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Ashland First Friday ArtWalk TONIGHT!!

Ashland Galleries
October Visual Arts News

First Friday Art Walk: October 1, 2021
5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Please visit gallery, studio, and artist websites for more information regarding COVID-19 safety protocols and procedures. Thank you. 

Join us for First Friday Art Walk!

We’re excited to share a diverse array of wonderful artwork created by our very talented artists this month. Don’t forget to visit their websites for more information about business hours, current events, and upcoming opportunities. 

Here is a sampling of our October Spotlight Galleries and Artists. 

Please visit our website for links to our member galleries and artist websites, and to view the online version of the 2021 Ashland Gallery Guide.

www.ashlandgalleries.com

Art & Soul Gallery Through the Window, Pastel Paintings by Carla J Griffin
Carla J Griffin, First Light at Lake Louise, Pastel

Art & Soul Gallery
Through the Window, Pastel Paintings by Carla J Griffin


Currently featured at Art & Soul Gallery is Through the Window, Pastel Paintings by Carla J Griffin. On October 1, during First Friday Art Walk, Carla will be present to answer questions about her work. 

“I frequently begin a painting in my mind while looking through a window. It might be from a plane, a train, a hotel, or my rearview mirror.”  – Carla J Griffin 

Hours:
Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday: 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Thursday – Saturday: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Appointments are available too.

Address and Contact Information: 
247 East Main, Ashland, OR 97520
541-488-9006
www.artandsoulgallery.com

Gallerie Karon, Untitled, Mixed Media
Gallerie Karon, Untitled, Mixed Media 

Gallerie Karon
Faces Hidden and Revealed


 This month’s exhibition at Gallerie Karon includes masks and puppets from around the world. Ranging from two inches to four feet, face, helmet, and shoulder masks are included. Puppets include rod, shadow, and hand styles with a variety of different animals being represented. 
Hours:
Tuesday: 10:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Wednesday – Saturday: 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Address and Contact Information: 
500 A Street # 1, Ashland, OR 97520
541-482-9008

 Hanson Howard Gallery Jhenna Quinn Lewis, Millie Whipplesmith Plank, Dews
Dews, Pepper, Pygmy Hippo, Endangered, Ceramic 

Hanson Howard Gallery
Jhenna Quinn Lewis, Millie Whipplesmith Plank, Dews


Hanson Howard Gallery is currently featuring masterful oil paintings by Jhenna Quinn Lewis, rich woodblock prints by Millie Whipplesmith Plank, and stylized ceramics by Dews. Jhenna’s paintings are simple, intimate compositions that invite the viewer to closely examine the details of a bird in an unexpected setting. Alternatively, Millie’s prints celebrate the biodiversity and preservation of open spaces. For Dews, she is inspired by the fusion of gardening with ceramics, whether it be realistic or whimsical. 

Hours: 
Thursday – Saturday: 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. 
Sunday: 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. 
Appointments are available too.

Address and Contact Information: 
89 Oak Street, Ashland, OR 97520 
541-488-2562
http://www.hansonhowardgallery.com/

Ashland Art Works Galleries Claudia Law and John Weston
Claudia Law, Fuji Flowers II, Textile

Ashland Art Works Galleries
Claudia Law and John Weston


 This month’s exhibition at Ashland Art Works includes textile works by Claudia Law and wood works by John Weston. Color, texture, and creating the illusion of depth, movement, and transparency are Claudia’s focus, whereas John consistently attempts to highlight the natural beauty found in the materials that he uses. On Saturday, October 9, Claudia will be present to demonstrate her artistic processes. 

Hours: 
Thursday – Saturday: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Wednesday, Sunday: 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Address and Contact Information: 
291 Oak Street, Ashland, OR 97520
541-488-4735
https://ashlandartworksgalleries.wordpress.com/

October 2021 CTA Roundup – Long and Short Deadlines


September 26, 2021 – CALL FOR ART | 11TH “SEASCAPES” ONLINE ART COMPETITION

Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery announces an art call for the gallery’s 11th Annual “SeaScapes” Online Juried Art Competition. The “Seascapes” theme will be the artist’s interpretation and depiction of seascape art. Artists are invited to submit their best representational or abstract art. Early entry and art student discounts. Winners receive extensive worldwide publicity and promotion. Entry Fee. Details:http://bitly.com/2W62N1c OR [email protected]

