Anna Russo-Sieber Gallery
147 Fifth St
Benton Harbor, MI 49022
Tuesday-Saturday Noon - 4 p.m.
Also open during evening classes
A Summer Arts Quest 2014: bonjour FRANCE!
Summer Art Camps, June-August, 2014.
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In the Gallery (Jul 18 - Aug 30, 2014)
Opening reception: Friday, July 18, 2014, 6-8pm
"Wabi's Greener Earth" - Michael Fels
A mixed-media artist, Michael D. Fels received his M.F.A. in printmaking. His art has been shown in places ranging from Taiwan, New Zealand, Chicago, DC and New York City. An upcoming show at the ARS gallery will be an exhibition of both 2 and 3 dimensional works in materials ranging from steel, wood, glass, concrete and more. Primarily a site-specific installation-artist, this exhibit will represent a combination of Fels work. Interests of wabi-sabi and the inculcation of material syntax, the juxtaposition of varying materials, direct the work.
Michael D. Fels taught for ten years at The Pennsylvania State University before joining the faculty at Elon University 12 years ago. Department Chair, Head of the Foundations area, and Exhibition Coordinator at Elon, Fels continues his exploration of art and its physical boundaries through both his teaching and his artmaking.
In the Gallery (May 16 - Jul 11, 2014)
"Oil, Water & Glass"
Opening reception: Friday, May 16, 2014, 6-8 pm
Susan Henshaw will be showing her large canvas titled, OIL & WATER, a series of oil paintings with the subject of water. Jerry Catania will be exhibiting his renowned glasswork in the form of stunning luminescent colorful vessels. Susan has exhibited her large paintings in the Harbor Shores restaurant “The Grille”, and Jerry is well know for his collaborative work with Josh Andres, creating the sculpture Tee markers on the Harbor Shores Golf Course. Join us for a free small bites and wine reception as we take a look at their new works of art.
"The Quest for Water" - Susan Henshaw
How many of us have thrown a pebble in a pond and watched as the patterns on the surface rippled away? Since childhood I have done this hundreds of times, each time, mesmerized, watching and waiting for the surface to become still, so I could throw the next pebble. I still spend many hours by the water’s edge these days, but instead of throwing a pebble I seek the transient effects made by nature’s movement and light. Habitats such as creeks and rivers may have tree- lined banks that reflect patterns of color or cast daunting spider-like shadows. Elements such as sharp bends create whirlpools as rocks and fallen branches cause surface patterns to dance with light. Open or calm water acts as a fun-house mirror reflecting and refracting the world around it, distorting the view.
My images are first captured with a Nikon D200 SLR camera. The continuous movement of water has resulted in a collection of thousands of photographs over the years. The images I have chosen are ones that I feel contain the some of the most magical combinations of elements. Some covered a visual field of several yards, while others, only a few inches. The decision to paint them on canvas add’s yet another layer of light and movement to these abstract microcosms. While some images are recognizable as water, the reflections they contain still leave the viewer room to question.
As for most people, I am enlivened by the medium of glass - both in its glowing molten state and its striking optical splendor. The blowing and sand-casting processes inspire my creative process. The very physical process of blowing and casting fit my creative concepts and energetic temperament - forcing me to be more intuitive and react more spontaneously. Glass as a material takes on a meaning beyond its optical beauty. Its reflections, distortions, and ‘solid yet transparent’ properties - for me, are metaphors for illusion, paradox, insight, allusion and deception. It can represent a vision, a spirit, an illusion, a memory, a mirage or an ephemeral moment in time.
I began working in glass in 1972 as a part of the experimental beginnings of the Pilchuck Workshop glass school in Washington State. I was accepted to be one of 30 students that summer to work and study glass under the direction of Dale Chihuly and Fritz Dreisbach. In 1985 I started the glass studio at Ox-Bow - the summer school for The School of The Art Institute of Chicago, and in 1991 I opened my own studio in nearby Glenn, Michigan, until 2004 when I moved the studio to Benton Harbor, MI and started “Water Street Glassworks“ - a not-for-profit school of the glass arts.
Previously In the Gallery (Jan 31 - Mar 25, 2014)
Opening reception: Friday, February 14, 2014, 5:30-7:30 pm
ARS Faculty Exhibit curated by Gideon Douglas and Joshua Nowicki
Some of our faculty are public school art teachers, museum curators, special program teachers, art center artists, and special education teachers, and come highly qualified in their teaching. These teachers are also studio and professional artists in their own right, and this is the galleries opportunity to share their work, and pay homage to such great and talented teachers. Faculty with work on display includes:
Susan Henshaw - Susan has been a professional artist for over a decade, and exhibits her work in various galleries, and art centers throughout Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois. She has a studio in her home, as well as The Box Factory and works very prolifically in them creating pastels, drawing, oils, photography, and acrylic. Susan teaches adult painting classes of all kinds at ARS.
Toni Smith - Toni works in art therapy helping others through art. She works in a variety of media and creates not just stunning works in mosaics, but also paintings, and mixed media. Toni has taught youth at ARS from the Boys & Girls Club, as well as teaching adult mosaic classes.
Josh Mason - Josh is exhibit curator at The Discovery Zone, Curious Kids Museum, and his degree in art helps with his job at the museum. Josh is also a multimedia artist creating paintings, installations and sounds. Josh is a wonderful painter and expresses himself on very large board using latex, acrylic or oils. Josh teaches the I Am The Greatest Project, film education, the summer camp program, and more at the ARS.
Ashley Seymour - Ashley has a degree in art and is the gallery assistant at ARS, and also teaches classes. She has worked with The Boys and Girls Club, the summer camp program, and much more. Ashley paints various subject matter in acrylic, works in photography, and drawing. She has a growing interest in teaching but her passion is painting..
