Friday, September 25, 2009
Gleason Library showcases three Maynard studio artists
Public invited to reception
If you enjoy viewing and collecting art, you may be familiar with the work from ArtSpace-Maynard, a nonprofit community center housed in the town’s former Fowler Middle School.
Today, the 55,000 square-foot facility houses the studios of 43 artists, three of whom are featured at the Gleason Library. The current exhibition, entitled “Artistic Impressions,” showcases pieces from Joyce McJilton Dwyer, Michelle Garro and Jennifer Maestro. The show will run through October 27.
“These are three new artists,” said Andrea Urban, one of the Art at the Gleason curators. “We hope to show more of them.” Urban explained that they selected three artists with very different styles: Dwyer paints landscapes with watercolors, Garro prefers classic oils, and Maestro works with colored pencils to form 3-D sculptures.
A reception will bring the artists to Carlisle on Saturday, September 26 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. You can also visit them in their studios at the ArtSpace-Maynard Open House on Saturday, October 3 and Sunday, October 4, from 12-5 p.m. (See press release on page 15.)
Dwyer captures local landscape
Originally from the midwest, Dwyer has spent the last 25 years painting landscapes and homes in watercolor. The 37 pictures in the Gleason show come from the last decade with about a quarter dating from the past 24 months. Most pieces are in watercolor, with a few using ink. Several depict local landscapes and historic homes in Concord, and one of the watercolors shows a building in Carlisle. Entitled “Former Country School,” the painting captures the oldest-standing school in town, the North Schoolhouse located at Great Brook State Park.
“I had been painting the ‘Iron Ranger,’ a donation container at the ice cream stand.” she explained, because her design had won a contest at the State Park. She had to use sign paint for the outdoor piece and, while waiting for the slow-drying paint to cure, she was inspired to draw the historic schoolhouse. She has also decorated utility boxes in Maynard and, although such community jobs usually only cover the cost of materials, Dwyer enjoys the opportunity to share her art with the public.
She prefers to paint “en plein air,” but also takes photographs so she can work indoors during
the winter months. Her adult students then use the photos as a guide during evening classes. Dwyer currently teaches in the Acton-Boxborough community education program as well as Minuteman Regional High School in Lexington.
Dwyer begins her pieces by drawing in pencil and then painting over them with watercolor. As a result, her finished pieces look very detailed and precise. “You can’t erase or cover up the pencil,” she explained. Her work at the library includes the smallest paintings ever exhibited there: miniatures, about 1 1/2 by 2 inches, set in larger mats and frames. She also has six larger, framed landscapes on display including “Cattle Pass Bridge,” “New England Autumn,” and a series of “Ocean Rocks.”
“Gouache is an opaque line of watercolor,” said Dwyer about the medium used in her two “Atlantic Maine” pieces. “I like using it in a washing way.” She pointed out that illustrators of children’s books frequently apply the medium because it can create more vivid and even slightly unrealistic colors. “Blues are more blue, and greens are more green.”
Educated at Michigan State University, Dwyer holds a M.A. in art education and a B.A. in studio art. She has studied at the DeCordova Museum School and has exhibited numerous times at a variety of locations in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine.
Garro takes classical approach
Throughout the Gleason Library, the Dwyer paintings are interspersed with those of Garro. You can easily identify the work of each artist, however, due to differences in medium and style. Garro primarily uses oil, and captures her images in darker and muted shades with depictions of reflected light. Her 11 pieces at the Gleason include local landscapes, also from Concord and Wayland, and still-life paintings, which depict fruit and pottery. In addition, she paints in watercolor and pastel, and does figure and portrait work.
Since 2004, Garro has shared her talents by teaching classes to many children, as well as adults, at her studio in the ArtSpace-Maynard. She encourages experimentation, and introduces students to a wide variety of materials, including charcoal, graphite, pastel, watercolor, acrylics, mixed media, clay, as well as her preferred oils. She teaches traditional and avant-garde approaches in drawing, sculpture and painting.
Garro also applies innovation on the Internet. At her website, www.garrostudios.com, she maintains a painting blog. The site currently features three separate paintings that she’s been working on in September and notes and photos from local workshops that she held in August.
Garro also brings 25 years of experience to her painting. She has studied at the DeCordova Museum School and at the Museum of Fine Arts Museum School. She has shown her work in a variety of local libraries, cafés, and in Boston’s South End Open Market.
Maestre’s unconventional tools
In glass cases on the first and second floor of the library, you can view complex and intricate sculptures built from components of colored pencils. Maestre has four works on display, including the organic “Spine” and “Stem” pieces, and mood designs, entitled “Springtime Tall
Tale” and “Heatwave.”
“To make the pencil sculptures, I take hundreds of pencils, cut them into one-inch sections, drill a hole in each section (to turn them into beads), sharpen them all, and sew them
together,” Maestre explained in her artist’s statement. “The beading technique I rely on most is the peyote stitch.”
Born in South Africa, Maestre has lived most of her life in Massachusetts. She earned her B.A. at Wellesley College, and B.F.A. from Massachusetts College of Art. Her work has been shown in exhibits across the U.S., including Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio, Texas and Wyoming in just the past two years. She won an Artist of the Year award in Sculpture from the Cambridge Art Association, and a Best in Show from the Concord Art Association in 2006. She has earned a variety of grants and prizes every year of the past decade. Maestre exhausts her inventory of work very quickly and none of the pieces on display at the library are for sale – they have already been sold or are committed to another exhibit. ∆
© 2009 The Carlisle Mosquito