Beyond Wild Apples: Dwelling, Refuge, Shelter

4 September – 5 November 2010

Wild Apples, a Journal of Nature, Art, and Inquiry, brings together the work of artists and writers who are connected by the common threads of care for the environment, engagement in social concerns, and commitment to the arts and the way they shape our world. The twice-yearly journal takes its name from Henry David Thoreau’s essay, “Wild Apples.” (Wild Apples Journal)

A collaborative effort of its three editors, Linda Hoffman, Kathryn Liebowitz, and Susan Edwards Richmond, each issue of the journal is filled with art and words that uplift, explore, elucidate, and pierce the heart with the fiery stab of a pen or a brush.

Margot Stage, Sands
Margo Stage, Sands, fiber

The upcoming issue, Fall 2010 | Dwelling, Refuge, Shelter, which will have its publication launch on October 28 at Lawrence Academy in Groton, inspired this exhibit. It will mark the first time the publication of an issue has coincided with an exhibit of its artists.

Beth Van Gelder, Searching for Gold
Beth Van Gelder, Searching For Gold, mixed media

Beth Van Gelder works with the geometric forms of the house; triangles, rectangles and repetitive patterns. As a woman who has lived in many beautiful houses but never owned one, she is able to explore the concept of home from the outside in. She writes, "A house is a sanctuary, a refuge, a dwelling place for the body and the mind. . . It has been compared to the mother’s womb, a place where we can listen to our own heartbeat."

The use of these basic geometric shapes continues in the photographs of Parrish Dobson. In Empty Niches (see below), there is a rectangle with a triangle above, and a vaulted rectangle adjacent to it. Situated in the ancient chiesa (church) of San Galgano, the emptiness speaks to what once was there. The same is true in another image of the same abbey, San Galgano-Bench. The expanse of sky where once was a ceiling attests to the need for shelter, for refuge from the elements. The missing roof is also a poignant reminder that this place was once the spiritual home to many.

Anne Krinsky, Vertical Thinking 5
Anne Krinsky, Vertical Thinking 5 (House and Garden)

Anne Krinsky’s acrylic on panel, Vertical Thinking 5 (House and Garden), reads at first glance as geometry and pattern. There is the square topped with a triangle, the familiar shape of a prototypical Western home. Combined with the shapes and abstract petal patterns are drawings of an amaryllis flower from an overcast winter spent in London. The gifted bulb became symbolic of the "slow progression from winter’s darkness towards spring. . ." (Krinsky). A closer look reveals the dynamic contrast between a carefully delineated composition and the less restrained tactile surface, imbued with drips and splatters of paint, constrained by sanding and borderlines.

Margot Stage has rendered the endless dunes of mid-coast Maine in fabric (see above, click for enlargement), mirroring the quality of a wide, endless expanse of rolling sand in her subtle use of color, texture and broad perspective. Three of the five panels of Sands are displayed here, and they fortuitously stand in for her essay for the Fall 2010 issue of Wild Apples Journal about her 1998 stay in a Provincetown Dune Shack, C-Scape. A brief excerpt ensues:

. . .I am but a visitor, a mere visitor. But then so are many of the birds - passing through, making this their home temporarily. Stepping back further, twisting the lens for a different focus, aren’t we all merely visitors on this good earth?

For many, the ocean is a source of refuge and solace. Betsyann Duval paints ocean dunes with a free yet certain sweep of brush laden with sumi and walnut inks on paper, bold yet retaining a delicate, zen-like quality (below).

Martha Wakefield, Can We Go Home
Martha Wakefield, Can We
Go Home
, watercolor

Martha Wakefield paints "an enchanted island on the coast of Maine" (Wakefield) where she returns each fall. She paints the buildings and sheds in her unique style of watercolor applied with so thick an impasto that it appears to have the qualities of chalk pastel. Yet the color glows like only watercolor can glow, as if the cadmium paint were on fire. Her paintings are rich with color, atmosphere, and mystery.

There is mystery, too, in the sculptures of Linda Hoffman (below). She utilizes the found beauty of wood, carving away the softer, insect riddled parts at the center of tree trunks to reveal a home within for the tiny figures she shapes in wax and, using the lost wax method, casts in bronze. Sometimes the figures are reading a book, sitting in a meditative posture, or holding a fish. In one a bird alights on the arm of a reader. By placing the figures in situ, she creates an ersatz dwelling for them.

The Wild Apples Journal itself is an ersatz shelter for the inspirations and aspirations of its writers, artists and readers. The work of the artists here, and many more besides, can be explored within its pages. These 'wild apples' are treasures waiting to be discovered.

All are welcome to a reception with the artists on: Thursday, September 30, from 6:30-8:00 pm. This event is free and open to the public.

This exhibit is supported by the Groton Public Library Endowment Trust. The talk is funded by the Groton Trust Funds Lecture Fund.

Deborah Santoro

Parrish Dobson, Empty Niches
Parrish Dobson, Empty Niches

Betsyann Duval, Root Structure
Betsyann Duval, Root Structure, sumo and walnut ink on paper

Linda Hoffman, Feeding the Body, Feeding the Mind
Linda Hoffman, Feeding the Body, Feeding the Mind, maple and bronze