September 30, 2021 – HAPPENSTANCE

Inviting works that incorporate fortunate accidents, coincidences, and unexpected events contributing to their development and creation. All Media. JUROR: Zoë Taleporos is a curator, arts administrator, and writer based in Oakland, CA. Currently works as a Public Art Project Manager at the San Francisco Arts Commission where she is involved in commissioning artworks for public spaces. Entry Fee. Details: 415-506-0137 OR http://marinmoca.org/call-for-entries OR [email protected]

September 30, 2021 – QUILTS4DC STATEHOOD QUILT CHALLENGE

Create a quilt inspired by the opportunity for Washington, DC, to become the 51st state. Submit by 9/30/21 with virtual quilt show in November and potential in-person exhibition(s) in early 2022. Challenge instructions are online at the League of Women Voters for the District of Columbia. No Entry Fee. Details:http://www.lwvdc.org/quilts4dc. OR [email protected]

September 30, 2021 – OPEN CALL FOR PROPOSALS FOR 2022 EXHIBITION SEASON

Artspace in Richmond, VA — The gallery‘s Exhibition Committee will review proposals for exhibitions of art in all genres for the 2022 season in our new gallery located at 2833A Hathaway Rd., Richmond, VA 23225, in the Stratford Hills Shopping Center. Artspace is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit gallery, EIN: 62-1375828. All entry fees are used to support operations and programming costs. Application Fee. Details:http://bitly.com/3A0Blkp OR [email protected]

September 30, 2021 – DESIGN A SOCK CONTEST 2021

The contest is hosted by the Sock It to Me, a business that sells fun, funky socks. Got an idea for the best sock ever? Design-a-Sock Contest is your chance show us. Submit your original design: you could win $2,000 and we’ll turn it into an actual Sock It to Me sock! We prefer 6 colors per design, because our socks cannot be created with more than 6 colors. Black and white are counted as colors. No Entry Fee. Details:http://bitly.com/2kBKaQs

October 03, 2021 – CALL TO ARTISTS FOR INTERNATIONAL ALL ANIMAL ART COMPETITION

ALL Animal Art competition opens September 6th,2021 and closes October 3rd, 2021. Contemporary Art Gallery Online encourages entries from all artists regardless of their experience or education in the art field. A group exhibition will be held October 6th,2021 through November 2nd, 2021. Awards will be given along with competition collateral. Winners will be announced on October 18th, 2021. Entry Fee. Details: 844-210-7722 OR http://tinyurl.com/2021-ALL-Animals

October 06, 2021 – EMBRACING OUR DIFFERENCES INTERNATIONAL ART EXHIBIT

Embracing Our Differences is seeking submissions for an outdoor juried art exhibit featuring 50 billboard size images created by local, national and international artists and writers. The display reflects the artists‘ interpretations of the theme .“enriching lives through diversity.” The exhibit is displayed annually at Bayfront Park in downtown Sarasota. Awards are given totaling $3000. No Entry Fee. Details: 941-404-5710 OR http://www.embracingourdifferences.org/submit-art-2022-exhibit OR [email protected]embracingourdifferences.org

October 10, 2021 – 2021 FOUNDWORK ARTIST PRIZE | $10,000 JURIED GRANTS

The Foundwork Artist Prize is an annual juried award to recognize outstanding practices by contemporary artists working in any media. The deadline to register for the 2021 prize is October 10. This year, two honorees will receive unrestricted $10,000 grants and studio visits with each of the distinguished jurors. Visit foundwork.art/signup to register. Entry Fee. Details:http://foundwork.art/artist-prize

October 15, 2021 – 30 X 30: ANNUAL ART CHALLENGE

The 30×30 show is a great way to explore any theme or style by creating one panel that displays 30 works that are 6 inches by 6 inches each. Use the 30-day work period restraint to challenge yourself to create constantly. Each piece will be sold individually, giving viewers the unique opportunity to take home artwork that they may not be able to afford otherwise. So, do you accept our challenge? Application Fee. Details: 916-783-4117 OR http://www.bluelinearts.org/30×30-2021 OR [email protected]

October 20, 2021 – LENSCULTURE BLACK & WHITE PHOTOGRAPHY AWARDS 2021

Seeking new talent in black and white photography. There’s just something about black and white photography. It’s timeless. Contemporary. Classic. Somehow B&W is always in style. That’s why we’re out here looking for the best and the brightest in black and white photography today. Our Black & White Photography Awards are back! Entry Fee. Details:http://bitly.com/3u0qrJp

