July 11 - July 23 2014

Barbara Cohen +9 | Laura Bell & Ian Ganassi | Matt Sesow & Dana Ellyn

Opening Reception: Friday, July 11th, 6-9 pm.

Readings by Ian Ganassi, Bill Berry, Maria Nazos and Hazel Everett on Saturday, July 12 at 7 pm.

Barbara Cohen +9

Venetian Slings

The +9 artists are Midge Batelle, Melanie Braverman, Karen Cappotto, Rebecca Johnson, Maryalice Johnston, MP Landis, Pasquale Natale, Marian Roth, and Tim Winn & Zehra Khan.

On Venetian Slings by Susan Rand Brown

"Much like an alchemist, Barbara E. Cohen is possessed with the ability to take something utilitarian that few see for its aesthetic implications – a vellum ping-pong ball, a woven rag pot holder, a humble, almost colorless slice of Asian cork –and transform the material in hand until what had been overlooked and unacknowledged is reborn into something otherworldly, beautiful and true.

This quest to understand and elevate the formal properties of the near-invisible has much in common with the work of the ancient mathematicians, who found essences in the circle and the square. In art, Cohen’s fidelity to the stripped-down has roots in the work of 20th century minimalists Agnes Martin and Sol Lewitt; she also admires Jean Dubuffet, whose black and white three-dimensional drawings, installed as sculpture on city streets, complete what were empty spaces.

Cohen’s newest series of drawings, paintings and sculptures, “Venetian Slings,” grew from the artist’s residency in Venice during the fall of 2011. As guest of the Emily Harvey Foundation, she traveled to this ancient city of canals inspired by the trailing patterns of boats and waterways under bridges and around islands. She was mesmerized by the appearance of straps, golden in the sunlight, hanging above the Fondamenta della Zattere in Venice’s Dorsoduro, which she describes as “a span of half-open ovals drifting from a thick gold armature.”

Intended for carrying gondolas and handmade crew boats in and out of waters for lifting to nearby docks for storage, these softly looping sculptural forms caught by the breeze became Cohen’s inspiration. “In the heat of the day, the slings blow and glide in a gentle wind; majestic in their beauty, they are just waiting to be filled … to hold, as an act of grace.

“My earlier sculptural work was about embracing forms like boats, cradles and caskets; the sling also has the grace of holding, the mystery of open space being filled up and yet the sling remains open to the elements – it floats and falls into patterns of its own. This is much like my last two installation pieces, where drawings on vellum spheres, placed on a motorized conveyer belt, were set free, like molecules or the oceans, to endlessly recombine; or cut-down pieces of weightless Vietnamese cork, assembled to seem as though they are floating, or settling into grid-like patterns,” Cohen says. “It takes much relaxation to draw a single sling.”

Cohen’s drawings and paintings of Venetian slings transform what she witnessed hanging above the canals into their sculptural essences, more metaphor or Platonic form than tangible object built to contain the rounded bottom of a canal boat. Her paintings of these stripped-down shapes introduce a limited color palette and conjure images of oceans in all their surprising grandeur, variety and unpredictability. Sometimes the loops are pushed to the forefront, giddily riding the waves; at others they recede into a morning fog. Continue to watch Cohen’s website for new images: the artwork, like the artist, is known for pushing boundaries. There always are surprises ahead.

Barbara Cohen received her B.F.A. from Tufts University and the School of Museum of Fine Arts in Boston with earlier studies in art history at Oxford University. She has received numerous grants including the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, the Artists Foundation Mass Fellowship Program, Polaroid Artist Support Program, Blanche E. Colman Award and grants from the Cambridge and Massachusetts Arts Councils. She received an artist’s residency from the Emily Harvey Foundation in Venice, Italy and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Barbara has exhibited her paintings and sculpture in numerous galleries and museums across the country.

Barbara is the author of the current book, Venezia: Essenze, 2013, a series of painted Polaroids of Venice, Italy, published by the Italian editor, Damocle. She is also the author of New York Love Affair, 2010, a collection of painted Polaroids of New York City, and Dog in the Dunes Revisited, 2005, published by Fields Publishing. The original Dog in the Dunes, 1998, a series of painted photographs of her black Labrador, Gabe, set in the dunes of Cape Cod, was published by Andrews McMeel. Provincetown ‘East West’, a selection of her painted Polaroid landscapes of this small seaside town, was published in 2002 by University Press of New England. Her other books include, Woman's Best Friend; A Celebration of Dogs and their Women, 1996, published by Little Brown and Company as well as, Dogs and their Women, 1989, Cats and their Women, 1992, and Horses and their Women, 1993. Website.

