Sunday, July 29, 2007

Wise, Witty and Worldly

Last evening I enjoyed a cocktail with my friend Chris on the balcony of a beautiful Bow Street Condo ovelrooking the Piscataqua River. Our host - Hugh A. Harter. Hugh is an internationally known scholar of Spanish and French Literature. He has translated seven novels from French as well as authoring and co-authoring various other books; and worked as a professor of Spanish and French at some of America’s finest universities.

Hugh shared with us his recent book, "The Countess", a collection of poems and his own watercolor illustrations. He selected a few poems which he read aloud. (His voice, though soft spoken, prevailed that of Jon Bon Jovi's 'It's My Life' playing loudly on the Thomas Leighton Party Boat as it cruised past.) The verses, inspired by memories of life in New York and Paris post WWII, he read...

Another Portrait Of The Countess

She eyes the world

Well knowing her position,
Waiting, it would seem,
For age to dare to touch
And leave some telltale
Marking somewhere on that face,
But forever youthful, tranquil, yes, mature,
--mature, her friends would say--
She poses looking out upon
The broad estate of her apartment.
Beneath her gaze, resplendent silks
And velvet sheens reflect her luminosity.
She likes what she observes there,
Van Dongen's oil-on-paper sketch of her,
Matisse, Rouault, Bonnard, and
Orientals door to door.
Her enigmatic smile reveals
No hint of those passions
People say that once she felt,
And, some assert, indulged in
She sits there, jeweled hand on hip,
In sphinx-like sovereignty
Above the crowded drawing room,
Almost the double of her bustling self,
Instructing maids and butler how
To hustle their champagne.
And ruffling up her copper locks
Of slightly thinning hair,
This is coctails a New York.
In Paris and in Rome
Still other portraits cast their spell.

I asked Hugh if the Countess was inspired by one woman in particular, he explained that she has counterparts among a few women he has known. The most notable one who came to mind is the composer, playwright, and pianist Dana Suesse. "Dana did fall upstairs one night on the Riviera, but that is only one episode in her life. She was extravagant in her living. Never a dull moment in Dana's presence."

It was truly an honor to be in the presence of this great soul, wise and witty, I look forward to additional antecdotes.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Barbara Knight, Mom of the Modern

Dustan Knight has established a name for herself as an artist, instructor and critic. I recently visited her new studio - in the very house in which she was raised. Dusty mentioned that her mother, Barbara Knight, had been a prominent painter and potter in the Seacoast, and she pulled some of her paintings out of storage for me to see!

Barbara was an abstract expressionist - the movement gets its name because it is seen as combining the emotional intensity and self-denial of the German Expressionists with the anti-figurative aesthetic of the European abstract schools such as Futurism and Synthetic Cubism. Dusty and I spoke about the dark nature of the work, possibly resulting in the challenges of being a woman artist at that time and wanting to be taken seriously. Later in life, Barbara turned to writing fiction. Dusty gave me a copy of one of her books, 'Woodsedge', a novel of romantic suspense.

Reflecting on this visit I couldn't help but wonder how my own experience as an artist and gallery owner would have been different had I been raised in a home where the artworld was prominent - a part of my daily life and surroundings from the very beginning. Though my parents have been extremely supportive of my chosen path, they are unable to understand my passion. Que sera, sera.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Art World Astrology

*Courtesy of Mat Gleason and Cirrus Gallery

General Forecast July 2007

The chaos of Mercury Retrograde is beyond us for most of the month. The little planet of communicating is in the zodiac sign of Cancer, picking up steam after its wayward track. This month is colored by a resolution of domestic issues and of absorbing an emotional experience that goes beyond language. Intuition is featured for everyone. The art world is looking for the new big thing like never before in July.

now for a little self-indulgence...

PISCES (february 19 - march 20)

Pointing toward the same old routine, a former friend is almost useless to assist your development. An exciting person who understands a part of the art world you know nothing about is ready to show you the way. Make this person understand you are along for the ride. Pisces artists are given a chance to meet the master! Pisces gallerists are looking at paying off many bills with a few impressive sales.