October 31, 2021 – SLOWART PRODUCTIONS | EMERGING ARTISTS 2022

This is the 30th annual competition for gallery exhibition and $500 cash award. Open to all artists working in any media. This event is devoted to the discovery, introduction and promotion of Emerging Artists. The exhibition will be held March 3 – 26, 2022, at the Limner Gallery and is open to all artists working in any media. Entry Fee. Details:http://bitly.com/372vi2e

November 01, 2021 – INTL COMPOST AWARENESS WEEK 2022 POSTER CONTEST

The competition is organized by the Compost Research & Education Foundation based in Raleigh, United States of America. The winning poster will be used to promote International Compost Awareness Week 2022. The poster theme is “Recipe for Regeneration: Compost”. Entries are limited to one submission per artist. No Entry Fee. Details:http://bitly.com/2YtUPxp

November 01, 2021 – XPOSURE INTERNATIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY & FILM AWARDS 2021

There are 8 categories open to photographers from all over the world: • Architectural Photography • Drone Photography • Landscape Photography • Photojournalism • Portraiture • Short Film & Moving Image • Travel Photography • Wildlife Photography. No Entry Fee. Details:http://bitly.com/3vOJiqm

November 04, 2021 – PORTRAIT SOCIETY OF AMERICA‘S 2021 MEMBERS ONLY COMPETITION

Open to all Portrait Society of America members. Featuring five unique categories: Commissioned Portrait, Non-Commissioned Portrait, Outside the Box, Animals as the Subject, and Still Life. Awards for each category. First Place winners receive either complimentary tuition to annual conference or museum quality Sargent palette. All winners receive recognition in print and online publications. Entry Fee. Details: 877-772-4321 OR http://www.portraitsociety.org/members-only-competition OR [email protected]

November 05, 2021 – CALL FOR ARTISTS | 4TH ANNUAL WOMEN ARTISTS ART COMPETITION

Fusion Art is once again celebrating women artists. For the 4th Annual Women Artists art competition, the gallery invites both 2D & 3D submissions from women artists, only. For this open theme art competition, any subject matter and any media are acceptable for consideration and all women artists are encouraged to submit their best representational or abstract art and photography. Entry Fee. Details:http://www.fusionartps.com/calls-for-artists OR [email protected]

November 07, 2021 – EXCEPTIONAL ABSTRACTIONS

Deadline to Enter: November 7, 2021 Exhibition Runs: December 4 to December 31, 2021 Entry: $35 for up to 3 images Artist/Gallery Commission: 60% Artist, 40% Gallery Awards: First place $250 Second Place $150 Third place $100 For this Call for Art, Mona Niko Gallery is seeking Abstract Art. This exhibition is open to any abstract work including small sculptures. Entry Fee. Details: 949-317-8513 OR http://monaniko.com/calls-for-art OR [email protected]

November 08, 2021 – “OPEN & SHUT” ON DISPLAY DECEMBER, 2021

Open to artists 18 years old & older. All artwork must be original. As we approach the closing of the year and the opening of the next, it brings to mind all kinds of opening and closings, beginnings and endings. Whether literally or metaphorically closing a door on an old job or a former home and opening a door to new ones, what have you opened and what have you shut in your life? Entry Fee. Details: 860-871-8222 OR http://artscentereast.org/open-and-shut OR [email protected]

November 09, 2021 – CHELSEA INTERNATIONAL FINE ART COMPETITION

Artists have a chance to participate in a juried exhibition in New York City’s Chelsea Art District and to be showcased and promoted online and in print. A distinguished panel of jurors is selected to judge, presenting more than $70,000 in awards. Entry Fee. Details:http://bitly.com/3vdRlx5

November 13, 2021 – BEST PORTFOLIO 2021 BY BLANK WALL GALLERY

Blank Wall Gallery organizes an international portfolio contest for 2021 in order to discover and promote one photographer. The award of the best photographer will be a two-week solo exhibition at the new premises of Blank Wall Gallery. The gallery will produce and finance 36 prints (40x50cm and 50x70cm) for the exhibition as well as everything needed for its realization, even if you cannot attend Entry Fee. Details: 694-386-8124 OR http://www.blankwallgallery.com/calls-for-entry OR [email protected]