Gideon Douglas - Gideon earned a BFA from Michigan state university in painting and drawing. Currently teaching mixed medias at ARS gallery.
Morgan Ingle - Morgan is an artist, teacher and professional musician with the band Slim Gypse Baggage. Morgan teaches the I Am The Greatest Project, the summer camp program, and more at the ARS.
Dirk Sorrells - Dirk has spent many years involved in the arts at a variety of levels including, painting, photography and tattooing. Dirk is also an avid Great Lakes surfer. At ARS, Dirk has taught and volunteered with the I Am The Greatest Project.
Kim Wood is a Commercial Art Instructor at the Van Buren Technology Center with a Bachelors in Art Education and Masters in CTE, while also working freelance in all areas of art including photography, painting, drawing, digital illustration, and graphic design. She has worked at ARS in the summer camp program as an art teacher and assistant.
Joshua Nowicki - Joshua specializes in nature and landscape, event and food photography along with graphic design and social media marketing. At ARS, Joshua has assisted with marketing, taught a photography class and photographed a variety of programs at the center.
Previously In the Gallery (Nov 22, 2013 - Jan 14, 2014)
Opening reception: Friday, Nov 22, 2013: 6-9 pm
"Inside-Out, Upside-Down or Sideways" - Will Hafeman
This body of work, made through a process of chance and deconstruction, fills the void created by black tar paper, an empty piece of glass or other surfaces. It also, by it's very nature, creates space. There is no initial plan to the pieces, just processes and materials from which the paintings emerge. The various operations some chance, some conscious; and the materials, some found and some purchased, become guides to the completed work. The only decisions to be made are in response to what the operations and the materials provide, and when to stop.
Through pouring, throwing, dripping and smearing paint, less control is available and the materials do what they will. By deconstructing the original and building it again new, paintings are made that couldn't be worked out ahead of time.
The work may be inside-out, upside-down, sideways or totally reordered from where it began. Not knowing the outcome ahead of time is one of the reasons for making this work. When a piece is finished it becomes clear, but it's never known when that will happen -- until it does.
Previously In the Gallery (Aug 30 - Nov 15, 2013)
Opening reception: Friday, Aug 30, 2013: 6-8 pm
"Molten Anomalies" - Margie Mattice and Eli Zilke
Margie Mattice: As far back as I can remember art has been a part of my life. However my focus on glass began approximately nine years ago when I moved to Benton Harbor and discovered Water Street Glassworks. A transition I will cherish for a lifetime!
What I love about glass is that one can never say “I have arrived!” There is always something new to learn and developing your skills! I draw my inspiration from the beautiful world in which I live. The fluidity of glass fits my personality because I tend to be the type of person who goes with the flow!
Broadening my horizon into metal working has opened a whole new dimension by incorporating metal with glass. As I watch a project come alive from a basic sketch to a 3 D piece of art it is fascinating and rewarding.
My recent collaboration with Eli Zilke began 2 years ago when we created a glass piece for a fundraiser using the jellyfish form that I had been perfecting and his expertise in blowing incredibly beautiful vessels. This proved to be a successful mix and thus our “Aquatic Series” was born! We found that working together was delightful and that our two styles compliment each other.
My goal as an artist is to grow in my skill, to search out new techniques and to share my enthusiasm for glass and metal with the world around me.
Eli Zilke's love for glass started early in life. His first encounter with the hot goo came at the age of eight when his parents chose Venice, Italy as one of the destinations for a family vacation, it was love at first sight!
Eli started working with glass at the age of eleven making glass beads in the kitchen of his childhood home and then at twelve he joined the Fired Up program at WaterStreet Glass Works in Benton Harbor, Michigan. Eli is now a teacher in the Fired Up after school program, where he was trained.
In his most recent work he aims to give the illusion of light when none is present, he does so using color applications. He also enjoys creating micro environments grouping cane and murini to reflect the essence of life on a glass canvas.
Eli aims to be a detail oriented craftsman before being an artist and enjoys working in collaboration with other artists to develop bodies of work. Eli Zilke is now Co-owner/ operator of Twin City Glass Studios where he will spend his time further developing his work.
Previously In the Gallery (May 31 - Jul 12, 2013)
Opening reception: Friday, May 31, 2013: 6-8 pm
"Landscape and Memory" Local emerging artist Josh Mason creates a world of texture, shadow, light and movement through abstract painting.
Trained in fine arts and animation, with experience as a painter, installation artist and museum professional Joshua Mason draws on a depth of experience in creating fascinating abstract landscapes.
Josh’s formal art education started in animation with ACME VTN through Warner Brothers Feature Animation and continued in fine art at Gwen Frostic School of Art. Josh brings his eye for artistry into his career in the museum field as the Exhibits Manager at Curious Kids Museum in Saint Joseph, Michigan. In this position he designs and fabricates exhibit, installs traveling exhibits and paints murals. His murals can be found at Curious Kids' Discovery Zone and at Silver Beach Center.
Josh is also a teacher and entrepreneur. He teaches painting at the Krasl Art Center in Saint Joseph, Michigan and is highly involved as a teaching artist in the I Am The Greatest Project, film education, and summer arts education at ARS Gallery. "Josh connects with students on a very personal level, sharing his insights, struggles as an artist and his deep understanding of art theory. It is a pleasure to see the excitement he shares with the students and it is wonderful how assessable he makes art." Anna Russo-Sieber. Beyond teaching and the museum, Josh is the co-founder of a special-events company, Polygon, which creates installations and stage-design to accompany bands and live performances.
Josh finds inspiration in music, philosophy, history and conversations with artists and his wife Brittany, who is also an artist. His new work, which will be on view at ARS Gallery, focuses on the concept of landscape and memory and how myth intersects with place.