Midge Batelle was born and raised in Worcester, Mass. She graduated from Greenfield community college and received a BFA from the Massachusetts College of Art with a concentration in photography. During the past several years Midge has been an active member of the Provincetown Art Association and Museum. Maintaining strong ties to the Provincetown community, Battelle currently resides in Greenfield, Mass.

Melanie Braverman’s visual work was most recently included in the Queer Threads exhibition at the Leslie-Lohman Museum in New York, and is now in the museum’s permanent collection. She is also the author of the poetry collection RED (Perugia Press, 2002), winner of the Publishers Triangle Audre Lorde Poetry Award. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times Sunday Magazine, POETRY, and other journals.

Karen Cappotto is inspired by evidence of the handmade in a world where technology prevails and is known for her distinct way of combining vintage materials. Acting as the creative lead for Peg + Dick Studios here in Provincetown, Karen focuses on hand made one-of-a-kind decoupage glass plates and home accessories. She had also worked as an artist in Ireland, Italy, and Spain. Originally from Syracuse, Karen studied at The School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Boston College, Oxford University, and at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. Her work is in public, private collections including PAAM and has received multiple awards and prizes for her mixed media constructions. Karen was recently awarded joint first prize in the 2010 international Picture Works Competition in Ireland. In March 2011 she was included in a three-person exhibition at the Provincetown Art Association & Museum titled, 'Beyond Surface'. In October 2011 Cappotto received a grant for painting from the LOWF foundation.

Rebecca Johnson studied stone carving in quarries in Vermont, Indiana and Wales. Johnson implements old world methods and techniques combined with contemporary perceptions to convey her ideas about place and environment. Born in 1958 in Tarrytown, New York, Rebecca grew up in Hopewell, New Jersey and moved to Mendocino County in 1997. She received her BFA from Tyler School of Art, Temple University; and a Masters Degree from The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art in Philadelphia. Honors from the British American Arts Council, Fellowship in Wales and two Fellowship Awards from the Pennsylvania Council of the Arts distinguish her career. Selected shows include: the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Museum of American Art, The Institute of Contemporary Art, the Marcus Pfeifer Gallery (New York), the University of Rhode Island, and the Grace Hudson Museum (Ukiah). Public and private commissions include: lithic circles, park entrances, bronze bells, water stones, murals, and statues, which were commissioned by the Leeway Foundation, Tufts University, the AIA Corporation, Material Culture Philadelphia, ABC Home Furnishings (New York), and the Boonville People's Park (California). Teaching experiences include Dartmouth College, Kenyon College, Bucks County College (Pennsylvania), and Camden County College (New Jersey).

Maryalice Johnston received an MFA from Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY, in 1982. She has been in residence at the MacDowell Colony in 1983, and was a Visual Arts Fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown for two consecutive years, 1986 to 1988. Johnston moved to Central New York between the years of 1988 to 1996, where she worked as a teaching artist for Arts in Education. In 1997 she returned to live and work in Provincetown. From 2000 to 2011 Johnston worked as the Visual Arts Program Coordinator at the Fine Arts Work Center. She is a founding and active member of artSTRAND, a Provincetown art gallery owned and operated by seven Cape Cod based artists, a member of the Provincetown Art Association and Museum, and a member of Butter, a group of musicians experimenting with noise and sound. Her work is represented by artSTRAND in Provincetown, MA.

MP Landis's current work is a palimpsest of the processes, materials and emotions of his existence. He has collaborated with musician Tom Abbs, visual artists Michael Sanzone and Les Seifer, writers Nick Flynn and Fred Schmalz, and others. Landis has taught at the summer workshop program at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA. He is a Creative and A&R Consultant for Northern-Spy Records. His work is represented in many private and public collections, including the New York Public Library, the Peabody Essex Museum, the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, the DeCordova Museum, the Naples Museum of Art, and the Provincetown Art Association and Museum. Before moving to Brooklyn in 1996, he lived year-round in Provincetown, MA, and spent his childhood traveling around the world with his Mennonite missionary parents.

Pasquele Natale was born in Boston Massachusetts at the end of the second world war. He did his first art installation with his grandmother Arcangela at the age of 5. This consisted of making fresh pasta on a large round wooden board which they rolled out from behind a bureau in the cold water flat where she lived in Boston's North End. As the pasta was being made by both their hands Pasquale would scatter it gently on white metis sheets which had been placed on three beds. Iron beds, fresh sheets and the smell of the newly made pasta was just the beginnings of his life long love of making. In between was The Museum School of fine Art and the eventual settling of his life in Provincetown Massachusetts as an artist, still making. He lives with his boyfriend David. Pasquale has consistently shown his work in both solo and group exhibitions in Provincetown and throughout the country.

