Petey Mitchell and Jim Giddings, owners and curators of Mitchell•Giddings Fine Arts were honored with the 2019 Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Along with opening an art gallery of their own, their dream was to create an arts building that would benefit the town of Brattleboro. They received the award for sharing this passion, for investing in the cultural landscape of Brattleboro and for making their dream a reality. Come visit the new gallery on Main Street.
MGFA welcomes artist Rocio Olguin from Oaxaca, Mexico. Bird Series 2, XI, 18” x 40” is from her “Birds of my Dreams“ series. This mixed media work is done with a variety of techniques and materials including collage, oil paint, fake gold leaf and scratching. See more of Olguin's beautiful work here.
For me art making is an energetic and inexplicable collaboration between matter, intention, and the unknowable. I like the synergy of linking dissimilar elements and coaxing materials into an unfamiliar setting. I am drawn to incorporating cast-off articles animated by the energy of their previous use or environment, such as beach rope, tangled fishing line, driftwood, stones, cast-away cloth, etc. In Spirit Root I am working with an ocean-polished root, untangled beach rope threads, and burnt beach-wood. See more on Ratté's artist page.
Josh Bernbaum's glass panels are inspired by the work of German physicist Joseph von Fraunhofer (1787-1826). "Fraunhofer was a trained physicist, but dabbled in glass making for telescopes. From that, he was able to see the colors of the visible spectrum in light coming from distant stars and also parallel black lines amidst those colors. I wanted to pursue this series of work asking what I could create that would incorporate line-work and the ‘rainbow’ colors of the visible light spectrum." See more here.
Meteor is a new kinetic sculpture from Bruce Campbell. Turn the crank and watch the meteor enter the Earth's atmosphere and impact with the ground. "With this work I was trying to convey the the idea that the moon and stars have a constant motion that is predictable. We have a full moon every 28+ days, the stars are set in constellations that are identifiable. But meteors (so called shooting stars) are unpredictable. They suddenly happen and we are surprised. The regular turn of the crank mimics the continuity of time while the moon revolves and the stars appear to twinkle and suddenly a meteor flashes to earth." See more on his artist page.
Waking to Rain is one of six new mixed media assemblages from Lauren Pollaro. "All of my work is inspired by color, which evokes a reaction, can be mood altering and brings vitality to my pieces. By manipulating materials I create depth, dimension, spatial relationships and combinations that speak to me. The compositions are abstract but may suggest something familiar. My design and color sense is intuitive and the process is spontaneous. An eclectic selection of materials includes metals, enamels, paints, papers, fabrics, wood, wax, plaster, beads and found objects." See more here.
We just received a new sculpture from Eric Boyer, called Sprout. According to Boyer, "While the figurative works share my fascination with the human form, and the human history of image-making in and around that form, the vessel pieces are almost purely about the material itself as expression. The wire mesh is a material with no foreseeable limits as an artistic medium. My figurative work represents one narrow avenue of expression within a vast potential territory, which now has expanded to include purely geometrical, colorful vessels." See more of his creations here.
Mitchell•Giddings is proud to represent the work of printmaker, Lyell Casonguay. His woodblock prints invoke disparate influences including Japanese ukiyo-e, naturalist works, and traditional Chinese brush paintings. We first met Castonguay as part of the Zea Mays group show and invited him to exhibit in the gallery. He is the director of BIG INK, a collaborative project that encourages the practice and understanding of large woodcuts with a variety of workshops and community printing events. Influences include Antonio Frasconi, Leonard Baskin, Bruce Waldman, and Christopher Hartshorne, among others. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, including France, Ireland, and Wales. See his artist page here.
A basket created by Jackie Abrams and Deidre Scherer is a winner. Couples was accepted into the exhibition Excellence in Fibers IV which will be published in the winter edition of Fiber Art Now. It also won the award for the Vessels Forms/Basketry category. The jurors were Carol Sauvion of Craft in America, Perry Price the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, and Beth McLaughlin of Fuller Craft Museum. Their beautiful collaborative vessels are in the current exhibit, Human Textures, on display until November 18. See more of their work here.
Bruce Campbell delivered a new sculpture, Star Clock, influenced by his study of 13th century astrolabes, which allowed one to tell time by the stars or the sun. The wood base, a cast off from a timber framer, informed how the mechanics would work. Most challenging was getting the rod that holds the top—ring within a ring—gimbal device to stand vertically. The brass plates on the front were etched with ferric chloride and then exposed to ammonia fumes. Come to the gallery and turn the crank on this beautiful inclinometer sculpture as you navigate the stars. See more on his artist page.
