On July 11, the Caldbeck Gallery, 12 Elm Street in Rockland, will open 3 new solo shows, featuring the work of Kayla Mohammadi of South Bristol ME and Boston MA, Barbara Sullivan of Solon ME, and Jill Madden of Weybridge VT. A reception for the artists will take place on Wednesday, July 11, from 6-8 pm. The exhibits run through August 11.
In her 4th solo Caldbeck show, “Kayla Mohammadi: New Paintings”, the artist will include both large canvases and smaller works on panel and on canvas. Her Finnish/Persian heritage is an important influence on her work, where fresh juxtapositions of form and color bring together unexpected places where we, the viewer, may encounter competing energies of memory and observation. “I have always loved color”, she explains, “It is what first attracted me to painting, and it is what keeps me painting. The paintings strive to be beautiful but also a bit raw and surprising. My current paintings start with a shape: a pier, a sunset or a bay – as a way to start a composition, but that is secondary to the formal makeup of the painting. Color, space and mark- making are the main components of my work. Although I draw from the landscape and have painted directly from it in the past, I turn away from it in my studio. Through drawing and collage I work towards a simple expression of what I am seeing and feeling. Abstracting space through color and mark keeps me engaged with painting. In the end, if the imagery is recognizable that is fine; if it turns into something else that is also fine”. Mohammadi is first generation American, born in San Francisco, CA, to a Finnish mother and Iranian father. She says, “like most Americans whose parents immigrated to this country, I grew up with influences beyond the typical suburban landscape. My way of seeing the world was shaped by three different cultures: American, Finnish, and Persian”. Mohammadi received her BFA in 1998 from the University of Washington in Seattle, and her MFA in 2002 from Boston University. Currently she is a Lecturer in Fine Arts at Massachusetts College of Arts in Boston. Awards include the 2013 Joan Mitchell Artist Residency Award, the 2008 Joan Mitchell Foundation Award for painters, The Dedalus Foundation Award for 2008, a Vermont Studio School Fellowship, the 2006 Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation Grant, and Blanche E. Coleman Award for 2004, and The Constantin Alajalov Scholarship, followed by the 2014 Purchase Prize and Exhibition Invitation from The American Academy of Arts and Letters in NYC. Collections include the Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC, The Victory Fund, the University of Washington, the NYU Langone Medical Center, and Boston University.
In her 11th solo exhibit with the Caldbeck, Sullivan installs “Seasonal Suite” to cover all four walls of the upstairs gallery with large scale landscape drawings in paint on Mylar, with shaped fresco animals, as homage to nature, mounted on those drawings. The artist explains, “since childhood, I have pictured in my mind’s eye the different seasons being represented by very specific locations around the house where I grew up, a big rectangle (just like the gallery space I’m showing in) that housed my large family of origin. The month of January lives on the corner of the back porch where the drifts were high. Spring lives in the blooming crab apple tree, and in a huge lilac bush where my sister, Jane, and I clipped all the inside branches to make a playhouse, complete with kitchen. Summer lingers by the artesian well, and around the clothesline near the laundry room. Winter closes back in by the ski and toboggan hill where we spent hours packing the snow for the perfect glide. These childhood memories of Maine’s four seasons are the model for this installation. In addition to narrating my childhood memories, this installation also focuses on the changes and alarms in our environment, so suddenly prolific, with much in danger of extinction. But meanwhile, bees, wild turkeys, beavers, plants, and other animals all co-exist in this room with its four walls, each one representing a Maine season, winter being the longest wall of all”. With her MFA from Vermont College, Sullivan has won a Venice Printmaking Residency in Italy, the Robert M. MacNamarra Foundation Fellowship in Maine, a Good Idea Grant from the Maine Arts Commission, the Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation Grant, and a Pollack/Krasner Foundation Grant. She will return from a residency in Ireland just in time to install her show. The artist works in the ancient medium of “fresco”, where, simply, dry paint pigments are ground in water and applied to wet plaster, resulting in a permanent surface. She teaches fresco workshops throughout the country.
In June of 2017, the Baer Art Center, invited Madden to paint on their horse farm on the NW coast of Iceland, where she worked out in the landscape daily. The resulting small canvases, measuring 12 x 12 inches, capture the sublime atmosphere of the landscape and its residents: the Icelandic Horse herd’s pregnant mares, who hang out in the early morning hours. Their shapes are simple and the artist tells us what these small horses really look like, not what one might think they look like. And in the several canvases depicting deer herds in Wyoming, where Madden spent the month of April this year at the Jentel Arts Foundation Residency, she accomplishes the same thing: complete recognition of what we are looking at, with almost no use of detail. Noted color shapes explain light and shadow, and the brain understands what’s going on. The title, “Out in the Field” aptly describes Madden’s exhibit. The artist grew up in coastal Rhode Island. At Middlebury College she studied Mandarin Chinese and art, after which, she spent two years in Hualien, Taiwan, studying Chinese painting, followed by several years teaching Mandarin and art in Sitka, Alaska. She attended the New York Studio School, and received her BA from Brandeis University and her MFA from Boston University, where she held a Constantin Alajalov scholarship, studying with John Walker and John Moore. While a resident artist at the Vermont Studio School, Jill studied under Lois Dodd, who remains a good friend and influence. A recipient of a Winsor and Newton emerging Artists’ award, Jill receicved a Basin Harbor Fellowship, a Custom House Fellowship in Westport, Ireland and a Jentel Foundation for the Arts residency in Banner, Wyoming. Her work has been exhibited in New England, New York, Philadelphia, Ireland, and England. This is her first solo show with the Caldbeck.
Gallery hours are Tuesday – Saturday 11-4, and Sunday 1-4. For further information please call the gallery at 207 594 5935 or email firstname.lastname@example.org