Gallery One takes the show on the road
Gallery One lands in southeastern Connecticut today where the moveable art venue opens an exhibition at Stonington's La Grua Center, displaying the works of 10 member artists.
The cooperative gallery is unique in that it doesn't have its own physical space but exhibits four times a year in locations all along the Connecticut shoreline.
Gallery One operated out of a space in Old Saybrook for many years, but when the business that shared the space moved out, the artists couldn't afford the rent. In 2013, they started showing in a variety of locations, explains Judith Barbour Osborne, Gallery One director and member artist.
There are many benefits to being on the move, Barbour Osborne believes.
"One of the advantages of showing 'on the road' is that we can reach a larger audience - and also expose people to us as a group and to these extraordinary individual artists," she says. "The La Grua Center is the furthest east we have shown to date with New Haven being the furthest west."
Another advantage, she says, is artists don't have to gallery sit like they do in other cooperative galleries, freeing up more of their time to work in their studios.
"And, not having a monthly rent responsibility means financially we don't have to have 'X' amount of artists (to cover the cost)," she adds.
This way, the artists pay a reasonable membership fee for the year, and then all proceeds of sales go directly to the artists without a percentage going to a gallery, she notes.
Barbour Osborne is happy that Gallery One is exhibiting at the La Grua Center.
"I was introduced to Stonington years ago when I was developing an artist book I'd received a grant for," she recalls. "I fell in love with the town. I went to an exhibit at the La Grua Center. I think Stonington is very lucky to have it. They value art and it's a lovely space in a lovely building."
There are currently 11 Gallery One member artists working in a wide range of media and styles, from representational to abstract paintings, sculpture and works on paper.
"I think it's a special group of all mature artists, who have a lot of experience and very distinct voices," Barbour Osborne says. "These artists are all actively exhibiting in galleries and museums around the U.S. and beyond - they're not just getting started in their careers."
As a cooperative, members propose artists for the following year and it's a group decision whether to take on a new artist.
"When it's a right fit, it's a right fit," Barbour Osborne says.
Another unique aspect of being a cooperative gallery is the way a show is hung, she points out.
"It's a collaborative process, so there is a visual dialogue among the representational and abstract, the sculptural and two-dimensional works," Barbour Osborne says. "It's the same eye we bring to our work itself - and adds another layer for the viewer to see what's going on between the works in the show."
And, there's an educational aspect to the cooperative. Every six weeks the members gather to discuss art books, view art history videos and have had guest artists do demonstrations and introduce the group to websites and computer programs for artists.
"It's a social time for the artists as well as informative discussions that help the artists in their careers," Barbour Osborne points out.
ON EXHIBIT AT LA GRUA
David Brown of Old Saybrook: oil on panel
The artist lives on a small farm in a hay house and grows flowers and vegetables on his property. "His subjects are his surroundings," Barbour Osborne says. "He uses very expressive brush strokes and vibrant colors."
Ashby Carlisle of Old Lyme: mixed media and sculpture
"She lives right on a salt marsh and the skeletal structures of the plants have a deep resonance for her," Barbour Osborne observes. "She is also drawn to languages and paints on newspapers in four major languages to (express) universal messages and values."
Catherine Christiano of Old Lyme: oil on newspaper on panel
"Her work is highly representational; just beautiful and sensitive," Barbour Osborne says. "Yet she's not just representing what one sees, she's using medium to make a statement or give people more than the visual aesthetics."
Bette Ellsworth of Madison: gouache on paper
"Her work is also highly representational. She works primarily with the figure in charcoal and pastels. And her line is just gorgeous - very lively and expressive," Barbour Osborne comments.
Mary Fussell of Clinton: acrylic and mixed media
"Women are her subject matter, often interacting, dancing or in some expressive way," Barbour Osborne says. "Here it is not the brushwork that's expressive, but the figure itself, which she (captures) perfectly."
Gray Jacobik of Deep River: oil on linen
Barbour Osborne comments that Jacobik's piece, "Roses Not Fully Arranged," is "as good as anything you'd see in an art history book on all levels, all aspects of what she brings to it - the spaces, the air, is as important as the objects."
T.Willie Raney of Ivoryton: collagraph, ink and collage
The artist develops layered statements using mixed media with collagraphs (printmaking technique) as the basis. "It starts out being pleasing to look at, and as you spend time with it, more and more is revealed," Barbour Osborne says.
Victoria Sivigny of Meriden: mixed media on canvas
The newest Gallery One member, Sivigny is a Reiki master and is aware of bringing personal history and meaning into her art. Sealed with Tibetan symbols, she describes her work as "offering an alternative perception of the world through abstraction."
Jill Vaughn of Ivoryton: Oil and pencil and watercolor and pencil on paper
"She lives in the woods, and her subjects are trees and boulders," Barbour Osborne says. "She collages her materials and paints and draws on them. Her paintings are semi-abstract and often quite large and very dramatic."
Finally, Barbour Osborne's own work in the show is mixed media on paper that incorporates poetry and spiritual text. Her abstract pieces have been described as "subtly yet powerfully evocative of warmth and light, open space and motion."
IF YOU GO
What: Artists of Gallery One exhibit
Where: La Grua Center, 32 Water St.,
When: Today through Feb. 28; an artist's
reception will be held Jan. 9 from 5 to 7 p.m. (snow date Jan. 16).
Information: Call (860) 535-2300