June 2019: Focus on ELLEN SCHÖN

“I am spending the month of June at Guldagergård International Ceramic Research Center in Skaelskor, Denmark. Guldagergård is a ceramic artists’ residency program with a world-class facility, located on the beautiful grounds of a public park near a harbor and beach. I am honored to be one of twelve residents here. We share dorm rooms and take turns cooking dinner for each other, which makes for a friendly group.


 Artists have their own workspace in a 24-hour access studio building. The facility includes gas kilns, electric kilns, and wood-fired kilns, as well as all kinds of clay and glazes, a plaster mold-making lab, and a slip-casting room. We also have access to a research library, photo equipment, a 3D clay printer, a silkscreen print workshop, as well as Guldagergård’s own extensive ceramics collection. It is an inspiring place!


I arrived here with no specific plan for developing a new body of work--only a feeling of some pressure to create, since I have a show at BSG coming up in March 2020. I have chosen to work with fairly groggy clay—they call it chamotte here—which is also plastic, responding to strong manipulation without cracking. Also, I have signed up to participate in a soda/wood-fire kiln firing in a few weeks, a method I have rarely used.


 In the past I have made abstract, non-functional vessel forms. My work, I have been told, “explores the limits of abstraction.” However, since I began working this past week, the vessels seem to be transforming into objects, more clearly evoking birds, fish, or flowers. I have some trepidation about this trend, as I do not want the pieces to be cute. On the other hand, I don’t want to censor myself, so I am letting the work evolve as it will. Still, I anticipate abstract evocation, rather than literal creatures. Or maybe it’s okay to be cute. We’ll see.”

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 Ellen Schön

6 June 2019


May 2019: Focus on Kirsten Reynolds

“I’m currently working on two new architectural installations that will be included in the exhibition, ‘Close to the Line,’ on view in the Burt Chernow Galleries at the Housatonic Museum of Art, Bridgeport, CT, September 5 – October 12, 2019.  Curated by Barbara O’Brien, the exhibit proposes an investigation of geometric abstraction through a performative lens.  The exhibit will also feature paintings by Finnish artist, Mari Rantanen.

Scale model, "Switchback," 2019 for the Housatonic Museum

Scale model, "Switchback," 2019 for the Housatonic Museum

In the main gallery, the installation titled ‘Switchback,’ is a grouping of tall trestle-style wood frames that support monumental fragments of architectural arches; they appear to whirl overhead and fall around a painted yellow platform. Viewers will be able to walk through the installation, passing first through the wood frames, then under the arcs and onto the platform.  As they move through the layers of space, they become participants in the installation’s theatrical ‘stage.’  

Bird’s eye view of scale model, "Switchback," 2019 for the Housatonic Museum

Bird’s eye view of scale model, "Switchback," 2019 for the Housatonic Museum

Building these arcs involves a process called bent wood lamination, where thin strips of wood are glued then quickly pressed around a form.  For ‘Switchback,’ each arc is a combination of three bent wood arcs of different widths that recall the ornamental architectural' features around arched openings called archivolts.   The arcs are painted mostly white, except for unexpected pops of bright pink, light blue and strips of abstracted red shapes on some of the bands.  Similarly, the platform is painted a vivid yellow with portions of orange or pink pattern, enlarged to the point where pattern is no longer recognizable.  The 2x4 wood frames are painted with a faux finish in a wood grain pattern.  Pattern and painted surface complicate the materiality of the installation as well as intensify the disrupted, incompleteability of the installation.

Scale model, "post," 2019 for the Housatonic Museum

Scale model, "post," 2019 for the Housatonic Museum

 ‘post,’ in the second gallery, is a smaller arrangement of faux architectural elements. The title ‘post’ can both refer to a literal description of the structure, which is stationed upright, or a starting or finishing point in process.  Uncertainty, mingled with humor, that provokes thought as embodied action has been a significant theme to my work: the process of knowing as we go rather than anticipating what and where.”

-Kirsten Reynolds

Claudia Olds Goldie: Staccato

“This has been an inventive time in my creative life.  Until now, my ceramic sculpture focused mainly on the figure.  There are numerous figures in my current show, each with intricately patterned graphite pencil drawings on their surfaces that connote textile design or tattoos.


 Over time, this drawing process has proved so compelling that the drawings have become as fascinating to me as the sculpture itself.  More recently, I began to embrace abstraction as I explored new ways to marry the drawing to its sculptural form.  Accustomed to working on smaller, free standing sculpture, it’s been especially exciting for me to see my current work installed on the walls of the gallery. 


