Tag Archives: Main Street Arts

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Matt Duquette

Matt Duquette

Matt Duquette

Being a 40-year-old commercial artist and graphic designer, gallery work has always been an idea in the back of my mind. I haven’t dedicated much effort to painting and showing because most of my creative energies are spent in the day-to-day of a design and illustration studio in Buffalo, NY. The gallery seems to be an allusive place where I’m required to be extroverted and share my thoughts and experiences. It does, however, offer an opportunity to create something purely for my own, with materials that allow for exploration.

While in school at RIT, I began to develop a loose, painterly style because I liked to convey action or even emotion of the moment. I was leaning more towards candid portraiture since most of my interests laid in music and sports. In 2000 I attended The School of Visual Art (SVA) in New York City to further develop my visual storytelling. Here, I began to include collaged elements—paper, photos, notes—to help explain the storyline and add visual texture.

Mixed media work from early 2000's

Mixed media work from early 2000′s

Many of my older paintings focused on personal life experiences or at least followed a surreal storytelling approach and almost always involved a figure. I was exploring concepts of home and family, along with the stresses of caring for an ill parent.

Matt Duquette

Figurative work “A New Day” & “Homesick”

A few years ago, after taking some time off from painting, I began drawing the chickens we raising on our small farm. It started merely as an exercise in making art, but I rather enjoyed it because there wasn’t much thought involved. I just drew pictures that I wanted to draw. That experiment has since sparked a number of paintings and drawings, and a new excitement which has allowed me to focus on style. I also get to talk about my chickens.

Matt Duquette

Chicken portraits

The series I worked on for the Dream State show a came at a time when my wife had just experienced a guided meditation dream involving an owl. Even before the show I knew that I wanted to do some type of bird interaction so it was perfect timing. Owl dreams have so many interpretations, but I did the best I could to remain close to her experience. The focus, of course, was the majestic owl guide in a outer space-like atmosphere.

Matt Duquette

Process detail

I’m most comfortable with acrylic paint because it’s fast drying, easy to control, and easy to clean up. It works well with collaged elements and layering of drawings. I typically work with washes of color to build the forms but quickly move to a dry brush technique to layer on the paint. I like to mix the color on the surface, so many times I’ll just use paint straight from the tube. For sometime I’ve used basically the same 6 colors: black, raw umber, burnt sienna, yellow ochre, pthalo blue, and gesso as my white. I only have 3–4 brushes that I’m comfortable using so I try to make it work with what little I have. Again, I would not classify myself as a fine artist.

Matt Duquette

Materials used for painting

You can view more of my personal artwork at mattduquette.com or follow my art and farming adventures on the Instagrams @matt12grain. Thanks for looking!


Five paintings by Matt Duquette can be seen in Dream State, on display through February 16, 2018. The exhibition also features photographs by Bill Finger (Seattle, WA), sculpture by Carrianne Hendrickson (Rochester, NY), and paintings by Lin Price (Ithaca, NY). Work from the exhibition can be previewed and purchased online. 

Meet the Artist in Residence: Kelly Clare

Kelly Clare is one of the current artists in residence at Main Street Arts. She will be working out one of the studio spaces in the gallery during the months of January and February 2018. We asked Kelly a few questions about her work and studio practice. 

Kelly Clare

Kelly Clare

Q: Tell us about your background
Right now I live in Benzie County, the smallest county in Michigan. It has only one full stoplight. Midwinter, there’s a frozen turkey bowling tournament on the ice, right out on the lake. I studied both creative writing and art at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, where there is also a lot of ice, but more stoplights, and an incredibly generous group of faculty and students. I spent the last year there as a Post Baccalaureate Fellow managing a letterpress shop.

tork, woodblock, 2 x 3, 2017

tork, woodblock, 2 x 3, 2017

Q: How would you describe your work?
Most of my work pursues a longer predicament. In thinking about language, for example, I often struggle with its collective nature—how can I use “carpet” when senators are suggesting “carpet bombing”; what do I do when the thing I love is used in both impossibly kind and impossibly cruel ways, and what is my responsibility as a participant in this human project.

from RAW DREADFUL CRAZE, 2016, an installation. Each word of a speech given by then potential Republican nominee Ted Cruz was affixed to a pin. Over the course of a few days, participants were asked to reorder words, allowed to reinstall and possibly salvage the language anywhere they’d like.

from RAW DREADFUL CRAZE, 2016, an installation. Each word of a speech given by then potential Republican nominee Ted Cruz was affixed to a pin. Over the course of a few days, participants were asked to reorder words, allowed to reinstall and possibly salvage the language anywhere they’d like.

08_Clare

At the same time, words have a physical, tangible echo to them when they’re spoken, drawn, molded out of lead, poured out in pancake batter. We absorb their vibrations, eat them as crackers, rearrange them so please gets to be elapse and asleep. There’s something playful there, but also almost holy. A pile of pretzels gets to be wheat and salt—miraculously harvested, ground up, cooked in giant ovens, packaged and shipped worldwide—but at the same time spells out I was and I was / whirling feathers, either bird — / Every hunger / is first century, lines from “Keats is Coughing” by Marianne Boruch. The shape gets to be two things, many things, at once.

