of your life, you would be well served to remember: that you exist.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22)
by Eric Francis
of your life. In the process, you're likely to encounter shadow material: fear, guilt, hidden issues and unexpected consequences of past actions. You might say, 'I wish I could have the creative part without the shadow part'. Yet one of the gifts of authentic creativity is to give the shadow a purpose, and to use it to advance your life rather than set you back. This, you see, is the true creative process: it not only creates what is new, it deals with what has come before, and reinterprets it. Indeed, I doubt there would be much creativity without the abundant shadow material on our level of existence. Hopefully it won't be long before oil companies figure this out, but if your chart means anything, you can get the benefits of this equation right now.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20)
You are likely to have a vision this month for what would set you free emotionally. You might even experiment with taking action, though one thing at least is clear -- you will feel the bounds that surround you, and the bonds that hold you. You will see the influence of the past and have an extended moment where you know that you have an option to experience your life a different way. Despite the liberating, revolutionary nature of the moment, you may not take action, fearing you're not quite ready -- even if you know certain developments are inevitable. I suggest you decide in advance whether under ideal circumstances, you would choose something new when you're feeling frustrated and defeated, or positive and optimistic.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19)
For someone devoted to ideas, none is ever too good. Yet there are authentic breakthroughs. When you encounter such a concept, it's not an idea in the conceptual sense but rather a living, breathing archetype that takes up existence at the core of your life. You are approaching such a juncture, where your personal values, your highest ideals and what you do with your days are coming into alignment, or rather, to fulfillment. Much that you previously could categorize, sort out and study has become so real that it defies intellectualization. Indeed, this is your opportunity to stop thinking of your existence in mental or intellectual terms and to move from your core, with full authenticity. One result of your considerable growth and introspection is that no other option is viable.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
Life can move slowly for a Pisces. It's as if you're watching existence from the caboose of the train, and yours seems like the last car to pull into the station. Then all of a sudden things surge forward. What happens this month may have the feeling of being premature, but you need to remind yourself that you've worked for it, and that you've endured many delays and diversions on the way to getting to this point. This particular encounter is a portal to the future that you will have the opportunity to go through; and also be a moment of vision quest, wherein you can see your trajectory in life clearly enough to envision something different and beautiful, make corrections and reach for something that has long eluded you. The key is to remember these facts when the time comes -- and it is boldly arriving. ~ Read Eric Francis daily at PlanetWaves.net
You're entering one of the most creative, adventurous phases
Ancient Quantum Healing “THE LUMINOUS ENERGY FIELD CONTAINS A TEMPLATE OF HOW WE LIVE, AGE, HEAL AND MIGHT DIE.” -Dr. Alberto Viloldo
Masterʼs of Education, Certified by Healing the Light Body School of the Four Winds Society to practice Luminous Healing & Energy Medicine. Macrobiotic counseling is also available when appropriate.
For information or to schedule a session please call: 413-446-5712
Nixsa M. Mills 231 Hartsville NM Rd., New Marlborough, MA
KAREN ANDREWS INNER VISION STUDIO
Inner Vision Studio is one the Berkshire’s few true artistowned exhibition spaces. Inner Vision offers a delightful variety of photographs, watercolors, drawings and giclee prints by local artist Karen Andrews. Unlike commercial galleries, in which artists tends to peg themselves to a particular medium and style, Inner Vision expresses the full range of one artist’s creativity, from her Magical Realist “Housatonic hand-Painted” series, to her “Feminine Views of the Mechanical World” photographs to her deeply spiritual landscape photography such as “The Enchanted Forest Series”. A prolific watercolorist, landscape photographer and artist of many moods, styles and mediums, Karen blends the contemporary with the traditional. She employs sophisticated compositions with surfaces that virtually sing and dance with color, gesture and movement. You will find award-winning photographic prints which may appeal to the summer visitor wanting a remembrance of this beautiful and sacred land. Or you may encounter some of her more recent experimental drawings, and be invited in to experience her sometimes edgy creative process. Whatever the medium, whatever the style, Karen Andrews and Inner Vision Studio will help you feel more alive! The Studio itself, with its colorful exterior and whimsical gardens, is worthy of a visit, and many a traveler has taken inspiration from the setting. You will get to meet the artist in person and see some of the places from which she draws her inspiration. One of the advantages of your coming to an artist’s own studio is that prices are always negotiable and far less than they would be at a commercial gallery. Karen offers special arrangements for multiple purchases, and many second-home owners have filled their walls with her varied and expressive work. Karen Andrews is transplanted from New Haven, Ct, and studied Art History and Studio Art at Oberlin College followed by coursework at MassArt, Woodstock School of Art and with well-known teachers throughout the region. Her work has hung in permanent exhibitions at Hartford Hospital Chapel area, major national corporations, and an American Embassy. Inner Vision Stufio -. Furnace Road, corner of Cone Hill Road, go 1 mile north on Swamp Rd from West Sockbridge Center, take left at Cone Hill Rd, 2nd left onto Furnace Rd. Look for colorful blue building on the right. Gallery Hours: Open in the summer (June 26-Aug 29) every Sat and Sun, 1-5 pm, or by appointment. 413-232-4027.
MARGUERITE BRIDE WATERCOLOR EXHIBITS MARGUERITE BRIDE, PERRY MARKET, W/C
It looks like a very busy art season ahead for the Berkshires. Marguerite Bride will be exhibiting her watercolors in two shows in the very near future. At the Becket Arts Center, Bride will display more than forty original watercolors in three different categories in a solo exhibit in the “Upstairs Gallery”. The themes of her paintings include….New England in All Seasons, Travels Abroad, and Food for Thought. There will also be a variety of fine art reproductions available in bins. The exhibit runs from June 19 – July 5. Artist reception will be held on Saturday, June 19 from 4:30 – 8 pm. Bride will also be exhibiting a number of pieces at the Berkshires Art Festival July 3-5 in the Insider Art Fair Gallery Show at Butternut Mountain, Great Barrington, MA Besides preparing for many shows, custom house portraits are always on Bride’s “palette”. It is never too early (but sometimes too late) to think about commissioning a painting as a holiday gift. Call or visit the website for detailed information about commissioning a special painting for the holidays. Visits by appointment to the studio at Art on NO are always welcome. Bride is there just about every day either painting or giving lessons. If you are interested in seeing what is going on in this artist collaborative, call and you will be given the grand tour. Art on NO, at 311 North Street, Pittsfield has “Open Studios” during Pittsfield’s Third Thursdays (from 4:30-8pm), otherwise by appointment with one of the artists. Marguerite Bride, 311 North Street, Studio #5, Pittsfield, MA. 413-841-1659. firstname.lastname@example.org, www.margebride.com Studio tours by appointment.
