Monday, June 24, 2019

#MeettheartistMonday
Meet Hera Artist MJ Yeager, one of the artist's whose work is part of our current exhibition, Something Between Us. MJ's work encompasses collage, painting, drawing and assemblage. 

"I make art because I am an artist. I have a vivid recollection at a very young age of a red crayon and a coloring book page from a catechism coloring book of Jesus...and me coloring very much out of the lines."





Tell us your artist story, some biographical info, when did you decide to be an artist? Why do you make art? Where did you study? Etc.
I make art because I am an artist. I have a vivid recollection at a very young age of a red crayon and a coloring book page from a catechism coloring book of Jesus...and me coloring very much out of the lines. A little later on in my life I became amazed at the whole tactile experience of playing with ColorForms. I can almost smell the plastic. The shiny vinyl shapes placed ever so thoughtfully into their rightful spot on an equally shiny black surface was quite possible where and when my passion for graphic design originated. 

Years later as a junior in high school, art class was interrupted one day by a representative from the small private art school in Pittsburgh called The Ivy School of Professional Art. The faculty included all artists who were either successfully making fine art or working as commercial artists in the city of Pittsburgh. The representative was very well put together in tweed, a bow tie and was extremely articulate. This quality was highly underrepresented in the farmland suburbs of my youth. In that very moment I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life. 

My career as a graphic designer/art director started in 1976 and wrapped up in 2010. I spent several years teaching art to elementary level children and I credit them for returning me to fine art. Thanks to that red crayon I continue to create way out of the lines.


What do you want people to walk away with after experiencing your work?
I don’t have an expectation of anyone having any experience when they view my work. I suppose it’s because I know that the kind of work I make is entirely my own can be somewhat provocative and at very least mildly curious. That knowledge is the only experience that I myself wish to have when I see the work. I can only guess that something of the viewing experience lingers for each viewer as well.

What influences your work? Why?
I have been practicing yoga for most of 24 years and teaching it for six. The studies in this work I’ve expanded my experience in and of the world in every possible way. In addition, all five of my senses are the deeply influential of the manifestation of my work. The eyes being the primary tool in how the "art" arrives in my mind/heart space, it is at that point in which a magical alchemy occurs. Art is already formulating in my brain and I generally see it as complete and wonderful.  

Why are you a member of Hera?
15 years ago my family and I stood across the street from what was the Chamber of Commerce. I saw two things of great interest one was a yoga wellness center, the other was very quaint and curious art gallery right next to it tucked back between two buildings. The first time I stepped into the space I knew something special was happening there. It was not your every day gallery. As I explored the history of the place and followed the exhibits for the years to come, it occurred to me one day. Why would I not want to become a member myself? I had amassed a significant body of work at that point, works which were deeply influenced by my graphic design background in the way of blended media. When I sat with the board members to discuss the possibility of membership I felt simultaneously welcomed and immediately inspired to make more work. 

I recently sat with one of the original founders and to explain to her how deeply grateful I feel having had the experience to blossom into the artist that I am this very day.





Wednesday, June 19, 2019

It is our Annual Friends of Hera Membership Drive!
Your financial support for the last 45 years helps us to continue bringing timely, engaging contemporary art and ideas to South Kingstown and the state of Rhode Island. Thank you.

May 17, 2019
Dear Friends of Hera,

In the spring we hold our annual membership drive for the Friends of Hera. Who are the Friends of Hera?you may ask. Hera Gallery has received financial support from our community for 45 years and this is an important part of our total income. We have loyal supporters who have donated to the Friends of Hera since our founding in 1974 and value that we provide our community with contemporary art in all media, provoke thoughts with timely themes such as our recent exhibition SHAME, provide opportunities for elementary school, high school, and college students, and engage the public with events such as the Creating Together series. Our recent exhibitions have been covered in The South County IndependentArt New England and Artscope. Karen Greco writing about South County galleries in SO Rhode Islandsuggests that: “For more provocative work head to Hera Gallery in Wakefield.”

In the past year we collaborated with the URI Honors Colloquium on Gender, Voices, Actionand exhibiting artist Becci Davis wrote: "Hera Gallery is an essential part of the culture of South County, Rhode Island. It is one of a few organizations in South County outside of academic settings that regularly feature diverse artists working with Contemporary content and media. Having a gallery in my own community where I know that I will always be able to see timely work and participate in relevant programming is incredibly valuable to me." 

We also collaborated with the Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University and Dr. Katie Sharkey, Assistant Dean for Women in Medicine and Science wrote:Collaborating with the Hera Gallery on the Our Voices/Our Choices Art Show provided a great opportunity for the Office of Women in Medicine and Science at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University to bring a discussion of the medical humanities and wellness to our community… We would be delighted to join forces with Hera again in the future to explore the intersections of art and science.”-

Please remember that all our exhibitions and events are free and open to the public and we offer Friends of Hera a 10% discount on purchases of art.  We appreciate all donations and hope that you will consider joining or renewing your membership today.

