The Russians Are Coming!

By Mickey Myers

March 13th Update!

The Russians are HERE!  A contingent of outstanding Russian Artists are here this week and next painting in and around Jeffersonville. They are joined by dozens or artists from all over New England (and beyond) painting the beautiful Vermont Landscape en plein air (in the plain air).

Viktor Butko, Maxim Mikhalenia, Irina Rybakova, Oleg Zhuravlev are joined by translators and an all-star list of painters. Bryan Memorial Gallery will host a One-Night-Only Exhibition of the work of these artists on Wednesday March 21st from 6-8PM. This is a not-to-miss event. Refreshments will be served and artists on hand, so bone up on your Russian and come enjoy some fantastic art.
More information is below in the original post.

In an Olympics Year Bryan Memorial Gallery is about to participate in a little Detente of its own.  It’s painters détente for which, full disclosure, Bryan Gallery is only one very small part among many who are working to bring about this exchange.

Jeffersonville, Vermont will welcome a group of Russian plein air artists for two weeks in March (9 – 23.)  The list of painters (so far) from Russia include Viktor Butko, Oleg Zhuravlev and Irina Rybakova who will will take up residence on Main Street in Jeffersonville, and be joined by several American painters, painting en plein air throughout the two weeks of their visit in the US.

Their stay will culminate in a one day installation of their paintings at Bryan Memorial Gallery, with a reception open to the public.  The reception is scheduled for Wednesday, March 21 (6-8PM) in the evening.

Many of these painters know each other, as the visit is privately organized, part of an exchange that has taken place over the past few years, of Russians coming to iconic New England locations to paint, and Americans going to paint with them each of the last few alternate years.  This is the first time that Vermont has been their destination, and appropriately Jeffersonville has been selected, as it has been a mecca for plein air artists for over 100 years.

American Painters in Russia
American Painters in Russia

We are pleased to know (and display work by) some of the artists who went over to Russia last year, and to hear gratifying stories of their painting together in Kostroma 200 miles northeast of Moscow.   We heard about their final evening’s exhibition at a community center where art was the common language, and we saw painting after painting, posted in social media, that stirred our souls and bridged cultures.

So when Bryan Gallery was invited to host the final evening’s reception, we were happy to say “Da!”  Winter is the Season of the Pop Up Gallery at The Bryan, and what better to offer for a brief but exquisite moment of international understanding through painting.

This story is going to evolve, so you are encouraged to visit the Gallery’s website and this blog often over the next month, as we confirm dates and times and the names of other artists who will be joining us for this time together in Vermont.

In the meantime, here are the bios of the 3 Russian artists we know are coming so far.

Victor Nikolaevich Butko
Victor Butko was born in 1978 in Moscow into a veritable artistic dynasty.  Several generations of family were well known artists, including his grandfather, (both graduates of the Imperial Stroganov Art Schoo,) as well as Honored Art Workers of Russia, and of course his own parents, Nikolai Butko and Marina Chulovich.

Butko
Victor Butko

From early childhood, Butko was involved in the creative work of his family.  His first art lessons were given by his parents.  His grandfather also greatly influenced his work, especially landscapes.  Butko’s still life painting style was developed from exposure to an incredible collection of objects to be found in the family’s studio.  Butko painted from them for his first still life works.

In 1989 Butko entered the Moscow Academy Art Lyceum under the supervision of the Russian Academy of Arts, where he studied watercolor and oil painting.  In 1994 he took part in his first art exhibition, in the Art Lyceum Students’ Exhibition at the Central House of Art Workers.  After graduation from art school, Butko went to Vishny Volochok, where he continued to study painting, especially influenced by the works of Russian landscape masters.   In 1997 Butko took part in the exhibition of the Moscow Art Union at its gallery in Krymsky Val, and afterwards became a union member.  Butko’s works are exhibited at galleries throughout Russia.

Oleg Zhuravlev
Oleg Zhuravlev was born in 1981 in Furmanov, Ivanovo region. In 2009 Oleg was graduated from Ivanovo Art School named after Mark Malyutin and of Moscow State Academic Art Institute named after Vasiliy Surikov.

