I can imagine writing by moonlight on the terrace at the Clark in the last days of the Nikolai Astrup exhibit, his Visions of Norway. The museum is inviting people to come for a workshop this week, and it reminds me that local people can walk through the grounds there on any warm night. Now I’m thinking how long it has been since I last walked up Stone Hill in the dark, and that seems to be what ArtWeek Berkshires is for this year — to point out what we already have.
The Berkshires is filling up this week with events and shows and painters out in the open. ArtWeek used to be a statewide festival, and in its wake we’re holding our own. And suddenly I’m finding artists all around, opening their doors.
I didn’t know that Installation Space in North Adams is opening an exhibit inspired by Natural Bridge, or that Alexis Rosasco turns her fine art background into art worn on the body. Jeanne Marklin dyes cloth in the vividly organic patterns of Japanese Shibori. Patricia Fietta makes living walls, collages of preserved mosses and bark, fungus, nuts and pine cones she finds in the Berkshire forests.
In Adams, Leni Fried will show her Trees of New England’ prints, notecards and handmade journals at The Old Stone Mill Center, a zero-waste maker space, where she and her husband repair bicycles to sell or donate to Africa to give young students a way to get to school.
Downtown, a graphic novel, Wanderlust, will unfold the story of a 1990s small town in a “paranormal adventure about self-acceptance, embracing life in the moment, and living with our inner demons,” written and drawn by Jay Miller with watercolors by Peri Pendrake.
I can walk through North Adams and look for murals, or wander into the new Adams Theatre and the the Real Eyes Gallery, where Pennie Brantley is showing her oil paintings, including scenes in her Gestapo Prison series from Terezin in the Czech Republic, honoring the people who have lost their lives here.
Or I can come back to the reflecting pool at the Clark and think of the nights when Astrup painted looking over the lake below his garden and his young fruit trees. Gloria Calderon Saenz reminded me of them when we were talking in her studio in North Adams, almost in sight of the Hoosac River. She too paints the landscapes around her, often with a touch of magic in them, and she carves her own wood blocks for prints, often layering in as much detail as an original painting.
His work has touched her, she said, his bonfires at night and trees stretching toward the moon. “In some of (his woodblock prints), it’s a midnight landscape, and because he’s in Norway the night is not totally dark. His work is spiritual at the same time.”
Art shows, events and exhibits will continue through September 26, and you can find a roundup of ArtWeek Berkshires events in the BTW calendar. Here are some coming up soon.