Thank you, Grace Paley, installation, 2017

Thank you, Grace Paley, installation, 2017

To my mind, a lot of my work is built on a sort of serious play. Often, even when I’m not thinking about language, about the anagram, I’m invoking that sort of endless possible undo and redo in whatever medium I’m holding onto—printmaking, the essay, installations, sculpture, fibers, drawing, the poem. And I think, as an artist, I’m still getting my legs. I hope to spend most of my life getting my hands dirty like this.

here’s to you, charlotte the sky, 2017

here’s to you, charlotte the sky, 2017

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?
I don’t know if I have a single, stable process. I show up, I think, mostly, or I try to. Some of my work functions in response to some long, articulable thought, something I can point to and say this anchorable fact is what I’ve been circling around all this time. Some of my work, especially more recent sculptures and drawings, come from impulse. Which isn’t to say they’re not deeply grounded in experience and gathered thought, but they’re much harder to talk about. I can tell you what paint, what sweater, what piece of wood, where the dirt came from, and I could sit with you for a very long time sorting through what the piece is doing successfully or unsuccessfully. I think there is more than one way to cross a river, and sometimes you’re tunneling underneath.

you wouldn't stop glowing, 2017

you wouldn’t stop glowing, 2017

Q: Who are your favorite artists and why?
The list is very long, and includes just as many writers as artists. Mary Ruefle, Eula Biss, and Marilynne Robinson have all been essential in shaping how I think of the world—there’s this thoroughness, integrity, and sometimes delight there in those essays and novels. And I have loved too many poets to name. Ralph Angel, Marianne Boruch, Heather Christle, Carl Phillips. James Tate. C.D. Wright. I feel like I’m writing a thank you note and forgetting everyone. I mean, I wouldn’t be myself without a whole summer of just reading Carole Maso. Or the time I’ve spent listening to Lorrie Moore, Don Delilo, Grace Paley. Not to mention my incredible friends and the faculty I’ve worked with.

straggler, 2016

straggler, 2016

It’s the same with artists. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about Jen Bervin and Ann Hamilton’s respective bodies of work, their longer thoughts. I love Nina Katchadourian, Sarah Sze, Jessica Stockholder. I love Pedro Reyes piece, Palas por Pistolas, which I think is a brilliant instance of material transformation. The Fluxus movement and Rirkrit Tiravanija’s pad thai. Doris Salcedo, and Cathy Park Hong’s essay responding to her retrospective.

Everyone I gravitate towards thinks along different lines, but throughout there’s a longer, insistent pressure in their work, even when it’s incredibly playful. And I often think of them speaking to each other, across discipline, time, distance, movement. If you asked, I would draw you a little map.

The Work Is / The New York Times, 2015. Print project encompassing the entirety of one copy of the October 11, 2015 edition of the New York Times. After blackout poems were made from the news articles, the newspaper itself was shredded and remade into over 90 small booklets. Each booklet was printed with the blackout poems.

The Work Is / The New York Times, 2015. Print project encompassing the entirety of one copy of the October 11, 2015 edition of the New York Times. After blackout poems were made from the news articles, the newspaper itself was shredded and remade into over 90 small booklets. Each booklet was printed with the blackout poems.

Q: What are your goals for this residency?
I have a few threads I’ve been working on lately, playing with tactility and language, and I hope to stage an installation or two. I would like to continue my reading, drawing, and writing practices, but more than anything else I’m going to try to give myself permission to throw my efforts into serious play, into following the idea, the object, wherever it takes me. To listen in, and hard.

sprint / spring, 2017

sprint / spring, 2017

Q: What’s next for you?
After another summer in Northern Michigan, I hope to settle into an MFA program, fingers crossed.

 Q: Where else can we find you?
kellyclare.weebly.com


Kelly is leading two workshops during her residency at Main Street Arts: paper marbling on Saturday, January 20  and Japanese stab binding on Saturday, February 17. Sign up through the online gallery shop

Meet the Artist in Residence: Jane Waggoner Deschner 

Jane Waggoner Deschner

Q: Tell us about your background.
I grew up in Lawrence, Kansas, and moved to Montana 40 years ago. At the University of Kansas I studied urban geography (the only spatially-based social science). All my life I’d made things but being an artist scared me. After a few years in Montana I enrolled in an art class at the university. Over the next 7 years and through a divorce, I earned a second BA, this time in art. Photomontage emerged as my medium. In 2000 I decided I wanted to make “better” art so applied to and was accepted at Vermont College of Fine Arts, a low residency MFA program. Though it was a challenge to get from one obscure location to another twice a year, it was the perfect program for me. I earned my MFA in 2002 and my medium became the vernacular photograph.

Q: How would you describe your work?
When vernacular photographs became my medium at the end of grad school, I made large archival photo prints from scanned snapshots (anonymous family photographs) manipulated in Photoshop.

"from the underneath series (beach, sailboat)" 2007, 17 x 28 inches, archival print

“from the underneath series (beach, sailboat)”
2007, 17 x 28 inches, archival print

In 2007, fatigued by hours at the keyboard, I began hand-embroidering quotes into studio portraits. Adding famous persons’ words to vernacular images, I could ventriloquize thoughts my aging, maternal (increasingly opinionated) self wanted to express.

"from the maxim series (Wayne, pony, girl)" 2007, 7 x 5 inches, hand-embroidered found photograph collection of Marcie Rae McDade

“from the maxim series (Wayne, pony, girl)”
2007, 7 x 5 inches, hand-embroidered found photograph
collection of Marcie Rae McDade

Later I also added illustrative drawings and collaged images to my work.

"from the symbol series (Superman, goofy boy)" 2009, 11 x 12 inches, hand-embroidered found photographs

“from the symbol series (Superman, goofy boy)”
2009, 11 x 12 inches, hand-embroidered found photographs

"from the resilience series (Horne, I'm me)" 2011, 17 x 23 inches, hand-embroidered found photographs

“from the resilience series (Horne, I’m me)”
2011, 17 x 23 inches, hand-embroidered found photographs
collection of Tom Jones

Stitching by hand is a laborious, time-consuming process that provides me a satisfying, meditative intimacy with these mechanically-captured moments of unknown people’s lives.