Oleg Zhuravlev: Fall
Oleg Zhuravlev

Oleg is a member of the Artists’ Union of Russia and the Moscow Artists’ Union, the founder of the art club “Tradition” and a holder of the Ministry for Culture’s fellowship (Russian Federation, 2009). Oleg was awarded silver and bronze medals by the Artists’ Union Russia. In 2008 he was honored by the Central federal district honorary diplomas in the nominations “painting and sculpture”. Oleg was awarded the gold medal of the All-Russian exhibition “Symbols of the Fatherland”. The main theme of the artist’s work is landscape, city landscape. Olegs painting deeply reflects the feeling of environment character and spirits. The artist tries to fix and express surprising nuances of landscape, its scarcely perceptible lights and darks. Oleg is an active participant of various international exhibitions and plein-airs. Oleg Zhuravlev lives and works in Moscow.

Irina Rybakova
Irina Rybakova is a talented realist painter. She was born in Vyshny Volochok, Tver region. She spent her childhood in a village near to The Repin Academicheskaya Dacha. It is the oldest and well-known creative base of Artists in Russia; many famous Russian artists worked there.

Irina Rybakova
Irina Rybakova

When Irina was 5 years old, she began to pose for brothers Tkachov. The first painting by them with Irina was “The Bread of the Republic”. Little Irina wanted to paint too, that is why she set up her own still life in her garden and painted. Once her future teacher L. Ostrova saw that and offered to teach Irina to paint. When Irina was 11, she went to Art School. While studying at Kostroma State University she had many successful shows. Her works can be found in many private collections in Russia, Europe, in the USA, Kuwait. Public collections include many Fine Art Galleries of Kostroma, Mogilev (Belarus), Byalinyichi (Belarus), Vyshni Volochok, Plyos, Tarussa, Kolomna.

And Maxim Mikhalenia (detail to come).

Here is a partial list of some of the American Artists joining them and who will also have selected works on display.

Tom Adkins, Garin Baker, Harley Bartlett, Zufar Bikbov,Kelly Carmody, T.A. Charron, Beaman Cole, Ken Dewaard, Vitoria Doberstein, Michel Gerard Doucet, Hunter Eddy, Ben Fenske, Nadia Geller, Bob Graves, Mike Graves, Moses Hamborg, Stapleton Kearns, Ken Knowles, Renee Lammers, Leo Mancini-Hzerko, Peter Miller, T.M. Nicholas, Rachel Personett, Andrew Orr, Rae O’Shea, Sergio Roffo, Kim Senior, Eric Tobin, Stewart White, Peter Yesis

Full painting by TM Nicholas while in Russia in 2017
Full painting by TM Nicholas while in Russia in 2017

What Makes a Pro?

By Mickey Myers

As Bryan Memorial Gallery firms up its Cabin Fever Series of lectures, workshops and demonstrations this winter, a theme presents itself.  Like last year, when art travel unfolded throughout the Gallery’s events, this year we notice opportunities for professional development unfolding throughout our offerings.

What one understands to be “professional development” varies from profession to profession.  It can be a requirement for maintaining a license or even a job (“publish or perish” comes to mind) or it can be much less definable, such as an opportunity for growth in a practice, a collaborative occasion or technical assistance.

Annelein workshopHere at Bryan Memorial Gallery we aim to help our artists advance professionally.  While acknowledging that some don’t need our help, it gratifying when our artists tell us that something the Gallery did – a program, an exhibit, the specs for a show, an artists roundtable – had an impact on one’s studio practice.  A gallery director lives for that kind of affirmation, while at the same time taking care not to impose one’s modus operandi on others, especially not artists.

So it is gratifying to us, as we put together the Cabin Fever Series for this winter, to find ourselves providing some specific and clear cut opportunities for our artists to improve their lot and evaluate their studio practice in relation to best practices in the field.

