Monday, May 28, 2007

Recent Works by Raegan Russell

Preparations are being made for the opening of a new show, "Gardens and Other Places: Recent Works by Raegan Russell".

The paintings speak about both interior and real places. The imagery is informed by Raegan's connection to nature and the garden outside her studio window, as well as more exotic places such as seen in a recent trip to Russia. "I find that plants, birds, and architectural components serve as metaphoric elements; the growing garden seems to narrate a life unfolding."

I love Raegan's work for its boldness; thru her aggressive mark-making and the integration of found objects (always with personal meaning) the work hits me in the gut, I can feel the raw emotion with which the work was passionately composed, often exposing a beautiful vulnerability. Pictured here is A Walk Down Nevsky Prospekt (30"x60").

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Guerrilla Girls!

This poster, which hangs above my desk in the gallery, initiates interesting conversations from visitors on a daily basis (at least five today alone, which has led me to this post). The first thing out of most mouths - "so there need to be more naked men in the art museums!?", it has become a banal routine of mine to politely laugh and reply "and more paintings by women artists!". It and other posters, books, buttons and ballyhoo are available thru the Guerrilla Girls website.

Background Info: "In 1985, a group of women artists founded the Guerrilla Girls. They assumed the names of dead women artists and wore gorilla masks in public, concealing their identities and focusing on the issues rather than their personalities. Between 1985 and 2000, close to 100 women, working collectively and anonymously, produced posters, billboards, public actions, books and other projects to make feminism funny and fashionable. "

This poster originated when the Guerrilla Girls were asked to design a billboard for the Public Art Fund in New York. "We welcomed the chance to do something that would appeal to a general audience. One Sunday morning we conducted a "weenie count" at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, comparing the number of nude males to nude females in the artworks on display. The results were very "revealing." The PAF said our design wasn't clear enough (????) and rejected it. We then rented advertising space on NYC buses and ran it ourselves, until the bus company canceled our lease, saying that the image, based on Ingres' famous Odalisque, was too suggestive and that the figure appeared to have more than a fan in her hand."

Three Cheers to the Guerrilla Girls for "fighting discrimination with facts, humor and fake fur"!!!

Friday, May 25, 2007

A Dialogue with Childe Hassam

This summer, the gallery will be exhibiting paintings by New York artist Katherine Gray, featuring watercolors painted en plain air on Appledore Island, Maine, the largest of the Isles of Shoals. The paintings of Childe Hassam were a great inspiration to Katherine, "When I sat upon a rock, painting, I sensed his presence and wondered if perhaps he sat upon that very rock".

Childe Hassam (1859 - 1935) was the premier Impressionist painter of New York City. During his time in the Big Apple, Hassam made summer painting excursions to the home of his friend, Celia Thaxter, on Appledore Island. Hassam's many portrayals of the old-fashioned gardens, rocky coast, and radiant sunlight of the island, are among his most cherished works.

Celia Thaxter (1835 -1894) presided over a coterie of artists, writers, and musicians who gathered there each summer. Thaxter was a poet and the magnificent garden she maintained was the subject of her most enduring work, An Island Garden, published the year of her death with watercolor illustrations by Hassam. Today, Celia Thaxter's cottage and garden are maintained for limited visitation on Appledore.

I often feel as though I should have been born in another time and place; envious of moments in history like this, or New York in the 1940's, and especially Paris at the turn of the century - oh how I would have loved to partake in discussions of art and politics in the salon of Gertrude Stein in the company of Picasso, Matisse, Earnest Hemingway and Apollinaire (to name a few)! In my own paintings I often look to the work of those artists of times past, to the places they have traveled, and to the works that inspired them. It is an ongoing dialogue between artists, be it romantic, I feel connected despite my appointed time and place in history.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Jen Burrall

I am pleased to announce the arrival of jewelry by Jen Burrall to the gallery! Featuring richly textured sterling siver with semi-precious stones, freshwater pearls, amber, paua shell, bamboo coral, seaglass, and beach stones, Jen's designs are bold in color and texture. Her forms are greatly influenced by nature - pictured here is a "Nest Ring", "Floret Choker" and "Twisted Root Earrings".