MGFA is now showing Life Goes On V, by fiber artist Karen Kamenetzky. She creates a visual invented biology with hand-dyed, painted and stitched silk charmeuse. "My biomorphic fiber wall hangings are inspired by the lines and patterns of microscopic, cellular imagery which I find visually and metaphorically rich." See more of Kamenetzky's work here.
Jackie Abrams delivered a selection of new baskets, including Kin, 2018. She continues to explore silk and cotton fabrics, archival paper, wire, thread, buttons, and encaustic wax. "Each of my vessels can stand alone or be joined with others in support and unity, as a community of 'women.' As with actual women, each one has a story to share, a role in the world." See more of Abrams's baskets here.
We received new watercolors from David Rohn, including Talavera Vase and Baby's Breath. His ability to speak in a unique watercolor voice suggests there’s magic in his choice and command of materials and technique. The transparency of watercolor, with light reflecting back from the white paper through thin veils of color, is as pure as his freedom and liberation from an art world of expectation and judgment. See more of Rohn's work here.
Mitchell•Giddings introduces works on paper by Willa Cox. "Studying and depicting the forms, lines, rhythms and atmosphere found in nature informs my abstract language. I use archival papers with a wide range of fibers, colors, opacities, textures, and weights, and methods of manufacture. My monotypes are almost always representational, my work in mixed-media is always abstract." Her mixed media paintings and monotypes can be seen here.
Mitchell•Giddings welcomes Bruce Campbell, a kinetic sculpture artist. "My sculptures attempt to illustrate, in the simplest way possible, events and conditions of the natural world. In showing a falling star, a lunar eclipse, or a rainstorm, I am trying to represent my understanding of these wonders while making the concepts functional and intriguing. These sculptures demonstrate, in minimalist and transparent form, my perception of the universe—how the universe might be visualized if moved by gears, levers, and basic mechanics." See more here.
David Powell stopped by the gallery to deliver new collages. "Collecting old books and ephemera is necessary for this type of work. These books, many of which are rescued from dumps or bought by the box from library sales, contain the residue of our material culture. Artifacts such as these are rapidly disappearing as our visual culture becomes intangible, transitory and ahistoric." See more of his work here.
MGFA is happy to welcome printmaker Erika Radich to our gallery. "For me, printing and repeating images evokes a sense of practice, a feeling of supplication and humility. The enduring thread between art and science inspires and guides all of my work. I am mystified, inspired, and humbled by the intricacies of the systems that inform and embody human existence and provide the context in which we live." See more of her work here.
We have new glass from Josh Bernbaum. "Utilizing traditional glass cane techniques in new ways is the driving force behind most of my current designs," according to Bernbaum. "Sonoran is a new series I am exploring of forms and colors that are influenced by the cacti I saw on a visit to the Arizona desert. The sculptural qualities of these plants are quite inspiring, but I see the glass forms as abstractions on what I observed in the Sonoran Desert." Watch a video of this Sonoran being made here.
According to Abrams, "recent vessels are faceted, created to hold important invisible things: dreams, thoughts, ideas, wishes. My craft-development work with women in Africa has had a profound influence on my art and life. I have learned to simplify, to let the forms and materials speak for themselves. I collaborate with each piece as it develops, allowing a dialogue to emerge." See more here.
Fisherman is one of six new collages by Donald Saaf. According to Saaf, "I try to view the pictures simultaneously as their ‘subject matter’ and as a pure abstraction. On the surface, I’m influenced by outsider and folk art from around the world and my methods are not far from a quilt makers methods, breaking down the composition into organic forms and shapes. I usually begin with a compositional idea, and once that is established, I let things grow organically. I’m happiest when the outcome is not entirely what I planned." See more here.
Prevailing Wind is a new work by Torin Porter. "I think of each sculpture as a tool or toy for creating a dialogue within the viewer. As we move around a sculpture or move it around in our hands, our view of it is constantly changing. It responds to our movements and perspectives. It is by our exploration of a sculpture that its story reveals itself and we become part of that story." See more here.
