Exhibits Showcase ‘Natural Wonders’ and ‘17 Summers’
Arts on the Green presented an artistic twin bill last Thursday evening with artists’ receptions at both the Arts Barn and Kentlands Mansion and Arts Barn—”17 Summers,” featuring works that evoke summers past and present by members of Gallery 322, and “Natural Wonders,” showcasing the creativity of the Arts Barn faculty members.
Gallery 322 specializes in contemporary art presented by member artists with regional reputations. Active since 2009, the gallery is located in downtown Frederick. “17 Summers” is inspired by the tranquil setting of the mansion and, for many of the artists, 17 summers of creation. Artists featured include Michael Douglas Jones, Jackie Jouvenal, Jan Kaufman, Linda Kirvan, Ann Schaefer, Russell Schofield, Anne Gibson Snyder, Roberta Staat and Homer Yost.
Serene settings greet visitors at the mansion door with Ann Schaefer’s sunflowers and gardens—lovely oils and impasto work enhance the sunlight feel. Off the main hall, oversized graceful sunset landscapes by Jackie Jouvenal set a warm outdoorsy mood with their big skies. Another favorite was Ann Gibson Snyder’s “Sun on the Dock” that, she said, was done on “a very successful afternoon in Chestertown.” Russell Schofield’s “Golden Walk” and “Wayland Farm” lit up the space with their blues and greens.
I am typically drawn to the bold and unique, and I found this up the winding staircase when I happened upon Michael Douglas Jones gazing at his assemblage work. An artistic medium similar to collage, but using three-dimensional objects projecting from a surface, assemblage typically uses found objects, often incorporating a nostalgic feel. “I work in a series,” he said. “First Pages” evokes youth, learning, studying and the books we carry with us throughout our lives. “We carry a lot of baggage!” Jones said.
Nine other works present a glimpse at pieces of lives and eras using fixtures such as old books, stamps, postmarks, antique papers and objects. Jones uses techniques to “rust” the material so it appears aged. He begins by sketching his work and developing a kind of essay to outline the piece’s essence. “Everything I do I want to be timeless—I don’t want you to know whether it is old or new. I want the viewer to make up their own story,” Jones explained.
If you have seen other Arts Barn exhibits, you may be acquainted with the work of sculptor Homer Yost. His large, emotional pieces are in miniaturized form for this exhibit—four bas-relief sculptures, all commissions of pet dogs. “I’ve been sculpting in the round for years,” he said, “before doing bas-relief. I create from photos and enjoy doing these because I love to draw.” Commissions of pet likenesses often come from owners who have lost a pet. Yost immortalizes them with natural colors and textures done in Vatican stone, the strongest form of gypsum containing marble chips that allow a subtle sheen to develop.
Meanwhile, over at the Arts Barn, creations in paint, photography, metal, jewelry and glass all highlight the talents of the 2018-19 faculty members. Featured artists include Astrid Adler, Shirin Badie, Vian Borchert, Dareya Cohen, Howard Cohen, Jack Donnelly, Jaree Donnelly, Phil Fabrizio, Tony Glander, Craig Higgins, Hiral Joshi, Sue Kay, Brian Mason, Lynne Oakes, Karen Orem, Callie Otness, Natalya Parris, Yolanda Prinsloo, Firouzeh Sadeghi, Tom Semmes, Pritha Srinivasan and Mary Weiss-Waldhorn. Metal work by Jack Donnelly, and jewelry by Jack and his wife, Jaree, are stunning. A display of myriad seashell variations by Yolanda Prinsloo is quite attractive. I was especially drawn to the varied and vibrant use of color.
Hiral Joshi has been teaching for 12 years and painting for 20, and she is largely self-taught. Her science and chemistry background and learning from childhood teachers in India transfers to her work. “I have been teaching here for two years and am exhibiting a series of ocean-themed pieces, one large and four small.” Ripples, the largest, is a tidal wave of color variations on purple and accompanying surf foam and bubbles.
Natalya Parris explained her artistic style as “emotional counterpoints in paint—dots.” She began testing the technique with watercolor, then mixed media, acrylic on paper and finally canvas, which is more forgiving. “I build up a three-dimensional texture—dots on dots. I’m always experimenting … a lot of my thoughts are, ‘what if,’” Parris said. Her “Passages of Our Lives” is a direct reflection of her engineering background in her native Russia with precise intersecting lines. “It represents the crossroads when people meet and then go different ways and then meet again,” Parris said. Her painting evolved as a way to encourage the artistic talents of her children. She got into it and began exhibiting more and more of her work. “I thought, why not? I never had a chance to do this in Russia … new country, new path.”
Your inspiration to a new path may only be a few steps away. Both shows run until Sept. 10. To visit “17 Summers” at the Kentlands Mansion, please call the mansion at 301.258.6425 prior to your visit. The Arts Barn is open for viewing Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 1:30 to 5 p.m.