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February 26, 2010     Post-Gazette
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February 26, 2010

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Page8 POST-GAZETTE, FEBRUARY 26, 2010 Gallery NAGA Helps North Bennet Street School Celebrate 125 Years Nautilus table with shelf by Garry Knox Bennett. (The school was founded to teach woodwork- ing skills, American customs and culture to European immigrants arriving in Boston in the Late 19th century). The work of some of the most prominent studio furniture makers in the United States will be shown in a group exhibition of handmade furniture from March 5 through March 27, 2010 at Gallery NAGA, 67 Newbury Street, Boston MA ( in Boston. The show is being mounted as a benefit for the North Bennet Street School in Boston's North End ( One of the oldest and best-known crafts training schools in the country, the school is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year. The school's philanthropist founders began offering woodworking and cabinet making training programs in the 1880's as a way for immigrants from Europe to be- gin earning a livelihood in their adopted country. "For North Bennet: A Benefit Exhibition of Studio Furniture" will feature the work of 28 makers from across the country, includ- ing such established and highly collectible American furniture makers as Garry Knox Bennet, Hank Gilpin, Judy McKie, Jere Osgood, Tommy Simpson and Rosanne Somerson. The work of lesser-known but rising stars -- Bart Niswonger and Ben Fleis among them -- will also be included. In an unprecedented gesture of financial support by a commercial gallery and its artists, half the purchase price of every ex- hibition piece sold will be donated to sup- port the school's crafts training programs. The idea for the group show grew out of a series of conversations between Galley NAGA director Arthur Dion and the school's president Miguel Gomez-Ibanez, himself an accomplished furniture maker, and whose work is included in the show. Dion had long been aware of North Bennet Street School's reputation as a training institution, and of its role in maintaining high standards in furniture making and cabinetry. He put a call out to furniture makers from past NAGA shows and to others producing similar, high-caliber work. The concept of a benefit show for the school was enthusiastically embraced. The Gallery NAGA show is one of the high- lights of the school's yearlong celebration, "We're deeply honored to be rec- ognized by a gal- lery and a com- munity of artists that share the school's commit- ment to superb craftsmanship," said Gomez- Ibanez. Bird table by Judy Kensley McKie. The exhib-ition's 27 objects -- seating, tables, chests, cabinets and wall pieces -- reflect current thinking about the very idea of "furniture" both as functional object and as art form. Some makers have drawn their inspiration from traditional styles and tech- niques; others bring a modern and, at times, whimsical viewpoint to their work. A reverence for wood is apparent in the show, as one might expect. But there are the unexpected materials, too -- plaster, graphite, polymer resin, limestone, steel and leather. The show's disparate work has a few things in common, however. The level of craftsmanship and professionalism is uniformly high. And, taken together, the work conveys an intriguing and valid snap- shot of the current state of the studio furni- ture movement in America. The show's many sought-after and collect- ible artists include California furniture maker Garry Knox Bennett, best known for his chairs and use of conventional woods and unusual materials such as plywood, aluminum, steel, and plastics. His Nauti- lus Table with Shelf uses a thin slice of an actual nautilus shell set in epoxy as sur- face decoration. Judy Kensley McKie's work is infused with a lively awareness of modernist and con- temporary art and also of the approaches to design to be found in indigenous cultures throughout the world. Her Bird Table's fiat top is the silhouette of an avian body and wings, with a head that rises quizzically. Jon Brooks makes use of found materials from his house and the surrounding New Hampshire woods to create his play- ful furniture and sculpture. His Analtar Table III stands on nine undulating legs fashioned from found tree branches that are decorated with acrylic, pastel and colored pencil. Rosanne Somerson adds gesture, caprice and mystery to classic furniture forms, transforming exotic woods into intimate and evocative functional objects. Her three legged Small Table with Leaves offers leaf- shaped surfaces of rift white oak and lime- stone. Also in the show is the work of Dale Broholm, John Eric Byers, Mark Del Guidice, John Dunningan, Thomas Hucker, Silas Kopf, John Marcoux, Todd Partridge, Timo- thy Philbrick, Mitch Ryerson, James Schriber, Jay Stanger, J.M. Syron and Bonnie Bishoff, Tim Wells, Steve Whittlesey, Lothar Windels and Rick Wrigley. The Consulate General of Italy in Boston requests the pleasure of your company at the Opening of the Exhibition: "SOPRA SOTTO ATTRAVERSO" "OVER UNDER THROUGH" ITALY IN FOCUS Photographs by Cynthia A. Clark* OPENING RECEPTION: Thursday, March 11, 2010 6:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. Consulate General of Italy 600 Atlantic Avenue (Federal Reserve Building) 17th Floor, Boston, MA 02210 R.S.V.P. 617-722-9201/02/03 or Email: The exhibition will continue through April 14, 2010 GALLERY HOURS: Monday-Friday, 9:00am-12:OOpm, Thursday, 2:00-4:00pm. ABOUT THE EXHIBITION This selection of photo- graphs has multiple meanings, starting with the title, and is first and foremost a reflection on photography and relation- ships between the artist and the spectator. It be- gins with the photogra- pher looking through a lens at a subject. This puts the photographer at a distance from the sub- ject but also brings the subject close, establish- ing a bridge between two solitudes not unlike the relationship between ac- tor and audience. The act of framing the photo in the viewfinder has much in common with peeking, looking, staring, grabbing a glance; yet the real actor is the subject that speaks to its audi- ence in many different ways, through, across, from over and under the space between the pho- tographer and the sub- ject. Italy is ripe with the theme and has yielded a rich selection for this show. Cynthia A. Clark has lived in Italy for parts of every year for over I0 years. She has explored and resided in the Veneto, Florence, Umbria, Abruzzo, Puglia and Sicily and has experienced the Contadina culture, big city and small village life, all through the Iens of her camera and the learning of the Italian language, culture and cuisine. She has exhibited in both Italy and the United States and also curates group shOws, including one entitled "Off the Beaten Track in Italy", which will be remounted as a solo show of her photographs for the Griffin Gallery in April, 2010. She can be contacted at cynthia, INCOME TAX PREPARATION Financial Services Professional Tax Consultant Personal & Business Year Round Service MeP. & Co. TAx & FINAN SERVICES GRACE PREVITE MAGOON, EA 617-569-0175 146 Maverick Street, East Boston, MA 02128 ESTABLISHED IN 1938 e-mail: ~States- Census Be a part of HistoryJ APPLY NOW[ Census Takers, Crew Leaders, Crew Leader Assts, Recruiting Assts AND MORE! Flexible hours & paid training Must be U.S. Citizen and pass written test. 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