At the opening reception of Stewart Gallery’s Annual Works on Paper exhibition Sept. 21, a conversing, informed and seasoned gallery clientele of fine art collectors, mavens and patrons all bumped elbows with fresh faces, eager for association. It was a crowded, enjoyable evening.
The annual Works on Paper exhibition shows contemporary prints by notable, rising and emerging artists. All exhibited pieces were eye-catching. One could travel from the immediate left of the entrance and feel the pull of each successive hanging.
Milling and flowing in the gallery’s new, efficient 1,000 square foot space, were around 150 people. They held nothing back. It was all praise and enthusiasm for this annual exhibition—and rightfully so. Stewart Gallery showed about as much work as lighting and wall space would tastefully allow.
Fifteen artists' works were presented, including Seiko Tachbana’s etching and aquatint series, Michi Road Life; Anna Siems’ mixed media on paper bags piece, “Mostra”; and Garth Claassen’s large charcoal drawing, “Searcher.”
Also, Holly Downing’s mezzotint work, “Eggs and Bowl,” and Christine Ravaux’s “Mellons” showed well despite a crowd that seemed to be just where you wanted more room and less noise.
By invitation, Melissa Hendricks presented Aquatic Monstrosities—the first of two handmade and hand-printed books by Hendricks’ alter-ego, Edmund T. Knightly. The limited edition set of three includes a 7-inch by 7-inch book and seven individual etchings of 6.5-inch by 6.5-inch images on BFK paper, ready for mounting.
The Aquatic Monstrosities book is a short narrative of the print collection, which has a witty charm as told by Hendricks’ old-world character, Knightly. It is “illustrated and designed to reflect beautifully a mind obsessed with self-importance and an over-imaginative (and nonobjective) fascination with the unknown,” a press release explained.
Hendricks has served a unique rendering of Knightly’s seven fanciful marine creatures. This alone is worth a visit.
The annual Works on Paper exhibition runs until Friday, Nov. 2, at Stewart Gallery, 2230 Main St.