Marian Roth was born in Coney island in 1944. Although as a child she dreamed of making art, she became obsessed with social justice as a teenager in the 50’s and studied political science, earning a PHD in 1968. Her beautiful career as a professor ended in 1973, when her feminist activity lead to her politically motivated and highly charged dismissal. A self-taught photographer and painter, Marian moved to Provincetown in 1982 to live among artists, fulfill her lifelong yearnings, and open her consciousness to the mysteries and joy of living once again at the edge of the Atlantic. Marian has spent the last forty years attempting to express her innermost dreams and feelings through her art. Her pinhole photography—with imagery crafted from tin cans, huts, a travelling van and lately a geodesic dome—has brought her great acclaim. She received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2001 and has received various fellowships and grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council over the last 20 years. Her work has appeared in Eric Renner’s classic “Pinhole Photography”, in various magazines and journals, and a folio of her work was highlighted in “Adventures With Pinhole and Home-Made Cameras” by John Evans. Marian has exhibited internationally and taught widely. She makes her home in Provincetown.

Tim Winn is a multi-media artist based in Provincetown, MA. He has studied at New York University, the Ecole Nationale Superiere des Beaux-Arts in Paris and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where he earned a BFA in photography in 1994. In 2012, Tim received a MFA degree from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. His work was featured in the 2011 Northeast edition of New American Paintings, in the 2011 Boston Young Contemporaries show and is included in the Boston Drawing Project at Carroll and Sons Gallery in Boston. He was an Artist-in-Residence at the Cape Cod National Seashore in 2012. Tim’s collaborative work with artist Zehra Khan is represented by artSTRAND gallery.

Zehra Khan is a multi-disciplinary artist who works in drawing, sculpture, installation, photography and film. A Pakistani-American born in Indonesia, she lived in Europe before moving to the US in 1994. She received a BS from Skidmore College in 2000 and an MFA from the Mass College of Art & Design at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown in 2009. She has exhibited widely, including UMass Amherst, UMass Lowell, Worchester State University, Montgomery College, and the Boston Children’s Museum. She has hosted workshops and lectures at a variety of institutions including the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and Roger Williams University. Zehra was awarded a Massachusetts Cultural Council fellowship in Drawing in 2012, and is a participant of the NYC Drawing Center Viewing Program and the deCordova Museum Corporate Lending Program. She lives and works in Provincetown.

Laura Bell & Ian Ganassi

The Corpses

Laura Bell

"I met poet Ian Ganassi when we were artists-in-residence at the Millay Colony for the Arts. In 2005, we began the collaboration that resulted in the ongoing series ʻThe Corpses’ (the name is taken from the Surrealist game of Exquisite Corpse), a group of collages that started with a half-finished poem and hand-scrawled phrases on a piece of printer paper stained with coffee rings that Ian mailed to me. With each mailing, we added words and images and began new pieces; at any point, either of us could declare a piece finished. At first we assumed that I would contribute visuals and Ian text, but this division soon dissolved.

The Corpses travel to wherever we happen to be. The gathering of materials has become a consuming habit: the street, the studio, basements, and gardens offer up inspiration; poems, drawings, ads, photos, and found objects are joined to paint, ink, crayon, charcoal, and pencil and attached with glue, staples, tape, thread. It’s a visceral process, the anti-Photoshop. “The Corpses turned us into scavengers,” Ian has said. “We ended up trying to get the whole world into them.” A Corpse might travel back and forth many times or make only one circuit before being called finished. Some pieces are minimal, some layered. Some develop themes; others function almost as diaries (a hospital glove, a postcard). Politics, religion, history, and literature make cameo appearances. A note dropped by a stranger may become the starting point for a new Corpse.

Called “joyously Fluxus-like” by Robert Shuster in the Village Voice and described by writer Byron Earhart as “going beyond collaborative to a kind of conspiratorial imagination,” the Corpses have coalesced into almost a decade of conceptual, personal, and material call-and-response. At present there are close to 300 finished Corpses, with a dozen or more usually in transit.

I’ve used collage in my own paintings since 2000; the snapshots embedded in the paint are sometimes prominent, sometimes buried, but always inform the overarching composition, the submerged imagery providing source and undertone. Conceptually, I am absorbed in the alternating collusion and conflict between physical space and time (the photos often bringing a feeling of distance, even nostalgia), specific imagery and painterly gesture, nature and civilization, leaf and junk. There is always in view that pang of meaning, the click of significance — Richard Dreyfuss shaping mashed potatoes in Close Encounters while insisting, “This means something.” Website & Website.

