Art Notes: AVA Show Brings Music to Mind

  • “Up or Down Feet” by Torin Porter is on view through June 1, 2016, at the AVA Gallery and Art Center in Lebanon, N.H. (Courtesy AVA Gallery and Art Center) Courtesy AVA Gallery

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    Roger Goldenberg's "Joy Spring" is part of the four-artist show at AVA Gallery and Art Center in Lebanon, N.H., through June 1, 2016. (Courtesy AVA Gallery and Art Center) Courtesy AVA Gallery and Art Center

  • Untitled 5, a painting by Jane Davies, is on view through June 1 at AVA Gallery and Art Center in Lebanon. Courtesy of AVA Gallery and Art Center.

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 5/4/2016 10:00:16 PM
Modified: 5/4/2016 10:00:22 PM

The current exhibition at AVA Gallery and Art Center in Lebanon, which features the work of Patty Castellini, Jane Davies, Torin Porter and Roger Goldenberg, is a reminder of how useful it can be to evaluate an artist’s work by looking at it in groupings, or blocs, rather than singly.

Maybe this is an obvious point: many exhibitions focus on showing the range of an artist’s work, either in a retrospective or in a group show such as this one.

Some exhibitions, though, don’t always show an artist to advantage. There are either too many or too few works. To get a feel for how an artist’s mind works through a set of ideas or challenges, sometimes you need to see a sequence or series of works, as if you were hearing variations on a musical theme.

In fact the relationship between art and music, whether overt, as in Roger Goldenberg’s exhibition “Visual Jazz,” or subtler, as in Jane Davies’ studies in color, seems to run through the AVA show.

The connection isn’t literal: no studies of musicians at work. But the suite of works on view by the artists did bring music to mind, whether it’s the chamber music of Patty Castellini’s prints or the orchestral panoply of Torin Porter’s sculptures.

Goldenberg, a Lebanon resident who is also a jazz musician, paints large-scale, brilliantly colored, swirling shapes on plywood that break out of the convention of square or rectangular canvases.

It’s not difficult to see in Goldenberg’s sinuous, explosive and joyous forms, and the way he layers color and shape, the rhythms and improvisation of jazz. He also shows a lovely suite of four prints that evoke abstracted landscapes.

Patty Castellini, of Enfield, works in a quieter vein. Her monotype prints are smaller in scale, and the colors more muted than Goldenberg’s work. Her shapes, in shades of yellow, blue and white, seem to float and hover over the surface of the paper.

Jane Davies, who lives in Rupert, Vt., exhibits acrylics on canvas. Some of the canvases are organized into side-by-side bars of color while others offer more free-form abstraction of circles, blotches and squares, that are reminiscent of the color-driven canvases of Hans Hofmann, who began his career in his native Germany but later moved to the U.S. and became part of the Abstract Expressionist movement. I admired Davies’ quiet control, and her deliberation in choosing color.

In the case of Torin Porter, who exhibits 44 sculptures, we have a case of too-much-of-a-good thing. Porter, who grew up and lives in Glover, Vt., participated in the Bread & Puppet Theater and graduated from Dartmouth College with a degree in studio art. Porter has a cheeky sense of humor.

His miniature figures are shown climbing ladders and overturning carts, and sometimes they’re hybrid creatures, part human, part something else. He’s built a miniature universe in which things don’t appear, or happen, as you’d expect them to.

But when you’re looking at 44 sculptures, one begins to blur into another. You could have halved the number easily and still come away with a strong sense of Porter’s style.

The exhibition at AVA Gallery continues through June 1.

Openings and Receptions

The Center for Cartoon Studies, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, holds it commencement Friday, and to cap off the festivities, is throwing itself a block party this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in downtown White River Junction. New Yorker cartoonist, and Brookfield, Vt. resident, Ed Koren will be on hand to draw the crowds.

Tired of dull, cool, gray weather? Hoping for the friskiness that comes with spring? Want to shed those sensible woolly scarves and sweaters?

Look no farther than the Main Street Museum of Art in beautiful downtown White River Junction which hosts a fashion show this Saturday, beginning at 7 p.m. Thirteen local fashion and jewelry designers, and make-up artists, will be represented. They are: ReneFrancesG, Keeny Paige, Mark Ezra Merrill, Sophie Kirpan, Allyce Good, Alyssa Couture, KB Noize, Orin Pacht, Stacy Hopkins, Connie White, Katie O’Day, Rebecca Weber and Ben Fleshy.