CARRIE HADDAD GALLERY DOTS, LINES AND FIGURES MICHAEL MCLAUGHLIN, PEACOCKS, BRONZE
Dots, Lines and Figures, an exhibit featuring paintings by Jeff Briggs and Ben Shecter, works in mixed media by Donise English, and the bronze sculptures of Michael McLaughlin will be on view at the Carrie Haddad Gallery until July 5. Donise English exhibits an interest in mapping space, both real and imaginary. In her mixed media-works, lattice-like structures overlap to form complex grids. These structures stand up vertically, resembling ladders resting on a building, and then collapse to form an aerial plan of a more expansive space. Scale and perspective are elusive; a single drawing can feel both vast and intimate—like a network of city streets and a close-up of a stone building’s surface. In the paintings of Jeff Briggs, the history of each work is left exposed. An abundance of near-round marks creates robust depth and buzzing movement. In their distinctness, these marks give Briggs’ paintings a collage-like quality; the surface of “Digital Tide” appears to be covered in tiny pieces of brightly colored paper. A casualness rooted in the work’s affinity to collage competes with striking precision and deliberateness, as evidenced by the clarity of each mark and Briggs’ acute sensitivity to color. In the collection of paintings by Ben Shecter featured in this exhibit, one thing remains constant: the prominence of a theatrical space. A distinguished set and costume designer for the stage as well as the screen, Shecter constructs eerily artificial backdrops in which he situates objects and figures. Shecter simultaneously illustrates and pushes the limits of conventional illustration. Figures appear to pose for the spectator, assuming contrived, puppet-like stances. Quietly unsettling, his paintings captivate. Michael McLaughlin’s beautiful bronze sculptures combine realism and fantasy: the antlers of an elegantly simple figure of a deer morph seamlessly into the branches of a tree. In a single figure, McLaughlin expresses the harmony of all natural life. The most compelling visual feature of McLaughlin’s emerges from the manner in which each sculpture has oxidized.
Carrie Haddad Gallery, 622 Warren Street in Hudson, NY. Gallery hours are Thursday through Monday 11-5pm. For information or directions, please call the gallery at (518) 828-1915 or go to the website at www.carriehaddadgallery.com
SHARON TRUE, M.A., C.M.A., R.M.T. Somatic Movement Therapist and Certified Pilates Instructor
WholePerson Movement Mat Classes
Mondays 6:30 - 7:30 PM Kinesphere Studio • 66 Main St, Lee, MA Tuesdays 5:00 - 6:00 PM Kilpatrick Athletic Center, Simonʼs Rock College 84 Alford Rd, Gt. Barrington, MA Thursdays 5:15-6:30 Berkshire Fusion Yoga, 965 South Main St., Great Barrington
WholePerson Movement Private Sessions
Personal training in a quiet country setting featuring the Reformer and other Pilates-designed apparatus
All WholePerson Movement Classes:
• Increase strength and flexibility • Improve posture, balance, breathing, body awareness • Improve comfort, ease, grace in moving • Reduce lower back and other chronic pain • Reduce risk of re-injury from sports or occupation
Call for more information
THE ARTFUL MIND JUNE 2010 • 19
THE PRIME OF YOUR LIFE SHARON TRUE ON PILATES APPARATUS
There once was a curmudgeon who said “Youth is wasted on the young.” Whether or not you agree with that statement, it speaks to the frustration many of us experience when our bodies “betray” us right when we feel we are in the prime of our lives in other respects—family, career, community. Sharon True of WholePerson Movement believes in aiming for health and fitness targets throughout life to optimize the chances of the body being an eager and equal player in enjoying the prime of life, however you define it, and to enjoy it for as long as possible. In her work with clients, she is mindful of the physical challenges they face that they would like to overcome so they could enjoy life more. She approaches workouts as a partnership: her clients contribute information about what is motivating and meaningful to them, while she translates this information into movement experiences that are effective and enjoyable. True has a fully-equipped Pilates studio in Great Barrington that provides an effective environment for muscle conditioning— improving muscle length, strength, coordination and efficiency. Conditioned muscles look better, feel better, and function better in terms of posture and all activities. When your muscles feel toned and pliable, and when you feel you can do whatever you want with your body, you feel great! True’s private, quiet studio overlooks a wooded area frequented by wildlife. It’s a place where you can be yourself, be challenged, and reach goals. She has worked with people ranging from teenagers with scoliosis to elders in their eighties wanting to stay active, involved, and away from the doctor as much as possible. Most of her clients are people who recognize the value of committing to a regular program of exercise as a means of enjoying their prime of life. In addition to one-on-one training, True offers Pilates Mat classes at Simon’s Rock College in Great Barrington, Kinesphere Studio in Lee, and starting in June at Berkshire Fusion Yoga on South Main Street in Great Barrington. In the mat classes she teaches how to organize the body to most safely and effectively do beginning to intermediate-level Pilates exercises. For more information about WholePerson Movement classes, workshops, and private sessions, call Sharon True at 413-528-2465, 9AM-9 PM Mon—Sat, or email her at email@example.com.
