Two of the Northeast Kingdom’s most creative and highly respected artists will share the Main Gallery at Catamount Arts for the month of August.
Ann Young will present her latest oil paintings in a show titled “Autumn Pond Abstract: Recent Paintings,” while Michale Estar will display new collages in a show she calls “The Healing Art of Collage.”
A special reception honoring Young and Estar will be held from 5 – 7 pm Friday, August 8, at the Catamount Arts center on Eastern Avenue in St. Johnsbury. The reception is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.
Young has been living in Vermont since 1970 and has been a painter since 2001. Previous to 2001 she was a sculptor. She has spent most of the years working on painting the human figure with an occasional foray into landscape or animals. Her work has often exhibited a strong tendency to social commentary.
Her new show is a departure from the past. The paintings may seem to be abstract but, in f act, they are a realistic rendition of extreme close ups of decaying floating pond leaves. They are an example of pure nature worship. Young feels that there is no end to the color and design that she can find in these simple little leaves.
“When I go out paddling on May Pond, I see all of the things that one expects to enjoy on a lovely autumn day in Vermont,” Young commented recently. “There are the hills, brilliant in their fall colors, the sparkling sky, a loon or maybe two.”
“At the shallow end of the pond, I find the Water Shield plants that become riddled with the trails of leaf miners and spots of decay. All of this makes for a stunning array of color and pattern,” she continued. “The paintings in this new show are a reflection of that joy in natural color and form. I feel that my paint brush has been recruited into the service of a common, little water plant.”
Estar also believes that her most inspired and creative work comes from the natural world.
“The creative process begins when we are children and are given the opportunity to play freely with simple materials such as sand, water, clay, wood, paper, paint, music. Rhythm, words and so on,” she said. “In adults, this creativity becomes the combining of color, form, line, texture and familiar objects into art.”
Estar, who attended Cooper Union College of Art and holds a BA from Goddard College, incorporates objects that people use every day such as dungarees, brown paper shopping bags and other found objects to create the symbols and symbolism she uses in her collages to explore life’s questions through artistic expression.
“Art is meant to awaken our soul’s capacities,” Estar said. “Art allows the soul to be given alphabets of understanding and alphabets of expression.”
Visitors will be invited to interact with Estar’s exhibit, including touching the collages, taking them off the wall and exploring the many hidden pockets and messages that are included in them, and even walking on one large collage displayed on the gallery floor.
Both “Autumn Pond Abstract: Recent Paintings” and “The Healing Art of Collage” will be on view in the Main Gallery at Catamount Arts until the end of August.
The galleries at Catamount Arts are open free to the public from 11 am – 6 pm Monday through Saturday and before and after each film screening.