The following presentations are just those opportunities:

March 10, 1 – 4  Talking about Your Artwork with Mary Zompetti

Mary Zompetti is known primarily for her photography, but she has a significant career helping artists, no matter what their medium or the stage of their career.  She’s coming over for a very small and intimate afternoon of talk with the first 6 artists who sign up for this workshop about their work.  The conversation will be exactly that – a conversation among 6 artists about their studio practice – what works and what doesn’t, what happens when one hits a wall, how long can we stay on course and what are the signs we need to shift gears; where do we go to refresh?   Participating artists are asked to bring 3 examples of their work, including a very recent example.

  • There is no charge for this workshop, and it is first come, first served but advanced registration is required.  Register here.

March 11, 9 – 3  iPhone Photography:  Refining Your Artistic Vision with Nan Carle Beauregard

Most of us have iPhones or Smart Phones and many of us are integrating them into our studio practice.  This is where Nan comes in to assist us in maximizing our understanding of iPhotography, in ways that can enhance its role in our studio practice.  The only thing you have to bring to their workshop is your iPhone or smart phone.  Photographer Nan Carle Beauregard is keen on the story of life and how iPhone Photography can help tell one’s story.  Her editing process enhances an already good photo.  She will also work with participants in the creative exploration of new images.


Saturday, March 17, 1 – 3 PM  A Conversation with Katharine Montstream about Marketing Your Artwork

Kath Montstream and TangoKatharine Montstream is one of Vermont’s iconic landscape artists.  From the brilliance of her watercolors to the depth of her oils, from the accessibility of her prints and cards to the expansiveness of her community involvement, Montstream represents the vitality of the arts in Vermont today.

Spend St. Patrick’s Day afternoon with Montstream while she discusses stories from her own career about marketing her art:  how she got started, what she learned early, what has helped her establish herself in the minds of many as “Vermont’s Favorite,” and what she is still learning today.

  • There is no charge for this program, but seating is limited – first come, first served.

Saturday, March 24, 1 – 3 PM Painting Demonstration with Eric Tobin

Eric painting 1 croppedBack again for the third straight year: the gallery’s best-attended demonstration with Eric Tobin, one of Vermont’s most popular artists.   Watch Eric paint a painting from start to finish.  Converse with him about the decisions he makes while painting. Listen to him explain not only his painting methods, but how he organizes and equips to paint outdoors all year round.

  • There is no charge and no advanced registration required.  

Sunday, March 25, 1 – 3 PM  Framing Your Artwork, 102.

Lassie Barile and Fiona Cooper Fenwick of Vermont Frameworks (Waterbury Center) presented Framing Your Artwork, 101 last winter, and despite a snowstorm, those present hung around with many questions.  Barile and Fenwick are returning, and this time are asking those who attend to submit questions in advance, so they can prepare examples of the answers.


April 26 10 – 1PM  The Legacy Workshop with Mary Fillmore and Mickey Myers.

Many of our artists and others around the state have had the opportunity to attend a 3 hour Legacy Workshop with Mary and Mickey under a grant from the Vermont Community Foundation.  This workshop helps artists (and their heirs) prepare for the inevitable – which is to say that time flies when you’re painting, and sooner or later, you find yourself with an abundance of sketches, finished works, drawings, materials, and what to do with it all?  Certainly, it is nothing you want to leave for your family to figure out without your input, but where, when and how to convey that input?  This workshops helps, and further, this is probably the last time it will be presented under this grant at no charge for our members and friends.  For those wanting a sneak peak, go to http://www.bryangallery.org/legacy/.  (This workshop will also be given at River Gallery in Brattleboro in June.  Let us know if you would like to receive further information about the workshop in Brattleboro.)

  • No charge, but advanced registration required before April 15.  Register here.

On Line Art Auction

by Mickey Myers

Bryan Memorial Gallery is presenting its first ever on line art auction, a fundraising event, featuring 71 donated artworks.  The auction raises operating funds for the non-profit art gallery, devoted to New England landscape painting. 

Jan Brough, Lily Pads on #10 Pond 16" x 20" oil
Jan Brough, Lily Pads on #10 Pond
16″ x 20″ oil

On Line Art Auctions, as a vehicle for fundraising, have increased in popularity nationwide, with some presenters raising a major portion of their operating funds from such events.  While Bryan Gallery has held silent auctions as a feature of its fundraising efforts in the past, this is the first time the gallery has isolated the event and limited its presentation exclusively to the Internet.

