AVA Gallery and Art Center is pleased to announce our upcoming exhibitions of three unique artists: Elliott Katz: Psychedelic Hardware Store, Rebecca Lawrence Gallery Entry and Clifford B. West Gallery; Gaal Shepherd: Flatworld, E.N. Wennberg Gallery; Roger Wells: Ice, Wind, and Fire: Images & Poems of Climate Change, Elizabeth Rowland Mayor Gallery. Exhibitions are on view September 8-October 6, 2023, with an opening reception on Friday, September 8, 5-7pm.
Elliott Katz: Psychedelic Hardware Store | For Elliot Katz, commonplace objects and quotidian subject matter are realized through extraordinary efforts. Concrete blocks, cheap beer cans and worn-out tools are the foundation of a working-class visual language. Traditional sculpture-making techniques are spliced with art historical motifs into their everyday nature, and in turn, these objects are transformed to challenge notions of beauty and perform an inversion of contemporary class structures.
Gaal Shepherd: Flatworld | This is a recent body of painterly work where foreground and background are composed within the same plane and painted with similar intensity. Shepherd playfully combines colors and shapes in an ambiguous way where “push and pull” is activated and constructed on a single plane rather than by using traditional compositional perspective. Viewers are invited to unravel the images or allow them to resonate on a non-objective level. The new series of oils is a departure for her, though the natural world has always been her muse. “In these paintings I have played with horizon line and depth of field and have used vivid color. Rather than blending I have laid together separate color swaths that evoke weaving— just as one finds it in the natural world.” Shepherd’s background is in performing arts, and these paintings suggest her dramatic influence appearing in these stark yet powerfully vibrant pieces.
Roger Wells: Ice, Wind, and Fire: Images & Poems of Climate Change | Wells’ exhibition is composed of a series informed by his research on the current ecological state of our planet and humanity’s dependence on nature and climate. In the early origins of Earth, plant forms were the starting point; without plants there is no oxygen and no animal life. Wells is hopeful that these paintings– along with partnered poems– speak to the viewer and motivate action for the sake of future generations. His intention is to convey hidden dimensions within the non-objective compositions and reveal connections between all of life. His exhibition of densely composed works paired with poetry, serve as a visual conversation between him and the viewer. His poetry articulates his concerns as they function as a quatrain to open the door for further conversations. The exhibition will outline arguments and counterargument– hypotheses regarding science versus cyclical climate change.
Elliott Katz came of age working on his parents’ vegetable and ornamental plant farm in rural Vermont. He and his siblings formed the backbone of the hired help, and by the time he was six he was hauling carrots from the fields to the farm stand. Personal history informed his early sculptures, and he used craft not only as a method of production but also as a metaphor to connect past and present lives. Katz correlated working on his parents’ farm with working in his studio, as both required prolonged investments of time and a particular type of resourcefulness. View Elliott Katz’s website here.
Gaal Shepherd moved to Vermont from Washington, DC, in 1988. She attended the Corcoran School of Art, in Washington, D.C. She has attended several artist residencies at the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, VT, where advice from international artists served her artistic development. Nature remains her best subject for inspiration. She has lived in Pomfret, Vermont for decades and once hiked the Appalachian Trail daily. Shepherd maintains an artist studio in White River, Jct., VT, where she appreciates the interaction with other studio artists. View Gaal Shepherd’s website here.
For 40+ years, Roger Wells led a land-planning firm and collected art by American artists. After moving from Philadelphia to New Hampshire, he decided to work towards becoming an abstract painter and has focused on his practice for the past 12 years. He is attracted to the abstract work of Paul Klee, Vasily Kandinsky, and Piet Mondrian. Among American painters, he admires the interpretive work by Richard Diebenkorn and the use of flat-plane compositions by Fairfield Porter and Alex Katz. Wells intends to articulate meaningful paintings of places, ideas, and social issues. Klee’s dictum is essential to him: “Art does not reproduce the visible; it rather makes visible” –Paul Klee. View Roger Wells’ website here.
There will be a panel discussion with all three artists on Friday, September 15, 5:30-6:30 pm, see more info here.
Exhibitions and all related events are free and open to the public.