Be sure to visit ARS Gallery on Friday June 21 from 6-9 pm during the New Territory Arts Association's Summer Art Hop. In addition to Josh's work we are excited to be featuring art and decorative objects from Custom Imports of New Buffalo, MI that where hand selected from Tahiti and Thailand. These items will be exhibited from June 21 until June 30.
Previously In the Gallery (Apr 5 - May 20, 2013)
Opening reception: Friday, April 5, 6-8 pm.
The dynamic photography of Josh Nowicki
ARS Gallery is excited to exhibit the works of
Joshua Nowicki, a brilliant photographer with a deep background and
career in the museum world.
Joshua grew up in the Grand Rapids area, and as a child spent a lot
of his time camping, fishing and enjoying the nature and beauty of
Michigan. He began his career in museums, at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum while working on his MA in Anthropology at Western Michigan University.
After graduating, Joshua moved to the Metro-Detroit area where he was
Employed for six years at the Holocaust Memorial Center in Farmington
Hills, Michigan. He held a variety of positions at this organization
Including: archivist, systems analyst, and administrator as well as a graphic designer. It was at the Holocaust museum where Joshua initially began to developed his interest in photography; photographing the museum's architecture, exhibits, and events for publication and marketing
purposes. At this time, Joshua used a camera that had been donated to
the museum... and as a result his photography primarily focused on the
In 2011, Joshua took at job at our own Krasl Art Center in Saint
Joseph, Michigan as the director of community relations. In this
position, he oversaw the marketing and graphic design for the
organization- along with staff and project management including the
Krasl Art Fair on the Bluff, gift shop, visitor services and
It was after moving to Saint Joseph and working at the Krasl Art
Center that Joshua's interested in photography expanded beyond the
walls of museums. "Working in an art museum coupled with living in
such a gorgeous setting was absolutely inspiring."
Until February of 2012, the only camera that Joshua had to use was a
small six megapixel point-and-shoot camera. "In February, my parents
came to visit me . . . we went out shopping and my father told me that
we were not going to leave the store until I picked out a better
camera . . . I went home with a Nikon D5100."
The new camera challenged Joshua to continue to strive to improve.
Within a short time, one of his photos was requested by
Joshua now spends his time as an outdoor photographer capturing raw
nature at its best. His images have appeared on both local and
national news because of their sheer impact and beauty. Moreover, his
images have been used by both St. Joseph Today and the Southwestern
Michigan Tourist Council. Several of his photos have been
highlighted on the Pure Michigan Facebook page and in blog posts.
The exhibit that is planned for ARS Gallery will cover a retrospect
(the last year of photography) of Josh’s work in Michigan's Great
Southwest. His photography captures moments in time that are so
dramatic in their beauty, and are so well executed, they are simply
Josh is also very involved in his community as a board member for The
New Territory Arts Association, The Michigan Museum Association, and
as a member of The Stewards of Southwest Michigan planning
Previously In the Gallery (Jan 25 - Mar 27, 2013)
Opening reception: Friday, January 25, 6-8pm.
Covering the process of "The I Am The Greatest" Project - exhibit and short film by filmmaker and photographer Doug Clark
Doug has been filming the process of the "I Am the Greatest" project as well as taking stunning photos of the entire project since early 2012. Doug has captured the heart of this collaboration between artist, gallery, and city, which includes public art inspired by Muhammad Ali, and created by sculptor John Sauve, gallery owner, and workshop creator, Anna Russo Sieber, and the Benton Harbor Arts District. Doug's photography will be exhibited through the end of March. He will also be sharing a short promotional film piece created around the "I Am The Greatest" project. Please join us for wine and small bites as we celebrate these works created in Benton Harbor.
The Expressionists is a film that follows several artists and educators as they use art to enrich the lives of under privileged children in an environment that has devalued the importance of art. The story is as much about the artists who forge ahead with little or no support as it is about the children who’s lives are enriched by the efforts of their mentors. “For as long as I can remember we have been told how students in the United States lag behind other developed countries in math and science. While I don’t dispute this fact I believe we have lost our way of discovering who we are as human beings and that we have overlooked the ability of art to connect with each other and to discover who we are as individuals,” says the filmmaker, Douglas Clark.
The film’s story begins with John Sauvé, an artist from Brighten, Michigan. Sauvé’ created, the I Am The Greatest sculpture – public art exhibited throughout Benton Harbor and St. Joseph, Michigan. The orange sculptures portray Mohammad Ali, posing as Saint Sebastian, on the cover of Esquire magazine in April of 1968. Saint Sebastian was a Roman soldier that converted to Christianity and survived being tied to a tree and shot with arrows because of his conversion. Like this Roman soldier, Ali paid a high price for standing up for his beliefs. He was stripped of his heavy weight title and spent five years in jail because he was a conscientious objector who refused the draft.
When Anna Russo-Sieber exhibited the works of John Sauvé, The I Am The Greatest sculpture throughout the Benton Harbor Arts District, she and John immediately collaborated on how she could incorporate the theme into an art workshop to encourage underprivileged children to believe in themselves and to overcome adversity. With Sauvé’s encouragement and the cooperation of the Benton Harbor Boys and Girls Club & other groups, Anna, created a workshop based on the I Am The Greatest Project. The workshops will continue through 2013.
There are also other local artists and programs that will be followed in the film.
Previously In the Gallery (Nov 16, 2012 - Jan 22, 2012)
Opening reception: Friday, November 16, 5:30-7:30pm.
Floyd Gompf and Linda Hoffhines
ARS Gallery present the work of Michigan-based artists Floyd Gompf and Linda Hoffhines. Gompf's dynamic hand-crafted pieces of furniture, made from salvaged wood and metal, are extensions of his early work as a sculptor and painter. Hoffhines’ wall-mounted mosaics and textured pots add color and whimsy, creating a playful atmosphere sure to inspire creativity.