Ian Ganassi

"I have been writing and publishing poetry in literary journals for more than 30 years. Overall, I think I write poetry to change peoples’ minds, in a literal sense—I want the poems to affect the reader almost the way a drug would. Or, to put it another way, I see the poems as incantatory, as casting a spell, rather than as encoded messages that have some lesson, or that try to “make it new” for the sake of making it new. Instead, I want the reader to be mesmerized, enchanted, changed at some non-rational level. In the past 15 or so years my poetry has become more experimental. Part of this change has entailed the use of collage; the collage elements, however, consist mostly of my own writing. I save what I call “good lines from bad poems” and use them as an intuitive way of structuring new poems. I also use a small amount of language from various pre-existing material, such as advertising, Sherlock Holmes, William James, etc. My impulse to initiate the collaborative Corpse series with painter Laura Bell was partly inspired by the collage methods I was using in my poems. I have always been fascinated by collaboration in art forms such as painting and writing, which are usually solo endeavors, and I found myself hungry for something less formal and painstaking than my poems, something that would be more spontaneous. Very quickly after its inception, in 2005, the Corpse series became a much more ambitious and serious project than I had at first imagined. And as a colleague of Laura’s said, “It’s like an ongoing letter between friends. Why stop?”

Ian Ganassi’s poems have appeared and are forthcoming in numerous literary magazines, including Clockhouse, MadHat Annual, Altered Scale, The Moth (Ireland), The Drunken Boat, New American Writing, Warwick Review (UK), Interim, Sawbuck, Map Literary, Folly, and Trickhouse. Ganassi's poem “Blunt Trauma” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and his translations from Virgil’s Aeneid have appeared in New England Review. His book-length collection, Mean Numbers, has been a finalist in several national book competitions. Selected pieces from the Corpse series were shown at Zone Contemporary Art, NYC, in the exhibition “Disciplined Spontaneity,” a historical survey including works by contemporary artists and such antecedents as John Cage and Joseph Beuys. Ian lives in New Haven, Connecticut, where he is a writer, teacher, and percussionist. Website.

Matt Sesow & Dana Ellyn

Fairy Tales & Folklore

Matt Sesow

Born in 1966, Matt Sesow was raised in rural Nebraska while enjoying a normal childhood. On a summer evening when he was eight at an airfield near his home, he was struck by the propeller of a landing airplane. The accident resulted in his left arm being severed and the loss of his left hand. Through the support of his family, Matt’s physical disability was minimized as he was encouraged to participate in a variety of academic and organized sporting events. Eventually he attended and graduated from University with a degree in Computer Information Systems and a professional career with IBM as a software tester.

Without formal art education, Matt Sesow discovered painting as a hobby while working at IBM. In the evenings and on weekends he played with painting and began selling his work to Self-Taught and Outsider art collectors in 1995. Throughout the 1990’s he continued to paint and participate in art exhibitions while working full-time at variety of computer firms including AOL and Netscape. Returning from a stint with the Peace Corps in 1999, Matt began to focus on his love of painting and developing a path to create art full-time.

In 2001, after establishing himself within the art community as a powerfully diverse and independent painter, Matt Sesow retired from his computer career to pursue his art full-time. With the ability to focus entirely on his painting, Sesow exhibited and traveled across the United States while also securing new collectors internationally including significant exhibitions in Spain, France, and Slovenia.

Currently living and painting in Washington, DC, Matt continues to be an independent artist who makes a living by selling his work directly to fans visiting his studio and from his webpage. Website.

Dana Ellyn

Dana Ellyn was born in Brooklyn, New York in the early 1970's and knew she wanted to be a painter before she knew how to tie her own shoes. Dana studied and created art throughout her formative years including scholarly recognition from such well established art institutes as the Center for Creative Youth at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. As well, she received the Congressional art scholarship from the state of Connecticut in 1987 while in high school.

During her pursuit of a degree in fine arts and art history at George Washington University in Washington, DC, Dana secured a job working at the United States Holocaust Museum. Following her graduation she worked as a cartographer and graphic artist and was later employed at a prestigious DC law firm as a computer specialist.

At this stage it appeared that Dana Ellyn had everything an American woman was supposed to want, manicuring her perfect lawn in a suburban gilded cage. Until the day she threw away her Edward Scissorhands shears and walked off to a more purposeful reality. It was a quarterlife journey of relentless self-discovery when she left her corporate job behind in 2001 with her sites set on pursuing her love of painting.

Dana Ellyn constantly questions the established norm, thoughtfully. Careful research and quiet planning are the hallmarks of her style. To enter into the frame of her painting is to dance with the whimsy of metaphor, the playful love of pun partnered with a dangerous wink. That whimsy is also fearless in its searchlight exploration.

She's a woman who left the American dream behind to find her own purpose. Currently living and working in her downtown Washington DC studio, Dana is an independent artist who sells her work directly to people through her website and personal visits to her studio. Website.