AVA Gallery and Art Center is pleased to announce our upcoming exhibitions, Cheryl Betz: Flowers Fall; Rachel Gross: Tilted Planes; Mary Mead, 2022 Juried Award Winner: New Work: Sculpture, Prints, Drawings and Photographs. Group exhibition partner, Works in Clay: Jihye Han, Yeonsoo Kim, and Jenny Swanson will be featured in the Clifford B. West Gallery. All exhibitions will be on view October 13-November 11, 2023, with an opening reception, Friday, October 13, 5-7PM. Cheryl Betz, Rachel Gross, and Mary Mead will participate in a panel discussion on Friday, October 20, 5:30-6:45 PM.
Cheryl Betz: Flowers Fall | Rebecca Lawrence Gallery Entry. The inquiry into who we are and why we exist has plagued Cheryl Betz since childhood. The work in Flowers Fall is from various series that stem from this questioning, not in an attempt to answer but to explore the impermanent nature of form, perception, thought, and memory. After beginning her mixed-media pieces, the painting process takes over. Layers of paint and wax are applied, pieced together, drawn into, collaged onto, or scraped back, consistent with interest in change and the struggle for answers. Reflecting water appears in the work, signifying changing perspectives, the fluidity of form, the underlying interconnection of all phenomena, and a deeper questioning of reality. Buried text points to truths, but they remain mysterious, hidden, and challenging to uncover, inviting the viewer to look more deeply. Photographs that convey elements unaltered by emotion or expression of the artist’s hand are used to bridge the past with the present, explore the universality of experience, and exploit the fallibility and fiction of memory. Regardless of our desires, hopes, thoughts, and plans, things are– just as they are: flowers fall.
Rachel Gross: Tilted Planes | E.N. Wennberg Gallery. The title Tilted Planes refers to how we perceive three-dimensional objects in space. In Rachel Gross’s work, she shifts between different rules of perspective by the selective layering of recti-lineal shapes and painted forms; each image might contain multiple viewpoints. This shift in visual perspective also refers to the intersection of media in her work. Gross includes printed elements in the painted canvases, copper etching plates serve as a substrate for small sized paintings; woodblock cutouts once used for relief printing become sculptures; and free-standing sculptures becoming the subject matter for two-dimensional images. In this way, Gross builds a visual library of forms and motifs which weave into her work.
Mary Mead, 2022 Juried Award Winner: New Work: Sculpture, Prints, Drawings and Photographs | Elizabeth Rowland Mayor Gallery. Mary Mead’s work in this exhibition is divided into two themes. The first reflects a passion for gardening and observation of the changing silhouettes impacted by the time of day, evolving season, and the growth of plant life. The second theme reflects on her emotions over the past ten years in thinking about our oceans, our relationship to them, and the powerful experience she feels while engaged with them. Mead began collecting discarded fishing lines and netting eight years ago, initially attracted to the beautiful array of colors associated with the Caribbean. Over time, other objects caught her eye, entangled in seaweed or the eroded tree roots that line the coasts. Often, these objects are familiar, and sometimes they exist only as fragments. It became impossible to disregard them as not part of a much larger whole – the dumping ground that our vast oceans have become. Using epoxy as a medium to envelope these found fragments creates vignettes, small little chapters in what she believes is a resilient ocean but deserving a more respectful relationship. The “redwood wave riders” emerged from a desire to create a replica of the Paipo board, inspired by a friend who had been building them and riding waves on the coast. The Paipo was designed over three hundred years ago by Polynesians who considered ocean wave sliding– or riding as a form of cultural ritual. Mead constructed one, and a series soon followed. While remaining respectful in recognizing the rich culture and history of the Polynesian ritual, her intention was driven by an aesthetic pull and the challenge of transforming fifty-year-old redwood boards into hand-crafted, wave-riding sculptural forms. Her interpretation conjures imagined ancient riders, who stand upon the board as sentries– guardians of the ocean.
Cheryl Betz was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and spent her youth in small towns in the Midwest. She studied visual art at Northern Illinois University, followed by a 10-year career in publishing in Chicago. After moving to Vermont, Betz continued to study art at Northern Vermont University and at the Vermont Studio Center, where she also participated in numerous residency programs. She holds a BFA in painting. In Vermont, her work has appeared at venues such as the Vermont College of Fine Arts, the Current, UVM’s Fleming Museum, Sterling College, Northern Vermont University, TW Wood Art Gallery, Trinity College, Catamount Arts Center, Studio Place Arts, Burlington City Arts, Castleton University, Chaffee Center for the Visual Arts, the Vermont Arts Council, Highland Center for the Arts, and the Doll-Anstadt Gallery. Other East-Coast locations include AVA Gallery in New Hampshire, the Stamford Museum in Connecticut, the Chautauqua Institution in New York, as well as commercial galleries in Vermont, Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York. Betz’s work has received awards in Vermont, Connecticut, and New York, including the Revington Arthur Award for Contemporary Art from the Chautauqua Institution. Her work is in numerous private and corporate collections and has been carried by Morpeth Contemporary in New Jersey since 1996 and by the Front Gallery in Montpelier, Vermont since 2018. View Cheryl Betz’s instagram page here.
Rachel Gross is an artist and printmaker living in Hartland, Vermont where she works from a home studio. Rachel received her MFA in printmaking from Tyler School of Art, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She is an Artist Member and on the Board of Directors at Two Rivers Printmaking Studio in White River Junction, Vermont. She has had solo shows at The Aidron Duckworth Museum, Hooloon Gallery in Philadelphia, Norwich University, Plymouth State University, and AVA Gallery in Lebanon, NH as well as being in many group shows. Her prints are in several major public collections including the Boston Public Library, The Southern Graphics Council Print Collection, the Hood Museum, and the Mead Art Museum. Rachel has been an Artist Resident at Yaddo, Northern Print in Newcastle, UK, and the Vermont Studio Center. She has taught printmaking and foundations at the Savannah College of Art and Design, The Center for Cartoon Studies, Amherst College, and she currently teaches painting and sculpture at Colby- Sawyer College in New London, New Hampshire. View Rachel Gross’ website here.
Mary Mead has a long history of exhibiting and teaching since receiving her MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts in 1989. In 2001 she became a charter member of Two Rivers Printmaking Studio in White River Jct., Vermont adding printmaking to a then primary focus in sculpture. At the time she said that during the long hours laboring over a single piece of sculpture, other ideas, and ways to bring them to fruition occupied her head which eventually led to an explosion into printmaking. Though she has continued to make sculpture, her more recent work in three dimensions has shown an interest in sculptural installations, often in outdoor venues. Today Mead moves freely between sculpture, printmaking, and work on paper in a variety of techniques. Mead, a member of Boston Printmakers, has taught both adult learners at a variety of venues in New England as well as college students at Colby-Sawyer College in New London, NH, where for eight years she was a faculty member in the Department of Art and Design. She enjoys sharing her extensive knowledge and technical expertise. Coinciding with her exhibition at AVA Gallery, one of her prints has been included in the Boston Printmakers 2023 North American Print Biennial + 75th Anniversary, long recognized at one of the most prestigious events in printmaking, at Boston University, October 10 through December 9, 2023. Another large-scale woodcut, recently printed on Big Ink’s Big Tuna press, was purchased by the Speedball Corporation, Statesville, South Carolina. Mead maintains a studio in Warner, New Hampshire, she named Summit House Press. View Mary Mead’s website here.
Cheryl Betz, Rachel Gross, and Mary Mead will participate in a panel discussion on Friday, October 20, 5:30-6:45 PM.
All exhibitions and events are always free and open to the public.