May 5-June 3 | Kathy Black & Michael Heffernan, Susan Calza, Harrison Halaska
May 5 @ 11:00 am - June 3 @ 5:00 pmFree
We are pleased to announce our upcoming exhibitions of four unique artists: Kathy Black and Michael Heffernan, Rebecca Lawrence Gallery, and Clifford B. West Gallery; Susan Calza, Our Hour, Elizabeth Rowland Mayor Gallery; Harrison Halaska, Paintings by Harrison Halaska, 2020-2023, E.N. Wennberg Gallery. Exhibitions on view May 5 – June 3, opening reception on Friday, May 5, 5-7pm.
Two artists using toys as muses: Kathy Black and Michael Heffernan | Rebecca Lawrence Gallery and Clifford B. West Gallery:
Kathy Black | Playing All Over the Map. As children, we used toys as characters to explain the world to ourselves. We touched them and sorted them out: soft and hard, squishy, or colorful. We made families and acted out dramas to figure out our world. Maps, too, provide us a way to extend and understand what is out there, branching out from our hometown or looking at someplace very far away. In looking at a map, not only do we think about what is north or west of us, but we also play with scale. This sense of scale leads us to consider what is near and what is so far away that light can only reach us in millions of years. Maps articulate how we conceive of space and place in abstract visual language, they help us explore what it means to have a place on the planet. Our understanding of the physical universe–from deep space to subatomic string theory, is ever-evolving. The question begs us to consider how is it that our visual language is changing to bridge this gigantic stretch of conceptual space in which we now live. This body of work started out with play, by exploring a local topographical map, weather maps, a nautical map, and star maps, along with the help of finger puppets, Christmas ornaments, and other figures. Black wrestles with the investigation of how humanity might attempt to understand its place in space in the biggest sense. Michael Heffernan | The Greatest Stories Ever Told. There is a deluge of mass-produced plastic and rubber stuff in this world. Toys may get played with briefly, but mostly, they are quickly ignored and discarded. Yet, they can still contribute. Heffernan has developed a rough set of rules for making a painting of toys; the toys must be used— no new toys. He keeps the toys his children have outgrown and searches for toys in thrift stores and yard sales. The toys must have a history, and the passage of time alleviates their preconceived and manufactured identity. In a decade or two, they will be as forgotten as any radio show star of the 1930s. Heffernan allows the toy characters to tell new stories they were never allowed to, giving them the freedom to do whatever they want now. The narratives are open-ended, and the viewer passes by a scene and only catches a glimpse of another world. Our preconceptions, our conceptual bias, shape how we interpret the scene before us. How will someone from 2123 make sense of these toy stories? Heffernan is hoping to stick around to find out.
Susan Calza | Our Hour | Elizabeth Rowland Mayor Gallery. Our Hour is a video installation that contemplates the complicated beauty and poignant brevity of human existence. What we do here now and how we spend our time weave together our history. Our actions create our legacy. These actions lay the groundwork for future generations. The 8-minute video was filmed in places of action as well as contemplation. Video sequences were filmed in several distinct locations: Sainte-Chapelle, the 14th century Gothic Chapel in Paris; an active slate quarry in Corris, Wales, UK; the “N” train, riding through a snowstorm in Brooklyn; the night streets of Amsterdam; a winter beach in Maine; and a Zen temple in northern Vermont. The sculptures presented in the installation refer to the skills involved in the construction of language and the penchant for craftsmanship. These human activities evolved over time for communication, survival, and the sheer pleasure of creation. Paper tags embossed with gold and words float down from the ceiling. Yards and yards of black and blue fabric are woven into a large, egg shape form. These sculptures are moment-by-moment engagements with our most basic, intimate tools. We possess resourceful minds. We have busy and often dangerous hands. From the earliest handprints and images pressed onto the cave walls in Lascaux, France, our species continues to declare and demand…We Are Here. We Are Still Here. This is our time. This is our fleeting and precarious existence. This NOW that we inhabit is brief and stunningly beautiful in its audacity. This is Our Hour.
Harrison Halaska | Paintings by Harrison Halaska, 2020-2023 | E.N. Wennberg Gallery. Painting in oil from observation has been a practice that has helped Halaska stay engaged and grateful for life. Through painting and looking, he feels able to dig a little deeper into our world, gaining more information about the physical and visual world, but also (and maybe most importantly) a deeper connection to a vast, spiritual realm full of significance and meaning. Halaska engages joyfully in the process of looking, making mental notes of the places, people, and things that inspire him to paint, taking notice of the feeling– the electrical current of energy that flows through life. The act of painting then becomes a celebration or meditation on the matter that makes up his life. A painting is an artifact of that experience, conjuring up the network of sensations that constructed that moment in time. Thematically, his interest lies in meaningful pursuits: thinking about life and death, the act of painting, color and form, an appreciation for every day, nature, and philosophical wondering about what one should do vs. what one does.
