Mitchell-Giddings Fine Art: New Addition to Main Street
Brattleboro prides itself on being a hub of artistic endeavor and display. It is rumored there are more artists than cows in Windham County, and the region boasts of incredible art exhibits, concerts, theater, film, performance art, as well as downtown Brattleboro"s monthly Gallery Walk, now in its 20th season. New to the scene is a commercial art gallery conceived by two artists with a passion for building ties between artists and the public, Mitchell-Giddings Fine Arts located at 183 Main Street.
Gallery founders Petria Mitchell and Jim Giddings explain the decision to embark on this new venture: "As painters since the 1970s, we have been fortunate to exhibit and sell work in galleries around the state and country. We have been intimately involved in several not-for-profit art enterprises including the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center, River Gallery School, and Windham Art Gallery. We share years of painting, organizing, curating, transporting, jurying, and selling artwork. Art has been our life"s journey, and to explore, create, and manage an arts business was the next obvious step. The opportunity to combine it all came when we were introduced to an empty space downstairs from one of the signature stores in Brattleboro, A Candle in the Night. Not only was the location perfect, but the possibility -- the need -- to fashion our gallery from the ground up, in a space we could own, was offered to us just as we were investigating various rental spaces in town.
"The most difficult part of this entire venture was committing the time and faith. It has meant a summer recess from painting, vegetable gardens, and sleep. It means being selective when we don"t want to be. We are introducing ourselves to new work and new ways of seeing. Mostly, it means a 'willing suspension of disbelief.' We love the people we are working with, what we are doing with the space, and that Main Street has one more professional distinctive retail gallery, Mitchell-Giddings Fine Arts."
The gallery celebrated its debut on September 18, featuring new paintings completed during a recent residency at Vermont Studio Center by Giddings and new lyrical abstract landscapes by Mitchell; Doug Trump"s poetic, highly structured, mixed-media abstract paintings and Lauren Olitski"s large, strongly textured, abstract acrylic paintings; chromatic contemporary blown-glass art by Josh Bernbaum, cameraless photography by Chris Triebert, and new monumental glazed ceramics by Stephen Procter. With plans to also introduce invited artists from near and far, they hope the gallery will become known for offering distinctive, high quality works of art in a variety of media that cannot be seen anywhere else.
Below are a few words from current exhibitors about their work:
Jim Giddings describes painting as a path to discovery: "When I begin a painting, I have no idea what will develop. My ideas change throughout the process; the process changes my ideas."
Lauren Olitski communicates through her work: "I go to my studio with the audacious hope that I might make something of beauty, add to the creative vocabulary, speak to someone."
Christine Triebert has been exhibiting her fine art photographs in numerous galleries and shows throughout the Northeast for over 20 years. Working from her studio along the Rock River, her love of Vermont"s rural environment is a strong influence in her photography.
Doug Trump"s view on art is that "paintings should be talked about less and seen more. As an artist, there"s great satisfaction in painting, in making something that didn"t exist before, in the process of not knowing outside of that immediacy. What happens to the painting after it leaves the studio, how it is thought of and responded to, is up to whoever might look at it. And that"s art"s offering."
Petria Mitchell uses nature as an initial reference point in her paintings. "This allows me to play with limitless visual possibilities with a thorough appreciation for abstraction. My paintings are compositions of internal places not visited on foot. When working with atmosphere and diffused light, I"m able to emphasize my interest in the plasticity of paint, rather than the physics of light."
Josh Bernbaum describes the opportunity and challenge glass presents as a medium: "In nearly twelve years of working with glass as a medium, I have explored various techniques and design styles. I am most interested in color, especially color relationships in the designs I create. In my glass work I have utilized many methods of color application. All the coloration seen in my objects is done with glass, colored glass, applied in various methods."
Stephen Procter"s ceramic work reflects his professional training as a classical guitarist. In his words, "The musician and the sculptor are thinking about essentially the same things: proportion and rhythm, contrast and repetition, movement and rest. In music it"s happening through time; In a clay vessel it"s happening through space. The translation of my skills from music to visual art was easier than I thought it would be."
Mitchell-Giddings Fine Arts showcases work of local, regional, and nationally recognized artists and craftspeople with the goals of promoting sales and creating a nourishing and supportive community of professional artists. Gallery hours are Thurs.-Sun., 11 to 5; the phone is (802) 251-8290; visit online at mitchellgiddingsfinearts.com.
Copyright 2014, Gallery Walk, Brattleboro, Vermont