Jen works from her studio in a busy culturally diverse neighborhood of Portland. Her formal training in metalsmithing began at the Maine College of Art in Portland, Maine. She also studied metalsmithing at Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana. This education was followed by a four year apprenticeship with a nationally recognized Jewelry artist.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

SoWa Art Walk

This weekend I had the pleasure of attending the SoWa Art Walk. It is held every spring in the SoWa (South of Washington Street) neighborhood in Boston’s South End. The district has been home to artists’ studios carved out of the old factories for the last fifty years. The event is exciting and a bit overwhelming as there are hundreds of artists to see.

I was especially inspired by the work of Lisa Costanzo, located on the fourth floor, who apologized for not having much of her work on hand as she currently has a solo show 'Snark Hunting' at the Laconia Gallery (conveniently located across the street!) Paintings and works on paper in the exhibition take their inspiration from the works of Lewis Carroll, a wonderful source for imagery and mythic themes. "Loosely based on Carroll’s nonsense poem “The Hunting of the Snark”, and with a nod to the colorful characters from the “Alice” series, Costanzo creates her own hybrid characters as individuals with their own demands for specific portrayal. Costanzo gives her own fresh take on things by weaving elements of previous work into the story much like Carroll did, in which elements of language and symbols repeat themselves. Costanzo has created her own strange and awkward wonderland where she makes up her own peculiar story." I admire the way in which Costanzo plays with Carroll's literary world, inserting herself and her personal history into that world through self-portraiture and exploring issues of gender and identity.

Making my way down to the third floor, I found myself in the studio of Linda Cordner admiring her elegant encaustics. Linda has a strong sense of color and composition, her designs are both organic and whimsical - powerful in their simplicity. The surfaces are truly sensual, achieved by the layering of multiple coats of wax.

...and downward to the second floor, the studio of Barbara Poole, featured narrative paintings loaded with self-portraiture and historical references. This painting was not in the artist's studio (I found it on her website), it is part of her series 'Nature Abhors a Vacuum'. Barbara's paintings are genuine and witty.

Visually saturated, we moved on to quench our hunger. We found the wonderful Cafe Jaffa (48 Gloucester Street) with a large menu of affordable authentic Middle Eastern and Greek treats. The perfect ending to a fabulous day!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

george to the rescue

Knee deep in filthy carpet remnants I found myself in need of some tools - off to see George! George Beland makes beautiful furniture that I exhibit in the gallery, his studio is located in the Button Factory. In addition, George is clever, resourceful and most generous; he has helped me out on many occassions and I am truly grateful. On this day, George lent me some tools: a power sander, some work gloves and a freshly sharpened descendant of the crow-bar.

George then showed me some of the new furniture designs for his Foundation Line. George's designs are simple and elegant. Pictured here is the nightstand. This piece and others will soon be available in the gallery!

Monday, May 14, 2007


The time has come! I am finally doing away with the countless layers of cumbersome carpet. Permission was granted and the destruction followed quickly thereafter. Buried beneath the first layer I found what appears to be a door. It is interesting to think about the history of this space...I am inspired to do some research on the buiding...after the floor is complete, of course!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Bags in Bloom!

Becky Oh! just delivered her new handbags. She brought a variety of sizes and styles in beautiful vibrant spring colors!

Becky was trained as a Sculptor at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Using rich elements of design, Becky's bags are fabulous in form and function.

One small step for handbags, One giant leap for functional art! Becky's fabulous and funky one of a kind bags will also be available in the gift shop of the Currier Museum. Upon my decision to integrate functional art into the gallery I felt very strongly that Becky Oh! bags were art - I am thrilled that the museum agrees. Oh what a bag!

new designs by Sara DuLong Williams

Sara DuLong Williams just dropped off some of her new jewelry designs! Beautiful necklaces, earrings, bracelet cuffs and rings...

Sara's unique designs are accomplished thru a labor intensive junction of sterling silver and pigmented epoxy resin, providing Sara with a sophisticated color palette. Her use of line is dynamic, undulating and flowing; her compositions, bold in their simplicity and rythm, embrace the Modern.

A perfect balance of form and function!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

drop off!

Helene and Amanda just dropped off their work for the upcoming show 'Objects with History'! I am so excited about this show as this is the first time either artist has exhibited their work at Three Graces.

There is lots to do between now and the opening on Friday...

form and content

Last night I visited the 2007 Senior B.F.A. Exhibition at The Art Gallery at UNH. Each student displayed a cohesive body of work, strong in form and rendered with skill.