It’s a new step for us, and two weeks before its conclusion, so far, so good.   In the past, the Gallery had heard from many of its patrons from far away that they could not get to the annual gala, which featured a silent auction, but wanted to see what was available and bid from afar.  After colleagues weighed in with reports of the success of their on line art auctions, the Bryan Gallery Board was willing to give it a try, separating it from a public event.

Jeanne Marler, Winter in Full Splendour 14 x 12 oil
Jeanne Marler, Winter in Full Splendour
14 x 12 oil

Most gratifying so far has been the generosity of artists and donors of artwork.  We even had many artists who were new to us offering artwork to the auction, and an increased number of donations over previous years.  Many of the artists are familiar from their association with the gallery, such as Eric Tobin and Julie Y Baker Albright.  Others are historic figures from the area, such as Walton Blodgett and Robert Barrett. 

The Gallery hired the services of the On Line Auction Company, Bidding Owl, which came recommended from associates, and has proven to be quite user friendly.  Bryan Gallery Manager, Tom Waters, whose responsibility was building the site, expressed appreciation for the easy procedure of posting the auction. 

Mary Bryan, Red Barn with Wagon 5 x 7 pastel
Mary Bryan, Red Barn with Wagon
5 x 7 pastel

He noted that the auction concludes on Saturday, November 11 at 6 PM, and he’s expecting an increase in the number of visitors to the gallery’s website between now and then.  “We expect the last few days to be busy with bids and phone calls.  We’ve re-enforced the staff for the grand finale, and all of us are ready to assist the bidders if necessary.”

So far, there have even been some outright sales from the website.  The Internet has made it possible for us to connect with art lovers everywhere.  Some may visit us on their annual vacations, and increasingly, they stay in touch throughout the year via our website and blog, and social media.  We do it all, and it makes a difference. 

Monique Dewyea, Nymph's Delight 11 x 15 watercolor
Monique Dewyea, Nymph’s Delight
11 x 15 watercolor

Bryan Memorial Gallery’s On Line Art Auction can be accessed through the gallery’s website: www.bryangallery.org.   

2017 Land & Light & Water & Air Awards

By Mickey Myers
At its July Board meeting, the Bryan Memorial Gallery Board reviewed and discussed the unique character of Land and Light and Water and Air, its flagship exhibition, and the presentation of its awards.

The Board declared that Land and Light in particular reflects the unique character of the gallery. While many of the artists who exhibit in the show exhibit elsewhere, such as The Guild of Boston Artists, many are also emerging artists in Northern Vermont. Our exhibits reflect that diversity, and the award winners usually straddle both worlds, due to the professional manner in which we run our gallery, and its educational component.

In selecting a Prize Juror for this year’s exhibit, Nancy Patch was chosen in particular as someone who exists in all those worlds. Nancy is currently the executive director at Artist in Residence cooperative gallery which has been located in St. Albans for the past two years.

She was the founder of AIR in Enosburgh which opened its doors in 2006. She worked for the first five years in Enosburgh as director. This was and is a volunteer position.

In addition Nancy has been collecting works from mostly VT artists for the last 25 plus years and has a current Collection of around 200 paintings and photographs. Many of Nancy’s collection are by artists who have been represented at The Bryan.

Nancy lives in Burlington, but is a Franklin County native with a 6 generation history in VT. She is not an artist, but a lover of art, which is a critical piece of the art world. Nancy also brings her love of community and organizational skills to promoting local, living art and artists.

Without further ado, here are the winners and the juror’s comments on each piece.

First Place: Mary Martin for “After the Rain”

Second Place Neil Berger for “Early Spring”

Third Place: James Coe for “Swamp willows, Deep Snow”

Honorable Mention: Hilary Baldwin for “Resting in the Bay”

Notes on winning pieces by Nancy Patch:
My goal for evaluation of the many wonderful works of art was to find pieces that met all the criteria of the show.  Works that for me included Land, Light, Water, and Air.  I also wanted to have a representation of a diversity of styles if possible.  I put all of this in the context of the history of the Land and Light show, with an understanding of the traditional landscape art that the Bryan gallery is known for.  However I was also looking for that uniqueness and versatility that Mary Bryan celebrated in her own art.