ERIN BURCH, PT BODY WHISPERER
OLD INJURIES NEVER DIE Old Injuries never die. I have had this experience in my own body, as well as observing it in countless others. I used to work in an outpatient clinic and people would come to me with neck pain. As part of the history and intake process, I would inquire if there had been any neck trauma (car accident, fall, etc). It was evident by the visible distortion in their neck that something; some force had disrupted it. After much questioning, it finally dawned on them that in fact, they were in a car accident…. “but that was 20 years ago!” The assumption is that once the acute phase of pain of a trauma has passed, the problem has been resolved, and perhaps in a small percentage of cases, that may be true. However, in my experience and observation this has not been the case. When the small bones of the neck, for example are shifted out of their original position, by the forces from an accident or fall, this creates an unnatural “fit” between the joints therein. The body works amazingly hard to protect us from pain and so goes immediately into compensation. This compensation works subtly throughout the body, taking a little from here and a little from there, until it can no longer accommodate the distortion. In the meantime, inflammation continues at the original site. This process can take a couple of decades for the body to run out of the available “slack”, and pain may resurface at the original area or at some other location. This all may seem like bad news indeed. However, the good news is, that armed with this information, awareness, and connection to one’s body, as well as intelligent intervention, a great deal of pain can be understood, relieved and potentially avoided. Erin can be reached at 413-528-1623, cell: 201-7877293
Comfortable Walking & Hiking Shoes for Men and Women
20 • THE ARTFUL MIND
Emotionally overwhelmed? Stressed? Feel down on yourself? Stuck? These are just a few symptoms of how one may respond to life’s challenges. But one doesn’t have to get trapped in these uncomfortable places. Kari Amdahl utilizes a number of modalities in her psychotherapeutic work with clients to address such feelings, so as to allow for smoother transitions and resolutions to the issues presented. “Mindfulness” and CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) are two approaches that can be applied at any given time with very favorable results. Though “mindfulness” originated as a form of Zen Buddhist meditation over two and a half thousand years ago, its essence need not be experienced in meditation solely. Rather, “mindfulness” can be practiced within the therapeutic process, and eventually as a way of experiencing life in general, whether one is driving on the freeway, working, taking a shower, or talking to a friend. In brief, exercising “mindfulness” allows for a more grounded, in-the-moment experience of what is at hand. So, rather than fighting a problem, forcing solutions, or continuing to be gripped by uncomfortable feelings, becoming “mindful” nurtures a more neutral state of being, so acceptance of “what is” becomes possible. Calmly accepting a circumstance then fosters new insights, wisdom and compassion for one’s self and the situation. As a result, unexpected resolutions arise, as well as a more positive and open outlook. CBT is also very helpful in discovering and changing one’s negative perspectives. Often we are not aware of our pessimistic conscious/unconscious thoughts that create our view of the world and ourselves. With help one can bring these out into the open, discovering if they are true or not. Often by catching these self-defeating thoughts, one can not only prove them untrue but, one can also alter one’s whole outlook: more choices become available and positive life changes occur. The thought manifests as the word; The word manifests as the deed; The deed develops into habit; And habit hardens into character. So watch the thought and its ways with care, And let it spring from love, Born out of compassion for all human beings. As the shadow follows the body, As we think, so we become —Das, L.S. 1997. For more information and to make an appointment, contact Kari Amdahl at 413-528-6121. Great Barrington area. Sliding scale available.
SABINE PHOTO ART
PHOTO BY SABINE VOLLMER VON FALKEN
JULIANNE D. BRESCIANI GARDEN PHOTOGRAPHY
Alford resident and avid gardener, Julianne D. Bresciani, has combined her love of flowers, gardening, and yoga into a meditative art form of garden photography. While she claims to have known nothing about gardening when she first began her garden journey, a friend describes her as “a mid life flower child”. Most, if not all of the flowers that she photographs come from Julianne’s garden. They have been planted in seed and root and bulb form and tended to by the artist herself. Ms. Bresciani states that her garden has seen her through many seasons of her life and has fed her soul on a very deep level. She is happiest working in her garden! Her love for flowers became a passion. Ordering her seeds in January, planting seedlings, planting the garden, tending to them in the early morning hours or the late evening hours and enjoying enormous bounty with and from them whether inside the garden or not. Her photographs invite the viewer to be touched by the generosity of nature and signs most of her work “from the heart of my garden, to the garden of your heart”. Ms. Bresciani’s background was in fashion and merchandising with degrees from Marymount College, Arlington, Virginia in 1968 and The Tobe Coburn School for Fashion in New York. She later went on to complete studies for social work and has a masters degree from New York University in Social Work. Ms. Bresciani has a private physcotherapy practice in New York where she continues to work with people on a part time basis. She divides her time between New York and the Berkshires. Julianne has shown her work at Coppertops, The Lifebridge Sanctuary, and The Capitol Arts Network; also at the Berkshires Arts Festival in 2008 and The Lenox Garden Club tour that same year. Her work was at the One of a Kind Gift Show & Sale in New York this past winter and can be seen in the windows of Guido’s this May and June. She will be exhibiting at the Douglas Flackman Gallery of Fine Art in Great Barrington this July. Her work includes plexi mounted pieces as well as fine art pieces, cards, calendars, and custom contemporary wedding invitations. Julianne Bresciani - www.julianneb.com. Seen by appointment. The artist can be reached at 413-528-3720 or 212-7523344.
Whether it’s an amicable groom, an observant guest, a family gathering, or a tree house, Sabine Vollmer von Falken is in rapport with her subject. In the European photographic tradition, her true talent and interest lays in photographing real people and locations. The results are natural and direct, capturing the emotion of the moment or the mood of the environment. Sabine specializes in young children at play and creating a photographic record of their growth. A master of the subtleties of lighting and the nuance of background, her eye for detail provides photos to be treasured for a lifetime. It is to no surprise that she is a sought-after wedding photographer, as well. Sabine’s photo studio and gallery is located in Glendale, Massachusetts. She captures portraits there or on location. Each photo is tailored to meet her client’s needs—a blackand-white remembrance for a special occasion or a logo image to create an authentic online presence. Her photographs have been published in a variety of magazines and books. Her latest book Woodland Style will be published by Storey Publishing in August, author Marlene H. Marshall. Other volumes include Full of Grace: A Journey through the History of Childhood, Making Bits & Pieces Mosaics and Shell Chic. A member of the American Society of Media Photographers, the International Center of Photography ICP and the Wedding Photojournalist Association WPJA, Sabine offers outdoor workshops for the advanced amateur photographers in June. The dates are: June 6, 13, 20 and 27. Sabine Vollmer von Falken, 20 Glendale Road, Glendale, MA, 413-298-4933; www.sabinephotoart.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
DON MULLER GALLERY
For the third year in a row, the Don Muller Gallery has been named one of the Top Ten Retailers of American Craft in North America by Niche Magazine, one of the highest marks of distinction in the American craft industry. More than 18,000 craft artists from the United States and Canada are polled each year and nominate over 700 galleries, retail stores, and museum shops. Criteria for selection include: treating artists with courtesy and respect; paying on time; promoting and marketing American crafts; giving back time and energy to the craft community; mentoring emerging artists; and maintaining an inventory that is at least 85% American craft. Don Muller Gallery was honored to be named among the top galleries in the United States, and is particularly proud to achieve such an award for owning and operating a business in downtown, Northampton, Massachusetts, for over 25 years. Being one of the top 10 galleries in the nation is a real tribute to past and present employees and all of the artists that have been represented through the years. The gallery has also announced the launch of their new website. The site features the work of many artists in jewelry, glass, wood, fiber, and more; it includes a tour of the gallery, a description of their services, and an introduction to the gallery staff. The site was produced by Positronic, a web development company based in Northampton. Don Muller Gallery, 40 Main St, Northampton, MA, 413-586-1119, www.donmullergallery.com Open Mon–Wed, 10-5:30, Thurs–Sat, 10–9, Sunday 12-5pm.
