Monday, January 25, 2010

Suzanne Gonsalez Uses Photography to Reflect on Simple Things

One of the wonderful aspects of the current exhibition, The Serious and Playful Sides of Light, online at Still Point Art Gallery, is that, although every piece in the show is about light (and darkness), the approach that each artist takes to present light is unique. Of course, this is always the case, no matter the exhibition. An artist's art, by definition it seems, is unique and distinctive. But it is so wonderful to see uniqueness in this show. In The Serious and Playful... exhibition, it seems that the array of unique pieces were composed and created out of the artist's relationship with light. One artist might feel that light is most lovely when it is shy and retiring. Another might appreciate light for its ability to give us bold and beautiful color. Yet another might most enjoy the interplay of light and dark. And yet another might relish light's reflective qualities. Different relationships...different compositions.

At the End of the Day I, II, III

Suzanne Gonsalez contributed three photographs to the gallery's exhibition. Of simple subject matter - plates, bowls, spoons, and forks - they bring to mind shared meals, family, friends, household matters, feelings of warmth and intimacy. Gonsalez says that these images are meant to be reflections on the simple things we do at the end of a typical work day. The three photographs in this exhibition are part of a series called, At the End of the Day.

Gonsalez' relationship with light appears to be one of enjoying both light and darkness, so she intentionally uses both light and shadow to create an intended result...in this case, simplicity and intimacy. Gonsalez says the following about the series:
At the End of the Day is a series encompassing the meditative qualities of light on the domestic scenes we all reflect on at the end of our day. Small, simple details of daily existence that keep us grounded in our hectic lifestyles. Using the concept of chiaroscuro lighting, these images reflect upon the beauty in simple, everyday events that play up the idea of light, form and texture. The illuminating factors of light and shadow help to create a sense of intimacy that is shared with the viewer.

At the End of the Day I, II, III (14 x 10) Archival Pigmented Ink-Jet Print, Framed $500 (each)

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Christine Brooks Cote
Still Point Art Gallery
January 25, 2010

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Call for Artists - THE Painting Exhibition

Thus far all of the exhibitions at Still Point Art Gallery have been open to multiple media...painting, photography, sculpture, etc. So, I decided to do an exhibition focusing on one medium, and having picked up the book, The Phenomenology of Painting, by Nigel Wentworth, I was inspired to focus on painting. The announcement for the exhibition follows:
Still Point Art Gallery invites submissions from emerging and established artists for its upcoming online exhibition: THE Painting Exhibition.

The art of painting involves a tool, a substance, and a surface. These are the materials of painting. The painter uses a tool to apply the substance to the surface in order to create a painting. The most commonly used tool is the brush, but sponges, knives, or fingers may also be used. Painters use a wide variety of substances - oil-based paint, acrylic, gouache, encaustic, egg tempera, dry pastels, and more. Typical surfaces are canvas, wood, or linen - also glass, metal, or cement. While the materials of painting may appear to be largely functional, the contribution made by these materials to the work of the painter is far more than functional.

Painting is not just an activity, it is a way of life; a painter lives in and through painting. As the materials of painting are not just part of the process by which the work happens, but part of the end-product as well through their transcending this distinction between means and ends, they are the very way this aspect of the painter's being both manifests and realises itself. They are the vehicle through which the painter's life as a painter happens, unfolds itself, realises itself. This manifests itself back through the materials. The realisation of the materials through the painting is the realisation of the painter through them. His potentiality is their potentiality, and their potentiality his. Thus, his being drawn towards certain materials is his being drawn towards a certain potentiality of his own. --Nigel Wentworth, The Phenomenology of Painting

While this exhibition is limited to painting, it offers boundless opportunities to explore the various media within painting. It is hoped that the array of paintings that will be exhibited will allow the viewer to examine the medium of painting as well as to look at and enjoy the work of painters who have relied upon this medium to unfold the mysteries of their lives.

Reading Wentworth made me think long and hard about the materials or the medium of one's art. Consider that the choosing of materials and medium may not necessarily be a random event. Consider that we may become oil painters, watercolorists, photographers, digital artists...for some reason...a reason we may not think about or realize. Artists express themselves through their art, and artists find themselves using the materials that are a good fit for them - materials that are pleasurable, comfortable, sometimes challenging, and sometimes intellectually and emotionally stimulating...materials that work best for THEIR self-expression. Working with one's materials, paying attention and learning from one's materials in time lead the artist to growth and awareness and self-realization. So, think about your materials. I'm giving some thought to mine.

