ST. JOHNSBURY – The Fried Family Gallery at Catamount Arts will present “teetering between: Melody Boone, Linda Bryan, Harrison Halaska, and Mike Howat,” opening on March 28, with a reception scheduled for Saturday, April 15, from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. The show is curated by Samantha M. Eckert, exhibition manager at AVA Gallery and Art Center of Lebanon, N.H., and will run through June 4.
This exhibition of paintings, photography, and sculpture shapes a journey by layering familiar pictures to transport viewers, via light, form, and composition, to a mysterious dreamlike setting. The selected artists consider a liminal space, prompting onlookers to teeter between dimensions, their idée fixe unraveled by a single thread, and luring them to deeper engagement.
Several of the selected works were created during the isolation period of the pandemic and communicate states of longing, loss, and loneliness. Audiences are invited to step into ordinary domestic scenarios, becoming protagonists in a real-turned-surreal world, initiating a tension between artist intention and audience engagement in which perceptions of time and space are altered.
Melody S. Boone’s work, grounded in self-portraiture, includes a trove of family photographs skillfully manipulated and playfully reinvented into geometric designs incorporated into curious sculptural objects and then illuminated. Boone, a mixed media artist with an interdisciplinary art practice, lives and works in South Orange, N.J. She earned a BFA in 2003 from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond and an MFA in 2009 from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. Boone has been featured in numerous group exhibitions throughout Hampton Roads, Va., New York and New Jersey, and has participated in residencies and co-ops and received several fellowships and grants.
Photographer Linda Bryan’s capture of light evokes music. Bryan’s photographs are dreamy, lonely and haunting. Vermont native Bryan’s photography is rooted in the natural environment and familial spaces. Bryan received her BFA in Studio Arts from Northern Vermont University – Johnson and an MFA in Photography from the Academy of Art University, San Francisco. An artist member and instructor at AVA Gallery, Bryan has worked as a printer and film processor at a professional photo lab and a teacher at Northern Vermont University- Lyndon, at her studio/darkroom, and at local art centers. Working with a range of photographic mediums from vintage cameras to digital, Bryan explores the relationships between sense of place, time, longing, and personal relationships creating work that is softly saturated with implied narrative, leaving room for personal interpretation.
Painter Harrison Halaska paints domestic interiors and interior landscapes, snapshots of rooms depicted from slightly skewed perspectives. Absent of occupants, the compositions invite viewers to make up a story while simultaneously provoking an uncanny sense of voyeurism. Milwaukee-born Halaska earned his BFA at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and his MFA from Laguna College of Art and Design and has taught at California School of the Arts in San Gabriel Valley. He currently resides in Hanover, N.H., and he an assistant to printmaker Matt Brown as well an instructor and exhibition installer at AVA Gallery in Lebanon, N.H.
Mike Howat’s affinity for scenic views seen through windows challenges viewers to discern between threshold and barrier. Tempted by the exterior landscape, viewers are nonetheless anchored by ordinary domestic objects on the window’s sill. New Hampshire-based painter and educator Howat explores themes of urbanization, American, and collective memory in his work. He earned his BFA at New Hampshire Institute of Art and exhibits regionally and nationally including at Kelly Stelling Contemporary and Mill Brook Gallery & Sculpture Garden, Chases’ Garage, Rochester Museum of Fine Arts, Nahcotta, Talon Gallery in Portland, Or., Carrie Secrist Gallery in Chicago, and Nucleus Portland, among other venues. He teaches painting, printmaking, and drawing classes at Kimball Jenkins School of Art, where he was a long-term artist-in-residence from 2016-2020, and also at AVA Gallery where he coordinates ArtReach, free weekly artist demonstrations for isolated populations and the creative community. He is also a curator of established and emerging artists in the Northeast with an interest in exploring the diversity of regional makers.
Curator Samantha M. Eckert earned her MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpelier, a Certification in Museum Studies from the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, and a bachelor’s from Vermont College of Norwich University in Montpelier. She has attended several artist residencies including Anderson Ranch Art Center in Snowmass, Colo.; Vermont Studio Center in Johnson; La Macina di San Cresci, Greve, Chianti, Italy; and she was a two-time artist in residence at The Studios at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Mass. Eckert has exhibited in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Vermont, and Italy. In addition to her art and independent curatorial practice, she is Exhibition Manager at AVA Gallery and Art Center, Lebanon, N.H.