"from the maxim series (Leger, beautiful)" front & back views 2011, 10 x 8 inches, hand-embroidered found studio portrait

“from the maxim series (Leger, beautiful)”
front & back views
2011, 10 x 8 inches, hand-embroidered found studio portrait

"from the vanitas series (Madonna)" 2016, 18 x 25 inches, hand-embroidered found photographs

“from the vanitas series (Madonna)”
2016, 18 x 25 inches, hand-embroidered found photographs, glass beads and holy cards

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?
I’ve amassed an archive of ±65,000 vernacular photos, mostly snapshots and studio portraits, but some news photos and movie promo shots. I collect quotes from famous and ordinary people. I start with either a photo I’m attracted to or a quotation (or image) that resonates with me, then find its counterpart. I scan the photo then typeset the words or make a drawing in Photoshop. I tape the printed pattern over the photo; then poke holes that I later stitch through. 

Q: Do you have a job other than making art? 
I have lots of jobs and all are art-related. I also work as an exhibition installer, graphic designer, photographer, instructor, curator and picture framer.

Q: What are your goals for this residency?
WHAT: Since fall 2015 the primary thing I’ve been working on is a combinatorial project, “Remember me: a collective narrative in found words and photographs.”  “Remember me” integrates vernacular photographs with statements culled from family/friend-written obituaries.

To date, I’ve completed over #350 separate anecdotal pieces,

"Remember me: a collective narrative in found words and photogrphs" 2015–2017, sampling of pieces

“Remember me: a collective narrative in found words and photogrphs”
2015–2017, sampling of anecdotal pieces

a dozen group “motto” pieces,

"Remember me: motto (Golden Rule, Mike, Isabel, Jose, Ruth)" 2017, 14 x 20 inches, hand-embroidered Muralcraft Studios proofs

“Remember me: motto (Golden Rule, Mike, Isabel, Jose, Ruth)”
2017, 14 x 20 inches, hand-embroidered Muralcraft Studios proofs

and an “avid” diptych.

"Remember me (avid)" diptych 2017, each piece 25 x 31 inches, hand-embroidered studio proofs

“Remember me (avid)” diptych
2017, each piece 25 x 31 inches, hand-embroidered studio proofs

"Remember me (avid)" detail

“Remember me (avid)” detail

I’m currently working on a new piece to add to my “garment series,” an adult-size bowling shirt of stitched together snapshots that will be embroidered with #300 nicknames.

"from the garment series (t-shirt, school kids)" 2012, 19 x 22 x 2 inches, hand-embroidered found school portraits

“from the garment series (t-shirt, school kids)”
2012, 19 x 25 x 2 inches, hand-embroidered found school portraits

WHY: Obituaries and vernacular photographs have much in common. Both synopsize universal human experiences — loving, living, making and keeping memories ­— and were created for personal use. While each is unique, they are generic as virtually everyone has the same life goals, aspirations, accomplishments, hopes, dreams, desires.  Hand-embroidering text into photos intimately merges the two. The photos “read” the texts and vice versa, teasing pretension, tragi-comedy and profound truths about the human condition from sentimental artifacts.

"Remember me (JMT [MA])" 2017, 9 x 7 inches, hand-embroidered found studio portrait

“Remember me (JMT [MA])”
2017, 9 x 7 inches, hand-embroidered found studio portrait
“She was a woman who had seen 98 years of changes, but a woman becoming President was the one change she realized she would never be able to witness.”

This project, ultimately, intimately, illustrates our collective narrative. And in so doing, importantly reminds us, in this acrimonious age, of our commonalities. 

GOAL: To continue exploring the possibilities—following the tangents—I keep discovering as I expand this project (which continues to bring me joy everyday). 

Q: Who inspires you and why?
I’m continually inspired (and heartened) by the anonymous people I see in the photos I’ve collected and whose anecdotes I’ve found in obituaries.

Q: What type of music do you listen to? How does music affect your artwork?
I don’t listen to music when I work. When I made photomontages, I would distract my conscious mind by listening to TV soap operas (“General Hospital” and “One Life to Live”). These days while I poke holes or stitch, I find serial shows to stream. Having ongoing characters and story lines allows me to follow the “action” by only occasionally looking up at the screen. Also I’m still in the story when my mind wanders. I’m down to the last three episodes of “Prisoner in Cell Block H,” a 692-episode Australian soap opera from the early 1980s that takes place in a women’s prison. It’s wonderful!

H

Q: What was your experience like at art school?
Grad school changed my art life. The Montana city I live in just recently exceeded 100,000 inhabitants and continues to be the largest city for 500 miles in any direction. For art and culture, it’s an isolating place to be from. VCFA is a low-residency, self-directed program in which both the faculty and the students come from across the US twice a year for an intense week. My horizons expanded, both personally and professionally. I learned to think more critically and, as a result, came out making better art. The ways I was taught to think and learn continue to serve me well. “Remember me” in many ways circles back to the combinatorial collaborative project I did as my senior thesis exhibit, “The Anchor Project.”

Q: Do you collect anything?
My most extensive collection is found photographs. They sit around my studio in ±100 6 qt. plastic storage boxes; ±50 3” looseleaf notebooks; 34 4” x 6” photo albums; and various stacks, piles and boxes. Every day I write anecdotes I find in obits on 3 x 5 inch index cards. I now have some great ones from all 50 US states and most Canadian provinces.

I also collect found pencils, poultry wishbones, Dia de los Muertos artifacts, desiccant packets, run-over bottle caps, pressed souvenir pennies, McDonald’s collectable glass mugs (Batman Forever and Flintstones) and have a growing number of my own artworks in the storage closet.