Auditions for 2010 repertory cast All ages, All Levels of experience
To schedule an appointment: 413-442-2223 or email@example.com Micro Theatre (dedicated to experimental theatre) 311 North Street, Pittsfield, MA
THE ART CONSERVANCY
The Preservation and Restoration of Oil Paintings Works on Paper
Objects of Art
130 North Egremont Road Alford, MA 01230 413-528-2452
THE ARTFUL MIND JUNE 2010 • 21
Alfred instructed me with the European approach to development while everyone around me was exploring slapping, dripping, and plopping paint. Knowing that Dekooning studied academic drawing in Holland, underlined what Alfred was encouraging me to do; charcoal drawings from the antique, the time proven method of developing an informed hand and discerning eye. When I visited fellow fledgling artists who were studying with Robert Motherwell at Hunter College, they were doing little Motherwells. I’d bring along representational studies that I did to his class but I couldn’t wait to break loose. What I didn’t have in my paint box, at the time, was the understanding that any manner of applying paint to canvas requires a strong foundation as well as a directed intuition. If your going to do innovative work then you need to have something to innovate from. Motherwell’s work was very directed. He and the other terrific guys and dolls of the time, DeKooning, Joan Mitchell, Mark Rothko, Helen Frankenthaler and Franz Kline, took on the monumental task of dealing with formal aspects of form and color as a primary focus. Their works were emotionally applied but were intellectual in overall concept. They got rid of details and sentimentality…which is a good way to go through life. Instead of filling in linear compositions with color, they developed the composition intuitively as the paint was applied…with change always being at the finger tips.
You mentioned a directed intuition. What does that mean for you. Intuition is our built-in navigational device. It always does me well. I go to it when I pick up a brush…like Zen and archery…keeping the intellect out of it…becoming the bow and arrow and, similarly, becoming the brush…sounds like David Carradine.
BOB CRIMI Interviewed by Harryet Candee
Photographed by Julie McCarthy
What’s a Bronx boy doing in the Boonies? Ok, it’s not the boonies the way it once was, actually its pretty cutting edge around here… That’s a great opener…it makes me smile. It reminds me of the saying: You can take the boy out of the Bronx but you can’t take the Bronx out of the boy. Actually, my Bronx days encompassed Greenwich Village. My uncle, Alfred Crimi, a fresco muralist and easel painter, had a sky light studio on West 13th Street. I started apprenticing with him when I was a teenager and the Village became a homeaway-from home until I eventually set up a studio there. My string of decisions over the years, lead me here to this wonderful “Boonies” of the Taghkanic Hills and Berkshires where people are very well informed, kind, and have a let-itroll sense of sophistication.
Can I assume that your uncle was an influence on you? Yes, he was…he was the Big Kahuna for me. He was my best friend, surrogate father, a wonderful thinker, and spiritual guide. He brought me the vibes of color through formal training. He’s no longer on this plane but I often get a deep yearning for just one more discussion with him about linear composition, color relationship, or how his thinking landed him the great distinction of being the black sheep of the family. I’m proud that we were like-minded.
That must have been interesting, to have a family member be a fresco muralist? It was great. Both Alfred and my father, Charles Crimi, executed murals through the auspices of the WPA…for Morrisania Hospital, Harlem Hospital, Northhampton Post Office, as well 22 • THE ARTFUL MIND JUNE 2010
as other public places. This was during the Great Depression… which according to them, it wasn’t so great. By the time I was apprenticing with Alfred he was doing easel painting and was still doing murals, but with mosaic chips, for New York City schools. I had the honor of helping him with cartoons for the murals…helping to layout his concepts on the large, thick rolls of paper. In his later works on canvas, Alfred created the sense overlapping and transparent geometric planes through color mixing…very advanced stuff at the time. Even the mosaics have that feel. My father and Alfred were very European…and very exciting. They were born in Sicily and came to New York during their formative years. The richness of tone, brought by immigrants that populated the boroughs, in the early part of the century, was still very much in the air then. It was in the Village where they both discovered their artistic inclinations and bohemian ways.
How did this affect you? I was thoroughly awed by their accomplishments. This awe spilled over to another painter who was a major influence for me, Willem DeKooning. He just blew me away with what he was doing. It still excites me to think that going to parties at his loft on Lower Broadway and to gallery showings of his most recent paintings was a part of my life. I was an impressionable teenager. Like my family, his beginning was European and was also able to, not only get with the American groove, but contribute to it. I found myself between the blatant power of the Abstract Expressionism tidal wave and the long-standing calm and exquisitese of the painting of the Old World. A lot of painters did at the time.
Did you ever give attention, in that seminal period, to other disciplines? Well along with my studies with Alfred, were my visits to jazz clubs that were a few blocks from my studio…The Half Note, The Five Spot, and the Village Vanguard. The brilliant ideas and artistry of musicians like John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, and Miles Davis were an essential part of my development. They, and their fellow musicians, were some of the most courageous, individualistic, innovative thinkers that I came upon. It was spontaneous combustion in all the arts in NYC of the late 1950s and early 60s…very exciting, very compelling. Fabulous things were happening in dance, music, prose, poetry and sculpture. It was a renaissance without patrons…no singular message was being enforced. It was truly an uprising of the creative spirit in what were very repressive and very provincial times…most incredible. I have very vivid memories, like: watching Thelonious Monk’s fingers dance across the keys on the piano at The Five Spot; meeting and conversing with Jack Kerouac at The Half Note; laughing with Lenny Bruce at The Den in the Duane; or seeing and hearing the Jackie McLean Quartet in The Connection at The Living Theatre. I’m so glad now, that I made the effort then. Another way of looking at it is that it all captured my heart.
