Monday, June 03, 2013

When is a store not a store? When it's a gallery.

A new friend of mine is having a grand finale exhibit at this gallery in June.  
Her  "opening" reception is June 8, from 5-7 pm. 
 So, I thought I'd check it out ahead of time.  I was SO much better (and different) than I expected.  May's exhibit was Momentum X:  celebrating the 11th anniversary of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation’s Artist Advancement Grant,  which annually provides financial support to individual artists and craft people in this region. 
The so-called "winner" of the grant competition was Bear Kirkpatrick who makes amazing digital art.  Anyone who is still on the fence about whether "digital" is an art medium, need look no farther!
 The work which I would probably most like to have in my house is by Rose Umerlik.
Glossy yet primitive, formal but spontaneous, unyielding while human, she uses a limited palette in  fascinating ways.

 There is more of her work here.
But the work that seemed most like "Capital "A" Art" were the banners, quilt and book by Lauren Gillette.  It turns out that a book she produced a while back was a favorite of mine when I visited The Barn in Ogunquit.  Her ideas and media vary so much, it took me a while to put it all together.  Her sensibility, however, is constant.  She calls it being a "witness."  I call it "making the ignored unavoidable."

The lettering on the quilt asks, "Is there a right way to call a woman a slut?"  and was prompted by congressional hearings which devolved into sexist name calling (and slut-labels) over whether birthcontrol measures should be covered by health insurance.

 Peggy O'Neal probably wouldn't have attracted any notice if she'd been a he.... or if she had lived 150 years later.
 Pamela Churchill Harriman sounds so interesting, I'm going to see if there is a biography in print! Yay!! There are at least TWO!.

 There was a banner of noses, faces and anti-semetic remarks.  Just like 5th grade, you were supposed to match which went with what.

 There was a small "key" next to the banner.  I had no idea how prevalent nasty remarks were and continue to be.
 A "book" made of VERY heavy paper combined color samples with "names" that (sort of) go with the heading at the top of the page.

 And, to me, the piece de resistance... The Racist's Skin Tone Color Chart.
I think that locales which are MOST racist would never let this hang in public.  I'm glad I'm in a place that gives it a prize.  I wish that more people could acknowledge past ignorant misbehavior as well as present variations of the same.
 Ms. Gillette doesn't sit still much.  There's more about her and her work here.

The gallery has been several things since it was actually a store.  I am glad that Old York had a sense of its history so early on.
 The downstairs gallery had a variety of works by Don Lent.  The top one is oil on canvas, the lower one, called Electric Power, is an exquisitely detailed water color.  
The technical prowess of each artist was inspiring.

Next, I'll write about the adjacent John Hancock Wharf and surroundings.
You can click on most any image to see it full screen.

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