On a balmy September Sunday afternoon the grand double doors to the Carriage Barn Arts Center were open to welcome visitors to the Annual Members’ Show. The show includes all media: sculpture, painting, watercolor, photography, drawing including formal non-objective work, figurative abstraction, representation – it’s all here. Given 129 works to display in all media, this show does really since there is no juror. Every member can show one piece of art. The Carriage Barn is such a large open space, it can hold a lot of work and looks its best when it is full of art. Part antique barn and part gallery, the grand open space has a lot to do with this – it is a breathtaking building. Smaller bays that function as mini galleries open out onto the large open space for sculpture.
The packed reception echoed a consistent thought – that this is a very strong Members’ Show. As you enter the space, you will see some representational works mixed in with several abstract and non-objective works in 2D and 3D. Two pieces are unusual for their topical content. Gail Lee’s “Nine Eleven” is a loosely painted acrylic on paper abstraction, a compelling dark work of the twin towers that adds a note of solemnity to the otherwise buoyant show. On the opposite wall is Emily Kelting’s mesmerizing photograph of the Silvermine River during Hurricane Irene. Its delicate silver tonality imbues the piece with a dreamy surreal quality that belies the destruction Irene reaped upon so many that reside in the area.
The spacious open floor displays sculpture in clay, metal, marble and an acrylic resin figurative work by Lincoln Cleveland that had everyone asking questions about the sculptor’s method. How did Cleveland get those suggestive colorful parts inside, and how did he get the legs to gradually become frosted rather than transparent?
A quiet galley of works primarily in watercolor is unified by the light value used by the artists regardless of medium. Among the many beautiful pieces “Napa Tree Point”, a plein-air oil by our new NCSA Board President, Deborah Haines, is a little jewel. Across the floor, there is a more formal display of many strong realist works, some traditional and some more contemporary. Don’t miss “Tantanka”, a small terracotta sculpture of a bison that looks like it is bronze, guarding the paintings that surround him/her.
Around the corner, another small gallery is dominated by an intriguing fragmented figurative work by M. Zeitlin aptly entitled “Fragments.” Grace Krupenye’s formalist collage, “Persona”, in a rich warm terracotta color draws you in to discover its humble materials.
The stage – three steps up to the large back wall of the gallery – is truly a mixed bag of mostly larger works in a variety of color, styles and mediums. The wall is a plethora of shapes and colors. Your eye jumps around than wanders more slowly, resting on a close-up photograph of a horse’s face, “Brilliant Gypsy Foal: England 2011” by Jill Liney-Matthews – then to a montage of a nude painted to blend into a stormy sky: “Elisabeth/Tempestas, Roman Goddess of Storms” by Richard Ventre. Finally, it rests upon Caroline Gantz’s untitled large still life of pink juicy blossoms in transparent vases. This piece is a nice contrast to a low relief mixed media work also of large pink flowers, “Magnolia’s Connected” by Kevin Stevens.
The Members’ Show is a wonderful collection of what NCSA members are up to in their studios. It is a welcoming strong beginning to the 2011-12 Exhibition Season. You won’t be disappointed.