The deadline for submissions for THE Painting Exhibition is February 22, 2010. The exhibition opens March 10 and continues through May 4, 2010. The prospectus and entry form may be found here.

Return to Still Point Art Gallery

Christine Brooks Cote
Still Point Art Gallery
January 21, 2010

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

William Lemke - Essence of Photography

I'm drawn today to focus attention on the black and white photography of William Lemke. Three of his pieces are showing in Still Point Art Gallery's current exhibition: The Serious and Playful Sides of Light.

Brought to its essence, photography is the art of painting with light...light is the medium. Lemke brings photography to its essence with these three photographs. These pieces are studies in the interplay of light and dark within the context of masterful composition.  

Saruaro 2 AZ, Near Monument Valley 4 UT, Plant Guatamala

Saruaro 2 AZ is playful, with a very tall primary cactus casting a very long and dark shadow right down the middle of the photograph, nearly dividing the entire image in half. Due to the angle from which Lemke took the photograph, the primary cactus and other cacti appear darkly silhouetted against a brightly lit sky. Light...dark...shadow. Lemke was having great fun, it seems, with the strong desert light and created an interesting and witty photograph.

Near Monument Valley 4 UT is a more serious presentation of light. Here Lemke photographed a very large sky with, perhaps, an incoming storm. Bright clouds at the horizon and darker clouds above suggest that the light may soon be overcome by darkness as the clouds battle and a storm rolls in. A single jutting land formation rests at the bottom of the image, reaching up into the sky, reaching into the battle between light and dark.

Plant Guatamala shows the shadows that result when light is cast upon a rather complicated object with layers. Once again, there is a playful back-and-forth between light and shadow. The shapes created by the shadows are no less important than the interesting shapes of the leaves. Here too, Lemke had to pay attention to the angle from which he took the shot in order to capture the light and darkness that creates the perfect composition as well as the lush three-dimensionality of the subject.

Saruaro 2 AZ (22 x 28), Silver Gelatin Print, Framed, $375
Near Monument Valley 4 UT (22 x 28), Silver Gelatin Print, Framed, $375
Plant Guatamala (22 x 24), Silver Gelatin Print, Framed, $325

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Christine Brooks Cote
Still Point Art Gallery
January 20, 2010

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

ABSTRACT Geometric Shape from the Real World

The snow is coming down quite heavily in Brunswick, Maine today, much the same as it did yesterday. I love the look of the white stuff. I like to see where snow lands...in all the crevices and cracks, on the tiniest of branches and pine needles, or piling up in mounds on rocks, fence posts, and roofs. I had the chance yesterday to get out on my snowshoes for a walk in the woods and decided it was a great day to take my camera. The conditions were just right and I was in the right frame of mind for seeing...and I see best when I have my camera. When I have my camera and I'm on the lookout for composition, I see the world around me better. I find myself completely focused on what is around me. I look at the visual world in front of me and think of nothing else. The camera is my tool for seeing.

So what did I see? Geometry! I spent all of yesterday morning processing submissions for the upcoming exhibition, Geometric Abstractions. So, I was seeing geometric shapes everywhere I looked! But, geometric shapes indeed are everywhere we look! A couple of trees lined up a certain way in relation to the snow-white ground...a triangle! Various small branches intertwined against a background of snow...several triangles! A brown flower top that has bent around to form a circle! Snow resting on some old wire fencing...rectangles! Then it hit me yet again...AB-STRACT' geometric shape from the real world. That's why geometric abstraction is so interesting and appealing to me. It's right in front of us...we just have to see it.

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Christine Brooks Cote
Still Point Art Gallery
January 19, 2010

Monday, January 18, 2010

Artist Sushila Oliphant Inspired by Pointillism

Still Point Art Gallery's current exhibition, The Serious and Playful Sides of Light, is showing three amazing pieces by artist Sushila Oliphant. (Two are shown below.) These pieces are...at first glance...all about color...shimmering, vibrant color! The colors of the sky at sunset...the colors of the landscape at sunset. Bright and bold yellows and oranges, deep blues and purples and greens. Sparkling reflections on the water, rocks, shrubs, and trees. Is this the serious or the playful side of light?