Ohio native Floyd Gompf's education was at Miami University, Kansas State and The Art Institute of Chicago. A ceramist for 15 years, Gompf began creating one-of-a-kind whimsical and colorful tables and cabinets from discarded or salvaged wood, distressed metals and antique hardware.
Linda Hoffhines states: "I am interested in various pottery forms such as cups, vases, bowls and teapots and the sculptural elements they possess. I like exploring the pottery vessel's natural associations with function by distorting the forms and altering their scale, surface, and proportion. A succesful piece, or one that works for me, says something about both pottery and sculpture."
Previously In the Gallery (Oct 5 - Nov 13, 2012)
Opening reception: Friday, October 5, 6-8pm.
"Remembering Marilyn" boats, piers, & beaches of her work - Marilyn O'Bryant
Marilyn O'Bryant will be featured in the ARS Gallery with a reception on October 5, which is free and open to public.
Her friends in the art world are gathering together to put this exhibit & reception together to remember her, and her beautiful work.
Sadly, Marilyn lost her fight with MS earlier this year, and we want to remember what a difference she made.
Marilyn O'Bryant earned her Bachelor of Fine arts degree at the University of Buffalo. Since that time she has been involved in commercial as well as fine arts, concentrating in watercolor but she has also created drawings, pastels and collages. Her subject matter reflects her interest in the natural world as well as that created by man. Her style is realistic yet her distinctive style comes through with some simplification of the forms. She is fascinated by shadows and reflections so an interest in bodies of water is apparent. She observes the world of southwest Michigan and yet ventures to New York and Florida on occasion. Come take a look! You'll see some familiar sights as well as some you may not yet have noticed.
Previously In the Gallery (Aug 24 - Oct 2, 2012)
Opening reception: Friday, August 24, 5:30-7:30pm.
"Small Sculpture & Abstract Paintings" - Robert Winslow
If Beauty is the goal, your sunk, dead. This goal can be only a preconditioned, rigid expression of consciousness. One falls into the trap of 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder', a justification often used by lazy, fearful, unaware individuals when they see something they do not understand, are not willing to understand and not willing to stretch their mind a tiny bit to understand. If Beauty be the goal and not a consequence of doing than stab the eye, pierce and blind it and kill beauty quick. Cut into the unconscious heart of your conception of beauty and hack it out, otherwise, beauty will turn into Medusa and your consciousness turned to stone.
There is an aspect of validity to the idea that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. This 'eye' an unconscious response of which few are aware, that being The Golden Mean, the Divine proportion. A mathematical proportion which is inherent and intrinsic in nature, the ratio of 1 : 1.618. The Greeks used this proportion in their masterpieces of architecture and sculpture. Almost all art which has withstood the test of time for the last 100,000 years has this proportion hidden within its form or composition. Its seems to be in our DNA and can be found in spiral galaxies, ripe sunflowers, pea plants and the genetic spirals in our cells.
I spent several months confirming the above statements, I poured through art books, art history books and science books. Measuring height to width, witdth to height, over all image or parts relating to the whole. This proportion was repeated again and again and again. From cave paintings and sculpture of Cro-Magnum to Sung dynasty pottery, Asian temples, the old masters and contemporary masterpieces, this proportion prevalent.
This prevalence of the Golden Mean was very unsatisfactory, imprisioned so by unconscious nature. I decided to find another proportion in nature, one not recognized often if ever and use that one in my art. This was before the advent of the personal computer and weeks were spent in the university library. I set about measuring images of lessor known expressions of natural phenomena; solar flares, bacterial cultures, tree growth rings, anything that seemed to be regular and observable in some manner. I found nothing. One day I came across an astronomy book which contained schematics of radio signals from deep space. They resembled in some ways solar flares in their organic expressions but only an obsevation of the eye and no mathematical proportional relationship. The graphs of the radio waves did seem interesting however and I set about measuring and comparing over all to part, part to part and part to overall. I ended up finding a proportion, it occured regularly enough to satisfy me; 1 : 1.39. So again I set about measuring art, over and over and over again, and could not find this proportion anywhere. One day I was looking at out of print art books at Powell's Bookstore on Lincoln Avenue in Chicago. The room was full of very expensive wonderful books on art. I came upon a book on the art of Easter Island, black and white photography, a very large treatise. It was in German but I was only interested in the photographs. Every single articfact and art work on the entire island and works in any all museums were recorded in this book. The most interesting images were the petroglyphs in the rocks along the sea clifts and the islanders wood carvings. These strange, unusual expressions, foreign to any art I had seen before drew me in. I purchased the book and set about measuring the imaged, expecting to find the usual Golden Mean. Then it happened, I stumbled upon the other proportion in their strange, mystical wood carvings and petroglyphs, 1 to 1.39. This proportion repeated was repeated many times. I thought I had discovered something unique, new, an unknown proportion in nature. I began using it in my art and then one day my smug arrogance of discovery was shattered. I stumbled upon information concerning the Knights Templar and their building of the cathedrals in Europe. Their proportion, their sacred Holy porportion, 1:1.414. Iit seems we cannot excape the constraints of nature, we are nature. However, this taught me to be conscious, think, consider, be aware of my expressions and observations. To be open to that which is beyond ones knowledge and preconception and to be ware of unconscious conditional functioning: Stab the eye, kill beauty.
Previously In the Gallery (Jul 21 - Aug 21, 2012)
Opening reception: Saturday, July 21 from 5-7 p.m.