The largest and most ambitious sculpture in this show is comprised of 98 orb-shaped, individual parts. I was amazed by the rush of creative ideas that ensued by working within the constraint of one simple repetitive form.  This became a playful and seemingly limitless exploration of pattern and design.  As I worked on this piece over a period of months, and the individual orbs began to relate to each other, the sculpture began to assume the visual expression of musical articulation.  Thus, the name Staccato.”

-Claudia Olds Goldie

Intemperate Zone: a Collaborative Installation with sculptor Nancy Selvage and visual poet Ros Zimmermann

“As Ros and I grappled with how to express our anxiety over accelerating climate change, we focused on the impact of weather on one’s psyche and on efforts to understand the alarming data. The result appears to be an “under the weather” weather station. A storm of sculptural forms, words, punctuation marks, and international meteorology symbols burn, freeze, bleed, blow, and dislocate a weather vane, the station, and probes of inquiry.  . .. , ice corps, weather vein, and the station’s “instruments” are pieces around forecasting, discovery, and measurement  – recording how these things can and can’t reflect our experience of confusion and awe.  Real and imagined atmospheric conditions and states of mind unfold as do the perceptions of our role in the process.

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The materials used in this show are repurposed texts and materials from both Nancy and Ros’ studios and from the language of weather reporting and forecasting. The process of recycling makes for a kaleidoscopic installation – bits and pieces from one piece may recur , re-iterate and re-generate in others, thus creating a visual and verbal vocabulary that accelerates and spins in and out of comprehension.


When I was making a model for one of my sculptures, my husband came in and said, “That looks like a hat”. This triggered the idea of making “under the weather” hats for the Intemperate Zone installation as a way of emphasizing the effect of the weather on our states of mind and engaging the public as a’fashion” models. In addition we invited a tarot card reader to pose as a weather therapist and provide personal forecasts. These informal interactions were complimented by Ros’s reading one of her poems as she created a rhythmic repeating echo of the phrases.”

-Nancy Selvage

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March 2019: Focus on Ed Andrews

American Cocktail: 
A spirited mixture of customs and cultures within the United States



“This in-process project began with my desire to use data as a catalyst for the creation of new artwork.  Census data in the United States reveals detailed patterns of immigration from individual countries of origin and is typically charted using standard line graphs. Each country’s line graph is unique and creates a silhouette or profile that, when revolved around an axis, results in 3D forms that resemble interesting vessel shapes.  In this artistic representation, each country of origin is represented by a data-defined vessel and contains a distilled liquor that originates from, and is historically significant and representative of, that same country. 


The distillation of alcohol in the United States, plays a historic role in early commerce, the slave trade, and in the early 20th century, the anti-saloon temperance and its cohort, the anti-immigration movements. In this artwork, the cocktail, an American invention that is fundamentally about mixing and creating something new, serves as a metaphor and provides a context for the blending of customs and cultures and, through the act of sharing, creates a potential space for celebrating an open and public dialogue.”

-Ed Andrews

Distinct bottle shapes and cocktail glasses are 3D printed clear resin

Distinct bottle shapes and cocktail glasses are 3D printed clear resin

February 2019: Focus on John Christian Anderson

“For the past several months I have been developing maquettes and drawings for a sculpture that will be included in an exhibition entitled Human Impact: Stories of the Opioid Epidemic. This exhibition will be at The Fuller Craft Museum from September 28th, 2019 through March 15, 2020. All of the work in this group exhibition will try to shine a light on the devastating impact the opioid crisis has created both locally and nationally while also giving voice to those families who were willing to share their stories about struggling to overcome this disorder.

Sketch for Human Impact/ welded steel, wood wire, ceramics, plaster, rubber

Sketch for Human Impact/ welded steel, wood wire, ceramics, plaster, rubber

I spent the month of October at The Vermont Studio Center where I was given a studio with a fully equipped shop downstairs. This residency allowed me to develop new work using welded steel, rice paper and wooden forms. These pieces might be part of my show at Boston Sculptors Gallery next December.

