Belmont Public Schools
A representative sampling of two and three-dimensional artwork by students in grades 5 to 8 from the Chenery Middle School and by students in grades 9 to 12 from the Belmont High School.
A representative sampling of two and three-dimensional artwork by students in grades 5 to 8 from the Chenery Middle School and by students in grades 9 to 12 from the Belmont High School.
A representative sampling of two and three-dimensional artwork by students in grades 1 to 4 from the Burbank, Butler, Wellington and Winn Brook schools.
In artist Julie Vinette’s abstract paintings, she achieves radiant color by encouraging thinned paint to drip and separate as it dries on a flat surface. Horizontal bands that hint at sky, water, architecture, horizon and earth are depicted as affected by time, chemistry, and gravity. Underlying much of her work is a grid that suggests structure beneath a maelstrom of color. As Vinette describes it, each painting captures “a single fleeting moment in time.”
Vinette’s work has been recognized in several group exhibitions, including New Art ’07 at Kingston Gallery, juried by Nato Thompson, Curator at Creative Time in New York, and the 14th Annual Juried Show at the Essex Art Center, juried by Carole Anne Meehan, Curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston. Vinette’s awards include Artlink’s Outstanding Work Award at the 12th Annual Nation Print Exhibition and an Honorable Mention in the 3rd Annual People’s Art Show by Pittsburgh Progressive Artists. A member of the DeCordova Museum’s Corporate Lending Artist Program and Atlantic Works Gallery in East Boston, Vinette lives and works in Marblehead, MA.
After a long and distinguished career as an aerospace engineer, Italian native and longtime Belmont resident Ottavio Forte found an unexpected path after retiring that lead to the creation of art. A course in welding three years ago sparked Forte’s interest in working with metal and he hasn’t looked back since. Using both his engineering experience and his love of nature, Forte works with broad sheets of steel, shaping the material into his signature triangular pieces, to create sculptures that have a whimsical imaginative feel, oftentimes depicting mystical animals. His Belmont garden is well-known in the community as the setting for several of his playful oversized sculptures, including the peace-inspired “Dove on the Lily,” which depicts a large white dove hovering on a yellow lily and carrying an olive branch.
Mr. Forte arrived in Brooklyn, from Italy, at the age of 14. After high school he attended The City College of New York (CCNY) and graduated with a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering (B.E.E.). Upon graduation he was hired by MIT to work on the Apollo Program. He remained at MIT for 22 years, spending time at both The Draper and Lincoln Laboratories, specializing in control systems for space programs.
In retirement he volunteers in the Physics Departments of Boston College and Harvard University. Mr. Forte also holds master degrees in engineering and in business (MSEE, MBA).
You may contact him at: ottavioforte at hotmail.com.
The Two Sisters exhibit features the collages of mixed media artist Alexandra Sheldon and functional ceramics from sister Phoebe Sheldon. Although each sister works in a different medium to express their artistic vision, with Alexandra working primarily in paper and paint and Phoebe working in clay, both women’s work has been greatly influenced by the natural world around them, both in terms of imagery and color palette.
Often I will walk my dog at the reservoir and come directly into my studio afterwards to mix up the colors of that particular day and season. I am also interested, like Pollock, in the nature of myself as a human being compelled to make marks. I want to be surprised in my studio and to go into unexcavated territory. I play with the materials: sanding, painting, drawing, printing, scratching, etc. I try to wrestle the process away from the control of the mind and go towards something physical and spontaneous. Above all else, I make art because it is, for me, a form of positive prayer in a troubled world.”
I am currently working exclusively in high fire porcelain. Over a period of 15 years, I have learned to inlay layers of colored slips into the surfaces of my pieces. As I explored this technique, originally developed in Korea and called “mishima,” I found myself drawn into a fascinating world of pattern and color. At first, I was only able to inlay one or two layers of color, but then, bit by bit, I found ways to use more layers and hence more colors. I scrape the layers down to make the surface even and also to expose the white clay body, which has been etched using a steel point.
Over the last two years, I found that I could scrape the surface in such a way as to leave more of the underlying colors and expose less of the white clay, which has added another dimension to the work but has also greatly added to its difficult and pain-staking nature.
My pieces are all functional and simple in design. They have to be both simple and strong to survive all the etching, painting, and scraping and also to be able to support the complexity of the surface patterns. I have always tended to use images of birds, fish, and water in my designs. Very recently I have begun to do some pots where there are ‘shadow’ areas as if the piece had been broken and reconstructed or had a shadow cast upon it.”
I use gouache and watercolor on paper to create mysterious, open-ended narrative paintings. In these images, natural and man-made worlds are intricately intertwined, and characters interact with strange, unexpected phenomena. Frogs, fish and peas rain down on figures from a melting, starry sky. A hiker wanders through a forest where tree-size beanstalks grow up out of a field of giant, finely wrought birdcages.
Stories, pictures and memories inspire my work. I find my subject matter everywhere, from fairy tales and field guides to epic poems and outdoor equipment catalogues. Bits and pieces of personal history appear in my paintings in images derived from vacation snapshots, family albums and memories that I reenact in staged photographs.
I use materials and paint in a style reminiscent of children’s illustration, a language in which narratives have limitless magical, absurd and nostalgic potential. There is an aspect of the mad scientist in my process, combining months of careful research, planning and detail, with wild, impulsive experimentation. It is important to me that when I begin a painting I have no idea how it will turn out. I use a number of tricks to combat predictability, investing tremendous amounts of time and energy in unresolved, potentially irresolvable compositions, and choosing subjects that stretch the limits of my representational skills. In every painting I reach a point where failure seems imminent. The process of rescuing the image, of turning the disaster around, yields the most exciting and surprising parts of my work.”
KABUL, AFGHANISTAN – 4/29/2006: Bakhtnazira (center) works and chats with the seamstresses in her workroom. Her business employs many women, some of whom are widows, who otherwise would have no means to support themselves or their families. (Photo by Paula Lerner/Aurora)
In the 23 years I have been a working photographer, women’s issues have been a recurring theme in my projects. My magazine stories have been populated with women from all walks of life: from survivors of domestic abuse to business leaders and celebrated performing artists. I have produced a body of work on a welfare mom and a book about breast cancer walks. But when I had the opportunity to document the lives of women in Afghanistan, my interest was especially piqued. Knowing Afghan women have faced some of the harshest circumstances of women anywhere in the world, I knew their stories would be some of the most compelling I could cover.
In February of 2005 I took the first of multiple trips to Afghanistan as a volunteer with the Business Council for Peace (www.bpeace.org). Bpeace is a non-profit organization that works to help women in post-conflict countries establish and grow self-sustaining businesses. The women whose stories I documented for Bpeace profoundly moved me: here were women who had survived unimaginable hardships and decades of war, and yet they had the optimism and bravery to help rebuild their country by building their own fledgling businesses. Last year I began gathering audio in addition to taking still images, and recording the women telling their stories in their own voices. This work, “The Women of Kabul,” was published as a multimedia feature on the Washington Post web site in November of 2006. Many news outlets cover Afghanistan’s ongoing insurgency and the misery of war, but few are interested in telling how people are rebuilding their lives in war’s aftermath. I give the washingtonpost.com a great deal of credit for having the courage to be one of a handful of venues in the latter category.
Through my work with Bpeace I came to know Rangina Hamidi, an Afghan-American woman who lives and works in Kandahar, the former Taliban capital city that is still a Taliban stronghold. Her program empowers women by giving them paid employment producing unique Kandahari embroidery, something they can do at home and without breaking cultural norms. Through her work she has come to know well and be trusted by these women. She and I have embarked on a long-term project to tell these women’s stories via a book, print pieces and multimedia features, which are now in progress. By collaborating with Rangina I am in the fortunate position of having access to women who are largely invisible in their own culture, and have the privilege of bringing their stories to the West where they are all but unknown.
The photographs in this exhibition are selected from the above projects, and show the daily life behind the headlines in Afghanistan. As a photojournalist and storyteller I try to convey these stories with integrity and honesty, and in the process I also hope to make art. The images in this collection are those that I feel have come the closest to succeeding at this.
For more information, see Paula Lerner’s website at www.lernerphoto.com.
My work is based on a perpetual passion for giving life through composition. As a former landscape designer, I have always been fascinated with colors and shapes and how they interact.
Printmaking has become my primary means of artistic expression. I like the infinity of all the layers that can be achieved, the richness of the color and the sophistication of the lines that can be rendered through this complex medium.
My inspiration comes from found objects and other elements, and deals with personal observations and experiences acquired from visiting and living in different countries.
In my prints, I juxtapose materials, images, shapes, and colors through a combination of different techniques. The elements blend, almost threatening each other, creating a prototype that is rich, edgy and commanding all at once.
The resulting images portray a characteristic and contemporary style that invites individual responses and interpretation. Regardless of the approach, art makes me feel happy and alive.
“Art does not reproduce the visible, it renders visible” — Klee
Christiane’s website: www.christiane-corcelle-arts.com
My art revolves around an abstract figure and the waves of energy that compose, affect, and complete it as a unique being. The figure’s interactions with itself and others elicit images that fascinate me. I like using layers of colors and shapes in my art to promote a sense of mystery and intrigue. Abstracting these images is a challenge. It keeps my art moving in a never-ending spiral, a symbol I use frequently to emulate a sense of adventure. I love exploring new lines, shapes and colors and how they relate to my imagery. They enable me to challenge the boundaries of tradition and to think outside of the box in my creative process.”
Sophia’s website: www.wmaastudios.com
After receiving a BFA with a major in painting from the Massachusetts College of Art, Lawrence spent the next 10 years of her summer vacations from the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in pursuit of graduate studies in different parts of the world. During one summer, Tom Carr, a professor at the Escola d’Arts Plastique I Disseny in Barcelona, Spain (Barcelona Oldest Art Academy) advised Lawrence, “I can see in your paintings that you like quiet and stillness.” Says Lawrence, “His statement continues to give me pause to reflect. As one of eight children from a family whose parents were born in Italy, I remember the many times I retreated to the room I shared with two sisters to draw in solitude. In fact, this past year during open studios, the wife of a fellow studio artist came up to me and commented, ‘Your art is so peaceful.'” Paintings by Josie Lawrence are held in the JFK Presidential Library and Museum as well as in private and corporate collections throughout the US, Europe and Asia. Her work has been shown in exhibitions in the US, China and Italy with awards annually from juried shows.
“The Veil: Modesty, Fashion, Religious Devotion or Political Statement?” a discussion of the show by Rania Matar…
The veil has many meanings and symbols in the Middle East. While often perceived in the West as a symbol of female oppression and submission to male authority, it takes on a very different meaning in the Arab world. In this photo essay, I will focus on the spread of the veil amongst women in Lebanon and the different interpretations the veil takes on.
Lebanon is a small Middle Eastern country wedged between the West and the Muslim world, where Christians and Muslims have lived together for centuries, where one would witness a blend of the West and the Arab world, of Christianity and Islam, in addition to ostentatious display of wealth and extreme poverty. After fifteen years of a brutal civil war that ended with no clear winner and no real solution, life in Lebanon goes on in a surreal way with a mosaic of co-existing religions.
The Muslim population is growing larger due to a higher birth rate. It is highly politicized and seething with anger at the news coming from Iraq and Israel/Palestine. In addition, since September 11, it feels threatened in a world looking at any Islamic piety with suspicion, with a resulting retreat into more religious consciousness. While many Muslims, especially the upper class, look westward in their dress and lifestyle, and are not antagonistic to the Christian presence, many feel the need of belonging to the larger Muslim community. The female veil which was almost non-existent a decade ago in Lebanon is making a comeback, even among the younger generation, and is taking on different symbols ranging from religious devotion, to self-assertion vis-à-vis the West, to a new item of fashion, all leading to the increased social pressure of wearing it among Muslim women of all ages.
While wearing the veil among Muslim women is becoming more common in Lebanon, the different ways of wearing it is often misunderstood by the West. Women who are wearing the veil are mostly doing it by choice, even though their motives and the extent to which they are covered vary. Older traditional Muslim women wear the headscarf because of religious devotion and modesty. They only take it off inside the home and only in the presence of other women or close male relatives. Upper class Muslim women who often dress in a western style now wear the headscarf as an instrument of fashion and an added accessory, whereby the scarf has to match the clothes, the sunglasses and the handbag. Some women wear it as a political statement of resistance to the West and a symbol of solidarity with Muslim countries at odds with the West. Pubescent girls are now succumbing to social expectations and are wearing the veil by choice as a symbol of growing up. Some would spend hours fixing their headscarf in front of the mirror. They wear it layered, braided or plain but always color coordinated with their clothes.
What makes this project interesting to me is that it provides a microcosm of what is going on in the world today in terms of the growing differences but at the same time the existing inter-dependencies between the West and the Arab world, or Christianity and Islam. Lebanon is a westernized country, home to a growing Muslim society but also to a very western Christian population, hence providing different interpretations of female fashion, and a juxtaposition of the veil with a very western dress code and life style. The veil as a result takes on different meanings and can be seen worn in very different ways ranging from a chador to a fashionable headscarf. It is not uncommon in Beirut to see veiled women walking next to women in mini skirts or tank tops, or under posters of beautiful supermodels, eating at McDonalds or having coffee at Starbucks.”
More info about Rania Matar can be found at www.raniamatar.com.
Abstractions of a mental state. The logic of factory-grey & desolation — a girl & her printing press, isolation. The mechanized clicking of thinking — these are objects & landscapes that exist, but no one has seen them. My logic — logic in general — crumbles & twists, formulates itself in black etching ink. My etchings are the outcome of my perception of existence — bleak & strange.