Dia

Dia de los Muertos collection

Q: What is the most useful tool in your studio?
My two pairs of eyeglasses (trifocals and computer glasses). But I couldn’t make art without my 27” iMac, photo scanner, laser printer, Scotch Magic tape and homemade hole poker.

Q: What advice would you give to other artists?
The best advice I ever received was midway through grad school when one of my advisors said, “When you know why you choose the images you choose, you can choose more and better.”

Q: What’s next for you?
“Remember me” will be the centerpiece in a solo exhibition of my work with found photos at the University of Michigan–Dearborn in 2018. I’m exploring book possibilities and looking for other exhibition opportunities.

Q: Where else can we find you?
www.janedeschner.com www.facebook.com/jane.deschner www.facebook.com/janewaggonerdeschner/ www.instagram.com/janedeschner1/

Inside The Artist’s Studio with Colleen Pendry: What it means to be a Hybrid Artist

For the artist, the process of “making” may appear aloof. We are independent thinkers, and for the most part are reserved. We pride ourselves in our separateness, however, we, or at least I, find great energy in the overall closeness we have with others through the sharing of our work.

Over the past 50 years, my work has taken on many forms. From copying “how to be an artist” matchbook covers when I was kid, to watercolor painting in the early seventies to oils and pastels in the eighties. In those early years my work was primarily seated in a two-dimensional realm, but, I always thought there was something missing. My aesthetic conversation seemed to be stifled…nothing more to say on a flat surface. The pretty pictures were simply that…pretty…lacking content and an extended dialogue.

Little did I know how growing up in the 1960′s, would truly impact my work. As history continued to repeat itself in the art world, I could see the same happening in my own work. The regurgitation of memory and materials, over and over again, began emerging as a relentless new discourse. Multiplicity, multiplicity, multiplicity.

Testimonial IV (2011) mixed media on acrylic panel

Testimonial IV (2011) mixed media on acrylic panel

Testimonial I (2011) mixed media on acrylic panel

Testimonial I (2011) mixed media on acrylic panel

My work made a significant departure from painting throughout the nineties when I began to merge genres and combine disparate materials and techniques. From a metaphorical standpoint this was the perfect path in pushing not only the making process, but  content as well. “There is a story to be told”, my mother always reminded me, and “you just need to find a way to tell it.”

As painting began to be pushed off the wall and then stripped totally from a traditional gallery installation, the dialogue changed, becoming compelling in both form and intent.

If This Wall Could Talk (2012) mixed media and light

If This Wall Could Talk  (2012) mixed media and light

 A Room with a View (2012) mixed media installation

A Room with a View (2012) mixed media installation

If you visit my studio you will find a great deal of stuff as I continue to embrace this new identity. I have found these collections of nothing a relevant source of material in most of my work and an endless reflection of the stuff in my head. This following series of small narratives, which had been brewing for quite some time, emerged from the studio in a most unexpected way.

In this series titled Where Have All the Flowers Gone, my intent was not to reveal any conclusions, but, force an inquisition, and open ended conversation about concepts relating to objectivity, political correctness, preciousness, humility and humanity. Underlying themes are complex and uncomfortable and meaning is uncertain. This particular work can be described as an intellectual layering by way of circumstance. Captured on shelves and in pristine plastic boxes familiar objects appear tangible yet illusive. Juxtaposed with the silhouette, memory becomes a source of meaning, albeit complicated and skewed. This circumstantial evidence, left to its own devices, has the potential to elicit from viewers the unexpected.

Because You're Worth It (2017) Gelatin capsules, silhouette, Barbie, wire, acrylic

Because You’re Worth It (2017)
Gelatin capsules, silhouette, Barbie, wire, acrylic

In a Heartbeat (2017) Shell casings, pedestal, silhouette, American Flag, toy gun,barbed wire, acrylic

In a Heartbeat (2017)
Shell casings, pedestal, silhouette, American Flag, toy gun, barbed wire, acrylic

First Responders (2017) Ashes, silhouette, Bible, Koran, ribbon, acrylic

First Responders (2017)
Ashes, silhouette, Bible, Koran, ribbon, acrylic

See Jane Run (2017) Doll parts, silhouette, Mary Jane shoes, acrylic *Where Have All the Flowers Gone – photography by Jeremy Leadbetter

See Jane Run (2017)
Doll parts, silhouette, Mary Jane shoes, acrylic
*Where Have All the Flowers Gone – photography by Jeremy Leadbetter

From this series came the work currently in the Small Works Exhibition at Main Street Arts.

Nature/Nurture (2017) Cicadidae shell, paper, beeswax, pedestal, silhouette, gold bands, string, acrylic

Nature/Nurture (2017)
Cicadidae shell, paper, beeswax, pedestal, silhouette, gold bands, string, acrylic

Nature/Nurture - detail

Nature/Nurture – detail

Nature:Nurture (2017) Cicadidae shells, handmade paper, crushed wasp next, baling twine, Swarovski crystal, synthetic pearl (collectively)

Nature:Nurture (2017)
Cicadidae shells, handmade paper, crushed wasp next, baling twine, Swarovski crystal, synthetic pearl (collectively)

As an homage to the wondrous images of Robert Mapplethorpe and the eternal debate of nature vs nurture, these works continue. The juxtaposition of form and content seem contradictory…makes sense I think.

Nature:Nurture IV Cicadidae shell, handmade paper, silver thread, silver beads

Nature:Nurture IV (2017)
Cicadidae shell, handmade paper, silver thread, silver beads

Nature:Nurture V (2017) Cicadidae shell, handmade paper, snakeskin

Nature:Nurture V (2017)
Cicadidae shell, handmade paper, snakeskin

Nature:Nurture VI (2017) Cicadidae shell, handmade paper, snake skin head

Nature:Nurture VI (2017)
Cicadidae shell, handmade paper, snake skin head

Thank you to Main Street Arts for the opportunity to share this work. I am truly grateful.