*Horoscopes for the month of July for all other signs of the zodiac are available here.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

mixed-emotions and mixed-media

Last night a farewell celebration was held for my friends Rebecca Cox (brilliant wordsmith and fundamental femme force at Nahcotta) and Michael Deragon (master mind of the Great Invisibles and masking tape/aquanet extraordinaire) . The dynamic duo is headed for the Golden State where Michael will be persuing graduate studies at Cal Arts. My emotions are mixed, as I am genuinely excited for my friends and also very sad to see them go - this little city by the sea will not be the same in their absence.

(invitation and photo courtesy mister michael winters)

This past Friday was also the opening reception for 'Mix Tape', an exhibition of Michael's collages in the newly re-opened downstairs gallery at Nahcotta. The work will be on display thru August 5th.

Michael's collages are raw, visceral and direct; shown here is 'Have I stayed Away Too Long".

In addition, Michael will be perfoming for the last time (for a long while) outside the Vaughn Mall in downtown Portsmouth on July 20th, 6pm - as part of their Friday evening summer music series.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Vicarious Visit to Italy!

Raegan Russell just returned from her trip to Italy with her daughter Olivia and son Andrew! I've managed to set aside my envy and take pleasure in their journey thru some snapshots.

"hey, Kim! Here are a few selections from our photojournal of family trip to Italy...A lot of these are from Cinque Terra where we hiked the coast between five oldfishing villages. It was breathtaking visually (and on some climbs,physically!) I don't have many art images here other than those from the forumin Rome and Pisa...

...but we did see everything in the Uffizi, including our beloved Primavera, and an art highlight occured when we wandered into a church in Pietrasanta and saw two Botero frescoes and we were the only humans in the building. Seeing art in this way is a completely different and personal experience than any you can find in a museum. It was pretty cool....

...the pastaalla vongole was truly memorable and that's why it's here. I searched for the perfect pasta with little neck clams for ten days and finally found it my lastnight in Rome. After throwing my coins in the Trevi Fountain, I could go home happy and satisfied!

A disclaimer: Andrew is 12 and every monument is an opportunity for a phallic joke. Forgive him."

Friday, July 6, 2007

new paintings by Dustan Knight

I am also pleased to announce the highly anticipated arrival of new paintings by Dustan Knight!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

birds, bottles and bags - oh my!

I've been crazy busy with all of the new merch flying thru the door within the past two days. Yesterday, we received a special delivery from Stephanie Young containing some of her exquisite miniature bottles (porcelain, $30), some more "funky fish from murky depths" (terracotta, $24-$125), and these adorable new "curious birds" (terracotta, $22). It has been a treat watching everyone pick one up for the first time to reveal the nest of eggs beneath each bird.

Becky O'Neil also came by yesterday to deliver some more of her fabulous one-of-a-kind handbags! She brought in a wonderful new assortment of colors and sizes. Becky told me all about her recent trip to New York City where she bought an extravagant amount of designer fabric, perused the galleries and museums - leaving just enough time for a relaxing stroll in Central Park.

Check out the summer issue of Yankee Magazine. Becky Oh! is featured with other fabulous summer accessories on pg. 33!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

10 score and 31 years ago...

Happy 4th of July! Portsmouth's festivities began last night with a bang, the fireworks display was beautiful - an enormous crowd gathered by the South Pond to enjoy the spectacular view. While my companion complained about the rambunctious crowd, his growing hunger and the chill in the air; I was quite content and enjoyed taking part in this enduring tradition.

I decided to open the gallery today, despite my urge to relax at the beach, for I am a truly deciated Gallerista, as Wednesday is my one and only day away. To those of you who are free of obligations on this glorious day - ENJOY! Have fun in the sun and be safe.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

drop off!

