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Art

Preserving Nature, Making It Glow

The Art Scene

If the very rich are different from ordinary people, as Scott Fitzgerald famously wrote, so are many artists including Mayme Kratz, whose luminous work is now on exhibition at Argazzi Art.
Kratz, who lives and works in Phoenix, AZ, is a force of and for nature. Working alone in a former icehouse, she creates art — paintings, sculptures, installations — always revealing and preserving the wonder she finds in nature. Trekking through Arizona’s natural landscape, she collects objects, plants, even dead animals that receive new life at her hands.

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Controlled, Subtle, Beautiful

The Art Scene

During his long life as an artist — he started in high school in Indianapolis more than 50 years ago — Don Gummer has painted and made collages, but he is best known as a sculptor.
Often described as a constructivist, Gummer is really his own man, falling into no strictly defined category. His work is carefully planned, controlled, subtle; it is without irony. And it is very beautiful.

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Art in Lakeville

Mixed media. That’s how David James
Valyou describes his artwork.
Mixed ideas, too. A slice of cake made from a teddy bear. A heart-shaped bed of nails. A bucket labeled Free Speech, filled with shiny red tongues torn presumably from the mouths of people exercising that right. A table top on which a quill pen has etched concentric circles, bits and pieces of wood and metal that look like boats coming apart. Valyou is a lanky fellow, a carpenter by trade, who wears faded jeans that match his eyes and paint-spattered boots. And he is full of ideas. Some of them very beautiful.

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Recalling a Lost America

The Art Scene

To say Jeffrey L. Neumann’s paintings now at the Sharon Historical Society are influenced by Edward Hopper would be an understatement. He captures structures — restaurants and diners, movie theaters and motels, even a bar – in flat colors that are oddly luminous in mysterious light. They can glow like jewels against dark skies or seem washed out in bright daylight.

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Reaching for the Light

The Art Scene

Ira Barkoff paints landscapes these days: Crusty, glowing images, moving the paint around a canvas with a trowel. Sometimes even with a stick. Anything to deepen the color and mood.
“I use everything,” he says.
His work lining the walls of his mountain-top studio in Cornwall is not realistic. But he says it is not abstract, either, plunging into the world of artspeak he tells me “It’s a multilayered response to nature.”

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No Anger, Lessons Instead On Abstract Expressionism

The Art Scene

American Abstract Expressionism, the term coined by critic Robert Coates to describe a 1946 painting by Hans Hofmann, was built on rejection of pre-World War II values. It was art at war with the establishment and filled with furious rejection of realism, impressionism and figurative art of any kind.
The White Gallery’s new show, ambitiously titled Abstract Expressionism, is devoid of anger and fury and deep discovery, but there are lessons here, on a small scale to be sure, in Expressionism and its techniques.

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Work From Very Near To Very, Very Far

The Art Scene

If you miss the famous, now gone, Twin Oaks between Sharon and Salisbury, Jonathan Doster’s two photographs of the trees will make you miss them more. They are part of a solo exhibition at Sharon’s Hotchkiss Library. The images are stunning.
“Twin Oaks October” captures the trees in an autumnal image taken from Route 41, with horizontal bands of brown corn stalks in the foreground, the gently rising hillside and the two specimen oaks behind. Printed on canvas, the photo is so textured you want to reach out and touch the corn stalks.

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Faces Of China: 1981

Photographs taken in 1981 by Tom Zetterstrom of North Canaan, CT, are on view at Wesleyan University’s Mansfield Freeman Center in Middletown, through Dec. 6.
For information, call Ann Gertz at 860-685-2330 or go to www.wesleyan.edu/mansfield/exhibitions/faces.

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Unbridled Works

The Art Scene

When Carrie Pearce’s work first came to Argazzi Art in May 2011, it was an unusual move for gallerist Judith Singelis: figurative painting in a space usually devoted to abstract work. But Pearce’s strange and haunted children, seemingly real and unreal at the same time, were as pale as cadavers in the midst of glowing colors.

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Hopper: The Drawings of a great painter

The Art Scene

Edward Hopper was a slow painter. He made many sketches, even finished drawings, of places and people before finally producing a finished oil. His process is on fascinating display in Hopper Drawing, now at the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Of course Hopper was hardly unique in drawing first then painting. But what the Whitney show makes clear is how he absorbed the reality he drew and synthesized it into a personal vision. Hopper himself said that the “fact” became the “improvisation” in his work.

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