Colleen Pendry


Three of Colleen’s “Nature:Nurture” pieces are currently on display in Main Street Arts’ fourth annual “Small Works” exhibition (juried by Cory E. Card, former curator at View Arts Center in Old Forge, NY). The exhibition runs through January 4, 2018 and can be previewed onlinestore.mainstreetartsgallery.com

 

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Hedy Yang

I am a 21 year old artist at Michigan State University, majoring in ceramics and minoring in entrepreneurship. I started a small business in college, and plan on growing it after I graduate in May of 2018.

Photo

Photo credit: Mackenzie Bogema

Believe it or not, my career as an artist started pretty unintentionally. My high school required that we take a certain number of art classes in order to graduate, so I decided that ceramics seemed like the most interesting of the available options. Little did I know, I would fall in love and it would become my passion.

IMG_4737

IMG_6136

It was the summer before my junior year that I really found my niche. I had always been interested in elements of nature; marble, crystals, rocks and the endless interesting textures you can find. It seemed like in the last year or two, marble has become a very glamorous material. It’s often associated with class and luxury, due to it’s high price.

Every girl at school had a marble laptop case, phone case, or something to that effect. I was definitely one of those people as well, and I wanted to figure out how to make classy, chic looking pottery that imitated marble. I discovered the bubble glazing technique through a fellow artist, Robert Crisp, at the studio I attended. After a few rounds of testing, I started posting pictures and videos of my process and results online that became somewhat viral. My work has been shared by major Facebook accounts such as InsiderArt, Buzzfeed, Elle Décor, and many more.

IMG_4893  IMG_4904

Here is a photo of my process; I use a small container filled with glaze, drizzle a few drops of dish soap in it, and blow with a straw. When that mixture bubbles up over the edge of the container and pops against the piece, you are left with a crisp outline of those glaze bubbles, which mimic the veining in marble.

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All my pieces are thrown and textured with precision, while the glazing part of my process brings a lot of uncertainty in the color and shapes. It took me over a year to finally feel like I was close to getting the hang of “bubbleglazing”, where I could feel consistently pleased with the results I was getting. With a lot of trial and error I was able to introduce other colors to create an entirely different style, and I plan to continue innovating and growing my style.

You can find more information about me and my work on Instagram , Facebook , or at my website


Two of Hedy’s cups are included in our national juried exhibition of drinking vessels, “The Cup, The Mug” (juried by Peter Pincus, educator and ceramic artist from Rochester, N.Y. Preview and purchase work from the exhibition through January 4, 2018: store.mainstreetartsgallery.com

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Jaime Gaiti

My interest in making art has been prevalent throughout my life. Even as a young child I always enjoyed making small objects, drawings, and collages.  I can even remember one of my elementary school art teachers, very matter of factly, stating that I would be an artist one day.  I was born and raised in Ronkonkoma, New York, a town in the center of Long Island.  After graduating high school, I attended Suffolk County Community College on and off for a few years where I discovered how interested I truly was in pursuing art school.

Gaiti working on her BFA thesis in her studio

Jaime working on her BFA thesis in her studio

When I began my academic career at Suffolk, I was interested in ceramics and by the time I left I had decided to major in sculpture, which led me to apply to the Maine College of Art in Portland, Maine in 2014. By 2016, I had graduated from MECA with my BFA in Sculpture. At MECA I had access to countless new materials and techniques that I used to develop my work including, metal smithing, mold making, welding, and fabrication.

An image of Gaiti's studio at MECA

An image of Jaime’s studio at MECA

My work has always centered around the human body and some of my own intimate, personal experiences and struggles. One of these early pieces, Contact Comfort, was created by using plaster bandages to create casts of my own body that were assembled to abstract the form, as well as chicken wire to create the underlying structure of the piece. I made this piece with the idea of human’s inherent need for physical contact and the need to be loved and cared for. At this point, the inherent fragility of the human body and life became a prevalent theme for my work. Personally, I was experiencing a relationship in which I felt myself separating while feeling like the other person was becoming increasingly dependent.

"Contact Comfort," 2015

“Contact Comfort,” 2015

As I further developed my work, I began to abstract the human form and focus in on the grotesque qualities of the body as I became less interested in portraying the body as solidly as I had in previous work, like Contact Comfort.  I became interested in the simultaneous presence of the grotesque and  beauty in the human body and how I could create forms that were  repulsive, uncomfortable, and familiar. This body of work began with Human, which is included in the Small Works exhibition, and began the development of my thesis project.

Detail of "Human," 2016

Detail of “Human,” 2016

Through this body of work, I aimed to create a sense of discomfort and familiarity for my audience; they are able to make connections to the work by relating it to their own bodies. I began to focus and draw inspiration from my own experiences with life and death, including the death of my mother in 2014. I created this work in an effort to answer questions about the fragility and complexities of life and death by confronting people with the delicate and impermanent nature of their own lives.  I began to explore the effects of being faced with the realization of one’s own mortality, the limitations of flesh, and anxieties about the body’s inevitable decay.

"Bound in Flesh, Time, and Place," 2016

“Bound in Flesh, Time, and Place,” 2016

My thesis work, Bound in Flesh, Time, and Place, became the culmination of this body of work.  It also served as an extremely cathartic process for me as I navigated through my experiences during the first 2 years after my mother’s death, and could feel a sense of closure after this work allowed me to convey all of the emotions I had felt but was unable to put into words.