Does your focus on your style include an ongoing challenge? I don’t focus on style. I let the style come out of the moment…change it up when necessary. Style is the last thing that I want to concern myself with. It’s important for me to pay attention to what the colors are saying …to be intuitive with them and not try to bend them to my will or squeeze them into a formula. It’s keeping my ego out of that’s the real challenge. A signature style as a fabrication of the marketplace…it’s related to mass production, unification, and homogenization…concepts that come out of Western culture. It was never a part of primal cultures. I have tendencies in painting that may be considered my style but I don’t always use all my tendencies in the same painting. If I’m a collector buying a painting, I’m going to buy it because it looks really, really beautiful not because the artist has twenty others like it…having twenty paintings that look alike doesn’t give them all credibility. If it turns out that they have distinct similarities then that’s fine, as long as the function on their own. When I do a repeat a motif, and treat it freshly on it’s own terms, I’m not stepping in the same river twice.
Looking at your colors, the widespread areas of pure color and shape, I feel that they bring together a world of joy and excitement. What do you feel?
BEING THERE I’m delighted that they do that for you. The use of oil paint is a major part of the impact. Pigments suspended in oil allow for a luminosity that isn’t achieved with acrylics. A layer of oil paint enhances the reflection of colors beneath, by allowing light rays to reflect through…it doesn’t block them out. I lay paint on a blank canvas. I don’t use a preliminary drawing. It’s a free space that I’ll alter at any stage of development in order to achieve balance of color and form. The alterations create additional layers which add to the luminosity not subtract from it. Moving the forms around only enhances the surface effect. Oil paint is a very, very low-tech medium that insists upon a lot of patience and a lot of time. It’s a joy returning to the easel…extremely exciting.
While living a wonderful and serene life in the country, do you ever wish to drop everything and go back to the crazy city? No…never…I find equilibrium and truth living in the natural world. It’s luscious to the eyes and palate and I have no desire for craziness.
Ever want to move far, far away? Do you mean getting away from emotions and the relentless flow of thoughts…the inner chaos? I like being on this planet and in this area…being steeped in what we call “Nature”…realizing that I’m not an entity separate from it. Reason doesn’t exist in Nature and that suits my primal self just fine. Reason has brought our species to a place of rockiness and hardness. Nature isn’t trying to get to anything. It has no objective. It just is. Isn’t that great? You know when you love someone so much you just want to hug him or her and break through…right? That’s the feeling…that’s the way it is.
How does your environment affect your persistence in painting? That’s very astute of you to notice that I paint persistently…doesn’t everybody? The impulse to paint…that has been with me for a long time. It’s still a mystery to me. My present environment allows for that impulse to flow.…along with my diet, resistance training, bike riding, hiking, dancing, and love making.
How does one get around the survival / struggle with making money? That’s not an easy question to answer…I guess…being conscious…staying on one’s toes…being agile and able to move quickly. There’s been a lot of propagandizing and conditioning coming out of Mad Ave, instructing us how to lead our lives…for most of us, since birth. It’s a smoke and mirror game…establishing social mores that reek of consumerism. It’s a devious game that the corporations play with TV being its primary vehicle. One struggles less the less one consumes. What do you think it takes to be a full time artist? If I were to advise a seventeen year old, whom I assume is still unhindered, with a strong impulse for self-expression, I’d suggest that they should use self discipline to be disciplined…I can hear the magazine closing all over the Berkshires. I’d suggest: Don’t go to college, the debt will prevent you from maintaining low studio/home overhead. This is essential. Work part time or freelance at a skill you enjoy. Learn to be frugal. Don’t have TV access in your studio. Read everything that you can get your hands on about being involved in your chosen medium but believe none of it. Seek out older artists, ask questions and keep your eyes open. Be self-subsidizing. Don’t look for patrons. It’s essential that you be master of your desires. Don’t have children unless your well is filled to the brim with gold
coins…otherwise your dreams of achieving art could be curtailed for a very long time. You bring your life to your work so design it for maximum clarity…since you are what you eat, don’t ingest alcohol, nicotine, caffeine or sugar. Give yourself time to develop before exposing yourself to the undercurrents of the marketplace. Art doesn’t require competition. Embrace the change that always occurs in you. Do what you want to, but be sure of it. If you think that following your bliss will be exceedingly difficult…you’re correct. Lets talk about your barns. Why express your art with barns? Well why not? For the most part, they are colors and forms that I’m attempting to bring together as an aesthetic image. I’m moved by the abstract quality of barn structures, as they stand in the fields as well as on canvas. I’ve always regarded the act of painting as a spiritual practice and these pieces appeal to that idea. Is there an actual history you share with the Barn? With the disappearing of them, the immenseness of their size, and purpose are you keeping them alive by using them as objects of art to paint? When I lived in New Paltz, I had a studio/home in an old farmhouse. On the farm was a barn with a gambrel roof that housed white-faced cows, horses, some pigs, their hay, and farm equipment. It was a proud structure with flying-buttress beams that were truly magnificent. That barn comes into play in several paintings that I did at that time. Sadly, I've heard that it's been deconstructed…so in a way I’ve kept it alive. My wife, Trudette, spent her formative years on a dairy farm in Ghent. Barns were an essential part of her daily life. I look to her feedback about the paintings as being well rooted. Barns WWW.ARTFULMIND.NET
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BARN FOR BOOKS
didn't enter my consciousness until later in my life, yet, we share a depth of feeling for their simplicity and their beauty. A barn is a marvelously serene structure. It’s a Western icon that ancient Taoist sages would have loved to habitat. I love the freshness and brilliance in your paintings, Bob. Do you ever get bored of using color, and just break down to black and white!? Once in a while, for nostalgia sake, I’ll use some white and black house paint. It’s an excellent way of developing and shoring up a compositional sense while implying color.
What do you want your art to say to people at your first exhibit in Hillsdale this summer? Visitors to the studio have told me that some of the paintings make them feel calm and serene and some, as you’ve said, joyful and excited. If that response occurs in Hillsdale, that will be just fine.
How are you preparing for this show? IS there a lot of work involved, like framing? It’s a real pleasure. The show is totally my own presentation with Trudette as co-curator and promotional advisor. I don’t use frames. The image is painted around the sides…this gives the paintings an autonomy and completeness. When I begin a blank canvas it doesn’t have a frame around it, so why add one? Frames are objects in themselves. If I add one afterward, I’d be changing the dynamic and have to repaint the canvas in order to harmonize the piece as a whole.
