Friday, December 29, 2006

An artistic legacy on display

Descendant of painter Calame visits Clark to attend exhibit
By Christopher Marcisz, Berkshire Eagle Staff

WILLIAMSTOWN — With just a few days to spare, Alain Buscalet made it yesterday to the Clark Art Institute to see the current show of Swiss landscape painting, which features the work of an artist his family knows well.
Buscalet, who came from Montreal with his wife and some friends, is the great-great-great-grandson of Alexandre Calame, who was the foremost Swiss landscape painter of his time and who died in 1864. The Clark show is the first major exhibit of his work in the United States.
Still in the family
Buscalet said Calame usually did several versions of many of his paintings, and many of them are still in the family at the Calame house near Geneva, where Buscalet's uncle still lives.
"It's very interesting to see the ones I've never seen before," he said.
Buscalet, who is a sculptor and designer, had heard from family in Switzerland about the show. They had learned about it from Asbjorn R. Lunde, the American collector who owns most of the works on display at the Clark.
Buscalet said much of Calame's paperwork and comments, including notes from clients and purchasers, also remain in the family.
Calame would make drawings in the field, around the Swiss mountains and valleys, and would make his finished paintings in the studio, where clients would dictate where to put the mountains, lakes and animals.
"Only his studies were his own mind," he said. "The others were composed by his clients."
Tour by curator
The group was shown around the exhibit by Clark senior curator Richard Rand, who said that the show has been a success.
"We weren't sure what the reaction to it would be because he's an unknown quantity," he said. "But the word of mouth has been great."
The show will be open through this Sunday.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

'Collaborations' on display at Ferrin

'Collaborations' on display at Ferrin
Berkshires Week

Thursday, December 21The Ferrin Gallery is currently displaying "Collaborations," a selection of recent work by painter Maggie Mailer and ceramist Giselle Hicks, through Dec. 31.
The show features a series of Mailer's drawings and paintings on Hick's cermic pillows. Mailer and Hicks decided to pursue this collaborative project after discovering that, despite their use of different materials, the themes and content of their work were quite similar.
Both artists have their individual works on display alongside their collaborative pieces.
Mailer states, "When I am seeking comfort in the studio I tend to look at old portraits. There is something fortifying about the images of faces from the past. I use them as starting points for rendering, working until the images start to seem familiar. When I saw Giselle Hick's pillow forms, I had the same reaction, finding them both familiar and comforting. So, I was compelled to put the two together. I love the idea of a pillow as a base for a portrait, as if the character drawn lives somewhere between dreams and waking life. Drawing occupies this place for me as well."
Hicks states "as an object from the bed or bedroom, the pillow alludes to ideas of comfort, support, rest, dreams, as well as privacy, intimacy and vulnerability. It is a place of sanctuary and solitude, but also a place where we experience intimate human exchange. The bedroom becomes the province of some of our most profound personal revelations."
Hicks received her bachelor of fine arts degree from Syracuse University in 2001. She has traveled widely pursuing her interest in fine arts and ceramics and served as an artist-in-residence at galleries in Wisconsin and Colorado.
Mailer earned her bachelor of arts degree in english literature from Columbia University in 1993. She is the founder of the Storefront Artist Project in Pittsfield, where she resides.
The Ferrin Gallery is located at 69 Church St. For more information, call (413) 637-4414, or visit

Berkshire Eagle - Work of Ani Kasten added to exhibition

Work of Ani Kasten added to exhibition
Berkshires Week

Thursday, December 21The SKH Gallery of Fine Art and Craft is currently displaying an exhibition titled "small works/BIG ART," through Feb. 17. The exhibition has just been augmented by the arrival of an array of new works in clay by Berkshire artist Ani Kasten following her sold-out show at Flux, in Los Angles.
Kasten, a studio potter currently working in Oakland, Calif., was born and educated in the Berkshire hills where she lived until she began her ceramic career as an apprentice of British ceramist, Rupert Spira, in the Shropshire hills of England. She trained in the studio tradition of Bernard Leach and Spira's teacher, Michael Cardew.
Kasten creates individual pieces that stretch the limits of functionality such as egret bottles, poppy vases, boats, tea jars and incense burners. Her work reflects her firm grounding in the craft tradition but also speaks to her experience living in Kathmandu, Nepal where she worked with crude, hand-dug clay and glaze materials with natural "impurities." The surfaces of the rich black stoneware she uses are stamped, etched, combed, layered with washes and often reveal delicate craters and bubbles. Depth and vitality are defining characteristics of this new body of work.
Gallery hours are Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., or by appointment. The gallery is located at the Train Station in Great Barrington. For more information, call (413) 528-3300, or e-mail

Berkshire Eagle - Williams professor given art fellowship

Williams professor given art fellowship

Thursday, December 21WILLIAMSTOWN — Laylah Ali, associate professor of art at Williams College, has been selected one of the first United States Artist Fellows. The award includes a $50,000 unrestricted grant, one of the largest of its kind in the United States.
United States Artists (USA) is a new organization launched in September 2005 with $20 million in seed funding from the Ford, Rockefeller, Prudential and Rasmuson foundations. It hopes to offer unprecedented private support for America's artists by creating USA Fellows, a program recognizing at least 50 artists each year. Nominees represent every artistic discipline.
Ali is known for her compelling gouache paintings, which the organization states "explore the way people relate to one another through the lenses of race, power and politics."
Ali has exhibited work both nationally and internationally and was included in the 2004 Whitney Biennial of American Art in New York and the 2003 Venice Biennial in Italy.
She has had solo shows at the Museum of Modern Art and 303 Gallery in New York, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, the Albright Knox Museum in Buffalo, N.Y., and the Contemporary Art Museum in St. Louis. She recently collaborated on a performance with choreographer Dean Moss at MASS MoCA and The Kitchen in New York.
Ali received a bachelor of arts degree from Williams College in 1991 and an master of fine arts degree in painting from Washington University in 1994. She also received training at the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture.

Artists wanted for 2007 sculpture show

Artists wanted for 2007 sculpture show
Berkshires Week

Thursday, December 14STOCKBRIDGE — Sculpture Now is currently accepting proposals from established and emerging artists for Sculpture on Main Street 2007, a juried exhibition of large, outdoor sculpture in Stockbridge. The exhibition will run from May 21 through Oct. 31, 2007.
The theme for this year's exhibition is "Shelter." Sculpture Now encourages a wide range of interpretations and offers these suggestions: Protection from weather, persecution, violence, and danger; sanctuary for spirituality, contemplation and meditation.
It is the intent to provide direct and free access to art in public places by siting the sculptures on lawns lining both sides of Main Street. The show will be integrated into the daily life of the community and be available to the thousands of visitors who come to the Berkshires every year.
The work should be suitable for long term outdoor exposure, fabricated and installed in a manner which is viewer safe, and of a scale which will be meaningful in an outdoor environment. Artists needing installation assistance with cranes and manpower should detail their requirements when submitting proposals.
Sculpture Now will provide liability insurance and insurance for the sculptures and will actively promote the show. A $400 honorarium is available if needed.
To submit, mail up to 10 slides or digital images on CD of existing work, labeled with the artist name, title of work, medium and size, an image list, and/or a visualization of site specific work, a resume (maximum three pages), contact information, and a SASE to Sculpture Now, P.O. Box 600, Becket, MA 01223. There is no submission fee.
Sculpture Now assumes no responsibility for lost or damaged applications; do not submit original art.
The deadline for submission is Jan. 31, 2007.
For more information, call (413) 623-2068, e-mail or visit and search under portfolio/list of artists.