Kathy Black grew up in Chicago, Illinois; received a BA in English from the University of Illinois, Champaign; a BFA in painting from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; and an MFA in painting from Tyler School of Art, Temple University. She was awarded fellowships for the Oxbow residency, MI; La Napoule Symposium and Residency in France; and a Graduate Fellowship at Temple University. Recent exhibits include Expanding Universe, Collapsing Time, at the Vermont Studio Center, VT, February 2023, and Women and Girls, River Arts, Morrisville, VT, 2022. Others include Northern VT University, Rhode Island Community College, and Washington Art Center, CT. Group shows include Strange Paradise; Anna Marie Sculpture Center, MD; Arts Connect, Catamount Art Center, St. Johnsbury, VT; Witchy, Ely Center of Contemporary Art, New Haven, CT; and New England Collective X, Galatea Fine Art, Boston, MA. Black is the Program Director at the Vermont Studio Center, a residency for artists and writers in Johnson, VT. View artwork on www.kathyblackstudio.com.
Susan Calza is a conceptual artist and gallery founder/director living in Montpelier, VT. She served as a full-time Visual Arts faculty at Indiana University, Bloomington and was a tenured professor at Northern Vermont University, Johnson. Susan co-created and directed the Johnson State College/Vermont Studio Center MFA Program. Before retiring in 2014, she designed a million-dollar sculpture studio at NVU’s Johnson campus as well as The Black Box Gallery, which bears her name. Susan has received grants from the Illinois, Indiana, and Vermont Arts Councils, as well as The University of Illinois, Indiana University and (NVU) Johnson State College. In 2022, the Montpelier Public Art Commission funded Calza to exhibit her Red Oculus interactive sculpture in downtown Montpelier as well as to curate a Video Salon screening the work of 11 artists from Vermont and beyond. An article by Erik Esckilsen about the Red Oculus Project appeared in the July 20, 2022, issue of Seven Days. She continues to exhibit nationally and internationally, and her work has been reviewed in the Hartford Current; the New York Times, The Chicago Sun Times, The Chicago Tribune, The New Art Examiner, The Cleveland Plain Dealer, The Christian Science Monitor, The Indianapolis Star, Arts Indiana, Dialogue Magazine, The Stowe Reporter, The Times Argus, and Seven Days. In recent years, she has been awarded three artist residencies at the Studios at MASS MoCA and one residency at Stwidio Maelor in Corris, Wales. She has been invited to return to Stwidio Maelor in 2024 for both a residency and one-person exhibition. Her approach to art making is conceptual and interdisciplinary, utilizing sculpture, video, 2D and performance. While methods and materials are interchangeable throughout, in recent years her work has become socially engaged and political, serving as a platform for cultural critique. The Susan Calza Gallery opened in 2019 as a venue through which art speaks truth to power. It has exhibited installations focusing on mass shootings, immigration, climate change, and race relations. Let’s Not Pretend is her 2015 documentary screened in nine countries on five continents. View artwork on http://www.susancalza.com/
Harrison Halaska was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1992. He began painting in undergraduate school, and in 2015 received a BFA in painting from the University of Wisconsin Whitewater. A year later he moved to Southern California and earned an MFA from the Laguna College of Art and Design in 2018. After graduating, he taught at the California School of the Arts High School in San Gabriel Valley from 2018 – 2020. Halaska teaches classes at AVA Art Center and Gallery, as well as assists in exhibition installation. Additionally, he works as an artist assistant to the print maker, Matt Brown. Halaska lives with his partner Chujun Lin and dog Turner in Hanover, New Hampshire. View artwork on https://www.instagram.com/harrison.halaska/
Michael Heffernan was born in Hartford, CT in 1966. He graduated from Colgate University and the Graduate School of Figurative Art where he received an MFA in Painting. He has lived in Vermont since 1995 and has taught studio art at Castleton State College, The Community College of Vermont, and UVM’s Church Street Center. He has been teaching at Plymouth State University since 1999. He has exhibited throughout the northeast including Flowers Gallery in New York City and in Art Fair Naples with Island Weiss Gallery. He has created paintings for Broken Lizard Films for Warner Bros. and Anchor Bay feature films. He has been a member of AVA since 1995. View artwork on https://www.instagram.com/michaelheffernanpaintings/
The exhibitions will be on view May 5 – June 3, 2023, with an opening reception on Friday, May 5, 5-7pm.
Artist Talk: Harrison Halaska and Michael Heffernan, Thursday, May 11, 5:30-7pm.
Artist Talk: Kathy Black and Susan Calza, Thursday, May 18, 5:30-7pm.
Exhibitions, and all related events, are free and open to the public.
The exhibitions are generously sponsored by: