A steady stream of visitors, artists, family and friends enjoyed the Artist Awards Reception for the BAA Redux: Industrial Manifest show at the Lichtenstein Center on Saturday afternoon, August 2.
BAA Redux: Industrial Art marks BAA’s return after a 15-year hiatus to a regional, juried, fine arts exhibition. Last fall the Pittsfield Office of Cultural Development proposed that BAA develop an exhibit around its 2014 theme of “Art + Industry.” BAA’s title, Industrial Manifest, was chosen to provide a wide range of possibilities for artists to visually explore industrial themes, processes, and practices in historic, modern, or even imaginary contexts.
This exhibit reflects the artists’ varied points of view and varied media. Three jurors selected the 29 works in this gallery from 60 pieces submitted by artists from Brooklyn to Vermont to Rhode Island. Many Berkshire artists were chosen. The jurors were Carol Diehl, artist and noted art critic, MCLA art professor and print-maker Melanie Mowinski, and John R. Stomberg, Director of the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum.
Artist Morris Bennett, who taught at Taconic High School until his retirement, compared notes with BAA Board members Scott Taylor and Mary Beth Eldridge, who currently teaches art at Taconic. Scott Taylor, who hung this show, is represented with two paintings.
Photographer Denise B Chandler re-connected with high school friend Melisa Krzysztof, who has moved back to the Berkshires after many years in California.
Artist Sara Farrell-Okamura told BAA President Mary Rentz and artist Ellen Joffe-Halpern about her BAA involvement as an art student in a 1980’s Fellowship Show at the Berkshire Museum. Subsequently, in the 1990’s, her work was chosen for a BAA regional juried show, also at the Berkshire Museum. She and her husband, also an artist, now live in North Adams. Both Rentz and Joffe-Halpern had also been in the juried BAA shows at the Berkshire Museum.
Painter Kevin Francis Downs, who came up from Brooklyn for the opening, discussed his black and white paintings with several people. He and his fiancée were headed to Jacob’s Pillow to connect with a friend in a dance troupe there. They enjoyed talking with Eric Korenman about Eric’s current photography show at Hancock Shaker Village and made plans to see it before leaving the Berkshires.
Photographer Ken Green, known to many people as the gentle proprietor of Museum Facsimiles, stopped in after work accompanied by his wife Laurie and film-maker daughter.
Photographer Evan J. Soldinger shared his pleasure at the selection of photographs he had made with his trusty Leica at the old Rice Mill in Morningside just before its closing in 2006. Evan returned to his darkroom to select three from a large group of images that had long lain unseen and unprinted. Perhaps an entire show about the last days of the Rice Mill might be possible from this group.
Sculptor Joe Wheaton caught up on recent shows he had seen with juror Carol Diehl and BAA Vice-President Danielle Steinmann. Danielle brought with her two friends from Boston, Sera and Kristin, who had come for a Berkshire weekend.
Two artists, Erika Fortner of Brooklyn, NY, and Jim Lawton of South Dartmouth were unable to attend.
Near the end of the reception, three Juror Awards were announced: Ken Green for “Steel Staircase”, Eric Korenman for the “Interprint Series” and Jim Lawton for “Rack+Pinion.“
The applause for the awards was extended to all of the artists, as everyone agreed that the Industrial Manifest marked a worthy return to a juried fine art exhibit for the Berkshire Art Association.
BAA received support for this show from the National Endowment for the Arts through Pittsfield’s Office of Cultural Development, from the Pittsfield and Massachusetts Cultural Councils, and from its donors.
BAA Redux: Industrial Manifest will be on view at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts through August 30. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Saturday, noon – 5PM.