BLOOM, etc. by Kevin Harwood

Kevin Harwood’s exhibit “BLOOM, etc” Upstairs at Main Street Arts features a selection of drawings from the artist’s self published Illuminated Magazine, BLOOM, along with watercolor paintings.

Kevin Harwood, "Bloom"

Kevin Harwood, “Bloom”

Harwood’s paintings provide a humorous take on life in the Finger Lakes, riffing on local characters and situations unique to the area.

Kevin Harwood, "Bloom"

Kevin Harwood, “Bloom”

Harwood’s refers to his watercolors as “Haiku watercolors”, because each painting is composed of only three to five brush strokes. These paintings are beautiful because they are so simple.

Kevin Harwood, Haiku Watercolor

Kevin Harwood, Haiku Watercolor

Stop by to see Kevin Harwood’s solo exhibition Upstairs at Main Street Arts! His work will be here through September 27, 2014. You can see more information about exhibitions at Main Street Arts here.

Exhibition Dates: August 5–September 27, 2014

Five Fun Things To Do in Clifton Springs NY

Clifton Springs, the view from the gallery's balcony.

Clifton Springs, the view from the gallery balcony.

Main Street Arts is fortunate to have such a picturesque home in Clifton Springs, New York. It’s a beautiful spot, surrounded by parks and fun shops; the perfect place to spend a quiet afternoon.

One of Clifton Springs' many beautiful parks.

One of Clifton Springs’ many beautiful parks.

There are quite a few gems in Clifton Springs, and we’d like to share with you a few of our favorites…

1. Nima’s Pizzeria
Nima's Pizzeria, Clifton Springs NY

Nima’s Pizzeria, Clifton Springs NY

Nima’s Pizzeria is the best spot for a slice of pizza in town. The staff at Main Street Arts eat there on a weekly basis (At a minimum, possibly more if we’re being honest). Nima’s has been a member of the Clifton Springs community for the past twenty years and is well-deserving of their great reputation for high quality slices at low prices. Stop by for a quick lunch, or just grab a soda or snack for your walk down Main Street. After your lunch drop by Clifton Springs Hardware to pick up an ice cream bar or frozen treat!

18 W Main St, Clifton Springs, NY 14432

2. Explore! The Book Store
Explore! The Book Store. The spot for all of your reading needs in Clifton Springs!

Explore! The Book Store. The spot for all of your reading needs in Clifton Springs!

If you’re a bookworm you’ll want to make a stop in Explore! The Book Store. Selling both new and used books, this Clifton Springs favorite carries contemporary and classic titles. Pick up a book and camp out at one of Clifton Springs’ many beautiful parks. A good book on a sunny bench can be one of the best ways to spend a summer day.

A good book on a sunny day is the best combination.

A good book on a sunny day is the best combination.

18 East Main Street, Clifton Springs, NY 14432

3. The Foster Cottage Museum
The Foster Cottage Museum in Clifton Springs

The Foster Cottage Museum in Clifton Springs

The Foster Cottage Museum is run by the Clifton Springs Historical Society, a group dedicated to preserving community memory and sharing the story of Clifton Springs. Stop by the museum to learn about the village’s origins, the Clifton Springs’ Water Cure, and to see historical images and artifacts. And while you’re in the area, make sure to stop by the Hospital Labyrinth next door.

The Foster Cottage Museum in Clifton Springs, NY

The Foster Cottage Museum in Clifton Springs, NY

9 East Main Street, Clifton Springs, NY 14432

4. Warfield’s Restaurant
Warfield's Restaurant in Clifton Springs

Warfield’s Restaurant in Clifton Springs

One of the most well-known attractions in Clifton Springs, Warfield’s Restaurant is home to some of the most delicious food we’ve ever tasted.

Stop by the Warfield's Bakery for some of their famous freshly baked bread.

Stop by the Warfield’s Bakery for some of their famous freshly baked bread.

Directly across from the gallery, Warfield’s features “a seasonal menu of elegant country fare with Asian and European influences”. Stop by to enjoy a cocktail in the lounge, a pastry from the bakery, or enjoy a delightful meal indoors or in their outdoor seating area overlooking their beautiful English Garden.