November 16, 2021 – 3,500 ARTIST GRANTS

The Hopper Prize is accepting entries for Fall 2021 artist grants. We are offering 2 grants of $3,500 and 4 grants of $1,000. Jurors: Tyler Blackwell, Associate Curator, Blaffer Art Museum and Caitlin Julia Rubin, Associate Curator & Director of Programs, Rose Art Museum. 30 artists will be selected for a shortlist and publication in our online journal. Application Fee. Details:http://hopperprize.org

November 19, 2021 – THE FOOTBALL ART PRIZE NOW IS CALLING FOR ENTRIES

This is a new exhibition opportunity celebrating art and football, giving artists the chance to show their work to a panel of judges; tour to three venues and win up to £10,000. Artists may submit up to four works at £10 for the first entry and £5 for each additional entry. Artists entering from a Rochdale, Sheffield or Sunderland postcode will have a reduced fee of £7.50 for the first entry. Entry Fee. Details:http://footballartprize.artopps.co.uk

November 30, 2021 – SMITHSONIAN MAGAZINE 18TH ANNUAL PHOTO CONTEST

To be eligible for any category, a photograph must have been shot by the entrant since January 1, 2019. There are 6 categories: • Natural World • Travel • People • The American Experience • Altered Images • Mobile. No Entry Fee. Details:http://bitly.com/3hxqKYf

December 17, 2021 – 2022 ST. MARTIN’S MINOTAUR/ MYSTERY WRITERS OF AMERICA

The competition is sponsored by Minotaur Books and Mystery Writers of America. You may submit only one manuscript (no less than 220 typewritten pages or approximately 60,000 words) written in the English language. Murder or another serious crime or crimes is at the heart of the story. Only electronic submissions, uploaded through the online entry form, will be considered. The entry form is available here. No Entry Fee. Details:http://bitly.com/2WfHdYk

December 17, 2021 – SPIRITO DI VINO INTERNATIONAL ILLUSTRATORS COMPETITION 2021

Organised by Movimento Turismo del Vino Friuli Venezia Giulia, it is open to cartoonists from all around the world. There are two categories: • Artists from 18 to 35 years old • Artists older than 36 years The satirical cartoons can be drawn manually with any technique, black and white or colour, only in A3 format with 1 cm of external border. Each participant is entitled to submit one work only. No Entry Fee. Details:http://bitly.com/3j9yuQo

December 17, 2021 – CALL FOR ART: COVETED II

We invite women, non-binary people, and marginalized members of all racial and cultural backgrounds the opportunity to share their perspectives of the world. This year’s theme explores the experiences of the ‘other’ within spirituality, religion, and the occult.​ No Entry Fee. Details: 216-282-3826 OR http://www.kaisergallery.com/opportunities

January 04, 2022 – THE DERWENT ART PRIZE

The contest is organized by the Derwent Cumberland Pencil Company. Artists are invited to submit up to 6 images. The submited work must be created in pencil. You can use any pencil including water-soluble, pastel, graphite, charcoal or coloured pencils. The work must not exceed 182cm in its greatest dimension. Only works produced within the last 3 years are acceptable. Entry Fee. Details:http://bitly.com/3moTRz9

February 15, 2022 – CHELSEA INTERNATIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY COMPETITION

The Competition is an ideal way to exhibit your talent to a wider international audience. With a distinguished panel of jurors and more than $55,000 in valuable prizes, it is open to photographers from around the world at any stage of their careers. Entry Fee. Details:http://bitly.com/31IUs1t

AGA October 2021 Exhibits

Find all the details of the Ashland Gallery Association AGA October 2021 exhibits here!

First Friday Art Walk, October 1, 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Please visit gallery, studio, and artist websites for more information regarding COVID-19 safety protocols and procedures. Thank you.

AGA October 2021 Exhibits Spotlight

Art & Soul Gallery
Through the Window, Pastel Paintings by Carla J Griffin

AGA October 2021 Exhibits: First Light at Lake Louise, pastel by Carla J Griffin
Image Credit:
Carla J Griffin, First Light at Lake Louise, Pastel

Currently featured at Art & Soul Gallery is Through the Window, Pastel Paintings by Carla J Griffin. On October 1, during First Friday Art Walk, Carla will be present to answer questions about her work.