"My India" - KV Rathnam
ARS Gallery is proud and excited to exhibit a selection of 8 pieces of the work by KV Rathnam. KV is a well-known name among the Maryland and Midwestern Indian community. KV was born on July 16, 1945 in Nuzvid, Andhra Pradesh, India. After completely high school he spent a year studying industrial arts at Spicer Memorial College in Pune, Maharastra.
KV enrolled in the School of Nursing at Giffard Memorial Hospital in Nuzvid to get involved in a line of study that would prepare him to help others.
Both in high school and in nursing school, KV was much sought after for his artistic talents: drawing, painting and photography. KV and his wife were lead to the United States in 1972.
While working as a psychiatric nurse and Sumathi as an OB/GYN nurse in St. Joseph, Michigan, KV was involved in promoting Indian Culture and art in his community. KV opted for an early retirement to help orphans in Nuzid, India. He founded Let's Get Involved, a non-profit entity to create AIDS awareness and to provide formal education for orphan children.
Previously In the Gallery (May 25 - Jul 7, 2012)
Opening reception: Friday, May 25, 2012, 6-8pm
"I am the Greatest" - John Sauve
Well-known sculptor John Sauve, Anna Russo-Sieber Gallery and the New Territory Arts Association in the Benton Harbor Arts District are bringing 16 Muhammad Ali-inspired sculptures to Benton Harbor and St. Joseph, Mich., for a free public art exhibit titled, "I Am the Greatest" These 5-foot-8-inch sculptures, created by Sauve, will be seen on pathways, sidewalks and rooftops throughout the Benton Harbor Arts District and three St. Joseph locations, from May 2012 through the end of 2013.
The goals of the project are to bring public art to the Benton Harbor Arts District and to celebrate the life of Muhammad Ali, world heavyweight boxing champion, philanthropist and social activist, as well as introduce him to a new generation of young people. During the exhibit, Anna Russo-Sieber Gallery will host workshops for local youth to teach them about Ali as well as offer them an opportunity to create their own Ali-inspired sculptures for display in the exhibit. More info
"Wild Vines" - Susan M. Henshaw
It is a mixed argument as to whether Wild Grapevines are an invasive species. Some view them as a beautiful part of the forest - climbing, looping and reaching toward the heavens. Others view them as a destructive force that, if left unchecked, can topple whole forests with the weight of their desire for light.
It struck a chord with me how we, as a species, parallel the nature of the Wild Vines. Each tendril of the vine and each human being grasp, climb and reach toward some sort of Holy Grail.
Wild Vines and humans use a host on which to grow. Whether it is a tree or shrub for the Wild Vines or the Earth or another being for us humans, over zealousness kills the host and we sometimes crumble our own foundations.
Glass Art - Becky Wehmer
My interest in glass began when I was a child and would visit my grandparents in Elmira, NY each summer. They would take us to Corning Glass Museum and I sat in awe of the Stuben Glassblowers. I entered the Undergraduate Program at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1993 where my studies were interdisciplinary, but mostly craft-based including clay and fiber. Soon, I discovered Ox-Bow Summer School of Art, an affiliate of the Art Institute where glassblowing classes were taught.
In 1994, I headed to Ox-Bow for my first glassblowing class with Jerry and Kathy Catania. The awe I felt as a child for glass was rejuvenated. I moved to Southwestern Michigan in 1999 and worked as a studio assistant at Blue Star Pottery, which kept my hands in clay, thinking about material and form.
In January 2004 the furnace was lit at Water Street Glassworks in the Benton Harbor Arts District. This is where I have landed as an artist and resident. I am allowed the luxury of access to its glassblowing studio to make my own functional and sculptural work and I also teach and manage the studios. I feel very fortunate to have discovered and become part of the supportive community that exists in Benton Harbor.
Previously In the Gallery (Feb 17 - Apr 21, 2012)
Opening reception: Friday, February 17, 2012, 6-8pm
"A not so ordinary faculty exhibit"
A FACULTY EXHIBIT AT ANNA RUSSO SIEBER GALLERY IN THE BENTON HARBOR ARTS DISTRICT…SOME OF THE BEST ART TEACHERS HAPPEN TO BE THE BEST ARTISTS!
ARS Gallery is having an opening reception on Friday, February 17, 6-8pm, for the faculty at ARS. These teachers offer many classes at the gallery from mosaic to sculpture, and the Italian language to summer camps. We are exhibiting paintings, glass, and some sculpture, which will make for a beautiful and interesting exhibit.
Mary Broccolo Derr, Painting- Mary has been teaching art in public schools, art centers, and in colleges for over 20 years. She considers herself a painter rather than artist, and a teacher above all. Mary teaches almost all of the summer programs at ARS Gallery.
Susan Henshaw, Drawings- Susan has been a professional artist for over a decade, and exhibits her work in many gallery's, and art centers throughout Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois. She has a studio in her home, as well as The Box Factory and works very prolifically in them creating pastels, drawing, oils, photography, and acrylic. Susan teaches adult painting classes of all kinds at ARS Gallery.
Toni Smith, Mixed media-Toni works in art therapy helping others through art. She works in a variety of media and creates not just stunning works in mosaics, but also paintings, and works in mixed media. Toni is a member of Chartreuse co-op Gallery, and also works with The Boys & Girls Club students at the ARS Gallery as well as teaching adult mosaic classes.
Carolyn O’Hearn- Glass, Carolyn is a glass and mosaic artist who shares a professional glass studio with a fellow artist, and exhibits her work, She teaches at Water Street Glass, and ARS Gallery in the summer camp programs and adult mosaic's. Carolyn finds a balance between arting and teaching, and is fantastic at both.
Josh Mason, paintings- Josh is exhibit curator at The Discovery Zone, Curious Kids Museum, and his degree in art helps with his job at the museum. Josh is a wonderful painter and expresses himself on very large canvas using acrylic or oils. Josh teaches Boys and Girls Club, film education, architecture, the summer camp program, and more at the ARS Gallery.