I particularly enjoyed the paintings of Ryan Murphy, for they were also genuine and strong in content - a balance of fantasy and reality; humor and sadness; mystery and certainty. Ryan's 'Trash Day' is pictured here.

After the reception we met with the students to talk about life in the artworld after graduation. I look forward to seeing what they paint as they evolve outside of an academic environment.

I recommend reading The Shape of Content by Ben Shahn. It is written with soul and intelligence, Shahn discusses the important balance of form and content. He also establishes 'how' and 'why' one becomes an artist.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

New designs by Erin Moran

Erin Moran just delivered some new work yesterday! She brought in these sweet little porcelain bowls. Each bowl is hand-built with a unique design carved on the inside and a subtle wash of color on the outside. The bowls are also available in a larger size!

Erin also makes beautiful jewelry - I absolutely love these reversible graphic pendants, each pendant has an image on one side and a complimentary pattern on the other. In addition, other pendants, bracelets, necklaces and rings are available. Prices range from $24 - $280.

Erin's jewelry is available at Three Graces and she is very excited to also have her jewelry at the Museum of Fine Arts Shop in Boston as part of the 'Art in Bloom' exhibition.

Cute as a button!

I recently noticed these 'Button Bouquets' blooming in the window of my neighbor, the Lucky 7. The flowers are made from a fabulous assortment of vintage buttons, so each bouquet is unique in color and style; and only $10 each. I will surely send one to my mom for Mother's Day next weekend.

The Lucky 7 is located at 16 Sheafe Street in downtown Portsmouth. The shop is now open until 9pm friday nights in conjunction with 'Portsmouth Lights on Friday Nights'.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Call For Tiny Art

Three Graces is planning 'The Teeny Tiny Art Show' for September 2007. Please send your 'Tiny' submissions via email to
*all work must be less than or equal to 10"x10" in measurement and greater than or equal to 6 in quantity; submission deadline is July1st!*

This show will be in conjunction with 'The Enormous Tiny Art Show' held at Nahcotta. One town, two galleries, tons of tiny art!

Congratulations are in order!

Congratulations to Tim Christensen-Kirby who just returned from the Smithsonian Craft Show! The prestigious craft exhibition in Washington, D.C. features works by 120 exceptional craft artists. I just spoke with a tired Tim, he spoke very highly of the experience and was thrilled with the overall response to and sales of his work. He is going to take a much-deserved break before returning to the potter's wheel. He promised me his newest work - I'll be sure to let you know as soon as it arrives in the gallery!

Upcoming Exhibition

We are pleased to announce a new exhibition going up next week, 'Objects with History' featuring mixed-media works by Helene Farrar and Amanda Jones.

In her series, 'The Retelling of the Past', Farrar juxtaposes collected photographs from the far past with new "spaces". Hélène Farrar has a Master of Fine Arts in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College. She is an adjunct professor of art at the University of Maine at Augusta. Amanda Jones is primarily self-taught. Her work is genuine in its use of objects from the past often with significance personal to the artist.

The show opens Friday, May 8th with an opening reception to be held that evening from 5-8pm in conjunction with Art 'Round Town. All are welcome! The artists will be present and refreshments will be served.

And the Spotlight Award goes to...

This has been a very exciting week! The 13th Annual Spotlight on the Arts Awards was held at The Music Hall. More than 2,800 arts enthusiasts had cast their votes for the best artists in the seacoast.

I was both surprised and honored to receive the award for 'Best Painter'. The walk to the stage was truly terrifying and my acceptance speech was the shortest and most awkward of the night - consisting of "I am very much out of my comfort zone" followed by not one but two "Thank you's". My friends have offered comfort by saying I was "genuine".

Anyway, the evening consisted of many other awards. I would like to congratulate
Jane Sydney for winning the award for 'Best Photographer'. Jane has a solid vision, I enjoyed her recent showing at Nahcotta.

In addition to the many awards that were presented, the audience was treated to many local musicians and theatrical performances. Northern a.k.a. Chris Greiner and friends gave a memorable performance.

Friday, May 4, 2007

the beginning...

Welcome to Three Graces' blog! We have just celebrated the gallery's 3-Year Anniversary and there will be lots of new posts in the not too distant future regarding artists, exhibitons and other interesting happenings...

'til then,