Sunday, March 22, 2020

Corona Comes to Belmar

Actually, as I write this, the town has no confirmed cases, and we are going to do our part to help with that.  Yesterday the gallery closed its doors following the end of the Saturday hours.  This follows on the postponing of the reception for the Fiber Arts Plus show, and all March classes and workshops.  The office will also be closed for now,  though it can still be reached through email.

The assumption is that this is just temporary- once the threat of disease has passed, we will get back to normal, with much of these postponed items being rescheduled.  Can't give you an exact date yet because we don't have one.  We survived being closed down during Hurricane Sandy and the recovery, so we should survive this as well.  Keep an eye on the main website for further news.

Meanwhile, if you did not get a chance to see the Fiber Arts Plus show in the gallery, a virtual look is available as a YouTube video, the link posted on our main site under Events. A way to kill four minutes while you are trapped in your house.  Exhibition images are also available on this blog.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Fiber Plus equals Fine Art

We have a new show up on the walls of the Boathouse- Fiber Arts Plus.  What is fiber art?  The simplest explanation is that it is art that involves any kind of fiber, natural or synthetic.  Natural fibers can include anything derived from plants or animals, and synthetic includes anything made from anything else.  Tends to lean more toward the aesthetic than the practical, but there can be a lot of overlap, as with our recent ceramics show.  Is it masculine or feminine? Art or craft?  This show is not here to settle those big questions, but we seem to have more art than craft in the galleries right now.  Perhaps you should come see it for yourself.

The exhibition fills both the front and back galleries, containing well over 40 works from participants, not including an elaborate display on the back wall showing some of the variety of fiber arts found around the world, and like most ancient processes, both art and craft, it has been practiced in most parts of the world.  Artists can pull from any of those traditions when creating.  Interested members can join the Fiber Fridays interest group, which has explored many processes over the years.  And running at the same time over the next month or so will be a number of related workshops and classes, where participants can learn to weave baskets, or work with wheat grass. embroider fabric, or even block print on fabric, all of which can be an end in itself, or provide a product to be used to make more art.  The show is called Fiber Arts Plus because it isn't limited just to fiber processes, but submitted work could be mixed media, combining fiber and other art forms.  Some of the fiber processes seen include basketry, quilting, felting, paper weaving, embroidery, plus mixed media sculpture.  The committee chair for this exhibition is Shiela Kramer.

As I wrote earlier, the whole back wall of the back gallery is a display showing some of the variety of fiber based art that has been practiced around the world.  Labels on the walls and podiums tell us that some samples have come from the United States, many European countries, and also all over Asia, South America, Africa.

The reception for this show that had been scheduled for Saturday evening has been cancelled, due to the issues related to the corona virus, affecting much of this nation right now.  However, the show is up and available to be seen any time the gallery is open, and for now it's the regular gallery hours, through the show's conclusion April 24, 2020.   As always, admission and parking are free.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

All Fired Up is Open

A ceramics show has been on display at the Boatworks for a few weeks, but tonight we had the official opening.  The exhibition features 11 artists who work with ceramics in Monmouth and Ocean counties: Jim Aberle, Debby Bitterly, Don Bradford, Ali Bowie, Aireon Cline, Bruce England, Mil Wexler Kobrinski, Mary Leather, K. Dorsey Lucas, Nell Ryan, and Marlis Schleger.

So what is ceramics?  Simply put, it is an art form made from clay, a natural substance that can be found in the ground in many places.  The moist clay is shaped as desired, then fired, the heat making the clay hard and the shape permanent, while affecting the surface textures.  How it is fired can vary greatly, and this show includes such methods as pit firing, raku, standard kilns, etc.  Each method can get a very different result.  As for what artists make from it, that's where it gets more complicated.

This exhibition features many vessels of course, a common use going back in pre-history.  Plenty of bowls, vases, jars, plates- fired clay is very durable and vessels thousands of years old have been found around the world. But clay can also be shaped into anything else, and throughout history has been used to make many decorative and ceremonial items.  All of this and more can be seen in this exhibition.  A wall in the front gallery has a display that shows a small piece of the history of ceramics- examples, locations, purposes, processes.

The biggest part of the exhibition is samples of work from the eleven artists, each one getting a table or wall (or both) to fill, and these are found all around the front and back galleries.


The reception officially began at 5:00 pm, and before long visitors started arriving.  Food put out by the participants was placed on tables in all rooms.

At one point Dorsey gave a short talk in the back gallery space, a brief overview of the history of ceramics, the materials, and some of its uses.  But then we got back to the reception.

The All Fired Up exhibition remains on display during posted gallery hours through March 5, 2020.  Admission is free, as always.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Art In Nature Salon

So what could it be that all these people find so fascinating?  It's the latest Salon exhibition of course- Art in Nature.

We have been holding these Salon style shows for several years now, open shows with some kind of theme, where participants are invited to present one of their works and briefly talk about it.  Artists may talk about their materials, their inspiration, their subject, their process- whatever they want.   The afternoon rain had eased up and the crowd started coming, including an estimated over 40 participating artists from the exhibition, including a few new members.  Exhibition chair Jim Aberle was present to get things started and move us from piece to piece and artist to artist until everyone got their turn.

Many paintings, many photographs, a variety of fabric based arts, ceramics, sculpture, drawing, printmaking, and other media were all represented, demonstrating the variety of art skills found among our members, and in offered classes.  And something that may be new to us- conceptual art.

When the event began, the above frame included a banana (as in the two above photos).  Before the evening was over, it was gone.  What will be there when the gallery opens next week?  To find out you'll have to come in and see.

With so much art, the front gallery couldn't hold it all, so eventually the festivities moved to the back gallery, which held even more art.  And if all that isn't enough, the side gallery has a little show of fiber based art, a preview of the Fiber Arts show coming up later in the spring. (see the website for details)

Like that banana, the artists and their stories are no longer in the galleries, but the rest of the art will remain on the walls for a few more weeks.  Come check it out.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Art In Nature Opens

The Boatworks has a new show up, the new Salon style show where exhibitors get to talk about the artworks with visitors to the reception.  However, that's still a week away, so here's a preview of what you can see.  Of course you get a much better view of the show by going to the gallery in person, open during the usual posted hours.

The title of this show (and its theme) is Art in Nature, and the art reflects this.  Views of nature, and a lot of them- there are over 80 works in this show.  A variety of mediums- painting, drawing, prints, photography, sculpture, fabric arts- we got it all.

The Salon part of the show will be at the official opening reception, January 25, 2020 (next Saturday), from 5 to 7 pm. All are welcome and admission is free. The show will remain on the walls through February 8, 2020.