Mary Martin: After the Rain

Mary Martin’s “After the Rain”

This painting just jumped out to me with its two compositional layers.  The right side of the painting “pops” with the fall color and the dramatic rock face (land) and the deftly captured reflection (light) in the river.  This river bend seems to be sheltered from the wind with the trees holding on to their leaves.  As the eye travels around the bend in the river (water) and to the left of the painting the colors soften as fall appears to be more advanced with bare trees whose leaves have fallen with the breeze (air).

Neil Berger: Early Spring

Neil Berger’s “Early Spring”

The painting style here is bold and brave and powerful.  I love the big brush strokes and heavy paint with those bright intertwining colors.  This painting also incorporates all the aspects of the show.  That awesome tree with roots that anchor it to the ground (land) while its colorful branches blow in the wind is remarkable. The shadows (light) of the tree branches laced among its roots are balanced with the actual branches above. The feeling of a strong wind (air) coming of the lake (water) is palpable.  The branches of the tree are dancing as the person nearby sits braced against the wind.  This is a painting that I could never tire of, with its movement and emotion.

James Coe: Swamp Willows, Deep Snow

James Coe’s “Swamp Willows, Deep Snow”

This is the VT that I am so familiar with; shrub swamp (water), abandoned field, and forest edge (land). I love a swamp; as Henry David Thoreau calls them “sanctum, sanctorum”, the holiest of the holies. It is however, the complimentary colors and composition that gives it the most appeal.  The soft airy brush strokes provide a sense of winter cold and calm. The orange of the birch leaves on the edge of the woods in the center of the painting meld with the leaves of the swamp willow in the foreground. This is balanced by the cloudy blue sky and the gray/mauve color of the interior woods, and then contrasted with the stark white of the deep snow that covers the swamp (air and light).  The composition breaks into three tiers of sky, woods, and swamp as the viewer enters through a path in the snow at the very front of the piece.

Hilary Baldwin: Resting in the Bay

Hilary Baldwin’s “Resting in the Bay”

A deeply calming summer scene.  The use of the slight color variations in this painting are so skillfully executed to create a realistic image of the water of the bay as it goes from mud flat (land) and marsh to open water.  The composition works beautifully to fill the space from the lower section of the painting showing the intersection of land and water, the center section of water to sky with the clouds and water merging in similar colors (light) and finally to the clear blue summer sky (air) at the top of the painting.  The marsh grass on the left and right help guide the viewer into the painting.  Composition, color, mood, all there.

Artist Spotlight: Mark Tougias

Summer Reflections   20 x 24 oil
Summer Reflections 20 x 24 oil

Mark Tougias is a self-taught artist who has been busy painting since childhood. His earliest surviving drawings and paintings date back to when he was eight years old. From an early age he learned by studying the masters and at age sixteen he began exhibiting. Mark has exhibited in over forty galleries and has had over thirty-five one man shows. Among his numerous awards are the first Alden Bryan Gold Medal for best in show awarded in 2007 by the Bryan Memorial Gallery.

For those who may be unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe your art?

Thatʼs a big question! I like to think, and hope, that thereʼs a spiritual quality in my work. Something that goes beyond the non-literal. It may look like a pretty picture on first look but I want there to be more to it. For me the landscape is the vehicle for all kinds of human expression, emotion and spirituality. That could be still-lifes for somebody else, or it could be figures, for me right now itʼs the landscape. Iʼve always been an outdoors person.

Itʼs interesting that you bring up the spirituality of your work. In your biography you mention influences from: the Barbizon painters, American Tonalists, the Cape Ann School of Painters, and others, and its clear seeing a lot of those influences in your work. Some of those schools of painting, it sounds like they are trying to achieve the same thing as you through the landscape.

