Opening reception Friday, October 12th for Women's Week, 6-9pm
My work is hand built earthenware, using coils of clay to build the piece. I am drawn to clay as a basic and raw earth element and inspired by potters from around the world from Burkina Faso, Papua New Guinea, India, the Southwest and Mexico. In connecting hands to clay, I can bypass the mind and link to a craft that transcends time and space. This is the landscape I am most at home in, where knowledge resides in the fingertips.
When I begin working with the clay I usually only have a vague idea of where the piece is headed. I have come to prefer this kind of mystery, of not knowing and staying open. It keeps me present, observing, and asking questions. I am not just asking what shape will this form take, the compelling question for me is what energy or presence will it embody.
We may bring an intention to creating, but I feel its a combination of our efforts and something outside of us that enters into the process. For me, it feels like a gift when the work takes on its own breath.
Susan Bernstein lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts and is a resident artist in Studio 13 at the Mudflat Pottery in Somerville.
Painting can be anything: the challenge is how to communicate. It helps to pare things down, like saying, “I’m a realist painter,” or “I’m a minimalist painter.” I say painting itself is abstract—it’s all metaphor. While working on this series I have been thinking about scarification, the process in logging of dragging a tree through the woods. It breaks up and loosens the forest floor, and seeds germinate.
I began my career as an artist working with photography. Then I shifted into representational painting, especially of woods and rocks and water, and from there into abstract landscapes. In all this work, the images have functioned as windows, looking from the inside out. For the current series I have challenged myself to work indoors, and inwards, resisting the seduction of the natural world. I scrape and scarify the surface as a physical route into abstraction”.
Barbara Hadden was born in 1955 in Hamburg, Germany, and spent her childhood in Europe and the Middle East. She studied painting, photography and filmmaking at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, which awarded her an Alumni Traveling Fellowship for her work in photography. Hadden was a finalist in the Regional Fellowships for Visual Arts, awarded through the New England Foundation for the Arts. For the last decade she has regularly attended artist residences, moving from abstract landscapes in both painting and photography to fully abstract paintings. Hadden lives in western Massachusetts. Website
The word ‘allegory’ comes from the classical Latin and Greek word ‘allegoria,’ meaning a ‘veiled language’. When in the Uffizi in Firenze, I was mesmerized by the early Italian Renaissance paintings. The symbolism in the paintings stood for worlds that were hidden in paint and imagery. The nine gates are about villages in landscapes in Italy. The journey in my work is bridging the old Renaissance paintings with modern abstracted ideas about color and landscape.
My work is also inspired by memories of childhood experiences in the Dutch landscape, the “Uiterwaarden,” a wetland between the river Rhine and the dyke, preventing water from overflowing into the nearby populated areas. As a child, I wandered around in land for several years experiencing the natural environment, always subject to the seasons. When the water in the river was high, the land changed into a pool of water and mud. In the summer, it became a meadow for cows and horses and the place where they lived.
Earth with all its different substances became a metaphor for life and how I relate to my own body and how the body is an instrument in experiencing life. The awareness is reflected in the physicality of the brushwork where the journey starts at the bottom of the painting and takes the viewer along hidden obstacles into an imaginary space on the path of the roads.
I discovered a symbolism in the work that was not only related to geometrical and organic forms. It didn’t matter that the landscapes seemed to be too distant, without passages or pointers that invited the viewer to wander around in the landscapes, or that parts of the canvas were left raw and untouched. It mattered that I singled out something more mysterious and personal. Influences, such as smell, distant noises, memory, and the feel of my body began to emerge on the canvas.
Chaya lives in Amsterdam and works in both Amsterdam and in Italy. Website
I grew up in Revere, Massachusetts and spent much of my childhood at the beach. The ocean and the sky were constant companions. I studied both painting and dance as a child and returned to visual media after a nearly three decade long career as a dancer. That career left me with a lasting interest in pattern and in the structure of space.
Meanders and Paleomeanders are maps of imaginary places, though many of them resemble real places that I have been. I focus on simple physical elements— rivers and river meanders, the view of a distant sliver of sea, the color of light at different times of day and year.
Finding the basic structures and processes that underlie and define a place is of special interest to me. I use those elements in the images so that they are, in part, composed of mathematical and scientific information. Meanders and Paleomeanders embody elements of geology, so that the influence of water on landforms over time becomes the subject. The inclusion of this kind of information helps to create the specific atmosphere of these works.
I use a combination of oil and metallic paints, pencil, ink, wire, and cotton or metallic thread. Most of the pieces are under-painted in gold, silver, bronze or copper metallic paints. This treatment adds a special luster that emerges through the following paint layers. The paintings are then composed in many layers of paints varying in both consistency and degree of transparency. These paintings can take as long as a year to make.
I always work on at least two pieces (and usually many more) with the same subject, at the same time. This way, the subject always pushes me much further than I ever imagined I could go.
My work has been exhibited and reviewed in both regional and national juried shows, and galleries in Western New England and internationally. Website
Rocks I Have Loved
Cape Cod is defined by seas, currents, and shifting shore. Rocks provide a temporary respite, an opportunity to slow to geologic time and escape that restlessness. The sense of place that they allow us is on a scale beyond our own, yet they can be held in the intimacy of a palm.
Lisa Sette works as a biologist on Cape Cod.