Untitled/Welded Steel, Rice Paper, Wood

Untitled/Welded Steel, Rice Paper, Wood

Most of my sculpture materials come to me through happenstance either biking to my studio or driving around my neighborhood on trash day. Every once in awhile I come across something special like a dumpster filled with loaves of French Bread and old plywood, which inspired me to create this piece: “

I Made This Shelf / Bread, plywood, paint, ink

I Made This Shelf / Bread, plywood, paint, ink

Detail of back _ I Made This Shelf / scrap plywood

Detail of back _ I Made This Shelf / scrap plywood

-John Anderson

December 2018: Focus on Christina Zwart

For the past six years, I've been fortunate to work with the incredible folks at Shorelight Education in Boston, where I've created and installed seven works that highlight the company's mission to "Educate the World." They recruit students from across the globe to study at colleges and universities in the U.S., and are committed to stewarding them from matriculation to graduation. Among the works is this grid of graduation caps in the lobby of their Seaport headquarters:


For the mortarboards, I created round button flags representing the countries from which their students hail:


And, for each tassel, created custom-made charms featuring Shorelight's logo:


I've replicated this installation in their offices in Beijing, Dubai, Vietnam and Colombia, and recently finished a larger one for their new space in Shanghai. The grid is now standard for each of the lobbies in their offices worldwide, with three more opening in 2019.

From Tom Dretler, their CEO and co-founder:

“I never expected artwork to be the key to how we talk about our corporate purpose and how we keep each other focused on what's truly important, but Christina's work has allowed us to do exactly that. Every time we bring someone new to our office -- investors, university officials, prospective employees, board members, community members -- we always tell the Shorelight story through the art that she has created. With offices in 18 countries and more than 30 locations worldwide, her artwork allows our global organization to demonstrate our common commitment to student success and creating a multi-stakeholder win. Christina herself also has become an extension of our team. She believes in what we're doing and it shows in her approach and in her work.”

Two other tidbits:

I created this "money tree curtain" for the recent opening of Medical Aesthetics on Tremont Street in Boston's South End:


And am finishing up a commission of 11 sets of grandchildren hands:


Thanks for listening! 

-Christina Zwart

November 2018: Focus on Andy Zimmermann

This is a guitar which I built from parts, including a Sustainiac pickup and electronics (http://www.sustainiac.com/). The neck pickup includes an electro-magnetic string driver/transducer.

az guitar.jpg

I played the guitar to make one of the tracks for a sound piece that I have been composing.

az 2.jpg

The piece is called Facto. It begins with the sound of a synthesized ‘factory’, and continues with the actual sounds of, in order, trains, cars, planes, war jets and a rocket. I did a lot of the work in GarageBand and Audacity, but the final stages were done in Adobe Audition.


Zimmermann Facto    

sound file using sound effects, field recordings, and customized guitar

az 3.jpg

I also recently uploaded to Youtube a video of my piece for last summer’s Breath and Matter exhibit at Boston Sculptors Gallery.


Dialog Between Light and Darkness   

Video sculpture collaboration with Corey Michael Smithson

-Andy Zimmermann







Jodi Colella: Loom Large

"It started at a residency in Thailand where I spent five weeks sharing a mud house with a small black scorpion who haunted the drain of my bathroom sink, occupying my thoughts and affecting my every move.  It became a curiosity how a being so small could wield so much power. 

I processed my fear of these tiny, quick-moving arachnids through stitching together my first scorpion. A transitional object. A meditation. Once home its diminutive size lacked the impact of the experience inspiring my second version, and expanding the conversation beyond the personal.  


Stinger looms larger than life. Its lacy exoskeleton crafted from found doilies suggests a history of needlework and domesticity that is left ambiguous. Dyed black and collaged into a mosaic of patterns, they now form the permeable body of a creature feared for its venomous sting and quick shift from repose to attack.

With a weaver’s sensitivity to the balance of tradition and innovation, I use needlework to give renewed power to craft traditions often glossed as feminine. Found objects – the everyday and invisible – are also put on a pedestal for scrutiny. The psychological is made physical in the way that one form materializes from another."

-Jodi Colella

March 2018: Focus on Julia Shepley

"My mobile sculpture and woodblock print series explore the theme of relocation and resettlement as a universal, physical, and personal part of human history and experience. Inspired by personal experiences, I layer imagery created with fabric, paper, wire and wood to convey a multi-layered sense of place, belonging and time.

I recently completed a two week residency in the letterpress studio at Penland School of Craft in NC, working on woodblock and photopolymer relief prints. I stitch, collage, and layer the prints dimensionally to make unique works and to generate sculptural ideas about space and form.

Currently, I am collaborating with the Scottish/American poet Audrey Henderson, working from shared conversations about the places, imagery and language that trigger our imaginations and working processes. Some of these works will be in the exhibit “Breath and Matter: Artists and Poets at Boston Sculptors Gallery” July 18- August 12 2018.  As part of this collaboration I have begun making shaped, layered and stitched paper reliefs with printmaking and sculptural techniques and intend to incorporate fabricated metal and wood elements."