W. David Powell's, The Dodo, the Auk, the Emperor, and the Preparator, is part of his avian inspired collection of collages. According to Powell, "the work is not meant to teach or preach, but to present images from a variety of sources in new configurations that might provoke curiosity, promote reflection on what we know and think we know, and challenge our habitual thinking." See more here.
From artist Jackie Abrams, we welcome the arrival of the Blues Sisters. These woven vessels are from her "Women Forms " series representing women, their shared stories and their shared experience. This has become a continuing study of form, color, and surface texture. See more about these beauties and Abrams's work here.
"With a magpie sensibility, these latest works on paper continue an exploration of found local materials, old ephemera, maps, vintage hand written notes, and fabric. Used as if they were tubes of paint along with India Ink, gouache and watercolors and pencils, they are usually made in one or two sittings. I try to enter each work with no preconceived notions, but instead treat each piece as a conversation or a meditation. They are portraits of friends, memories, along with some magical beasts." Donald Saaf has three new pictures in the gallery. See more of his work here.
We are excited to announce "MGFA Presents," a video series in colllaboration with Brattleboro Community Television, featuring Andy Reichsman and Kate Purdie of Ames Hill Film and Video Productions, as well as Robert Fritz and Gene Perulis. Most of the films are MGFA's artist talks, connecting community to artist and providing public education. These films will be available through BCTV's website and our PRESS page.
We are happy to announce the addition of sculptor, Eric Boyer, to the gallery. Boyer has been working with wire mesh for over twenty years. "While the figurative works share my fascination with the human form, and the human history of image-making in and around that form, the abstract pieces are almost purely about the material itself as expression. The wire mesh seems to be a material with no foreseeable limits as an artistic medium." See more.
MGFA welcomes the photography of Gene Parulis. "Since childhood I've been intrigued by the idea of a parallel universe, something I could readily observe in mirrors and windows, where one world reflects the other and both, if held in a unified vision, are altered. I wanted to venture into the implicit "what if?" See more.
MGFA is pleased to welcome new artist Anne Johnstone to the gallery. Johnstone works in collage, oil, and wax to create dramatic pieces that use distortion to bring forth heightened emotional response while striking a whimsical, playful tone. "What interests me are the undercurrents and energy present in relationships on both visible and unseen levels. Ironically, it is the tension between these levels which incurs whimsy." See more.
We are pleased to welcome Torin Porter to the gallery. Porter’s sculptures have been exhibited in New England, New York City, and in public spaces. His interactive sculpture installations are featured at Phish festivals. Growing up, he spent his summers with the Bread and Puppet Theater and later performed with the MOMIX dance company and Jane’s Addiction. Porter was selected to attend several Vermont Week artist residencies at the Vermont Studio Center, and has taught sculpture classes at The Carving Studio. See more
We are expanding! The Brooks House Atrium will now be part of our exhibit space and called the Mitchell • Giddings Fine Arts Annex. We will be installing our artists' work on a rotating basis in this gorgeous new space.
We are happy to welcome the work of Lauryn Welch to MGFA. Lauryn is a young woman who is serious about her work, "Since childhood I have been fascinated by the emotional tug of color and pattern. Often I am thinking about how color and pattern on the body can form the conception and expression of one’s identity, as it is perceived by the self and by others. This became my primary focus after I spent an entire year as a Red “monochromat.” Every aesthetic part of my life that had an immediate presence was replaced or altered to be Red. For a time, even the food I ate." Read More
MGFA is happy to welcome Michele Ratté as a new artist. Precious metals, mineral pigments, printing, collage, stitching, and drawing – all unpredictable elements in her extraordinary work. Each piece evokes a primordial connection to the earth and sea. A combination of handwork, assemblage, and natural objects merge in Ratté’s personal vision of the physical world and reflect her interest in alchemical and transformative processes. See more
MGFA is excited to welcome Donald Saaf as a new artist. "For the past 20 years I have been exploring the place where fine art and folk art intersect. My subject matter draws from the local experience of community, family and immediate surroundings as well as an internal dream place. Although some of the imagery is very personal, I am always striving for the universal. The figures in the pictures are simultaneously ‘me’ and a sort of ‘Everyman.’ See more
We are happy to welcome Susan Osgood to the gallery as a new artist. Osgood is a painter who enjoys drawing and printmaking as well. Growing up in rural New Hampshire, she developed a deep love of the natural world along with a great desire to travel. She received a BFA degree in painting from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1978. See more.