Tickets for this fashion extravaganza are $25 at the door.

Scavenger Gallery, on South Main Street in White River Junction, celebrates its fourth year this Friday, with an opening reception (and wine tasting) from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. for the exhibition “Cataclysms” by Randolph artist Laurie Sverdlove. This show focuses on Sverdlove’s pastels of cyclones.

“Paradise Found,” a show of oil paintings by South Woodstock artist Liliana Paradiso, opens today at Long River Gifts and Galleries in Lyme, with a reception from 6 to 8 p.m.

Art Classes

Two Rivers Printmaking Studio in White River Junction is offering a slate of summer workshops, starting the weekend of June 25 and 26 with a class in woodblock printing offered by Amparo Carvajal-Hufschmid from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The fee is $195, plus a $20 materials fee.

Patty Castellini, whose work can currently be seen at the AVA Gallery and Art Center, will give an introductory workshop on printmaking Monday through Thursday, June 27 through June 30, 9 a.m. to noon. The fee is $180, plus a $20 materials fee.

Rachel Gross will also give an introductory workshop on printmaking from Monday through Friday, July 18 through 22, 9 a.m. to noon. The classes will cover such different printmaking methods as drypoint, relief, monotype, and paper lithography. No experience required.

Master printmaker Dan Welden will give a two-day workshop on solarplate techniques on Sunday and Monday, July 31 and Aug. 1, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. No experience required. Plates, frosted glass, and other materials can be pre-ordered and are available for purchase from Dan Welden at a discounted rate.

Janet Cathey will give a workshop on gelli and collograph printmaking for kids aged 12 and older on Tuesday, Aug. 16, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Participants will experiment with gelatin and cardboard plates, acrylic paints, inks and everyday objects. The goal is to learn techniques kids can try at home. The fee is $95, plus a $20 materials fee.

For more information contact Two Rivers Printmaking Studio at 802-295-5901 or email


Arabella, Windsor. The gallery exhibits works by local artists and artisans in a variety of media including jewelry, oils, acrylics, photography, watercolors, pastels and textiles.

BigTown Gallery, Rochester, Vt. “Director’s Choice,” a show of work by Varujan Boghosian, Ira Matteson, Helen Matteson, Nicholas Santoro, Hugh Townley, John Udvardy, and Pat dipaula Klein, continues through July 9.

Converse Free Library, Lyme. The collages of Barbara Newton can be seen through June 30.

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon. Watercolors by Marlene Kramer, digital art by Eric Hasse, photographs by John Rush, oil paintings by Emily Ridgway, and pastels, acrylics and oils by Gail Barton, are on view through June.

Aidron Duckworth Museum, Meriden. The paintings of Lucy Mink-Covello can be seen through June 5. “Color–A Theory in Action,” a show of works by Duckworth runs through July 24.

Hopkins Center, Dartmouth College, Hanover. Dartmouth studio art professor Louise Hamlin has a show of “Garlic Scapes: Drawings and Prints” in the Strauss Gallery.

Kilton Public Library, West Lebanon. An exhibition of artwork by West Lebanon students runs through May 31.

Library Arts Center, Newport. The Juried Regional Exhibition, a group show, runs through June 16.

Main Street Museum of Art, White River Junction. “Odalesque and Other Recent Paintings,” by Daisy Rockwell, are on view through May 14.

Royalton Memorial Library, South Royalton. The exhibition “Louis Sheldon Newton: Architect Extraordinaire of Vermont” is on view through June 4.

Tunbridge Public Library. “National Park Landscapes: Celebrating National Park Service Centennial 2016,” landscape paintings by Royalton artist Joan Hoffmann, continues through May 12.

Two Rivers Printmaking Studio, White River Junction. Lynn Newcomb exhibits her prints at through May 31.

Norman Williams Library, Woodstock. “Vermont Is On Our Minds,” an exhibition of work by artists from Zack’s Place, continues through May 14.

White River Gallery at BALE, South Royalton. The oil paintings of Charlotte, Vt. artist James Vogler are on view through June.

Zollikofer Gallery, Hotel Coolidge, White River Junction. A show of works by students from the Center for Cartoon Studies runs through Wednesday.

Nicola Smith can be reached at


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