Donna Moynihan- painting, Donna has painted and exhibited her work for many years. She is an interior designer by trade, and a personal chef, and her love of food is also a big part of her life as a caterer, as well as a personal chef. Donna offers "The Art of Entertaining" class a small bites and wine pairing class to help folks learn about what wines to pair with what foods at ARS Gallery. She is a great talent!
Meaghan Burritt- mixed media installation, Meaghan has a graduate degree in arts education and teaches at schools and art centers in Chicago, where she lives, as well as ARS Gallery. She is on the TAD board and is an active artist installing sight specific installations in Chicago, at ARS Gallery, as well as other galleries. Meaghan has taught film education, mixed media, painting, print-making, and Boys and Girls Club at ARS Gallery. Meaghan has a bright future in the world of art!
Ashley Seymour, paintings- Ashley has a degree in art and is the gallery assistant at ARS Gallery, and also teaches classes. She has worked with The Boys and Girls Club, the summer camp program, and much more. Ashley paints various subject in acrylic, works in photography, and drawing. She has a growing interest in teaching but her passion is painting.
Lucia Liano Button, Photography- Lucia teaches the Italian language at the gallery for adults, The Boys and Girls Club, as well as Italian for children. She was born and raised in southern Italy and moved north of Venice when she married, where she raised her children. Lucia also prepares beautiful Italian foods for our classes, and takes photo's of her beautiful Italy when she visits, which is at least once a year. Lucia has been instrumental in the gallery from the beginning. A very big part of what we do is Italian based, and we couldn't do it without her.
Some of our faculty are public school art teachers, museum curators, special program teachers, art center artists, and special education teachers, and come highly qualified in their teaching. These teachers are also studio and professional artists in their own right, and this is the galleries opportunity to share their work, and pay homage to such great and talented teachers.
Previously In the Gallery (Nov 18, 2011 - Jan 18, 2012)
Opening reception: Friday, November 18, 2011, 6-8pm
"la beauty en toutes choses" - Meredith Schmidt
Meredith Schmidt has a studio at The Box Factory for the Arts, and you can find her painting there most days. Micki as her friends call her, has that rare ability to add light into every piece she touches - you see the saturation of color and brilliance in each piece. In her artist statement, Micki says:
"Each artist has a different view of the world, and this is reflected in the way ideas are expressed.
My art, visual abstraction, comes from my love of beautiful color, shapes and texture. I respond to the emotion and beauty in organic subjects through the use of color, composition and line. Although I also work in the mediums of acrylic and watercolor, I prefer the soft, sensuous feel and intense color of oil paint as it spreads on the canvas, whether by brush, hand or palette knife.
Color and abstract qualities are distinctive features in all of my paintings, but my work is never entirely abstract—it falls between the two extremes of abstraction and realism, with an emphasis on the elements of shape, color and texture rather than the subject matter.
From the ages of ten to twelve, I lived with my family in a small rural village in Alsace-Lorraine, surrounded by cherry trees and fields of lavender and poppies. My work, which is introspective and emotional, is heavily influenced by the landscape and culture of southern France but I believe that all of my life experiences and relationships have been - and are - in preparation for the work I enjoy."
Previously In the Gallery (Sep 23 - Nov 11, 2011)
Opening reception: Friday, September 23, 2011, 6-8pm
"Places of Stone" - Dave Wilkinson
Dave Wilkinson has that natural ability to take a large piece of stone and create wondrous things from it. The process of staring at a large un-carved, raw piece of stone that Dave states, “ I love the notion, as I carve, that I am the first living thing to touch this part of the stone”, and as a sculptor, using Michigan sandstone, and Indiana limestone as his canvas… the sky as they say is the limit. He started sculpting in stone quite some time ago, and also works in encaustic, drawing and painting.
Dave was born in Jackson, Michigan and moved to Benton Harbor in 1997, and he works in his outdoor studio most days under a large shade-tree next to Brammall Supply. Dave states: “I have created art for almost 30 years but have focused on sculpture for the last 13. I am completely self-taught, and my work reflects a passion for the ancient ruinous, and is very figurative. Not having the opportunity to travel yet to these places of stone, I create my own. I hope to evoke a feeling of incompleteness, a fragment of a larger whole piece.”
His work is all hand carved, and as Dave has said it holds an ancient, fragmented quality in its style and asthetics. These sculptures are stunning, as if from another time and place folks have said as they view his work while visiting in his outdoor studio.
Dave is also a teacher and works at Blossomland Learning Center, making a huge difference in folks lives there, as well as in the community around us. He also volunteers at The Bronson Hill house helping out as an art teacher. Remember, when you drive by his outdoor studio, you see him working proliphically, and always with a smile.
Previously In the Gallery (Aug 12 - Sep 20, 2011)
Wine reception: Friday, August 26, 2011, 6-8pm
ARS Gallery is also celebrating it's one year anniversary!
"Concrete and Clay" - Lynne Tan & Matt Sieber
Lynne Tan and Matt Sieber decided to put on a two-person show at the Anna Russo-Sieber Gallery before they had even seen each other's work. They were sure their pieces would complement each other perfectly because of their shared love for modern design - simple elegance in form, and a sensitivity to the material and its function.
Lynne Tan is the clay artist. Her studio is in the Box Factory for the Arts in St Joseph. She has shown her functional pottery regionally at art fairs, juried competitions, and galleries. In addition to place settings, teapot sets, and vases, the ARS show is an opportunity for Lynne to show her table-top and wall sculptures.
Growing up in cosmopolitan Singapore, Lynne's aesthetics remain influenced by the big city, but her inspiration is the natural beauty of her adopted land. Being from the earth, clay is the perfect material for taking on the organic forms of Lynne's imagination - so that the essence of nature can also be enjoyed inside the home.