Stop by for Warfield's Jazz in the Garden during the summer months.

Stop by for Warfield’s Jazz in the Garden during the summer months.

During the month of August visitors may enjoy Jazz in the Garden, an event held every Wednesday evening.

7 W Main St, Clifton Springs, NY 14432

5. Main Street Arts
Main Street Arts, Clifton Springs

Main Street Arts, Clifton Springs

And last but not least, we invite you to visit our gallery of contemporary art and fine craft, Main Street Arts. Our gallery has over 3,000 square feet of exhibition space, as well as a room for workshops and classes. At Main Street Arts you can expect to see bi-monthly exhibitions in our main gallery space, as well as a gallery store featuring jewelry, ceramics, art prints, and more. Our second floor features four more rooms for solo or group exhibitions, changing every two months.

Main Street Arts, FLORA Exhibition

Main Street Arts, FLORA Exhibition

Visit the exhibitions page for our exhibition schedule, or our visit page to plan a trip to the gallery.

Peter Pincus gave a great artist talk for his solo exhibit, "Sleep, In Spite of the Storm"

Peter Pincus gave a great artist talk for his solo exhibit, “Sleep, In Spite of the Storm”

20 West Main Street, Clifton Springs, NY 14432

We hope you make a visit to Clifton Springs, NY! And let us know if we missed out on any of your favorite spots in the comments.

 

Carl Chiarenza: The Opposite of Concrete

Photographer Carl Chiarenza is one of five artists who will exhibit abstract artwork in our upcoming exhibition at Main Street Arts, The Opposite of Concrete.

Carl Chiarenza, Somerville 10, 1976

Carl Chiarenza, Somerville 10, 1976

Chiarenza recently showed his work at the Rochester Contemporary Art Center as part of their Makers & Mentors exhibit. In an interview for the show, A Conversation with Carl Chiarenza, Carl covers everything from how he began taking photographs to his opinions on the art world’s preoccupation with money.

Carl Chiarenza’s unique perspective on photography, collage, and abstraction itself is one of the strengths of our upcoming exhibition here at Main Street Arts.

Carl Chiarenza, Noumenon 148, 1987

Carl Chiarenza, Noumenon 148, 1987

The Opposite of Concrete features 5 different approaches to making abstract imagery through painting and photography by Carl Chiarenza, Karen Sardisco, Sarah Sutton, Patricia Wilder, and Bradley Butler (gallery director at Main Street Arts).

Carl Chiarenza, Rossini, 2013

Carl Chiarenza, Rossini, 2013

Check our Upcoming Exhibitions page or our Facebook page for updates.

Exhibition Dates: September 6–November 1, 2014

Opening Reception: Saturday, September 6, 2014 from 4 to 7 p.m.

“I Took a Line for a Walk” by Steven Lee Davis

In his solo exhibition of fifteen wood block prints, printmaker Steven Lee Davis considers Paul Klee’s quote, “Drawing is taking  a line for a walk”. “I Took a Line for a Walk” is one of our current exhibits Upstairs at Main Street Arts and runs through September 27th.

Steven Lee Davis, I Took a Line for a Walk, portfolio

Steven Lee Davis, I Took a Line for a Walk, portfolio

Davis’ prints fit right in with our gallery space. Your eye moves left to right, following the print’s transformation from unintelligible marks to elegant plant forms, eventually evolving to what appears to be a human face, and finally dissolving into nothingness.

Steven Lee Davis, I Took a Line for a Walk

Steven Lee Davis, I Took a Line for a Walk

Steven Lee Davis, I Took a Line for a Walk

Steven Lee Davis, I Took a Line for a Walk

These block prints are viewed sequentially, as the connection of a line. Davis says that the process is doodlish in nature, which is evident in the freeness and flexibility of forms in the prints.

Steven Lee Davis

Steven Lee Davis

Steven Lee Davis

Steven Lee Davis

Steven Lee Davis

Steven Lee Davis

Steven Lee Davis

Steven Lee Davis

Stop by to see Steven Lee Davis’ solo exhibition Upstairs at Main Street! His work will be here through September 27, 2014. You can visit Davis’ website here, or see more information about exhibitions at Main Street Arts here.

