Time (& Tide) of Transition

If you’ve visited this website lately (you are one of a very select few), you may have noticed that little has been updated of late. It’s true. I have been neglecting the site.

Time & Tide has been going through a year of transition, and it isn’t over yet.

Logo 72 4inIn January I closed the Market Street gallery for purely financial reasons. I really loved operating that gallery. It introduced me to some of the most interesting and talented people I have ever known. It was a great two and a half years.

Combo logo with shadow

In April Time & Tide teamed up with Post Road Framers in Rowley to present monthly exhibitions by my favorite artists in Post Road’s gallery space. It has been a fine experience, and has been a great way for me to keep in “my hand in the game” as they say. Working with Gail and Karl Kastorf has been rewarding and educational. I’m grateful for the opportunity, and I hope it has been as positive experience for them as it has for me.

However, at the end of the December show at Post Road Framers, “Small Packages,” a group show small works by this terrifically creative group of artists I’ve come to know and love, I will once again move on.

Work is under way to open a new kind of gallery and gift shop back in downtown Ipswich. The deal is still in the working stages, and it’s possible that it may come up against obstacles that will slow things down. But as soon as I know anything, I will trumpet the news from the antique rooftops of Ipswich.

The adventure continues…!

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Every morning…

They say that every morning is an opportunity for a new beginning. Somedays it feels that way, other days… well… it feels like a step back. Like, say, a snowy morning March. But regardless of the weather, or any other state of the world, changes are at our fingertips.

On a New Shore

On April 1, Time & Tide opens our first show in our new location at Post Road Framers in the Rowley Marketplace, 225 Newburyport Turnpike in Rowley. It’s a new format with new opportunities, new challenges, and endless new possibilities. I hope you will join us on Saturday, April 6 from 5-7pm to celebrate all this new-ness!

 

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Poetry of (in) the woods

This wood doesn’t know me yet, doesn’t trust me.

No sights, only sounds of animals… there was that white form disappearing behind the crest of a hill. Silent, so it must have been a bird. White owl, perhaps.

I wonder how I felt when I was a child… about the woods… On nature walks that we took on countless camping trips. Did I listen to the wisdom of the trees? Did I pay attention to the words of my father? I don’t remember. Perhaps it wasn’t the words that were important, because in the woods, in the wilds, I see and hear as I was meant to. My soul learned what it needed to… then. There are new lessons to be learned now.

Fresh tracks in wet leaves tell me that those with hooves and paws are not far off. But I am stomping and tromping, snapping twigs beneath the bed of leaves. Deer are not curious to see me, they silently get out of my way, remaining invisible.

At first I am apologetic at the noisy destruction that my feet cause. But I am as much a part of the natural process as all the other animals who break down spent leaves and twigs.

Stone wall, old border. A border still. On my side: the ground is a tangle of moss covered trunks and swaying seedlings. Across the wall: cleanly cut stumps and passages wide enough for wheeled vehicles.

 I think of Robert Frost and his neighbor repairing the walls that formed the boundary between them. Strengthening the wall and their friendship at the same time.

The wall runs straight. Up and down hills, diving under the leaves in the valleys between. But resolutely straight.

On the return, I choose the path rather than following the wall back. Much easier going, quieter, too. On the path I feel more human, less… woodsy.

When two roads diverge in a yellow wood, it is possible that it is the same road looping back on itself.

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It’s not a luxury

Somewhere in an ancient cave a primitive human picks up a burnt piece of wood and drags it along the stone wall near him. It leaves a mark. It pleases the human, and he makes another, and another…

From that first smear of charcoal on a cave wall, mankind has made art.

Techniques and subjects change, but the drive to create, and the delight in the creation remain constant.

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Is “exclusive” a good thing? or not?

The art world is perhaps one of the most “exclusive” I know, on many levels. Some positive, some… not so much.

When an artist creates a work, there is only one of them. Only one person may own it. This “excludes” the rest of the entire population of the world from owning the same thing. There may be others who own pieces by the same artist, but none who own the same one you do. You are part of an exclusive club.

It’s the other side of the definition that bothers me. The art world is full of ideas that would place obstacles in the path of art appreciation.

– A press that pays undue attention to people who, by force of personality and marketing, receive outsized amounts of attention and money for sometimes questionable work. Half a shark embedded in acrylic, anybody?

– A belief that great art must be very expensive, and conversely, that if it doesn’t cost that much it can’t be good. The price on a piece art reflects many things, only one of which is quality.

– The attitude that fine art can only be found in big cities. So many artists move to New York because they’ve been told that is where you go if you want to be taken seriously. Never mind that this is not the environment that made the artist want to create in the first place.