Since graduation and the completion of my thesis, I have been working towards my next body of work with a series of studies of flesh and contrasting materials.  The human body and its grotesque qualities have become sort of the base focus of my work, however, I have been interested on the idea of heirloom objects and memory as things that remain as a source of comfort.  Having moved back to my childhood home in Ronkonkoma, after living in Portland for the past few years, it has been inspiring to be in such a familiar place with a new perspective and understanding.  I am looking forward to the development of this work and being able to share it with others.

"Vulnerability 1," 2017

“Vulnerability 1,” 2017

"Untitled Ring," 2016

“Untitled Ring,” 2016

To see more of my work you can visit my website: jgaiti.wixsite.com/jaimegaiti


“Human 1–5″ is currently on display in Main Street Arts’ fourth annual “Small Works” exhibition (juried by Cory E. Card, former curator at View Arts Center in Old Forge, NY). The exhibition runs through January 4, 2018 and can be previewed onlinestore.mainstreetartsgallery.com

From The Director: End of 2017 Edition

The last exhibition of 2017, "Small Works"

The last exhibition of 2017, “Small Works”

It’s the end of the year, so naturally we are getting into a reflective mood and reminiscing about all of the great things that happened at the gallery in 2017. This is also a time when we start to get really excited about new things on the horizon in the year to come. If you are thinking to yourself right now, “I wish I could look back at 2017 with Main Street Arts and see some of the exciting things coming up in 2018″, well you are in luck! Keep reading!

Top: Multifaceted, jewelry exhibition; Middle: Re-emerging artists: John Greene and Robert Marx; Bottom: Sacred Curiosities

2017 Exhibition Highlights – Top: Multifaceted, An exhibition of fine jewelry; Middle: Artist talk with John Greene and Robert Marx during Re-emerging Artists; Bottom: Sacred Curiosities

This year, we hosted  fifteen exhibitions on two floors including artwork by a total of 246 artists. Through five solo exhibitions, three two-person shows, four group invitationals, and three national juried exhibitions, we presented a variety of media and artistic perspectives over the course of the year. Highlights for me include hanging jewelry on the wall, hosting an exhibition featuring two artists with over 100 years combined art making experience, and an exhibition based on found objects.

2017 Finger Lakes Regional Student Painting Competition: Self Portraits

2017 Finger Lakes Regional Student Painting Competition: Self Portraits

We also held the 4th annual Finger Lakes Regional Student Painting Competition, which featured 5×7 self portraits by 203 student artists in grades 6 through 12 from 10 area school districts.

May/June, 2017 Artist in Residence, Nick LaTona

May/June, 2017 Artist in Residence, Nick LaTona

Our artist residency program, now well into it’s second year of existence, has been an exciting and meaningful addition to Main Street Arts. This year, we welcomed 18 different artists into our community, including our first ceramic artist in residence, Mandy Ranck, providing them the time and space to focus on making their art. We had artists from the Finger Lakes/Rochester areas; Brooklyn, NY; Staten Island, NY; Jersey City, NJ; Lenox, MA; Phoenix, AZ; and Austin, TX.

2017 Workshop Highlights – In order from top left to bottom right: The Beauty of Small with Cathy Gordon; Printmaking with Chas Davis; students from Penn Yan Academy on a field trip to the gallery making Collage/Assemblage pieces; Encaustic Collage with Ali Herrmann

2017 Workshop Highlights – In order from top left to bottom right: The Beauty of Small with Cathy Gordon; Printmaking with Chas Davis; students from Penn Yan Academy on a field trip to Main Street Arts, making Collage/Assemblage pieces; Encaustic Collage with Ali Herrmann

Artists in residence have the opportunity to teach workshops during their stay at the gallery. In 2017, we ran workshops with 7 of our artists in residence in the following media: ceramics, embroidery, encaustic wax, painting, printmaking, and mixed-media collage. We also offered several workshops in jewelry making and fiber arts with a handful of regional artists as the instructors.

Artist Talks

2017 Event Highlights – Top: Upstate NY Painting Invitational Artist Talk; Bottom, left to right: Sketch session with Andy Reddout and Genine Carvalheira-Geman; Artist talk with John Greene and Robert Marx; and Tintype Demo with John Coffer.

In addition to showcasing the artwork of great artists, we sometimes also ask them to come to the gallery to talk about their work. This year, we hosted artist talks with Robert Marx and John Greene in April in conjunction with their Re-emerging Artists exhibition, Genine Carvalheira-Gehman and Andy Reddout in March for their exhibition of sketchbooks on our second floor, along with a talk with 7 of the painters featured in the Upstate New York Painting Invitational in September. We also invited nationally-known tintype photographer, John Coffer to do a demo here in March as part of the Alternative Process Photography exhibition.

Students and their art teacher, Sherry Blanco during their field trip in October

Penn Yan students and their art teacher, Sherry Blanco during their field trip in October

In October, we also had a group of 15 art students from Penn Yan Academy come in for a field trip to learn about our Sacred Curiosities exhibition and to make their own mixed media collage/assemblage pieces!

Now onto 2018…

The first exhibition of 2018, "Dream State" will open on Saturday, January 13.

The first exhibition of 2018, “Dream State” will open on Saturday, January 13.

We have an exciting schedule of exhibitions planned for next year. Our first exhibition will be called Dream State and will include the work of four artists. Through painting, sculpture and photography, this exhibition is an exploration of time and space, a suspension of reality, and a journey into a personal mental space. The four artists included in this invitational exhibition are Matt Duquette of Buffalo; Bill Finger of Seattle, WA; Carrianne Hendrickson of Rochester; and Lin Price of Ithaca.

“Former King Ferry Scoreboard”, photograph by Harry Littell (Selection from the new book “UNROOM: New 2 U”, a collaboration with author Ron Ostman documenting the surrounding region, finding the beauty in the everyday built environment.)

