Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Four Under Forty

The Chestertown Arts League is privileged to unveil its September show “Four under Forty” on the first Friday of September. This show features the work of four Kent County resident artists: Robbi Behr, Emily Kalwaitis, Joe Karlik and Angela Ranzoni. All in their fourth decade, these prolific practicing artists are in the prime of their relatively young creative lives. Each artist has a distinctive style, but they share the desire to create art with an expressive and sometimes highly symbolic and allusive form. Those attending the show will be presented with fresh perspectives and imagery that challenge, question, and reveal that which is not ordinarily considered. The show was organized by Emily Kalwaitis and Rich Hall. The show opens on First Friday September 3 with a reception from 5-8 pm -- the artists will be introduced at 6pm. The show runs through Sept 26.

Robbi Behr’s style is messy, loose, and visceral. The world beneath her gaze is compressed to the point of distortion. Rather than providing a literal representation of a text, Behr’s illustrations present a parallel visual narrative that works independently to explicate, enlarge, and often ironize the written one. Her work balances cynicism and earnest critique, retaining a breath of optimism while acknowledging the fallibility—and absurdity—of the world it beholds. Behr was born and raised in Chestertown, Maryland. She received her MFA from Savannah College of Art and Design, and has held all manner of art-related jobs including: museum docent, gallery assistant, door-to-door children’s photographer, T-shirt designer, production designer, college professor, and freelance illustrator. She is the illustrator for a small press, Idiots’ Books, which she co-founded and runs with her husband, Matthew Swanson.

Emily Kalwaitis works with thinned acrylics and pencil on wood panel, paper and fabric. The color palette is generally subtle and low contrast. The work mostly centers around young girls appearing in spare, symbolic vignettes. Each piece stands as a part of an on-going, ambiguous narrative reflecting stories of vulnerability, reverence, loss, growth and spirit. She also creates unusual and very personal portraits both of friends and commissioned. All of her work seeks to reflect enigmatic emotional and psychological states. Kalwaitis has a BFA from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. She has shown her work locally at the Carla Massoni Gallery, and is represented by Ms. Massoni online. She has also shown in various galleries around the country including the Memphis College of Art, the Paper Boat Gallery in Milwaukee, and the Womanmade Gallery in Chicago. She has an upcoming show at the Smith Farm Gallery in Washington DC. She and local poet, Lindsay Lusby, have recently self-published a book of poetry and art, "Sleight", presented at the Chestertown Book Fest in November of last year.

Joe Karlik’s inspirations translate into art in many mediums, such as oils, collage, wood, found objects, photography and mix media. The quality of his art, like nature, is a full range of textures, the paint and collage that defines the work explores a tension between beauty and crud marks.

Raised outside of Houston Texas Karlik came to Baltimore in 1992 to study at Maryland Institute, College of Art. This was an intense period of inspiration and growth where he defined his art based on the symbols and process not the specific medium. Developing his skill with paintings, sculptures, and drawings, Karlik began to combine mediums to enhance the depth of his creations. He graduated with a BFA in Sculpture. With his wife Nicole in den Bosch, a fellow artist, Karlik moved to the Eastern Shore of Maryland and bought a civil war era house, general store and schoolhouse which they renovated creating Locust Grove Studios where they fulfill their dream of devoting time to artful living and the creation of art of many forms. As well as showing his artwork throughout the years, Joe has also earned a reputation as an innovative event and graphic designer with clients all over the country.

The recent acrylics of Angela Ranzoni emerge from her own inner mythology in a loose and playful style. The moderately sized paintings, often created as diptychs, have been described as “waking daydreams”, “other dimensional” and “whimsical juxtapositions of color and shape”. She most often paints without a plan or sketch, responding to the moment’s emotions, body sensations, and visual feedback from the work in progress. Her experiences with chronic pain have helped shape her art-making process and imagery to reflect a magical, sometimes blissful world where it’s ok to be a little broken and not always know the answers.

Born and raised in rural Western Massachusetts, Ranzoni had nature as her constant inspiration. Surrounded by dairy farms and wooded hills, her family shared the homestead with her Grandparents. Their traditional carpentry, colorful crafts and endless handmade solutions to everyday needs helped to root her in her love of drawing and making things. She subsequently made her way to Massachusetts College of Art in Boston, where she studied painting until moving to San Francisco in 1991. In 2003 she returned to school to complete her BA in Humanities with an emphasis on Expressive Arts Therapy from New College of California. Since moving to Chestertown in 2006, she regularly exhibits at The Chestertown Arts League and Chester River Artworks, and is teaching children’s classes through Artworks.

The CAL galleries are found at 312 Cannon St in Chestertown. Regular gallery hours are: Thursday and Friday 11am – 4pm; Saturday 10am – 4pm; and Sunday’s noon-3pm. For specific information on “Four under Forty” contact Emily Kalwaitis at ekalwaitis@netscape.net or Rich Hall at rwhall@pitt.edu (410-928-5012). For further information on the 2010 CAL show schedule contact Hall and for general information on CAL activities see www.chestertownartsleague.org or contact the gallery at 410-778-5789 or artsleague@verizon.net.


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September 9, 2010 at 3:16 PM  

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