Esther B. Folts – charcoal & pencil figure drawing
Blair A. Folts – Mongolia Journals, monotype & Xerox lithography
Opening Reception: Sunday, February 21, 2010, 1-4 PM
Gallery Talk: Sunday, March 7, 2010, 2 PM
A mother-daughter journey
A conversation between two artists—Esther B. Folts and daughter Blair A. Folts—a mother and daughter conversation about their different approaches to the human figure bore the idea to show their work together. Through this discussion, both artists realized that even though their work is not similar they do share passion for sketching, exploring line, layering and using the figure as metaphor.
Esther Brun Folts graduated from Syracuse University, an English major with a Fine Arts concentration. After a brief period working as a journalist on an upstate New York newspaper, Esther married and began a career teaching English and Art in Maryland and later moved to Massachusetts where she taught English. Her art was put on hold by the compelling and assorted tasks of motherhood and homemaking. However, during this period, Esther continued to pursue her love of drawing that began in a childhood where paper was not plentiful and childish masterpieces were sometimes rendered on meat and poultry wrappings carefully smoothed out. The drawings included all manner of images, but what attracted the artist most were people in motion doing ordinary things. This interest later translated to the challenge of studying shapes and pursuing the study of drawing.
Eventually, Esther continued her art studies during evening classes with area artists Warren Prosperi and Lou Giapetti among others. At their recommendations, she began attending classes at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston as a student of Bill Flynn, Greg Menkoff, Robert Siegelman and others. Her work was most recently exhibited in the CEX2 Show in June of 2008 at the SMFA. This exhibit was showcasing the creativity and individual vision fostered at the Museum School’s studio art courses. This exhibit was juried by a noted Boston curator and represented over 60 works by artists of all ages and disciplines. “I was inspired to have my work selected for this show, because it was about the figure,” Esther said. “I also noted how drawing—making marks on paper—or running an image through the press several times really transforms the paper and how we see an image.
Blair Folts has been painting, printmaking and sculpting since the early 1980’s. She was originally known for her landscape paintings of the White Mountains and was included in Dartmouth professor, Robert McGrath’s book, “Gods in Granite.” She studied painting and art history at the University of Kent, England; earned a B.A. in Art and English from the University of Maine at Orono and completed a 5th year degree at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. She has been awarded several residencies and visiting artist positions. Folts has exhibited internationally and locally in both group and solo shows and her work can be seen in public collections across New England at the Currier Gallery of American Art in Manchester; the New Hampshire Historical Society in Concord; and the Carroll County Courthouse in Ossipee. Folts is also a member of the Peregrine Press, a cooperative of printmakers in Portland, Maine. Her work is included in the Peregrine Press Portfolio in the permanent collections at Farnsworth Art Museum, Portland Museum of Art, New York City Library and others.
Inspired by the power of landscape, Blair has always been drawn to study the natural layers found on the Earth through sketching. In 2006 and 2009, Blair had the opportunity to travel through Mongolia and not only explore expansive landscape but also enter into a visual dialogue about the transformation happening to that country culturally and environmentally. The Mongolian Government does not allow ownership of land so there are very few settlements across this vast landscape. People still live nomadically and tend to move 4-5 times a year following grasslands as the seasons change. Because of this sharing of the land, they are respectful of it and try to not deplete resources.
With sketchbook as a constant companion, she recorded impressions not captured by the camera. Once back in her studio, twigs, dirt and even “squished bugs” from the site helped her travel back to these lands. As an environmental activist, she is continually inspired by the power of language and words to effect change, and as such has drawn upon them as new form in her current work. Incorporating words as texture, layered with images using Xerox Lithography, Blair’s current work displayed at the BGA confronts the cultural global divide as societies change and become more homogenized.
Longtime Belmont resident, Esther Folts and daughter Blair (Belmont High School class of 1977) are excited about an opportunity to show their work together as well as offering a gallery talk during the exhibit. “Throughout my life, my mother encouraged me to pursue art. It was not until my brother and I were on our own that she was able to go back to her art and I was able to see her own passion and interest in drawing and painting. I also realized the sacrifices she made to have a family—another reason it is so exciting to have a show together today!” Esther added “I think I need to express my enthusiasm regarding this show with my daughter. What greater joy than sharing this fabulous space with the Mongolian pieces which so reflect the power of the artist’s vision. Art that generates itself as it emerges seems to drive both of us in our work and it is with delight that I look forward to the exhibit.”
Visit Blair Folts’ website and her weblog (travels to Mongolia and the Mongolia Postcards Project).