Sharon Kaitz ...And His Daughter
Thomas Birtwistle At the Fair
Please join the artists for a reception on March 5, from 4-6pm
Clark Gallery is honored to present the photographs of Thomas Birtwistle and recent paintings by Sharon Kaitz in con-current feature shows from March 1 through 26, 2011. All are welcome to join the artists for a reception on Saturday March 5th from 4-6pm.
Thomas Birtwistle’s color photographs capture unexpected artistic expressions in the exhibition halls, 4-H demonstrations, and game booths of regional state and agricultural fairs. Makeshift shelves laden with vibrant fruits, vegetables, and carefully aligned jars of preserves are littered with award ribbons. Garish striped awnings shelter rides and games on the midway entice players with prizes and the satisfaction of shooting cans from shelves. The bingo hall and contestants in the demolition derby express deep patriotism in red, white, and blue. Birtwistle’s photographs draw attention to the compelling still life compositions found within the recurring patterns of apples, squash, tomatoes, and jarred peaches. Formal color studies emerge from the midway’s yellow slide, flatly painted back doors, and balloons waiting to be hit by darts. Birtwistle celebrates the simple artistry of unstudied, handcrafted practices while considering the history, nostalgia, and social place of such fairs in the 21st Century
A resident of Maine, Thomas Birtwistle has received accolades from Aperture Foundation, Down East Publications, and the Maine Arts Commission. His work has been featured in exhibitions at the Portland Museum of Art, Center for Maine Contemporary Art, Colby College Museum of Art, and Creative Photographic Art Center of Maine. He is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design.
“In a cavern, in a canyon….” So goes the familiar American folk song Clementine, the story of a miner and his daughter who falls into a river and is “lost and gone forever.” This and other American ballads have resonated with Sharon Kaitz over the past couple of years. Transitioning into the series from a focus on the national anthem and flag, Kaitz has incorporated words and phrases such as “Hurrah, hurrah” and “From sea to shining sea” into compositions of stripes in ecru, azure blue, and salmon. Rich surfaces of dripping and scratched paint and pigment isolate lyrics with deeply personal and national significance. Kaitz provides the sung tales of courage and perseverance with a context in which deep emotion and intensity can return to the words and phrases. As Kaitz states, sometimes “you need to break the object down to its elements: colors, letters, forms. The scattered picture clarifies.”
Sharon Kaitz is a Boston-based artist whose paintings and drawings have been exhibited in museums and galleries in Berlin, London, Tel Aviv, New York, and Boston, including the Institute of Contemporary Art and Rose Art Museum. In 1999, Kaitz designed and executed the set for the world premiere of David Mamet’s play, Boston Marriage. ArtNews, New American Paintings, Art New England, and The New York Times have featured reviews of Kaitz’s paintings and drawings. Kaitz is a graduate of Goddard College and Pratt Institute, where she earned her MFA.