Next up is an exhibition called Unknown, Overlooked, and Unfamiliar. This exhibition opens on February 24 and will present three distinct bodies of work from three photographers. Each series of images is an investigation into a unique and distinct subject matter. Presented together, the similarities and differences between each body of work will be amplified as parallels between different concepts are made. 30 Photographs by Jasna Bogdanovska, Harry Littell (pictured above), and Nigel Maister will be included and an artist talk will take place on Saturday, March 10 at 1pm.

Main Street Arts’ profile on Artsy, showing our eight represented artists

In April, we will open an exhibition called Cultivate and it will be an introduction to a new gallery program. Main Street Arts will be representing a roster of regional artists. This is something I have wanted to do for a few years and I am so excited to start with eight wonderful artists: Pat Bacon of Lyons, Chad Grohman of Buffalo, Patrick Kana of Geneva, Meredith Mallwitz of Canandaigua, Lanna Pejovic of Honeoye Falls, Jody Selin of Buffalo, Mike Tarantelli of Rochester, and Sylvia Taylor of Ithaca. Work by our represented artists is regularly available on Artsy and at the gallery. Expect to hear much more about this in the new year!

Photo from a visit to Lanna Pejovic's studio in June

Photo from a visit to Lanna Pejovic’s studio in June

There will be a solo exhibition each year for one of the gallery artists, and this year we are excited to mount a solo exhibition of paintings by Lanna Pejovic in October. Stay tuned for more info…

Aside from a solo exhibition and perhaps a group exhibition including these artists each year, I am still excited to have invitational exhibitions which include artists from our region and beyond. A majority of the year will still be filled with the types of exhibitions you have come to know (and hopefully love!) at Main Street Arts.

The Cup, The Mug 2017; our last show of the year on the second floor

“The Cup, The Mug”; our last show of 2017 on the second floor

As we continue to focus our efforts, things will be a little bit different on our second floor. In order to focus on the eight main exhibitions per year in our first floor gallery space and promoting the work of our represented artists, we will no longer have regular exhibitions on our second floor. That space will be dedicated to showing the work of our artists in residence, our gallery artists, and special pop up exhibitions.

And now for 2018 and beyond…

Finally, I would like to announce that this coming year Main Street Arts will be starting the process of converting from a commercial entity to a non-profit. From the beginning, in 2013, we have been graciously funded by Marjorie Morris and the Morris family. Mrs. Morris has, and continues to be, a wonderful patron of Main Street Arts and by extension, all of the artists we have been fortunate enough to show here. Moving forward with a non-profit status will allow us to function in a more sustainable manner and help us to continue to promote the work of artists for many years to come.

This also means that we are able to accept donations and are currently accepting them for a scholarship fund for our artist residency program. If you are interested in supporting our residency program, please contact the gallery for more information.

Main Street Arts, decked out for the holiday season, 2017

Main Street Arts, decked out for the holiday season, 2017

From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you for your support over the past four and a half years. We look forward to many more years of continuing our mission of promoting the work of artists from our region, encouraging the creation of art, and fostering a creative community through exhibitions, artist residency program, workshops, and events.

— Bradley Butler, gallery director and curator


There were so many great exhibitions, workshops, residents, and events in 2017 and it was impossible for me to talk about everything in a concise manner. So, I encourage you to look back and see everything in detail for yourself: 2017 Resident Artists, 2017 Exhibition History, Photo Albums on Flickr.

Meet the Artist in Residence: Sonja Petermann

SP Photo

Sonja Petermann

Tell us about your background
I live in St. Louis, MO, where I’m from. I received my B.F.A. with concentrations in printmaking and drawing from Ohio Wesleyan University. Since moving back to St. Louis, I’ve worked at multiple local print shops, including the Firecracker Press and Island Press.

Petermann_Sonja_05

“Blankets” by Sonja Petermann

How would you describe your work?
My work is quite perceptual and I rarely use color, save for the hue of the paper. Typically, I work from the figure, often within an architectural framework. By prioritizing interesting composition and mark-making more than realistic rendering, I am able to bring out intense contrast and textures for a more expressive piece.

At work in the studio at Main Street Arts

At work in the studio at Main Street Arts

What is your process for creating a work of art?
It’s hard for me to determine exactly where my process begins because my life and my work are constantly influencing each other. Even though my work is not highly conceptual, topics I studied in school or am generally curious about often find their way into my creative process. I read, journal, sketch, and take photos in preparation for my projects. Though I think a lot about my subject matter and compositions, I really let myself go when I begin to work on a new piece or edition. This way I can react to the piece as it evolves and avoid becoming close-minded when things go in a different direction. In addition, I usually have multiple pieces in progress at the same time. It’s a great way to continue making, even if you’re stuck.

Drawing in progress in the studio at Main Street Arts

Drawing in progress in the studio at Main Street Arts

What is the most useful tool in your studio?
Paper! Paper is amazing.

4. Kat on the Boardwalk

“Kat on the Boardwalk” (a work in progress)

What are your goals for this residency?
Currently, I am exploring collagraph, one of many print processes. In the beginning, I’ll explore which materials and tools make which marks and tones. The print above is an example of what collagraph can look like (this piece is a work in progress). Once I have refined my methods, I will begin printing a series of prints relating to memory. My goal is to finish this series.

What’s next for you?
After this residency, I will return to St. Louis where I have a job waiting for me as well as a space I hope to turn into a studio. Still, I will continue applying to residency programs.

Where else can we find you?
Instagram is the best bet: @sonjapetermann . I have a Facebook account, but I rarely use it these days. Website coming soon!