I will never want a show for my art … I feel that I cannot mix money and art together. My heart and soul doesn’t want the chaos. Do you think I am just insecure about my work? It’s a natural inclination to want to prevent drowning ones work in a sea of commercialism…to want to let it breathe without a lot of noise. If you’re standing your ground with what you’re feeling, then that’s displaying a strong sense of security. I think of the wall paintings in the caves in Lascaux, France. They still have a powerful impact, both in concept and imagery. One of the reasons for this is that it wasn’t a juried show, there were no critics imposing their opinions, and no one took 50%.
The excitement of a new discovery, no matter how minor it may be, can be the key to keeping the whole painting expe-
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rience to continue. What have you discovered? That I know less than I think I do.
What was one of your stepping-stones and great learning experiences you can share that relates to “You cannot live on Art Alone”? My experiences have all been stepping-stones. They’ve shown the importance of balance and the middle way…shown that detachment is essential to involvement. Try this…take a piece of paper and a pencil and make a gestural line. Look at it closely and notice how really interesting it looks…how expressive it is. You really like it, don’t you? Now, tear it up. Do the same thing with a canvas and paints. That’s detachment.
How important is it now to show your work to the world? For quite a while, I just wanted to woodshed, stay involved with only the work, and not have any other voices in my head. Eventually, as resolved painting accumulated, they banded together and demanded that they wanted to be seen. I know your studio is open for people to visit; are you learning simple, powerful ways to get people to respond to seeing your work? That reminds me of a guy back in the 60s. He arranged a happening in a gallery and when everyone arrived, under the guise of “art”, he shot himself in the arm…now, talk about getting a response. Ever since then, I use the word “art” very sparingly. The open studio idea has always been around and is a viable alternative to galleries and museum. Each has its place. Galleries and museums also seek responses but I don’t think there’s any simple way. This is why anyone who is trying to make a painting or play cello or use their body as a medium should be encouraged…self-expression affirms our true nature and takes a lot of huevos…so does publishing a devotional magazine like The Artful Mind. When did your artwork take off and become the important focus in your daily life? When I was about twenty-six. I was really sure of my direction then and became relentless, with a dash of obsession. Sometimes I was distracted but never far from the track. If you had to write a short story to go with a favorite paint-
ing, can you share that with me? Maybe a poem already does exist to go with one of your art works? Here’s a poem that I wrote: A wide brush, loaded with soft breeze green, pounds onto taut white canvas…as I age without being asked.
A fresh mark this one—a revolution at the flick of a wrist. The time of my death floats like milkweed, privy to chance and thermal convections
The pigments whisper as to how they submit, how they yield, how they serve (me, all ears and heart). These colors, these flourishes, solidifying no place for me in immortality…they’re just showing me a good time
What is going on in Hillsdale these days? Seems like galleries are starting to sprout there, any idea? What would you like to see happen? Hillsdale has some people with vision. In the past few years, outlets for fine art have opened up there. Tony Avenia has built a wonderful structure for his wine and liquor establishment to include a large, upstairs exhibition space. The Goliath Gallery opened last year and other galleries are opening along Anthony Street. That’s a lot of viewing space available for just one area. Trudy’s Beauty Shop/Hillsdale Barber Shop, also on Anthony Street, is a hub for what’s happening, dialogues on creativity, and tales of hunting and fishing. It’s a town of good people with good energy and a crossroad of city and country…a nice place to spend some time in. How would you describe your work? Lovingly.
An exhibition of Bob Crimi’s paintings will take place at The Gallery at B&G Wines and Gourmet, 2633 State Route 23, Hillsdale, NY. Open 7 days a week. 518-325-4882, www.bgwine.com A reception will be held on July 7th from 5 -7pm.
ABBY DUBOW "FRANKS JOAN CIOLFI"TULLE NOIR" FOLLY #13" (DETAIL), (DETAIL), OIL ON CANVAS, MONOTYPE, 30 X 22 18 X 24
INTRODUCTION TO PAINTING
SUSAN DIBBLE "BALANCING CUPS" (DETAIL), WATERCOLOR, GOUACHE & PASTEL ON PAPER, 18 X 24
LORRAINE KLAGSBRUN, (DETAIL), COLLAGE, BROOKLYN RETREAT, 6 X 7 1/2
LAUREN CLARK FINE ART GALLERY
The bright fresh green of spring is upon us. That not-quitelime, not-quite-kiwi green of the new season, this most anticipated and colorful time of year. From equinox to solstice, as the curtain is drawn to summer, redolent of warmth, we are once again welcomed out of doors to stimulate all our senses and celebrate the death of winter. It is in this spirit that Lauren Clark has hatched a new show. As the lambing season begins, four new artists have joined the more than forty represented at the gallery, with â€œUnwilted, Unprocessed, Unconventionalâ€? highlighting their work, beginning on May 29th. Four different perspectives, mediums, attitudes and angles. Susan Dibble, a choreographer by trade, has â€œhad the privilege and freedom to fill spaces with people who can be colorful, dynamic, passionate, funnyâ€?. Working with mixed media on paper, her work, reminiscent of Marc Chagall, abounds with playfulness and movement. â€œThe paintings are representative of the most treasured elements of nature and human placement in rooms, houses, and landscapes that live in my head, and in my body.â€? An artist who works in many different mediums, Abby DuBow has contributed monotype prints to the show, colorful abstractions that â€œdo not replicate what I see, but rather reflect what I see and feel.â€? With an influence by artists as varied as Henri Matisse, Bill Traylor, and Franz Kline, her work is an exploration of the unexpected, and not easily described by the written word. â€œFor me art is not an end but a constant beginning, a path that continues to lead to new places with doors that have to be opened.â€? In addition to the work of Ms. Dibble and Ms. DuBow, there will be the vibrant and expressive oil paintings of Joan Palano Ciolfi, the offbeat paper collages of Lorraine Klagsbrun, and a freshly-painted, not-quite-lime, not quite-kiwi green wall. â€œUnwilted, Unprocessed, Unconventionalâ€? Four Newly Picked Garden-Fresh Artists, May 29-July 4. Lauren Clark Fine Art Gallery is located at 402 Park Street (Route 183) in Housatonic, Massachusetts. Business hours are Thursday through Monday from 11:00 until 5:30 and on Sunday from Noon until 4:00. For more information call 413.274.1432, or visit the website at www.LaurenClarkFineArt.com
Today it is possible to earn your MFA degree in painting from a prestigious art school without being able to draw. Iâ€™m old school. I teach fundamentals. You wouldnâ€™t expect to sit down at the piano and play beautiful music without first learning the basics. If you canâ€™t play â€œchopsticksâ€? how are you going to play Mozart? I believe in fundamentals. For example, I believe you will be a much better painter if you first learn how to draw. There are those who would argue that the ability to draw or paint realistically is not a requirement for creating good art. This is actually true. Some of the most moving pieces of art Iâ€™ve ever seen were created by people who had no artistic training at all. If you are a visionary genius you may not need classes in art to express exactly what you desire. For most of us however; if we master some basic skills, we will be able to create representational, expressionistic, or abstract art that communicates our artistic vision much more effectively. This course will teach the time honored method of oil painting in layers, in practice since the Renaissance. The rewarding results of the mastery of oil painting can lead to a lifetime of enjoyment with further exploration of this rich traditional medium. Introduction to Oil Painting will address aspects of painting, art history, art criticism, and aesthetics through the production of a representational oil painting. If you are looking to impress people with the bravado of your brushstrokes, this is not the course for you. If however, you are looking for a teacher who believes that great art is based upon a foundation of fundamental skills, an understanding of materials and how to use them, and a desire to express something personal that goes beyond words, you may want to take this oil painting class. Invest time into learning the rudiments and the subtleties of this medium and you will be able to follow your muse and express your soul in ways you never dreamed possible. Jeffrey L. Neumann - private instruction in drawing, oil painting, and watercolor painting at Neumann Fine Art 65 Coldwater St. Hillsdale, NY. Studio and gallery hours are Tuesday â€“ Saturday 10 â€“ 4 and by appointment. www.neumannfineart.com, 413-246-5776.
