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New Marlborough artists on exhibit

By Emily Thurlow

The perspectives of seven artists from New Marlborough have been crafted together into an invitational mixed media show that’s currently on display.

Dozens flocked to the 22nd annual New Marlborough Artists Show on Friday for its opening reception at the Meeting House Gallery. The show provides a way to follow artists and their point of view over time, said Abbe Stahl Steinglass, chair of the art committee of the New Marlborough Village Association.

“The show highlights the artwork of some of our finest New Marlborough artists,” she said. “And the Meeting House Gallery is a gathering spot for artists and art lovers to experience and acquire a wide range of fine art from Berkshire and regional artists.”

In 1972, friends and neighbors established the New Marlborough Village Association as a way to advance the history of the area and to provide cultural opportunities in town and neighboring communities.

Featured in this five-weeklong show is Robert Forte, Shelley Haven, Nikki Hayes, Ritch Holben, Caryn King, Carol Majkowski and Steinglass. Hayes and Holben both provide a photographic eye to the show, whereas the other artists have works constructed through acrylic, oil and gouache mediums.

Though Forte had a love of art at a young age, it wasn’t until he retired from his career as a lawyer that he started to fully embrace it. Included in his work at the show is a profile of Andy Warhol, an American artist that lead the “pop art” movement.

“[Andy Warhol] is my symbol for artistic freedom,” he said. “He was free enough to express himself.”

Forte’s works also include a beach scene during high tide. What’s unique is that it’s devoid of humans, he said, and is a way to speak to climate change and the potential world that humans are heading toward if they don’t make some environmental changes.

Much like Forte, Majkowski had put art on the back burner for some time. She returned to the world, first on her own, and later, at a museum as well as privately with Schilli Maier, professor of fine arts at Temple University. Her work, according to her artistic statement, developed from meticulously executed concepts to a more sophisticated subtly abstract representationalism. Her oil paintings show an abstract point of view in the simplification of form and color, she said.

Haven, a painter and printmaker, works with oils, monotype, pastels and drawing mediums. She also applies a technique called gouache, opaque watercolor that consists of natural pigment, water, a binding agent and additional inert material. The subject of her work is inspired by the natural and cultural landscape, said Haven. In this particular show, Haven showcased work where she was inspired by Umpachene Falls Park.

“The rock formations of Umpachene juxtaposed against stream and woods present the grandeur and modesty, the power and fragility of nature. In my paintings and drawings, I work to establish these seemingly monumental forms and to map the fissures and sedimentary layers that betray the inevitable erosion and transformation wrought by time,” she said, referencing her artistic statement. “Umpachene is a place of inspiration for me, slowly revealing its complexity with the charge in light, weather and season.

“Nature is my inspiration and my refuge. And with color and mark, I explore its fragile beauty and awesome power.”

Hayes has also captured the natural beauty of Umpachene in her photographs displayed in the show. While some looked to nature for inspiration, Holben found it at the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, New York.

“Light doesn’t simply reflect from the glass sculpture, it literally emanates from within, refracting, radiating, changing the piece, its form, its depth, its color and texture,” Holben wrote in his artistic statement.

In King’s work, much of her subjects have hooves, paws, talons and claws. It often begins through the lens of a camera, she said, as much of her subjects don’t typically stand for very long. For the past 15 years, she admits she has compulsively been drawing animals.

“Back in my studio, my goal isn’t to recreate a painted copy of what I’ve seen, but to express my love for each animal … give every single one 15 minutes of fame,” she said. “The feathers of a chicken, the wool of a sheep, the floppy ears of a pig, it’s my goal to paint the spirit of the animal. I have a real attachment to the animal world.”

For Steinglass, her approach to art begins as diagrams of ideas and moves toward metaphors and symbols as she works.
“The landscapes begin as seemingly ‘real’ and ‘familiar’ places. My little works in this show are the finished works for the start of subjects that were new to me,” she said. “Over time, the same shapes seem to appear in my paintings, but they hold different meanings. I ask, ‘where am I now?’ Sometimes, it’s a place. Sometimes, it’s what’s in my head.”

Sponsored by the New Marlborough Village Association and New Marlborough Cultural Council, the show will run until Sunday, Oct. 6.

The gallery is open Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.