Tuesday, April 5, 2011

April is the cruelest month

Oh how true that saying is. This April we have had an April Fool's Day nor'easter, then more snow. A bit of thunder, ice, rain. Ugh.  And then even more snow. The mud is so deep I  park at a neighbors and hike up a very steep hill half a mile to get home. Did I mention how steep this hill is? Good exercise I tell myself as the road seems to go one forever.  Today I even saw a flock of geese flying SOUTH--that's right you heard me South. Wrong way guys.

Time to remind myself that we really do have not one, not two but four seasons. Luckily for me there is a show at Artspace in Greenfield, MA. Indeed the show is called four seasons 5 artists. Perfect I think. I had planned to see it anyway. My friends Elizabeth Keyes and Cynthia Fisher are part of an artist critique group who have been meeting for years. Elizabeth had told me enough about the show to pique my interest. Even stopped by my studio to detail the hanging process as they mixed and matched their different work on four walls according to the seasons. What would it look like? Who were the other artists?

What a treat it was to see. Now the show is in a small room at Artspace and the walls are full of art. Such is life and such is what happens when you have five very talented artists. But it was fun to puzzle out the work--figure out why different pieces were placed where they were. I began by looking at work I knew.

Of course Cynthia's work was gorgeous and very powerful. Amazing mosaics with strong graphics and powerful colors.  I wanted to be able to step back from her work and spend time studying the textures and techniques she used in each piece.

Some techniques I had not seen before. I am amazed how much depth and texture she can get using the mosaics. Now I get to see her work often as she did a series of murals throughout the village of Shelburne Falls that portray the different towns of West County. These are worth the trip to Shelburne Falls by themselves. She is a name to be remembered. Her website is here.

Then there was the work of my friend Elizabeth Keyes. These are intimate works in fiber--pieced and then embroidered. I love her work and I love it even more when I get to see a collection at once. Just look at the detail. This piece is probably 4 x 9 inches.

 And this piece is part of a series about her gardens. Oh her gardens. She and her husband have the most amazing and well tended vegetable gardens you have ever seen. Rows upon neat rows. But I digress.

Then to refresh the palate, there are several of her "simpler" works--where she has pieced colors of fabric without the intricate embroidery. I had forgotten this piece. Fabulous isn't it. The works are all framed behind glass--makes them more important but harder to take snapshots. Sorry.

Now when I go to a show like this sometimes I play a game--which piece would I buy if I won the lottery. In this show, the winner is the wonderful painting by Elizabeth Pols.

I had not previously been aware of her work but think it is wonderful. These are paintings.Some are scenes from Italy. Did she used to live there? Has she visited? I want to know more.

Then there was a recent piece--realistic and mystical. This seems to be a new direction for her.

Her attention to detail and use of color is quite lovely don't you think?

Helen Haddad had lots of lovely prints. A wonderful very sassy pig. And my favorite. This very happy and quite cocky rooster (pun intended.)

Rebecca Clark is showing several different styles. Some pastels of still lifes including this image of cherries--very cheery wouldn't you say? Again--I confess the pun is intended--can you tell that my mood is improving the longer I linger in this show. Yes, Ann there really are four seasons.

Rebecca also appears to be experimenting with more abstract shapes and colors. For instance I thought this simple basketweave was actually anything but simple. Don't you love the colors?

It was next to another wonderful piece in green. But that indeed was the essence of this show--the fact that each piece complemented the one next to it. And then there was the intrigue of trying to figure out what--if any--these artists who had been meeting with each pother--some for as long as 19 years--had on each other. Sure I could have wished the location was larger. But it was like looking at a private collection assembled by some knowledgeable person. Why had they chosen the work that they did? What was the correlation? And wasn't it great that there were really four--count them FOUR seasons in New England?

The show runs through April 15. For more info check out the Artspace website here. Have you seen it? What do you think? And will spring ever show up here in New England?

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