Lynne says "My life is put on hold when I play with clay...it is the one activity that engages me so totally my thoughts are simply unable to wander. I dream a shape...and I have to make it. I start most of my pieces by throwing on the potter’s wheel, and then alter them to create the organic forms. Although my work can be described as sculptural, most of my pots are functional too. Beauty, for me, lies in undecorated simplicity." Visit Lynne's website at www.lynnetan.com
Matt Sieber is the concrete artist. Matt started his interest in design at an early age like many artists. In middle school he had a huge interest in Frank Lloyd Wright and other architects, and their sense of style and use of materials. It was looking as if Matt were heading for architectural school once he reach high school, but he changed his focus to Business and Marketing which is perfect for his current business as co-owner of a contracting co., Estrella Enterprise inc.
Matt studied in New Zealand his third year of college staying there for 6 months, and revisited his love of architecture when exploring the style of New Zealand design. With its minimalist structures and uncluttered architecture, he also focused on the N Z interior which drew him in with stainless and concrete surfaces as well as the simple approach to furniture design.
That approach to design has stuck with him in his own pursuit of style/design, whether it is building a home or creating furniture, Matt keeps his focus on keeping it simple.
Matt builds planters, concrete tables, and unique benches, pieces he may not find in a store, he just creates himself. This has evolved into furniture designs to give folks unique options with their interior and exterior design, adding unique and different pieces of furniture that are works of art.
Matt Sieber holds a bachelors degree in Business and Marketing. He has been co-owner of Estrella Enterprise for the past 2 years, and volunteers for Young life with his wife Kaitlin, who is a children’s councilor at Freedom Counseling.
Matt loves restoring older homes and bringing back the integrity of a building, he also likes surfing, wakeboarding, and anything that involve the beach or outdoors.
Previously In the Gallery (Jun 24 - Aug 5, 2011)
Opening reception: Friday, June 24, 2011, 6-8pm
A Collection of Vacant Proximities - Meaghan Burritt
A Collection of Vacant Proximities presents Chicago based artist and art educator Meaghan Burritt's visual investigation of her environment through sound, material, artifact, and installation. Burritt's work is often defined as interdisciplinary, site-specific, and autobiographical, as she seeks to engage in critical dialogue about place, culture, identity, and everyday living through the visual arts and arts education. Her background in archaeology reinforces her instinctual process to research sites through material collection, documentation, and audio recordings. This process helps her materialize the personal narratives she believes are hidden within rural and urban landscapes.
Burritt describes her hometown as the nascence that has influenced her relentless desire to understand the beautiful, yet harsh dichotomies of the places she has lived, which has no doubt influenced the direction of her work. Returning to the Midwest after a ten-year stay in Colorado, A Collection of Vacant Proximities is the beginning of a new installation series that reflects on the intersection of local place, memory, and the present moment. In this work, Burritt focuses on how her own personal history is influenced by the diverse social, political, and cultural aspects that surround her; and looks to invite histories other then her own into her work. This series can be described as an accumulation of life experience that continues to formulate and unravel as time moves on.
Burritt has developed and facilitated art projects at Chicago Public Schools and teaches with Hyde Park Art Center's Outreach Program and Pros Arts Studio in Chicago, IL. She also works with young artists from the Boys and Girls club at Anna Russo Seiber Studios in Benton Harbor, MI. You can visit her website at www.meaghanburritt.com
Previously In the Gallery (May 6 - Jun 22, 2011)
Opening reception: Friday, May 6, 2011, 6-9pm
Gallery talk: TBA
Die Menschenerziehung (“The Education of Man”) - John Sauve
We are all bodies in space, but where we fit into the scheme of things at large is still an open question. The cumulative effect of seeing the everyday elevated or in a new frame, It is the sense of discovering the same body in different circumstances, so it is less about the subject and more about the content. It has to do with questioning both the status of art and the nature of our built environment. In a time of rising financial and environmental awareness it asks the questions where does the human being fit into the scheme of things, more importantly, who we are and who we have to be.
John Sauve prompted the creation of the Brighton Mayor's Commission on Art in Public Places in Brighton, and served as its chairperson. Under Sauve's guidance, the Commission developed the Brighton Biennial Sculpture Exhibit, which installed 28 pieces of large scale public art in the City of Brighton. As a result of the Brighton Biennial, Sauve was asked to curate the City of Birmingham Cityscapes Sculpture Exhibit in which he included the works of Artists Mark di Suvero and Dennis Oppenheim into the show. John Sauve conceived the development of the Green Oak Village Place Sculpture Park, a new outdoor life-style shopping center in Green Oak, Michigan. In 2008 the American Institute of Architects recognized his Design of the Green Oak Village Place Sculpture Park with the Merit Award. Sauve is presently overseeing the sculpture installation in the Stone Ridge Sculpture Park just outside Manhattan in Upstate New York. Sauve is also curating the Blue Water International Sculpture Exhibit between Canada and the United States. Sauve's own work was installed on New York City's newest City park, the Highline, in the summer of 2010. Previously, he served as Executive Assistant to the founder and Director of the Michigan Council for Arts, E. Ray Scott, with responsibility for the Michigan Commission on Art in Public Places.
Photography by well known fashion photographer, James Moritz: James Moritz is a fashion photographer known for his famous photo shoots of Kate Moss, and celebrities such as Victoria and David Beckham, he also does photography for Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, Calvin as in Klein. He is based out of New York, and travels the world over with his photography. James did all the photos for the John Sauve exhibit currently on display at The ARS Gallery. They were of a public art install John did in NYC with a little help from a local group of high school students. James has captured some stunning photos with the students and John's incredible work.
Learn more about the Sauve Art Foundation founded by John Sauve.