“I frequently begin a painting in my mind while looking through a window. It might be from a plane, a train, a hotel, or my rearview mirror.” – Carla J Griffin

Hours:
Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday: 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Thursday, Friday, Saturday: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Appointments are available too.

Address and Contact Information:
247 East Main, Ashland, OR 97520
541-488-9006
https://artandsoulgallery.com

Gallerie Karon
Faces Hidden and Revealed

AGA October 2021 Exhibits: Gallerie Karon
Image Credit:
Gallerie Karon, Untitled, Mixed Media

This month’s exhibition at Gallerie Karon includes masks and puppets from around the world. The exhibition includes face, helmet, and shoulder masks ranging from two inches to four feet. further, puppets include rod, shadow, and hand styles with a variety of different animals being represented.

Hours:
Tuesday: 10:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Wednesday – Saturday: 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Address and Contact Information:
500 A Street # 1, Ashland, OR 97520
541-482-9008

Hanson Howard Gallery
Jhenna Quinn Lewis, Millie Whipplesmith Plank, Dews

AGA October 2021 Exhibits: Pygmy Hippo, ceramic by Dews.
Image Credit:
Dews, Pepper, Pygmy Hippo, Endangered, Ceramic

Hanson Howard Gallery currently featuries masterful oil paintings by Jhenna Quinn Lewis, rich woodblock prints by Millie Whipplesmith Plank, and stylized ceramics by Dews. Jhenna’s paintings are simple, intimate compositions that invite the viewer to closely examine the details of a bird in an unexpected setting. On the other hand, Millie’s prints celebrate the biodiversity and preservation of open spaces. Dews is inspired by the fusion of gardening with ceramics, whether it be realistic or whimsical.

Hours:
Thursday, Friday, Saturday: 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Sunday: 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Appointments are available too.

Address and Contact Information:
89 Oak Street, Ashland, OR 97520
541-488-2562
https://www.hansonhowardgallery.com/

Ashland Art Works Galleries
Claudia Law and John Weston

AGA October 2021 Exhibits: Fuji Flowers II, textile by Claudia Law
Image Credit:
Claudia Law, Fuji Flowers II, Textile

This month’s exhibition at Ashland Art Works includes textile works by Claudia Law and wood works by John Weston. Color, texture, and creating the illusion of depth, movement, and transparency are Claudia’s focus, whereas John consistently attempts to highlight the natural beauty found in the materials that he uses. On Saturday, October 9, Claudia will be present to demonstrate her artistic processes.

Hours:
Thursday – Saturday: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Wednesday, Sunday: 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Address and Contact Information:
291 Oak Street, Ashland, OR 97520
541-488-4735
https://ashlandartworksgalleries.wordpress.com/

Thanks for taking a look at the AGA October 2021 exhibits. We hope you will join us for the Ashland First Friday ArtWalk on October 1! The Ashland Gallery Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of the visual arts in our communities.

Bridge

Screen shot from Bridge

I met a young artist at the Chautauqua Institution in August, Ali Georgescu, through her grandparents, who visit during the lecture season every summer. Having recently earned her degrees at Kenyon and Columbia College Chicago, and still looking for a path out into the world, Ali was working the front desk at one of the galleries. She’s a “lens-based” artist herself, but her work wasn’t on view in the student show at the Fowler-Kellogg Art Center. Having toured that show and then later in the day viewing one of Georgescu’s videos, I was more taken with her work than with anything I saw in the exhibit, except maybe an archival inkjet print, Truth or Consequences, by Furen Dai.

Georgescu is an observant young woman, laconic, skeptical, but personable and quietly intelligent. Her video, Bridge, is a montage of short excerpts from archival video and film. With software she’s constructed a dream sequence that reminded me a little of the deadly video in The Ring except that with the VCR footage in The Ring it’s actually easier to deconstruct what you’re looking at by the end of the movie. (I didn’t get a dreaded phone call, with Bridge, and haven’t yet died after watching it several times.) I’ve been charmed enough to keep going back and trying to make out what I’m seeing and though I haven’t made much headway, I’ve enjoyed it more each time. It seems there are maybe a couple dozen excerpts fused into one surreal narrative: a road rolling under the camera, a knife-thrower using a child as a target, houseflies flickering into view, ocean waves, large fish swaying against one another, a close-up of a woman’s eye—all of it slightly out of focus and most of it washed out, as if the lens were pointed toward a setting sun. Behind the entire video is a tubular white noise, eerie and hollow, affectless. You look at this sequence of imagery as if through a strange, throbbing, square tunnel. In the end, everything is swallowed by that oncoming light. I wanted to see and recognize more of what she was showing me, have something come into focus at last, but nothing ever did, and yet as a result the seven-minute video—for all it’s remote and chilly imagery—felt almost nostalgic and wistful, like the fragmented memories from a child of itinerant parents. It’s haunting and assured and maybe an indication of even more interesting things to come.