I think so, I think a good painter will try to achieve that either consciously or unconsciously. For me itʼs probably a little bit more conscious. It depends on the painting too. It might be a little more conscious that other painters, only because Iʼm not just concerned with a “pretty picture”. I donʼt know if my work reflects that. Iʼm not really free to judge, but I hope it transcends the scene. I have never been strictly a literal painter. For me there are a lot of other elements that come into play. Itʼs not an easy thing to talk about either because – how can you put these things into words? Although I do representational work Iʼm not a literal painter. Most of my paintings are not exact representations. Some are, and thatʼs OK. Others are changed around quite a bit to get the results that I want. Some are completely made up to get the results that I want. So Iʼm very wary of not just going out there and putting down what I see exactly all the time.

Continue reading Artist Spotlight: Mark Tougias

The Lost Painting by Jonathan Haar

Some of my favorite books and movies are art related.  One of the first art novels I read was Girl with a Pearl Earring, by Tracey Chevalier.  It’s a novel about Johannes Vermeer, life in 17th century Delft, Holland and the girl who sat for his famous masterpiece.  The movie starring Scarlett Johansson & Colin Firth was also very well done and seemed to employ Vermeer-type lighting.

Since Girl with a  Pearl Earring, many other art novels have been written.  One of my favorites, is The Lost Painting, by Jonathan Harr.  Harr is the author of A Civil Action and professor at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts.  In this book, Harr weaves a detective-type fictional story, based on solid documentation, about a priceless Caravaggio masterpiece, The Taking of Christ c. 1602, which had been missing for two centuries.  As you may surmise from the title of the book, the painting is discovered.

lost painting cover

The book revolves around Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, Caravaggio scholars (I was not aware, but there are thousands), conservators and the incredible records from the European archives.   It also gives an inside look into the dealings of museums and galleries, as well as  the conservation process and it’s associated pitfalls.

As the story unfolds, a clue discovered by a graduate student while scouring some European archives, leads to the search for the painting.  The archived documentation indicated that the painting was located somewhere in the UK.

In addition to the original Taking of Christ, there were also 12 known copies of the painting, some believed to have been painted by Caravaggio, his students, or his  “studio help”.  One of the copies was stolen in 2008 from the Odessa Museum in Ukraine and later recovered when the thieves tried to sell it in Germany.

damaged copy stolen from Odessa, Ukraine in 2008Caravaggio_-_Taking_of_Christ_-_Odessa,_damaged

As the search for the original  painting intensifies, a Caravaggio scholar/conservator is called by a monastery in Ireland to look at a painting which required cleaning and restoration.  When the conservator sees the painting, he immediately knows what he has found, the long-lost Caravaggio, the Taking of Christ.  The conservator does not reveal his discovery to the monastery.

The story now changes direction and delves into the analysis of the painting to prove it’s authenticity.  To completely verify this, the conservator wanted to acquire  another Caravaggio and take a minute fleck of paint for analysis and comparison to confirm the painting was painted by Caravaggio himself.  Acquiring another Caravaggio to make this comparison was a difficult task which took many months of negotiations with the museums of the UK.   Finally, another Caravaggio is acquired on loan.   However, when the painting arrived, any material analysis had been cleverly precluded by the loaning institution.

Eventually, a conclusive determination is made that the painting is indeed the original Taking of Christ, and the conservation process is started.  During the initial restoration, improper materials were used which caused major, near catastrophic problems.  The painting required a second restoration in a more appropriate manner using the materials of Caravaggio’s era.  Astoundingly, this restoration was also seriously botched again and a third and final restoration was required.

Today the painting resides in the National Gallery of Ireland, on permanent loan from the monastery.

For me & many others, the book is a page-turner. Learning about Caravaggio, the scholars, the archives, the conservation process and some of the dealings between museums,  was very interesting & informative.

774px-The_Taking_of_Christ-Caravaggio_(c.1602)

The image of the Taking of Christ.  Caravaggio painted himself in many of his paintings.  The man at the far right with the dark beard holding the lantern which illuminates the scene is believed to be Caravaggio.

 

by Jim Gallugi