Exhibition Dates: August 5–September 27, 2014

Felted by Judi Cermak

Canandaigua based artist Judi Cermak is currently holding a solo exhibition, Felted, Upstairs at Main Street Arts.

Judi Cermak, "Blue Bell Island", Needle felting embellished with embroidery

Judi Cermak, “Blue Bell Island”, Needle felting embellished with embroidery

Felted exhibits local and imagined scenes created by needled felting  embellished with embroidery and beading. Cermak’s work ranges from traditional landscapes to more symbolic imagery based on fairy tales.

Judi Cermak, "Night", Needle Felting embellished with embroidery and glass beading

Judi Cermak, “Night”, Needle Felting embellished with embroidery and glass beading

Felted is a show that relies heavily upon textures. The texture of the felt contrasts with the glimmering quality of the beading, which is used to emphasize areas of interest in the images.

Judi Cermak, "Valley Road", Needle felting

Judi Cermak, “Valley Road”, Needle felting

Judi Cermak, "West", Needle felting embellished with embroidery

Judi Cermak, “West”, Needle felting embellished with embroidery

Stop by to see Judi Cermak’s solo exhibition Upstairs at Main Street! Her work will be here through September 27, 2014. You can see more information about exhibitions at Main Street Arts here.

Exhibition Dates: August 5–September 27, 2014

Inside The Artist’s Studio with Samantha Stumpf: Process and Perspective

I’ve recently been  working on tableware for Main Street Arts, exclusively for their new online gallery shop.  I have always enjoyed eating off of handmade dinnerware, it is part of my everyday routine. Each day I get to choose my mug for coffee, my bowl for yogurt and my portion controlled plate for dinner. I enjoy sharing these rituals  with the people who made these pieces.

My kitchen cabinets

In preparing myself for this project, I thought back to a time before I was a ceramic artist. I grew up with mass produced dinnerware that was bland and stackable. My parents dislike the fact that I have mismatched dinnerware; unstackable and chaotic. So, to this day I keep a single place setting of handmade dishes at their house just for when I visit!

I wanted the  series I was making for Main Street Arts to be used everyday and I wanted it to be fun and playful.

Getting started…

To be fair, there are a few mass produced manufacturers that I really do love for what they are.  One of my favorite mass produced dishware manufacturers, which influenced this dinnerware for the gallery is Austrian Gmundner Keramik Ware.

geflammt_mix1

Austrian Gmundner Keramik Ware

I ate off their  everydayware when I worked for potters at Lyon Clay Studio during the start of my ceramic career.  I loved the simplicity of the forms and the fluidity of the brush work. I have always loved mark making and it has been a huge part of my own functional ware.

Main Street Arts dinnerware

Main Street Arts Signature Tableware Series

Soon, you be able to purchase this exclusive series of everyday tableware from the Main Street Arts online gallery shop. Keep following this blog series as well as their social media for updates!

Part One: Inside the Artist’s Studio with Samantha Stumpf: Ongoing Inspiration
Part Three: Inside the Artist’s Studio with Samantha Stumpf: A Little Bit of Process…

A Studio Visit with Sarah Sutton

Sarah Sutton studio visit

“This process of translation creates a loss, distortion and fracture, yet the scrambled image becomes a field of possibilities-cultural hallucinations, and open-ended associations; a kind of visual ‘backmasking’.” — Sarah Sutton


This coming September and October, Main Street Arts will be showing an exhibition of abstract painting and photography called, The Opposite of Concrete. It will feature five artists, each with their own approach to making abstract imagery. The artists featured are: Carl Chiarenza, Karen Sardisco, Sarah Sutton, Patricia Wilder, and Bradley Butler (myself, gallery director).

Sarah Sutton studio visit

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of taking a trip to Ithaca to do a studio visit with Sarah Sutton, one of the painters in the show. You can see a glimpse of some of the work in progress to be included in this exciting upcoming exhibition.

Sarah Sutton studio visit

Watch for Sarah’s Inside The Artist’s Studio posts in the coming weeks to get some insight into her work. Until then, enjoy these images from her studio…

Sarah Sutton studio visit

Inside The Artist’s Studio with Samantha Stumpf: Ongoing Inspiration

Hello, and thank you for checking out my first Inside The Artist’s Studio blog post on the Main Street Arts blog!