Peace Like That

 

I’m a metaphorical girl—I see connections everywhere. This year, I learned the word apophenia: the tendency to look for connections among unrelated things. I’m pretty sure I have a not-so-mild case of it. Whether through simile or metaphor, I am constantly comparing unlike things to better understand abstractions. 

 

In fact, here’s a metaphor: our marriage is a fascinating case of apophenia!

 

Which brings me to rivers. I spend A LOT of time on rivers since I married a man who loves them. And this spring, I’ve wondered about that metaphorical comparison of “peace like a river” in Scripture (Isaiah 48:18, 66:12).  Spend time on even a single river, and you realize that rivers are varied: once section might be placid as a pond. The next might be a white-water “boulder garden” your husband inexplicably wants to kayak through. 

 

Peace like which part of the river?

 

Like all of it. Like: peace in all the river sections, from frog water to Class V rapids. 

 

And peace in the snags—the fallen trees and root masses that accumulate along a shore. They can impede progress. But they can also create little eddies of stillness out of the fast current and give you a place to pause before you continue your journey. I kid you not, I had that snag realization by a river one morning, and that same afternoon, Jared and I got into a massive snag-fight. We got caught on the jagged edges of stuff we’d let accumulate along our shore, but once we pressed through, we found a pool of peace. Someday, we may even remember that there can be peace in the snags, too. 

 

I have an old hymn stuck on repeat in my heart: “When Peace, Like a River.” That song has always held power for me. It was originally titled, “It Is Well With My Soul” for its famous refrain: “It is well, it is well, with my soul.” But I didn’t learn why it was so powerful until last fall, when our friend came for dinner and played us the song on his guitar, telling the back story. 

 

Horatio G. Spafford wrote the hymn in the nineteenth century. He was a prosperous businessman in Chicago. He and his wife had a son and four daughters. Things were going well—until they weren’t. They lost their son to scarlet fever. Then, the Great Chicago Fire destroyed all of Horatio’s real estate, wiping out his life savings. He decided to take his family to England to try and start over. Right before he planned to leave, a business deal arose that could help his family, so he decided to send his wife ahead of him with their daughters. 

 

The boat carrying his family shipwrecked. His wife survived, but all of their daughters died. As soon as he received the news, Horatio took the next ship to be with his wife. At one point on the voyage, the captain told him they had reached the spot where his children had drown. And there—in the place of deep loss and sorrow—he wrote a hymn of peace. Here are the first lines:

 

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,

When sorrows like sea billows roll;

Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to know

It is well, it is well, with my soul.

 

Refrain

It is well, (it is well),

With my soul, (with my soul)

It is well, it is well, with my soul.

 

That man’s understanding of grace takes my breath away. It makes me game to learn the currents of peace like a river. 

 

I want peace like that. 

Notes from underground

In 2004, for his MFA thesis at the University of Maryland, Matt Klos painted a series of underground studio spaces. In these White Paintings, he paid homage, in his own idioms, to the work of Antonia Lopez Garcia. He represented various aspects of a drab and artificially lit basement studio. All of these interiors were spare and utilitarian and slightly abandoned-looking. The subtle complexity of their white walls fascinated him, as well as their blank, apophatic humility, the quality of erasing themselves, reflecting maybe just enough light to direct your attention to the muted color of other charmless things in the room: a utility sink or a chalkboard or a skeleton. As Klos put it in his thesis, in this small series of studio scenes, he wanted to evoke “the ethereal beauty inherent in the visible.” That doesn’t seem quite right. Most painters I know have signed up for that mission. It’s more as if, in his work, he wants to create a way of tapping the potential for a pictorial beauty inherent in a place, a beauty that wouldn’t be quite visible anywhere except in the quality of a painting of it. The beauty of a Matt Klos painting lives in the intensity of his gaze, and the insistence of his struggle to make paint retain its character as paint on a particular surface while conveying the life of what he sees. (This seems like a core axiom of the perceptual painters with whom Klos has aligned himself.) Mostly, like Antonia Lopez Garcia, he likes the challenge of representing what wouldn’t instantly be recognized as lovely or appealing. The beauty of his painting rests in the uncompromising passion that drives this assiduous and painstaking attention to what most people might not bother to let their eyes rest on for more than a few seconds.