 

From The Director: Sacred Curiosities

Sacred Curiosities, installation shot

Sacred Curiosities, installation shot

Sometimes, an exhibition will come to me quickly. An artist will submit their work and it instantly sparks an idea of what other artist/artists could be paired with this person to make an engaging show. The full concept and title will also come easily and all will be well… More often, I will come up with an abstract notion of an idea and then try to find work that will fit. For Sacred Curiosities, it was the latter.

Planning notes for the exhibition

Planning notes for the exhibition with the first three artists to be included

About a year and a half ago, I had the spark of an idea for an exhibition and wrote myself a note that said “Object/Relic/Ritual”. This vague description was a guide for me but didn’t really get close to defining what the show would be, visually. I knew it would be based on objects (found objects) that seemed like relics, either from the artist’s everyday life or from another time entirely. The “ritual” aspect shows up in work that seems to indicate daily routine and in some cases, references to religious or spiritual practices.

A shrine by Chad Grohman. Chad's motivation for making these pieces comes from his experiences as a Nichiren Shu Buddhist Priest. The content of his images comes from doctrinal concepts found throughout the Buddhist cannon.

A shrine by Chad Grohman. Chad’s motivation for making these pieces comes from his experiences as a Nichiren Shu Buddhist Priest. The content of his images comes from doctrinal concepts found throughout the Buddhist cannon.

Immaculate Conception (front piece), a sculpture by Jacquie Germanow sits in front of many of Marth O'Connor's female totems and a framed "portrait" by Emily Kenas on the wall

“Immaculate Conception” (front piece), a sculpture by Jacquie Germanow sits in front of many of Martha O’Connor’s female totems and a framed “portrait” by Emily Kenas on the wall

A large part of Sacred Curiosities is focused on found object sculpture. The beauty of this method of making art is that many disparate parts—all with their own meaning or connotation—come together to form something new. The grouping of materials may be harmonious or it may be a collection of diverse and contradictory parts. The artists create new meaning from the various materials.

“Two Figures”, a found object sculpture by Emily Kenas as seen at a studio visit on March 15, 2016 (left) and again May 3, 2017 (right)

The paintings, drawings, and other more traditionally constructed sculpture add to this notion by depicting personal, historical, or cultural signifiers as they relate to the artist.

Richard Rockford pointing to "Todd" during my studio vist with him. This is an image made by cutting and reconstructing a vintage sign

Richard Rockford pointing to “Todd” during my studio visit with him in September, 2016. This piece was made by cutting and reconstructing a vintage sign.

Thinking about the meaning of objects led me to think about the passage of time and how the meaning we assign to certain objects can change. A symbol or signifier excavated centuries after it was made is interpreted out of its original context and the meaning is assigned based on what else may be known of the time from which it came.

A collection of legs from various sculptures in Bill Stewart's studio

A collection of legs from various sculptures in Bill Stewart’s studio

What will remain from our time here on earth? What will be known of our civilization when our cultural relics are unearthed? These questions helped me frame the exhibition and give it a context, even if only in my own mind, but the real meaning of the show is derived from the individual meaning created by each artist.

Photo from the studio of Jean Stephens, taken in July, 2016 just after a trip out west when she started working with these images of rock formations.

Photo from the studio of Jean Stephens, taken in July, 2016 just after a trip out west when she started working with these images of rock formations.

This exhibition has humor, evidence of self-examination, nostalgia and most of all a pluralistic collection of disparate parts coming together. Stop in before Friday, November 17 at 6 p.m. to experience this exhibition and investigate all of the bits and pieces that make up this show.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Dianne Baker

Dianne Baker in front of her work, "Whole", in an exhibition at Chautauqua Institute in Chautauqua, NY

Dianne Baker in front of her work, “Whole”, in an exhibition at Chautauqua Institute in Chautauqua, NY

I am drawn to what is overlooked—the transcendent in the forgotten, the discarded, and the mundane. By reconfiguring these unexpected materials and objects into collages, assemblages, and sculptures, I attempt to subvert  the viewers’ perception and to value the past and its remains for they provide insight and connections to the present. If the art reminds them of a grandparent, a work experience, a family holiday, they establish a connection and can then imagine the extraordinary in the debris from our materialized culture and abused environment. Thus, I see my work as providing a transformational  experience in that the viewer cannot only see, but also appreciate, the creative possibilities which exist within the discarded—finding the “magic in the ordinary”.

An installation at UB Anderson Gallery as part of Buffalo Society of Artists Exhibition

An installation at UB Anderson Gallery as part of Buffalo Society of Artists Exhibition

As I collect from scrap yards, and roadsides, what others consider waste, I extend the materials and objects’ useful life and forever alter its history and significance.  The discarded rusty metal, weathered wood, broken parts are transformed into artworks that reflect our consumer society.  I am taking art off of its pedestal and making it more about everyday experience because the viewer can recognize the recycled object and relate it to a place, event, or individual.

Dianne Baker in front of her work as part of a three person show at MC Master University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

Dianne Baker in front of her work as part of a three person show at MC Master University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

I have been exhibiting artwork since l979 locally in galleries including Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Castellani Art Museum, Burchfield- Penney Art Center, Art Dialogue Gallery, and Canisius College.  Nationally, I have exhibited in New York City, Washington, D. C., Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Denver, and Santa Fe. Internationally, in Hamilton, Ontario and Bratislava, Slovak Republic.

Video with the Buffalo Society of Artists

Video with the Buffalo Society of Artists

You can see more of my work on my website, www.dbakerartist.com, and view a recent video created by the Buffalo Society of Artists of my work here.


Four of Dianne Baker’s pieces, including “Quartet” (which can be seen being worked on in the video above) are included in “Sacred Curiosities” at Main Street Arts. The exhibition runs through November 17, 2017.