I would like to introduce myself…

talking about pots

talking about pots

I am originally from Baltimore Maryland and started working with clay in high school. I was instantly hooked to the material’s responsiveness  to the sense of touch. I knew that I wanted to continue my exploration of this material in college and completed my BFA at Cleveland Institute of Art in 2003. After completing my degree, I worked for local potters in Baltimore until moving to Rochester to complete my MFA in Ceramics at Rochester Institute of Technology, School for American Crafts. After my experience at RIT I began teaching and making work at the Lorton Arts Workhouse in Lorton, Virginia. Then in 2009 I became a resident artist at Genesee Center for Arts and Education which brought me back to Rochester where I continued to make work and teach. After my residency  experience  at Genesee Center I decided to stay in the Rochester area. I have a private studio located in the Susan B. area, downtown. I also currently teach at Genesee Community College, Studio Sales (Avon) and the Genesee Center.

landscapes

Landscapes

I enjoy making both sculptural and functional work. Most of my sculptural work focuses on the forms of action and reaction that occur in natural environment. A sense of simultaneous deconstruction and construction—such as what occurs when a mountain slowly weathers or the way that water erodes a stream bed. Given the primary influence of nature, these pieces can be seen as metaphoric landscapes. I create these clay pieces by exploiting the responsiveness of the clay. I push, pull, and tear the clay in an attempt to create a physical dialogue between myself and the material.

work in progress

Work in progress (for the Main Street Arts online gallery shop)

On the other hand, my functional work is fun and fresh with an attention to detail. I use a wide range of glazes for my color palette and then layer the surface with unique hand painted brush marks. These marks are very fluid and intuitive. I enjoy layering glazes and washes to create contrasts within the glaze surface. I love to use my functional work everyday. I would want you as well to use it everyday. All of my functional works are food, dishwasher, microwave and oven safe.

Look for my Signature Tableware Series in the Main Street Arts Online Gallery Shop soon!

Part Two: Inside the Artist’s Studio with Samantha Stumpf: Process and Perspective
Part Three: Inside the Artist’s Studio with Samantha Stumpf: A Little Bit of Process…

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Peter Pincus: Cracks in the Foundation

Last week I was visited by critic and blog writer Jason.  Sleep, In Spite of the Storm piqued Jason’s interest, so he traveled seven hours to see the show and get down to business.

Jason was able to find the all the technical flaws in my work, as if directly accessing my thoughts.  Some were obvious, though others were nearly invisible.  Jason was the first person to outwardly fixate on those sorts of details.  That fixation, which I celebrate for its clarity and honesty, prompted the following blog post.

The vase on the left leans.  Can you see it?  I do every time I look.

The vase on the left leans. Can you see it? I do every time I look.

An alternate view of the urns in the exhibition

Sorry for the re-post, but these urns also lean. I have to show them in this order, because if I flip them the lean becomes more obvious. I’ve since figured out how to avoid this problem in future works, but these will always remind me.

Makers suffer from the desire to do their best given their mental and physical potential.  Luckily, the mind and hand get better.  But in the wake of learning, there will always be concrete reminders of imperfections and failures in the objects produced.  Here-in lies the two most important questions to the longevity of an artistic career:  When is it appropriate to hold yourself accountable to your flaws?  When is it harmful to do so?

My work is usually misunderstood because of its relative visual refinement.  It is a celebration of color and composition as much as an autobiographical statement through the porcelain vessel, not a celebration of a flashy process or technique.  Having said that, I’ve developed a technique to make possible the aesthetic I’m after and that technique has its inherent limitations and flaws.  When I am alone in my studio, those flaws are the things that slowly eat away at my confidence, pride, and overall emotional stability.

White gold luster is such a pain for me.  It often drips on the raw porcelain and then takes a miracle to remove if I can.  Jason and I talked about this issue for a while

White gold luster is such a pain for me. It often drips on the raw porcelain and then takes a miracle to remove if I can. Jason and I talked about this issue for a while

Sometimes the seams between colors spread.  I assume it is a result of expansion and tension in the kiln.  It is only an eye sore, not a structural thing.  But it irritates me more than any other problem I have.  I stress about it every day.