-Julia Shepley

What do we accumulate looking at quiet matter when it is sunlit. 

My sinews are worshipful, my blood full of happy oxygen

From “Morning” by Audrey Henderson

Julia Shepley, Lightshadow Corner 2018

Julia Shepley, Lightshadow Corner 2018

I can tell you that the road is gone. I can tell you

that the houses are gone, and the gas station, but you will

not understand until you step on the tarmac and it crumbles

from “Terminus” by Audrey Henderson

Julia Shepley, Love/Labor 2017

Julia Shepley, Love/Labor 2017

Art review by by Keith Powers of WBUR  in North Shore Sunday Magazine : Julia Shepley presents thought-provoking series of small works at Montserrat

Migrant #3’ by Julia Shepley; Woodcut collage, stitching on paper and fabric

Migrant #3’ by Julia Shepley; Woodcut collage, stitching on paper and fabric

Ten apparently simple woodcut collages are enough to tell a story.

Julia Shepley’s “Sequential Prints,” on view now at Montserrat College of Art’s Schlosberg Gallery, seem at first glance to be quiet, monochromatic studies. Nocturnal in temperament, almost entirely blue/black with only hints of yellow or brown, these small works are mixed media: collaged wood cut prints, gently layered with paper, stitching, and diaphanous mesh fabric.

The images are not figurative, but not entirely abstract either. Call it gestural. Some hints recur: landscapes along the water — a dock, a boat, a jetty — sometimes a residence, most of it with a temporary feeling.

There are no human figures. The hangings — all small — have three dimensions, but they’re not architectural. The gauze that creates depth only enhances the surface, not building on it

Despite the title there is no sequence, at least not a directly narrative one. Most of the works come from her “Migrant” series — #1, #2, etc., not in order — with the expansive political implications that title implies, but without any further overt exploration into the theme.

Meaning falls secondarily to the artistic quality. These works are gorgeously, intentionally crafted, rich in visual interest. Many three-dimensional hanging works inhabit a halfway-house of artistic intention — not quite seeming like paintings, not looking like sculpture either. These works feel organic — like they could not be anything else but what they are.

The search for meaning, though not directly offered, is still irresistible. The temporary quality of the structures in some of the Migrant series can be quickly recognized: summer homes, cottages on stilts, unmoored boats, abandoned jetties to nowhere. An unfocused feeling to the images also creates a mood.

The stitched gauze casts shadows on the back surface — shadows that become another medium, like the woodcut print, or the paper, or the stitching. Intentionally marking the surface, the shadows etch their way into the visual plane, obscuring the background, but also adding to its texture.

The nocturnal quality — just hinted at — coupled with the lack of human presence, and the dark inked hues of the woodcuts, is either peaceful or unsettling, depending solely on the viewer.

Shepley teaches as an adjunct at Montserrat, works in Somerville’s Brickbottom Building, and is represented by the Boston Sculptors Gallery. Her earlier works — some have been seen locally at the Rocky Neck Cultural Center, in a previous Montserrat group show, and at the Decordova, as well as many Boston and area galleries — embrace sculpture, drawing, prints, and mobiles, some overlapping.

The Schlosberg Gallery — really just a hallway — can be a terrific venue to take in a small show. Especially like this, when a small show has a lot to say.


Upcoming exhibitions currently include:

Boston Sculptors Gallery, Boston MA, Breath and Matter, Poetry and Sculpture exhibition (July-August 2018)

2018-Trustman Gallery, Simmons College, Boston MA, Solo exhibition of sculpture and prints (September-October 2018);

2019- Boston Sculptors Gallery. Boston, MA, Solo exhibit (May-June 2019)


Recent exhibits include:

Chandler Gallery, Cambridge MA, “Prints as Sculpture”, Sculptural prints

Boston Sculptor’s Gallery, Boston MA, “HeArt”, Sculpture

Carol Schlosberg Alumni Gallery, Montserrat College of Art, Beverly, MA, “Julia Shepley, Sequential Prints”

Cotuit Center for the Arts, Cotuit, MA, “Marking time, 70th Anniversary of the Boston Printmakers”

Wheaton Biennial, Norton, MA, “Printmaking Reimagined”

New England Biolabs, “Explorations”, prints

Boston Sculptors Gallery, “Love/Lust” Sculpture drawing, prints

Decordova Museum and Sculpture Park, Lincoln MA, “The Sculptor’s Eye, Prints Drawings and Photographs from the Collection”