Previously In the Gallery (Mar 11 - Apr 30, 2011)
Opening reception: Friday, March 11, 2011, 6-9pm
Gallery talk: Sunday, March 13, 2011, 3-4 pm
Synthesis: Public Art by Foster Willey Jr.
Public Art is a synthesis of artistic vision, architectural design, and communal interests. It is my desire to create meaningful forms of expression that embrace a communal vision. My commissions include works in bronze, welded steel, cast stone, wood, stone and terra cotta. I have participated in numerous design settings including large-scale projects for various municipalities.
Integration of Site and Art through Metaphor, Abstraction, Symbolism and Representation - For all public art projects, I begin with an assessment of the various themes presented for the project and I consider the setting for which the artwork is intended. In my previous work I have utilized several conceptual ideas as a starting point for making public art. These have included the use of metaphor and abstraction, symbolism and representation, and pictorial narrative. One of my primary concerns has been to address the setting or themes presented in a way that is original, accessible, and aesthetically interesting. Finally, in order to fulfill the desired objectives of the project, I have always emphasized collaboration and dialogue with the parties involved.
Creating Public Art That Enhances the Quality of Urban Living - "The Bee Way" is a sculptural plaza that is carefully integrated into the site. It offers interactive elements to the viewer, including kinetic sculptural forms and a playful bench. "Centrifuge" expresses a certain timeless quality, borrowing from the tradition of large-scale bronze sculpture and also representing a very contemporary sensibility. "Central Avenue Stelae" tell the story of the Central neighborhood through a series of stylized motifs and sculptural forms. These forms along with paving and benches define a gathering space.
I am very interested in the built environment. Public Art is an exciting field because of its range of expression and impact on our surroundings and daily lives. I am committed to the role of public art as a synthesis of artistic vision, architectural design and communal interests. Foster Willey's website.
Previously In the Gallery (Jan 24 - Mar 5, 2011)
Crossing the line...Piece by Piece is a compilation of mosaic artists banded together by Carolyn O'Hearn , a very talented mosaic artist and teacher, working at Water Street Glassworks, Anna Russo-Sieber Gallery and Studio. These talented artists have created an array of mosaics in all forms and styles, from abstract to representational to exhibit at the gallery.
Carolyn O'Hearn is artist and teacher from Australia. Her approach to creating beautiful mosaics is incorporating the use of line, design, and color, using tile and glass that establish these inspiring works. Line is the driving force of the piece, but together the elements of art come into play very well in Carolyns work. She began working in stained glass over 15 years ago, & has also blown glass for several years. Carolyn has been creating and teaching mosaics, glass-fusing, and sandblasting for the past several years as well, at Water St. Glassworks and more recently, mosaics at the ARS gallery. She states "Working in mosaic has confirmed my appreciation of line, design & composition that first attracted me to stained glass. I will do this forever; I am committed to it, and am passionate about what I do."
Karen Grayson has worked in art since high school and taken courses at LMC..she first feel in love with mosaics when she was helping her daughter with an art project. Karen's "My Windy City" was inspired by Van Gogh's "Starry Night"..this is the piece folks are talking about that is posted here on the site of a wavy city scape..she has created some very unique and thought provoking pieces which include the yardglobes covered in mirror.
Greta Hurst has studied at The Chicago Mosaic School (an exclusive "not for profit", the only one in North America) and is the owner of Tabula Rasa Mosaic's. Greta is putting all her artistic efforts these days into creating mosaics, & her use of light & value along with her techniques to cut & shape the glass are all incorporated into her found objects, which could be a vintage mirror or other antique pieces. Her home studio can be found in the rolling hills & vineyards of Southwest Michigan in a refurbished chicken coop, which is an inspiring place to create. Greta has taught and exhibited her work throughout Michigan & the Chicago area.
Terri Cummings has worked with Stained glass for over 20 years. She became interested in mosaics 6 years ago when noticing a concrete/mosaic sculpture at an exhibit while traveling. She then enrolled at Chicago Mosaic School where she has been a student since 2006. Using a wide variety of tessera, including stained glass, vitreous glass, stones, marble, slate, shells, and more she creates mosaics in her Michigan studio. She is a member of SAMA (society for American Mosaic Artists).
Cynthia Alton Fielding, now a resident of Stevensville has most recently been focusing on fused mosaic & stained glass pieces. She states "The botanicals express my love of nature in the world around us" . Cynthia also incorporates light, creating shape & shadow, form & texture into her works. Her goal is to create up-lifting, peaceful, & calming pieces for folks to enjoy. Cynthia holds a BFA from the Chicago Art Institute, and has taught in Chicago and Water Street Glassworks.
Don Fielding, yes married to Cynthia has caught the mosaic fire over the years and creates work that combines a variety of materials. This gives the viewer an opportunity to look at ordinary objects in a new way. He enjoys creating pieces that extend the range of esthetic sensibility. He states "That which is worth doing at all; is worth over doing."
Previously In the Gallery (Nov 19, 2010 - Jan 10, 2011)
In the Spirit of Renaissance - Matt Payovich
Matt has been working on painted panels, and tile relief installations for various churches in the area for the past several years. He is also known for his still life, portraiture, as well as views of the St. Joseph River and lake, in water color, in his 30 plus years as an artist.
He has been teaching at Lake Michigan College, in drawing and painting for the past several years as well as teaching special needs adults for over 20 years.
Matt has exhibited his work throughout Berrien County in various galleries, art centers, and also created many public murals in various businesses throughout the community. He is also known for creating many commission pieces, including paintings on panels and walls, throughout homes in the area.
The works he will be exhibiting at the ARS Gallery is a collection/compellation of art he has been developing and working on in recent years titled "In the Spirit of Renaissance".