The Call, Still

Sushila uses a certain technique to create these pieces, a technique which contributes to their energy, vibrancy, and texture. In the style of the pointillists, the most famous probably being Georges-Pierre Seurat (1859-1891), Sushila creates these pieces with dots and dashes. Sushila notes that this type of painting requires an action that is very strict, deliberate, and disciplined. The mind cannot wander while painting with this technique. Although it takes longer to create a piece using this method, Sushila finds that it has become a type of meditation for her...a spiritual practice.

The Call (18 x 5.75), Acrylic on Plywood, $2200 
Still (13 x 14), Acrylic on Plywood, $2800 

Contact Christine Cote by email or by phone at 207-837-5760.

Return to Still Point Art Gallery

Christine Brooks Cote
Still Point Art Gallery
January 18, 2010

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Frances Seward's Photographs and the Separation of Light and Dark

Light is fundamental...foundational. We cannot exist without light. In Genesis, the book of stories that western culture has long used to explain the beginning of time, light was the first thing created once the heavens and earth were in place on the first day of creation.  After creating light, God separated light from darkness, then used them to mark changes in the day and the year.

We cannot have one without the other...light without dark...dark without light. One enables the other to exist. This is so fundamental that most of us never really pause to think about it. Artists, though, do think about it. Artists think about light, measure light, and study light. Artists essentially paint light and dark...in the context of the subject of the painting or photograph or artwork.

 The Silence                               The Power of Light                         Abstraction

Frances Seward, through her amazing photography, presents light (and dark) in a rather stark, unadorned, and uncontextualized manner. Seward has three pieces in Still Point Art Gallery's current exhibition: The Serious and Playful Sides of Light. When I look at these pieces I cannot help but think about the concept from Genesis of light separating from darkness. Seward took these photographs at just the right moment to capture the sense of movement that suggests that the light and the dark are pushing and pulling against one another in order to ultimately separate from one another. Indeed the separation of light from darkness is a captivating and miraculous event that happens over and over again at each day's dawn and dusk. In Seward's works, we do not know whether we are viewing dawn or dusk, and it does not matter. After the separation is complete, either light or dark will prevail, and it will be day or night. The important part is that in her works, Seward has captured the intensity of the process...the intensity of the process of separating light from dark.

Frances Seward's The Silence, The Power of Light, and Abstraction are available from Still Point Art Gallery. Contact Christine Cote by email or at (207) 837-5760.

Back to Still Point Art Gallery

Christine Cote
Still Point Art Gallery
January 12, 2010

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Call for Artists - Geometric Abstraction

Geometric Abstraction ... 
Ever since I had the idea to do this show, I've been anxiously waiting to see the entries for this one. I LOVED geometry in high school. I doodle in geometrical shapes and designs. I've been doing fiber art creations for many years that involve geometrical designs. A few years ago, though, I decided to (perhaps temporarily) only create designs with 90 degree angles. Stitching tiny triangles by hand was making me crazy! But I also wanted to see how much wonderful stuff I could do without the evil triangle. It was actually a very liberating thing to do. I learned that making decisions like that...however silly or arbitrary they seem...can have an interesting impact upon one's art. Either open a door or close a door for a while and see what happens. 

So, anyway, Still Point Art Gallery invites submissions from emerging and established artists for its upcoming online exhibition: Geometric Abstraction. This should be lots of fun!
Geometry - squares, triangles, circles, ellipses, cones, cubes, and polygons ... length, area, and volume. Geometry frames our world and shapes our world. It brings order, organization, balance, symmetry, and asymmetry to our surroundings. Geometry is used by carpenters and astronomers as well as theoretical mathematicians. The concept of geometry is so simple and appealing that even young children seem to intuitively draw squares and circles and rectangles. Yet the concept of geometry is so complex that mathematicians and physicists may spend years studying applications and theories of one tiny aspect of geometry. Then there is the artist. When an artist's unique view .. of the world, of the self ... incorporates geometric shapes or focuses on natural or man-made geometric shapes, the result may be an amazing display of shape and color. Geometric abstraction can be daring, imposing, powerful, stark, complex, bold, or rhythmic.

The exhibition opens February 10 and closes April 6, 2010. The deadline for submissions is January 25, 2010. For all the details and the entry form, you'll want to go here.

Christine Brooks Cote
Still Point Art Gallery
January 5, 2010