Brian Kiernan just dropped off his paintings for the upcoming show, 'Shifting Nature'. With the help of his partner, painter Jennifer O'Connell, the canvases kept on coming...and coming...and coming thru the door! I admit to being a bit overwhelmed by the quantity of work, however, between the three of us, we managed to successfully edit.

Jen also dropped off some new paintings that will be on display in the gallery. Jen paints representational interiors. As explained in her artist statement, "Literally and symbolically, interior spaces are self-controlled and apart from the world. Rooms are states of being; manifestations of the mind; protected and shielded. The interior is a metaphor for the self." Jen's paintings are beautiful, like Brian, her palette has evolved. Shown here is 'Aging Interior' (oil on canvas, 40x30).

Monday, July 2, 2007

Impromptu Monster Meeting

Last night I received a call from my friend Chris, the baker/sharpie extraordinaire, who was stranded in Boston having missed his train. I offered to drive down and pick him up as he has come to my aid on numerous occassions (he helps me every month with the receptions, highly acclaimed for his savory hors d'oeuvres). After meeting up we decided to take advantage of the beautiful night and walk around.

We found ourselves at the end of Newbury Street at
Trident Booksellers & Cafe. We enjoyed Momos, iced Moroccan mint tea and 'Monsters', paintings by Duncan Reid. The paintings were refreshing in their witty humor and sophisticated social commentary. Shown above is 'Tea with Britney' (oil on wood, 33x24); and below 'St. George's New Millenium Dilemma' (acrylic on wood, 29x19).

A happy ending to a long day - mayhem followed by munchies and mythological beasts!

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Sunday Brunch at Sanctuary Arts

This morning I had the pleasure of attending a fabulous brunch at Sanctuary Arts in Elliot, ME with Erin Moran. A vibrant arts community, Sanctuary Arts is the home of a visually inspiring teaching studio, private arts studios, and gallery — all located in a converted 1861 New England church. Founded by Christopher Gowell in 1999, Sanctuary celebrated their 10-Year Anniversary this past May!

Upon our arrival,
Lauren gave us a quick tour of the new foundry. Lauren Holmgren is a resident artist and instructor at Sanctuary. With genuine enthusiasm Lauren explained the complicated process of bronze casting and showed us some works in progress. The instructors are environmentally conscious in their choices of materials and mighty resourceful - they actually melt down old radiators for the metal! If you have an old radiator that you would like to get rid of, they will gladly haul it away... and it's not too late to sign up for Lauren's Bronze Sandcasting Workshop in August!

Later we all gathered in side for brunch - Christopher was already inside working on one of her sculptures. Everyone was to bring a dish resulting in an eclectic display of eddible offerings. Amongst freshly brewed coffee, satisfying sweets, a hearty hash and an amazing maple sausage soufle, I enjoyed stimulating conversation with the intimate group of artists and friends - topics shifted smoothly from the current Hopper exhibit at the Caravaggio, master painter and infamous "George", the eight week old kitten.

Following brunch, Christopher gave us a lovely tour of her beautiful gardens! True to its name, Sanctuary Arts is a sacred place - full of postive energy, innovation, beauty and respect. Christopher hosts this special brunch the first Sunday of every month - this was my first attendance, and it most certainly will not be the last!

Eat - Art!

My favorite bakery and neighbor, Ceres Bakery, is hosting the 'First Annual Ceres Art Show', featuring collective works by Ceres employees including paintings, mixed-media assemblages, collage, photography, jewelry, bookmaking and fabric. To maintain order and objectivity, the creative crew sought professional help in hanging the work. Yours truly was up into the wee hours of the morning hanging the show with a little help from some friends: baker and Sharpie Extaordinaire, Chris; and Ceres employee, music-man and painter, Shawn. Thanks guys!

Ceres Bakery is located at 51 Penhallow Street in downtown Portsmouth, NH. This show will be up thru the month of July - if you are in the neighborhood, stop in for a tasty treat and feast your eyes on the creations of the staff.