Sometimes the seams between colors spread. I assume it is a result of expansion and tension in the kiln. It is only an eye sore, not a structural thing. But it irritates me more than any other problem I have. I stress about it every day.

And then the show happens.  All of the things that keep me up at night are not generally noticed.  I’m found enthusiastic but cautious, imagining that I had somehow escaped the public guillotine!!  The successes of the show walk out the door with the crowd and the failures remain with me.  This is unhealthy.

This post isn’t meant to stir depression.  Quite the opposite in fact.  Jason’s ability to personify my conscience gave me the ability to better define the meaning of artistic engagement.  It is not my job to be perfect.  That is the job of industry.  It is my job to engage the material as a soulful pursuit, and yes to achieve the goals I set, but not to drown in small details while missing the big picture.

All of this comes at a time when I announce my new job as Visiting Professor of Ceramics at RIT.  That appointment carries the responsibility of this type of honesty.  If you make things, I guarantee you’ve had the same feelings that are expressed above.  If you want to do this for a living, you must rise above them and enjoy what you do.  Because there is no such thing as a flawless piece of handmade work.  And if there is, would you really want to be it’s author?

Part One: Inside the Artist’s Studio: Introducing Peter Pincus
Part Two: Inside the Artist’s Studio with Peter Pincus: How Long is a Long Time?
Part Three: Inside the Artist’s Studio with Peter Pincus: Centerpiece

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Peter Pincus: Centerpiece

If Sleep, In Spite of the Storm is an exhibition about the intimate relationship, then the two large crematory urns in the middle of the space serve as principal anchors.  This post is about their story.

Peter Pincus' upcoming exhibition, "Sleep, In Spite of the Storm"

The urns installed and photographed in the gallery before any other work was made.

Before any other work was made for this show, I carefully researched, blueprinted, scaled, fabricated, finished, and photographed them in the gallery.  Excessive, right?  Not at all!  They are vessels of spirit that, just like the hand mirror, have a reflective quality for the viewer.  Done right, they oscillate between container, painting, and figure sculpture.  What a job they have.

I intended them to be independent and dependent at the same time.  It started with the form, which took from Sevres Porcelain the idea of symmetric, tight, articulate profile, but stripped the surface of the type of glamorous opulence that defines Sevres.  Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with opulence!  But it would be distracting in this particular vessel.

Photograph taken from http://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/13368797_pair-sevres-style-25-porcelain-cobalt-urns

Photograph taken from http://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/13368797_pair-sevres-style-25-porcelain-cobalt-urns

I designed the forms and lid system and built them in five separate molds.  Having never made such a large slip-cast vessel before, I planned to fire each section separately and then glue the pieces together at the end.  I couldn’t help myself though, I had to cast one in white and see it.  My wife patiently held the sections together at 6am so I could snap an Instagram photo.

The urn in early morning white.

The urn in early morning white.

I planned to have their surfaces reference Josef Albers, whose theories on color routinely find their way into my work.  I cast one urn in white and the other in black, and composed identical gradients of vertical stripes from white to black on their bellies, leaving a gray rectangle centered on the white and black stripe of each piece.  This is a carbon copy of chapter IV from Albers’ Interaction of Color, “A color has many faces—the relativity of color.”

Not the greatest example, but you get the point.  Taken from http://joshsmilingskull.wordpress.com/2011/04/01/albers-exercises/

Not the greatest example, but you get the point. Taken from http://joshsmilingskull.wordpress.com/2011/04/01/albers-exercises/

Urns in  process.

Urns in process.

When installed, the stripes are turned opposite each other, forcing the gray rectangles to show different faces; lighter on black and darker on white.  Thus the appearance of independence. But, if you separate them the phenomenon doesn’t work. So, they become very dependent on each other to maintain their individuality.

An alternate view of the urns in the exhibition

An alternate view of the urns in the exhibition

An alternate view of the urns in the exhibition

Part One: Inside the Artist’s Studio: Introducing Peter Pincus
Part Two: Inside the Artist’s Studio with Peter Pincus: How Long is a Long Time?
Part Four: Inside the Artist’s Studio with Peter Pincus: Cracks in the Foundation