It would appear Klos hates to come up out of the basement. For a decade and a half, he keeps returning to these underlit spaces, some of them cluttered and crammed with antiquated objects or the tools he relies on. (He does come out of Plato’s cave now and then, though. When he ventures above ground, as he does regularly, his work is quite different, often bright and stunningly expansive even in the confines of very small canvases. His little painting, Belfast Bay, is a marvel in which he creates qualities of scintillant light and a sense of a vast brilliant stretch of water simply through the way he magically scumbles the paint.) His new solo show, Contents of a Cabinet, at Gay Street Gallery is virtually a catalog of the many antiquated things left behind by a previous resident in a basement he adopted as his studio in Maryland more than a decade ago. He paints in a working-class neighborhood near the “recently closed Bethlehem Steel plant in Sparrows Point.” (The most startling word in that artist’s statement is “recently.” How did an American steel plant survive so long?) As he wrote for the first installment of this series of studio paintings at Gay Street in 2017, when he moved into the space more than a decade ago, “Dust and disorganization obscure the objects. Even when the objects are clearly defined their meanings may be lost to our current generation. In an age when so many answers are at our fingertips, I marvel at what seems to be a disconnection with our recent past.”

 At the gallery’s website, the paintings aren’t titled, nor are their sizes indicated, though it’s clear from the texture of the surfaces that some are quite small. The larger paintings are the most intriguing. Klos paints the sort of things that look as if they stayed put on their shelves after an estate liquidation and weren’t snatched up by survivors of the owner’s death. He shows an old Sanka can, probably full of nails or bolts, and then something that looks like an improvised vise for squaring a frame, and shelves full of Depression glass and old dishware, a teapot, dolls, candles, a box full of wrench sockets, and an old landline wall telephone. These objects mostly give the impression of physical weight and mass, and they cast harsh shadows. They look stubbornly resistant to current culture, popular style, feng shui, ergonomics, and the virtualization of human experience: in other words, they are immune to everything contemporary, with one eccentrically lovely exception. Somehow, Klos gives us the guts of what appears to be a desktop computer being scavenged, its little green circuit boards (a video card maybe, or a wafer of RAM) glowing like grass in a university quad, lodged into a composition arranged as a wheel of muted, subtle colors: coral, ochre, olive green, blue-grey, and dark apricot. Against this parade of lumpy physicality, there is one painting in the series that looks as if it crashed this party from another dimension. In what almost qualifies as a Diebenkorn vision of a Santa Monica ocean view, Klos shows the viewer two blank turquoise panels, side by side, bisected by a small crease through which you can see vague gray details of what’s hidden behind the panels, a small and vibrant wound around which everything pivots, with a little bleeding sliver of brilliant red near the bottom. A rectangular streak of blue sweeps across the base of the canvas, and along the left border (bringing the viewer back to earth) what appears to be a sheer robe or apron hangs to the left of the panels. It’s a brilliant, luminous study, minimalist, almost non-representational, full of joy, as if all the expansive green and blue of sea and sky and mountains beyond the walls of this work space had flooded into his basement through this one canvas.

