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'Fanning the Flames'
Evolving Works of Somerville Arts Council Fellowship Recipients
Exhibit dates: 12 June-6 July 2008. Reception: 12 June.

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Karen Aquafull image
“Sensorium” (still image from the animated film)
2007; 7.5” x 11”; Pastel

Sandra Butlerfull image
2006; 19.75” x 26”; Monotype with woodcut and chine colle


Benjamin Cariensfull image
"Katib II"
2007; 58” x 48” x 24”; Mixed media

Betsy Connorsfull image
"HoloGarden for Nam June"
2006; 24” x 36”; Holograms on steel
Karl Croninfull image
"Dry Earth fieldwork (still image from performance footage)"
2007; Performance and photography
Christopher Frostfull image
2007; 22” x 14” x 20”; Wood and bronze


Shaun Lynchfull image
"Capital Building"
2007; 42” x 36”; Carbon pencil & watercolor

Rachel Mellofull image
"Learning to Let Go"
2007; 45.5” x 74”
Christina Renferfull image
"Mother (diptych)"
2006; 20” x 42”; Oil on canvas
Ethan Gilsdorffull text
"Notes of the Previous Users"
2005; Published in April 2005
“Grapevine,” Reykjavik, Iceland

Bert Sternfull text
"Hospital Double"
November, 2007-Feb. 2008
[not yet published]

Curated by Sandra Butler and Rachel Mello.
In this unique show a small group of visual artists, dancers, filmmakers, and writers who received Somerville Arts Council Fellowship Grants in early 2007, reflect on the evolution in their work over the course of one year.
Considering earlier work side-by-side with newest pieces offers the rare opportunity to look into a developing sense of process and direction in a handful of the city’s rich population of dedicated artists.

Karen Aqua

When I received the Artists’ Fellowship in early 2007, I had just completed “Sensorium,” my first purely abstract film, a hand-drawn experimental animation exploring the relationship between music and image. My main project since then (still in progress) is an experimental animated film titled “Twist of Fate.”
In September/October 2007, I had a 7-week residency at the Wurlitzer Foundation in Taos, NM. Although I brought sections of my film-in-progress to work on, I felt a much stronger pull to create new art in response to my surroundings. I could barely stay inside my studio…the bright sunshine and clear blue skies lured me outside to explore the area and marvel at the vivid Southwestern light and color. I went out every day by foot or bike, observing and making small quick sketches, then returned to the studio to draw 5”x5” pastels. I started with 8 drawings, and quickly decided to create 100 and arrange them in a quilt-like grid.
As “100 Glimpses” spontaneously unfolded, I felt completely “in the moment,” fully soaking up and experiencing my environment and sense of place. I hope to continue to tap into this creative process, with its sense of discovery, joy, immediacy, and surprise.


Sandra Butler
I make monotypes, which are considered by many to be the most painterly form of printmaking. I enjoy the process of applying ink to a plate in a fluid and spontaneous fashion, and the resulting dialogue that transpires between the medium and the images that surface interests me. I also enjoy the risk, and the reward, of investing myself fully in a printmaking endeavor that produces only “one” print, an act that seems antithetical to the inherent nature of the form; it's rather like gambling, particularly when the stakes are high, and when taking the next step means either ruining the piece or resolving it.
In the past year and a half, I have been exploring improvisational woodcut techniques in my printmaking. Carving provides rich opportunities for investigating mark-making and textural elements. The repeatable nature of a woodblock allows for printing and layering in new ways. Recently, I have also been using my ink-stained mylar stencils, familiar shapes that I have used over the years in my monotypes, as collage elements in works that focus on balance and relationships.

Benjamin Cariens

Betsy Connors

Karl Cronin

Christopher Frost
I have been working on a body of sculpture that revolves around the every day object. Objects normally mundane when cast in bronze take on a different visual meaning. When these forms are 'collaged' together they are pressed into narratives or stories. The artist grant from the Somerville Arts Council allowed me to explore this process further.

Ethan Gilsdorf
I'm a poet, teacher, critic and journalist. My work as a poet informs my non-fiction: both concern the collision of nature and the made world; identity and pop culture; and solitude amid the urban experience. My Fellowship grant was awarded for a book-length memoir about my relationship with my mother before and after her major illness. That project has since evolved into a book "Escape Artists: Travels through the Worlds of Role Playing Freaks, Online Gaming Geeks, and Other Dwellers of Imaginary Realms" which will be published in 2009. Thank you Somerville Arts Council!

Shaun Lynch

Rachel Mello
I work with houses, wires, and street signs because I find them beautiful and earthy. I work with clouds and skies and natural landscapes because I find them glorious and spiritual. At any moment, part of me is considering the world in front of me, and part of me is dreaming. In overlaying these two kinds of images, I am creating a sense of how I occupy the world.
Recently I saw my cut panel as a potential wood-block for printing. I rolled ink on it and ran it through a press, creating a set of relief prints before painting on its surface. The prints emphasize different aspects of the shapes and images than the finished painting does. This combination of printmaking and painting as two different means to explore the same imagery is new for me and a direction I intend to continue pursuing.

Christina Renfer
When I received the artist grant from the Somerville Arts Council I was making portraits that introduced a second element to the central figure. The interaction of two figures within a painting, or between an object and figure as in Mother, represent personal narratives.
The grant has helped me to continue my work. I’ve been focusing more on drawing and have returned to self portraiture, confronting changes in my life over the past year. I have been introducing elements of pattern
and garment, an apron for example, as I think about the roles I assume as a woman and wife.

Bert Stern

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