– The myth that an artist must be a little scary… eccentric or tortured or odd in some way. Some of the finest artists I know are grounded, practical and, as far as I can tell, completely sane. Face, it, we’re all a little eccentric, tortured or odd in our own ways. Artists use it to create something beautiful.

The longer I am surrounded by art and artists, the mosre I want to share it with the world. I want to bring unsung, accessibly priced, locally available, lovingly created artwork to everybody who wants it. Not just the select few.

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The sea was speaking to me…

… of time and tides.

I’ve spent a lot of time alone on the beach the last couple of weeks. Arriving early, dressed for work in the gallery, I leave my shoes in the car and walk carefully on the boardwalk over the dunes.

Sand Ripples and Sky by Dorothy Monnelly

Sand Ripples and Sky by Dorothy Monnelly

The beach I frequent is shallow and tides are dramatic. At high tide, the beach is a strip of sand up against the dune grass cliffs. At low tide, the water has dropped by 10 feet, revealing low hills of sand and pools of warming water that must find its way back to the sea.

Every year the shape of the beach at low tide is redesigned. One summer a spit of a sand bar reached far offshore almost perpendicular to the coast, narrow and irresistible. This summer we have more of a “cape” bulging out from the shore.

I got to wondering what it will look like next year.

Mermaid Song by John Redick

Mermaid Song by John Redick

It all depends on what kind of weather comes along this winter. Storms will certainly churn through the northern sea, and whether they make landfall or not, the waves they stir up will find their way to our beach.

Be assured, though, changes will come.

That sand spit was lovely, but I can’t spend my time mourning its loss. Cape Crane has its own charms that may be gone next spring.

Every change brings both loss and opportunity. Storms will blow, and whether we experience them directly or not, the waves will reshape our lives.

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Arts abound…

I live in an area rich with arts and artists.

But I believe that anybody can say that.

Formal art, that which can be hung on a wall or placed in a museum isn’t universal, but art is.

If there are eyes to see, there is art to be seen.

I find art in the ruins of the Chernobyl accident, and the sunset over the beach in Ipswich. In the meanest streets of the inner city, in the wilderness. In a child’s face. In the wrinkles of a great grandmother. The lines of an automobile, the play of sunlight on a kitchen floor.

Don’t miss it. You, too, live in a world rich with art…

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Dilorenzo Dancer

There is something essentially charming and delightful about Barbara Dilorenzo’s illustrations.

See more here.

Her work is a wonderful example of my obsession with message and meaning. Yes, this is a very cute painting of a little girl dancing. But it goes so far beyond that. Barbara has captured the emotion that courses from the ballerina’s toes to her nose.

Barbara is an Ipswich native (now living and working in New York) and my predecessor in the gallery space here at 4 Market Street.

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Amazing chutzpah…

But should you?

Art defies definition. But I am trying to wrap my head around the idea that the pieces in the Art Basel show opening today call command the prices that they do.

If you’d like to look at some of the lower priced items, follow this link: http://www.artspace.com/collections/art_baselutm_source=Artspace+Private+Sale+Email&utm_campaign=6352e56d42-Art_Basel_Collection6_14_2012&utm_medium=email

Much of the work is not simply “not beautiful,” but the artists seem to strive for deeper and more profound ugliness. And THIS is what the “serious art collector” pays big money for.

Clumsily PhotoShopped photographs.

Prints of paintings that, honestly, look like middling high school student work.

And then there is the real high-end. Millions of dollars paid for piles of extension cords. I’m not kidding. Home Depot extension cords. No wonder we “real” people wonder what good art actually is.

In my humble, under-educated (apparently) opinion, art should be – at the very least – pleasing to the eye. It should take the viewer into a place they can’t be at the moment, whether literal or emotional. It should serve the viewer in different ways over time.

Am I crazy? Or just hopelessly un-art-savvy?

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Feeling a little “Cindy Lou Who”-ish…

Maybe I’m in the wrong business. I should be pushing you to buy, buy!, BUY! art this week before Christmas. And it would be great for the gallery and the artists represented here if you did. But that’s really not the point of the season, or even the point of this gallery’s existence.

What I sell at Time & Tide is precious, and personal. Whether it is the gift-giving season or not, my greatest joy is when I get to play matchmaker… a person falls in love with a piece of art, and I bring the two together. Yes, I have filled the gallery with winsome little “prospects” in the hopes that many matches will be made. But it’s the match that’s important, not the numbers.

There’s no denying it is a thrill to make a big sale. It is even more satisfying to see the delight of a buyer who has found a new love, or a new love to give as a gift, regardless of the size of the piece. This is why Time & Tide Fine Art is here, and it is what I hope to share with you.

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