SCHANTZ GALLERIES SWIVELER BY DAN DAILY
Schantz Galleries is featuring â€œIndividuals & Illuminations: A Survey of Works by Dan Daileyâ€?, and â€œElements of Style: the Art of Linda MacNeilâ€? which runs until June 30. The next feature exhibit, â€œMaestro Lino Tagliapietraâ€? will run from June 20 â€“ August 20. Schantz Galleries is one of the nationâ€™s leading destinations for those seeking premier artists working in glass Schantz Galleries, Elm Street, Stockbridge MA. Spring gallery hours are daily 11 â€“ 5. For more information, call (413)298-3044 or visit our website at www.schantzgalleries.com
THE ARTFUL MIND JUNE 2010 â€˘ 25
Greater Backfish Roundup
by Bob Balogh
DATE IN HISTORY
On this date in history, in 1797, the Dutch Braid Zone was turned over to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts from four of its neighboring states. Now, you’re undoubtedly asking the question: “What the hell is the Dutch Braid Zone? Well, have you ever heard of a section of western Massachusetts known as Berkshire County? Maybe you have an acquaintance or two who have spent some quality time there, breathing that rarified air. Or perhaps you are among the true chosen people who have a home there and you need no convincing that your citizenship in Berkshire County makes you special. You can’t define exactly how Berkshire County makes you special, but you can feel it in your bones. You just have this uncanny sensation of enlightenment and being in the groove, simply from being a resident of Berkshire County. And what’s wrong with that? Nothing. It’s cool to be cool. So, give yourself a hug. You are very hip. But as wonderfully distinguished as the Berkshires and its people are, there exists a large body of underreported historical data documenting a wonderfully distinguished event that happened on this date back in 1797, back when the Berkshires were regarded as the Dutch Braid Zone. And the event in question may have been the key to whatever it is that makes Berkshire County so undeniably sublime. For on this date in history in 1797, the states of Connecticut, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont gave the Dutch Braid territory to Massachusetts, free of charge, no strings attached, thank you very much. The reason this monumental transfer of real estate occurred is because of a mediocre, pre-impressionist artist and a herd of cows. The artist was Marcel Degas, half-uncle of the great French impressionist Edgar Degas. And just like his renowned half-nephew, who had an affinity for reproducing the backsides of ballerinas and horses, Marcel Degas enjoyed painting his impressions of the rear ends of cattle. And right there in South Berkshire County, someplace around Monument Mountain I suppose, maybe in the vicinity of the dump…I mean landfill…I mean transfer station…way back when all of Berkshire County was officially named the Dutch Belt, Marcel Degas set up his easel and kicked off his unspectacular Dutch Braid period. He captured the essence of a herd of docile Dutch Braided cows grazing contentedly, minding their own business and getting their daily dose of roughage to keep
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things regular. Well, Marcel Degas was fascinated by the unusual markings on the cattle. The Dutch Braided cow is a mostly black cow except for a thick, white stripe around its middle. Marcel Degas had never witnessed such a magnificent sight. Until he saw these Dutch Braided animals up close, he thought a cow was just a cow, which was out of character for Marcel Degas. He was the kind of guy who thought a cigar was more than just a cigar. Nevertheless, Marcel Degas spent an entire summer right there in a pasture with hundreds of Dutch Braided cows, cranking out dozens of oil paintings, all featuring the tail end of each bovine, but angled in such a way so that the cow’s big, white stripe, circling its midsection, was featured along with its butt. When Marcel Degas’ work was done, however, the cows followed him home, all the way back to Ronkonkoma, Long Island. The Port Jefferson Ferry had to make extra trips that day. There were thousands of Dutch Braided cows from all over the area we now call Berkshire County, and each cow had developed a wild infatuation for Marcel Degas, the mediocre, preimpressionist artist. Lucky for Marcel Degas, there was an abundance of unclaimed Ronkonkoma acreage right there and then in the year of 1797, plenty of space up for grabs, just waiting for Marcel Degas to build a dairy farm. Which he did. But after a while, what with so much milk on hand, Marcel Degas experienced hard cravings for cookies. So he decided to spend an entire Saturday afternoon in the kitchen just baking cookies that looked like his beloved, Dutch Braided cows. Each cookie consisted of two dark brown wafers with a creamy, white frosting in the center. And he chose a catchy, little name for the cookies in honor of the beautiful western Massachusetts hills where he first met the loves of his life. He picked the Greek word oreo. Meanwhile, Connecticut, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont were left empty-handed. No more cows. Extensions of each state abutted one another in that Dutch Braided Zone, but there were no more cows. High officials from the four states blamed the Mahican tribe for the disappearance of the cattle, but the Mahican chief dressed them down in no uncertain terms with plenty of foul language. Of course, it was the Algonquian language, but the high officials from the four states understood the spirit of the Mahican chief’s tirade, and they could think of nothing better to do than to go home with their tails between their legs. The following day, this date in history 1797, Connecticut, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont signed over the Dutch Braided Zone to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. No money changed hands. No promises were made. Everyone was
depressed. Except for the Massachusetts governor, who received the news with so much glee, he treated himself to some cookies imported from Ronkonkoma. After the first bite, the governor said to his brother-in-law: “My my, Beansie, these Oreo things are delectable. And the color scheme, the dark chocolate biscuits on the outside with the sweet white filling…well, it absolutely reminds me of that pig out there in the barnyard. Do tell me, dear brother-in-law, what breed is that swine?” “Why, governor,” said the brother-in-law, “that kind of pig out there, the black one with the white face and white feet…why, they call that thing a Berkshire.” “Very well,” said the governor. “I hereby declare that the land we just acquired, until now known by the dreadful name of Dutch Braided Zone, shall forever be called Berkshire County.” The governor ate another Oreo cookie and said: “Oh, yum. I feel so inspired.” And you, too, will be inspired next time your feet hit that sacred ground on the left side of the Bay State, where cows, cookies and a pig helped shape something beyond category. OBITUARY
