I can safely say that I saw some very high quality art today!! What a treat! And, I had “time to kill”, which as an artist means that I need to find something to draw on or, take in the answers others can give to you from their own visions. So, the perfect excuse!!
I have been meaning to get to the Gallery at 100 Market Street in Portsmouth to walk this show. I show here fairly often and the parameters of this show would have necessitated new work that I had no time to create. But, because I have a great respect for the curator and the quality of the work that she presents, I needed to make it a point to see “Guise, Garment and Textile”.
OK, I was hooked right here! The props and the photos of them on the “family” made it all too relevant. It almost felt like “Antiques Roadshow” where a participant shows up with the antique and all sorts of provenance.
David Mendelsohn is an acquaintance I very much admire, though he does push a feminist button or two with his work, when he eliminates heads and covers them with hat boxes.
Denis Perrin’s work, including “Watching for Swallows” was so historically perfect I had to wonder if he was born 150 years ago. Style, paint and application was too incredibly European Impression, almost Berthe Morisot.
The 3rd floor belongs to Caroline Rufo. This articulate abstract craftswoman reinvents the likes of Richard Diebenkorn and all other painters who have taken their compositional inspiration from aerial photography. Her titles, like “Seeking Union” also allude to architecture and building, in the emotional sense.
But, there is sometimes a sour note in a show this well executed. And, it is on the 4th floor, which tells me that it is good enough for the show, but maybe it needed to be on the 4th floor-for political reasons.
I am native American, so a piece like this entitled “The Raiding Party” was not a happy end. From purely aesthetic principles, a well-articulated and executed piece-but it smacks of knowing nothing of the Trail of Tears or any of the other atrocities that my people dealt with.
Overall, this show is one of the best that Portsmouth has offered in a long time. And, since I am very pro First Amendment, I applaud all of the work in this show, whether or not I agree with politics or philosophy, because of the quality of the execution.
The Gallery at 100 Market Street in Portsmouth is open Monday-Friday on all 4 floors. The 3rd and 4th floors are not available on the week-ends. This show runs through mid-February.
After paying my short visit to Ben Franklin’s, I rounded the circle to arrive at Artstream. And, what made this visit that much better is that one of the managing directors was there and was full of information. So much information, in fact, that I determined that listening and absorbing was preferable to taking notes, though I did take some. I also shot a few pictures, but I will also refer you to the web site. As usual, I find this to be one of the better galleries in the area for variety and quality of art.
Marilyn Truett, who curated the show also presented some outstanding examples of her own work. Through a process of soaking photo paper and then adherring it to pressed ceiling tiles, she achieves rather remarkable yet understated historical imagery. Most of the work seems almost sepia-toned, adding to the aged feel. The added depth created through mounting on bas-reliefed surface adds contradictions and interest, visually.
Polly Cook’s work adds more-than-a-little social commentary in the way she depicts her images. She concentrates on subjects from less-than-desireable neighborhoods in a style similar to the Ash Can School of the early 20th century. Some of these scenes are on tiles. This removes the pretense of creating “museum” art, and gives it that everyday, and more gritty appeal-though there are a few of her pieces on canvas also included.
Tobia Makover’s encaustic on photographs are the pieces that impressed me the most. They are surreal, unearthly and spooky. According to the brief mention on the website, she is dealing with the concepts of memory and loss-and I have rarely seen that basic premise done so simply, cleanly and well. The application of the wax over the photographs blocks just enough of the photographs to make them feel like there are spirits or other energies present.