It sounds too sugary to say everyone wins, but it's true. (That is not to say that I will be skipping over the awards.) At Friday night's opening reception, John Stomberg, Director of the Hood Museum of Art and the sole judge in AVA's 2017 Juried Summer Exhibition, lauded the number, diversity and quality of this year's entries. If an alien had landed at the gallery in Lebanon NH, he said, we would all be proud to present this exhibition as a portrait of the entire artsy, eclectic Upper Valley. So artists as entrants and exhibitors, those of us who attended the opening on Friday night, and all of you who will take in the show in the coming weeks are among the winners.
But there are awards that were given. The following four works were singled out from the 103 on display from 81 regional artists:
Shawna Gibbs's Movie Night (featured above) received the Cornelia M. Rahmelow Award for photography. Complex, and sweet, it's a photo that tells a story and then some.
The other three are works by Helen Shulman, Bruce Blanchette, and Susan Wilson:
Helen Shulman, Three Part Harmony, oil painting on panel. Stomberg: "between Matisse and Turner." Juror's Recognition Award, 1st
Bruce Blanchette, Space-Time Artifact, mixed media relief, Juror's Recognition Award, 2nd
Susan Wilson, Vigil, ceramics, Juror's Recognition Award, 3rd
Pick your medium, style, and color palette. This show has painting, sculpture, photography, fiber art, quilts. Representational and abstract. Colorful and muted. Smooth and textural. One of my favorite quirkier pieces was Shari Boraz's multimedia Different but the Same, digitized photo (of ornamental cabbages) on cotton fabric with hand-embroidery. Boraz's work is currently being shown at the Museum of Art and Design in New York City.
Detail of Boraz's Different but the Same
I also had a weakness for Barbara Bartlett's three-dimensional Harmonic Honeycomb, below. Many viewers itched to run their fingers over it.
Bartlett's Harmonic Honeycomb, dyed filter paper, beeswax, thread
The opening reception, like all of those hosted by AVA, was crowded with artists and those who came to appreciate their work. It may be easier to actually see the art at a later date when the galleries are emptier but you'd miss the energy of the group view, and the interaction with the artists and people--friends or strangers--with whom you trade comments. Not to mention the hors d'oeuvres, artfully arranged per usual.
Two artists: Shari Boraz (facing the camera) chats with Susan Wilson
The exhibition continues through August 23, 2017. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11:00 am to 5:00 pm. On Thursdays, the gallery is open until 7:00 pm. Admission is free. More information, including a list of all exhibiting artists, can be found on AVA's website. And Kira's Garden has an outdoor exhibition, including a new sculpture by Herb Ferris that guards the gallery entrance.
Ferris's Gold Pair
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Susan B. Apel, writer, ArtfulEdge