Winifred W. Wexler died in her sleep after a long battle with insomnia. Following a night of eight solid hours of uninterrupted sleep, for the first time in many years, Winifred W. Wexler drew a final breath and passed away with a big smile on her tired face. Her manservant, Courtney Stiles, was right there at her deathbed and he insists that Winifred W. Wexler’s last exhale was undeniably a sigh of relief. The Cracklefoot, Massachusetts medical examiner disagrees. He thinks her last breath was just an involuntary burp. An offensively smelling burp from hot dogs and beer. Mr. Stiles and Winifred W. Wexler were more or less common law husband and wife, with no children or pets. But they enjoyed chain smoking unfiltered cigarettes, drinking bourbon, gambling at OTB parlors and disturbing the peace. Winifred W. Wexler liked to sing old Janis Joplin songs at bedtime when she was drunk and unable to fall asleep. Her rendition of “Piece of My Heart” once earned her honorable mention at a Karaoke contest at The Lion’s Den in Stockbridge. Winifred W. Wexler’s manservant, Courtney Stiles, told the Cracklefoot medical examiner: “It surely won’t be the same around here without out her. But at least her insomnia is fixed.” Winifred W. Wexler, dead at 54. She was a Red Sox fan.
Architecture & Arcadia
Safety for me was a closet. More exactly, a slot of space approximately two feet high by three feet wide running from the top of the bedroom closet back about six feet. At that time I was still two years away from the start of my architectural education and I knew almost nothing about building but understood that this space had been left over, unneeded headroom above the stairs which dropped to the basement below. It had been constructed to store things not truly needed but still kept.
That is how I saw myself at fifteen. My life was tumultuous, my adolescence colliding furiously with my father’s rage. The incipient mental illness that would soon leave him a shell manifest itself at that time alternatively as sudden, incoherent fury aimed directly at me and my brother or, equally frightening, as an almost paranoid impulse to maintain control over every corner of the house, permitting no door anywhere to be closed for long and no lock ever to be secured against his entry. Outside, the world of the late nineteen sixties was annihilating and reconstructed itself, splitting along a fault line originating in southeast Asia and running through many houses in the United States including the one in which I lived.
In that plaster and plywood cave I recall a feeling of calmness and ‘center’ that eluded me otherwise. There, I felt no claustrophobia; on the contrary I felt that the nearby walls, ceiling and painted plywood shelf held me together, gently containing the
pieces of a fractured psyche and spirit. With the closet door slightly open I could see but could not be seen. I was no longer a player in the angst-ridden drama of my life but an observer, watching the acts unfold from a distant spectator’s box. Closing my eyes I created vistas of pine forests and lakes, shale-bottomed streams and blue, clear skies, smiling girl friends, cheering friends. I was alone and safe, blessedly invisible for at least a little while, free to be me. Around me the world continued as before but it was momentarily not my concern, no threat to me. There, I felt safe.
This impulse for safety is paramount. It manifests more or less overtly in virtually every decision we make. In his book, How the Mind Works, Steven Pinker writes, “Some places are inviting, calming, or beautiful; others are depressing or scary.” Every animal, he notes, has a preferred habitat; none wants to be the proverbial, “fish out of water”. What is the primary criterion in selecting a habitat? In a word: safety. Pinker notes that for Homo Sapiens the safest place is the savanna, ideally suited for the procurement of food and mates and the avoidance of danger and enemies. How and where we live is no exception. With all due respect to it’s practitioners and devotees the currently popular practice of Feng Sui is more or less simply design based on common sense notions of safety. But safety is not exclusively physical. Perhaps even more important is psychological safety, a sense that we are protected against forces that would compromise not just our health, but our very being, the boundaries of our personal perception. For
this we need, from time to time, retreat, privacy. We need the mythic safety of the cave, where, our back to the wall, we survey creation inside and outside. Like Virginia Woolf, we crave a room of our own, not only to imagine, refresh and create, but as a manifestation of ourselves. The Dutch painter, Piet Mondrian, reconstructed his home, ultimately making it indistinguishable from his paintings by covering every surface therein with a carefully arranged geometric tapestry of color and line. The celebrated French impressionist Claude Monet spent years creating his own painterly Garden of Eden at Giverny, and then painted the results again and again. Each created a safe place, a confirming place, a place largely indistinguishable from his own interior psychic landscape. I suspect - and many discussions with friends have confirmed this - that everyone has or has had such a place: a studio, a garden, a place along a trail, sitting beneath or atop a tree, a chair, a corner, a hilltop.
There are dangers of course. One could be tempted to hide, to isolate, to separate completely from the world and its — in the words of Francis Huxley — “unmannerly energies”. Rather, I see the ‘safe place’ as a temporary retreat, not in an effort to remove ourselves completely from the hurlyburly of life, but as a place to recharge oneself in order to return invigorated and with a renewed sense of our own place within life’s flow. ~Stephen Gerard Dietemann
THE ARTFUL MIND JUNE 2010 • 27
Donise English, Bark Head, 14 x 14, 2010, encaustic on panel
Dots, Lines & Figures
Jeff Briggs Ben Shecter works in mixed media Donise English bronze sculptures Michael McLaughlin Through July 5
Carrie Haddad Gallery
622 Warren Street, Hudson, NY. Hours: open daily 11 a.m. - 5p.m Thursday through Monday 518-828-7655 www.carriehaddadgallery.com
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The Artful Mind June 2010 Edition