The prints are Abstractions of imagined landscapes, sometimes objects or cities, conveying some sort of resonance, or connection. They are usually bleak & lonely, yet heroic. I don’t consider my work to fall under one style. The look of the prints from 2002 to the present is very much a product of, & ongoing dialogue with, the techniques that I use. These arose from the technical limitations of creating a studio with non-traditional & non toxic methods. I am constantly experimenting & discovering new ways to put ink on paper.”
More information on this artist can be found at www.laraloutrel.com.
Cargo. Weighty, anonymous, masses of consumable goods. A voluminous presence that fails to fill the absence in which it is placed.
Shipping lanes. Highways. Storage yards. Gateways through which material goods in their anonymous phase leave or enter our lives; portals through space and time for Things. Solidity. Gravity. “Needs”.
I see in these portals stillborn opportunities. I see what was here, before the cargo and the promises. I see a mirage of material goods preening with seductive poise. I see what cargo cannot replace. I see the potential for change.
These sites speak to me of how anonymous consumption fragments our society within itself and divides us from the environment. Stained wood reveals an absence of nature that this ingestion of goods creates. To me it is an absence that screams. Yet these goods pass as unbranded cargo through quiet ports, sleepy highways, and placid storage fields. These places stand as silent memorials to what we have sacrificed in order to achieve the cargo we so fanatically pursue. For me these are peaceful places. Like cemeteries, or morgues. Tranquil, beautiful, and tragic.
I paint the images because for me paint best conveys the beauty that I feel in the anxious desolation of these locations. With paint I can better recreate the subtle fusion of fascination and pain that I experience when standing there. I can freeze the highway’s silent roar, and touch the solitude.”
More information on this artist can be found at www.dawnrevett.com.
The work that I am showing here is the product of the 40 year period 1966-2006. I have always been a photographer in black and white, and I have primarily used a view camera with which I expose 4 by 5 inch sheet film. I have printed the more recent images digitally, after scanning the negatives into my computer, while photographs that precede 2004 I have printed in my darkroom.
My favorite places to work are mill towns, the edges of cities, railroad yards, and occasionally the downtown portions of cities early in the morning when the streets are clear. I sometimes photograph pieces of machinery, and I feel that many of my photographs reflect interests I have in mathematics and engineering.”
Ransohoff, an artist and educator for over 30 years, founded and co-directed Turtle Studios and The Quilt Project, conducted art-making workshops and consulted to corporate and non-profit organizations. Quilt is a work in direct response to world cultural problems and conflicts. It is made in sections, called books, which are sewn together. It can be viewed both in hanging panels or folded into books and read. Each page of Quilt expresses spiritual, historical, community or individual meaning as quilts have across time and place.”
Hayes is an artist of international reputation whose work is held in collections around the world. Painted Prayers are large-scale abstracts. “I paint in abstraction because there is not a specific face or people which reflects the world’s condition. These paintings offer prayers for preserving human dignity and rights in the face of historical hatreds. I see hope, love and beauty in the human spirit. It would please me greatly if a little of this shines out from my paintings.” More images of Hayes work can be found at www.priscillahayes.com.
Ransohoff and Hayes have been friends for over 20 years. As friends, artists and educators working together they found a common bond in their underlying approach to art. On Thursday, October 12, noon – 1:30, they will hold a brown bag luncheon at the Gallery on the topic of “20 years of friendship and work.”
Meg Birnbaum has won a wide range of awards for her photographs. Works have been shown at The Somerville Museum, Willoughby & Baltic Gallery, The Newton Free Library, Holyoke Center at Harvard University and included in the fall 2005 issue of The Harvard Review. Birnbaum was the first place winner of a national juried all-media show at Fitton Center for Creative Arts, Hamilton OH. All of the photographs appearing in the Belmont Gallery show were hand printed using a traditional wet darkroom. Images of Birnbaum’s work can be found here.
This show at the Belmont Gallery incorporates two different bodies of work. Summer’s Waning is the newest series. Says Birnbaum: “In these photographs I hope to revive summer memories, the mysteries, the magic and wonder. July holds such promise and possibility but August brings the growing anxiety of summer half over, of goodbyes and endings. August is a state of mind warmly intertwined with nature’s essential elements.”
Of the other series Botanical Regenerations, Birnbaum says “It is about the biological process – a curious beauty won by stamina, resiliency and endurance in the service of a reproductive imperative. By removing these objects from their natural environments and presenting them center stage, I hope to grant even the most humble of subjects the quiet grandure it deserves. The scale of the prints provides the viewer a larger-than life intimate view of these commonly overlooked natural objects.”
Town Hall Complex
Homer Municipal Building
19 Moore St., 3rd floor
Belmont Center, MA 02478
Wheelchair accessible. On-street parking.
Saturday and Sunday 1–4pm
Visitors are also welcome to stop by on Mon. through Wed. 10am–4pm