What keeps me coming back to look at the paintings in this show is a jumbled interior scene with what appears to be a child’s brilliant painting on paper that has come loose from its anchoring tape and rests askew behind and above a fat red candle resting on a flat surface shared with a couple dolls and a Kleenex tissue cube. In front of these objects is what appears to be the upholstered backrest of an antique, carved hardwood chair. The surface of the wood is conveyed with precision, the cataract glaze of its old glossy finish gone dull and gray, all of the cordovan-colored wood in bad need of being stripped and refinished. The whole composition, like the neo-Diebenkorn canvas, is structured in concentric rectangles shaped by wires and lumber, these elements criss-crossing themselves into a firm grid around the red, unlit candle that looks votive given the fact that it’s sitting just below a crucifix hanging on one of the exposed studs in the upper right corner. The whole image inhabits a sort of tattersall of crosses. Klos includes two paintings of this scene in the show, the other one a quick study of these central objects, including the crucifix. As you absorb these circumstantial indications of spirituality, you look again at the Kleenex tissue and it seems to be floating up like smoke or a ghost or rising like a shrouded figure from its cube. It all offers just enough of a signal of Matt’s faith: it doesn’t overwhelm the painting, but makes itself felt and appreciated and respected as a quiet affirmation of something that seems to be at home among things discarded and overlooked by contemporary culture. It would be interesting for someone to do a study of how current painters tackle the struggles and disciplines of faith, from any tradition, and the parallels to the work of painting itself: the requisite mindfulness, humility, and patience. In my own work, faith is entirely subliminal, a motive for painting without being the overt subject of anything I depict. This may be Matt’s situation as well: painting as a corollary of prayer.

During the Renaissance the question of faith was quite simple: it was the reason for painting anything, the system in which painting made sense. After the advent of modernism, with a few exceptions like Rouault, faith seems to have little place in most painting, especially now, given the West’s intellectual antipathy to Christianity. Even though more than two-thirds of Americans identify as Christian, do painters need to work little samizdat signs, like this basement crucifix, into their images as a code to other spiritually devoted types? Being a Christian can’t be an effective calling card in Chelsea—more a quick way to get ostracized and banished from sophisticated society. Which makes these indications of it just as much a signal of artistic integrity as a predilection for painting things underground.

Alice Carpenter’s tiny, enormous dream

Alice Carpenter, monotype, relief inks on paper, 4″ x 4″

This monotype was selected for the 2021 Butler Midyear, another of the remarkable pieces included in one of the best Midyear exhibitions Butler has assembled in quite a while. I’m dumbfounded by the way Carpenter can convey a dreamlike, timeless, and utterly haunting world, a world that feels both slightly oppressive and yet spacious and expansive, all within the confines of a tiny square of paper.

Flower it Forward

 

The thoughtful Del Rio Vineyards offers our little valley a big gift: rows of U-pick zinnias below their hillsides of vines. 

The only catch? For each bouquet you pick for yourself, you pick two for others. “Flower it forward.” 

I like this double-happiness approach to “pay it forward.” Not just singly, but doubly. 

Thank you, Del Rio, for reminding us to give more than we get. I’m excited to deliver these bright gifts. 

Marc Ross

Marc Ross, Make Me That Happy 2, Acrylic, pastel and color pencil
53″x 55″

Another work from Marc Ross won Best in Show at the Butler Midyear exhibition. His exquisitely executed abstractions refer back to Rothko, minimalism and the ghostly, incremental discriminations of Agnes Martin’s bands of faint color, but his work is all his own.

Frederick Fochtman

Frederick Fochtman landscape.

Fred Fochtman’s website is so minimal that I was unable to find a title, size or medium for any of the work there, but it’s fairly clear this is a small oil or acrylic. I discovered Fochtman’s work through the two paintings of his in the 2021 Butler Midyear. I went back through the past few years of his painting and quit clicking when I came to this one. It evokes for me what C.S. Lewis talked about in his autobiography: a feeling of joy fused with a sense of the unattainability of lasting happiness in a temporal world. He had this experience as a child when it seemed as if the eye of his soul was able to glimpse the “idea of autumn,” in a Platonic and eternal sense, the isness of autumn. This little painting opens a window on both winter, with the roadside snow, and somehow spring or even early summer in the color of the lake in the distance. Yet the color in the trees along the road look like autumn. My vision of these mixed seasons only heightens the effect this scene has: a deeply familiar mild winter day, the road with shadows reaching across it could be warm from the sun and the wind maybe fragrant with the thawing soil. It’s the perfection of a normally unregarded moment except that you suddenly feel as if everything is exactly as it should be, a gift, if something causes you to actually quit thinking and just notice everything. Easier said than done. The humility that undergirds everything in this painting is what makes it what it is: the simple act of putting paint on canvas in the hope that all of this will be conveyed, as it inexplicably is here. It’s an act performed for no other reason than that a warming winter day on an empty road with a lake too distant to make a difference, and with nothing ordinarily considered worthwhile going on, can be perfection itself. A moment like this of utter insignificance can somehow give you a glimpse of who and what you are, especially if you see it in a little painting like this.