Yours truly,
                       
Barbara Pagh
President

You can make a donation through our website:

Saturday, June 15, 2019

#MeetOurArtistsMonday

Meet Roberta Richman, one of the founders of Hera Gallery, Roberta's landscape inspired imagery is now on View June 15-July 20, 2019 in our current Exhibition, Something Between Us. Opening reception is June 22, 6-8pm.




Tell us your artist story, some biographical info, when did you decide to be an artist? Why do you make art? Where did you study? Etc.

I was about 13 when I first discovered how much I loved painting and drawing when I started taking classes at the local Y. I majored in art at Brooklyn College and discovered etching, spent two years at Pratt Graphic Art Center using their workshop and got my MFA in printmaking at Indiana University. At Brooklyn I got to take classes with artists supplementing their work with teaching, notably Ad Rhinehardt, Jimmy Ernst, Philip Pearlstein.

What do you want people to walk away with after experiencing your work?

I don't think much about how others respond to my work. Making art satisfies some need I have to speak to myself more than to others. I can tell you more about what my art is not....It is not political or sentimental. I am not sending a message. For me making paintings is a visual experience of evolving color, of shape and a feeling of landscape, of the natural world but not of a particular place or time.

What influences your work? Why?

I am influenced by the world around me....the natural landscapes I find myself in when I travel but also by places I'm in frequently. I take photographs when I'm outdoors and use what I've seen even though the final work never resembles the original place. I'm also influenced by looking at the art of other people.....especially the abstract impressionists who came to fame in the 1950s and 60s. I especially love the paintings of Mark Rothko


Why are you a member of Hera?

At first, Hera was a great way to meet and collaborate with other artists and of course, to show my work without judgement of dealers or gallery owners. 
Later, when my work and career kept me from being in the studio as often as I had been, Hera allowed me to stay connected to my identity as an artist. Now, in retirement and back in the studio, although not as often as I had imagined I would be, being a Hera member gives me the opportunity to show at my own pace and the chance to meet and see the work of new younger artists who I would otherwise not get to know. Hera has been an important part of my life. I'm grateful for all its given me.



Saturday, June 8, 2019

#MeettheartistMonday

Meet Abigail Wambolt!





Abigail Wambolt is one of the artists in the upcoming exhibition, Something Between Us. The exhibition runs from June 15 through July 20 with the opening reception on Saturday June 22, 2019 from 6-8pm at Hera Gallery, 10 High Street, Wakefield, RI. For more information about the exhibition visit www.heragallery.org and if have not seen the excellent article about the show in Artscope magazine you can here: https://artscopemagazine.com/2019/05/still-empowering-heras-distinctive-summer-members-show/.

To see more of Abigails work, visit Hera or her website https://abigailwamboldt.com/home.html





Tell us your artist story, some biographical info, when did you decide to be an artist? Why do you make art? Where did you study? Etc.


I don’t come from an art family but I was very lucky to have great art teachers growing up, and even though my parents were skeptical they were always supportive. I had a very circuitous education. I went to Montserrat College of Art for a year, and then to Alfred University for a year. I felt like I had no direction, so I dropped out and worked various jobs. I lived in New Orleans for a while and took a couple classes at Tulane. I was there right after Hurricane Katrina and something about the mess and the strength of that city enchanted me. At some point I went to hairdressing school because I was tired of working gigs that weren't going anywhere. I think I made more money in my time as a hairdresser then I do as an art professor. When I look at my resume it feels like such a joke. We only include the glamorous things. No one includes farm laborer, figure model or kitchen staff when they are applying for positions in the art world. Yet so many artists pay their bills doing something other than making art. I think all of that life experience contributes just as much to the work as formal education.
When I was first at Montserrat I had a professor named Timothy Harney. He is one of a kind and his dedication to his students is unmatched. I decided I had to study with him more and returned to Montserrat to do so. I went on to complete a Masters in Painting at the University of New Hampshire. In graduate school I had the opportunity to teach Drawing I, and it felt natural to me. By the time I finished my MFA I knew I wanted to keep teaching. Currently I am an Adjunct Professor of Studio Art at several different colleges.
For me being an artist wasn’t really a choice. Even when I forayed into other professions I always made things. I make art because it is the only thing I can always do even when I want to jump off a bridge, it's extremely cathartic and very liberating. Everyday life requires us to follow so many rules and to function within socially acceptable behavior. In art you can say or do almost anything. If you do it well, and you believe in what your doing, you can usually get away with it. Art sometimes feels like an addiction to me, and I will use any part of myself or my life to get the sensation I want. When I manage to execute the form and content of a piece in a way that seems right it’s the best feeling in the world.


What do you want people to walk away with after experiencing your work?


I want people to walk away from my work and feel something. I don’t care if they weep, or laugh, or scream, or feel uncomfortable, I just want emotion evoked in the viewer. I want the viewer to go home and make love to their wife or quit their 9-5 or scream at the top of their lungs. We belittle reaction so much in our culture, and I think it has value. Feeling and reaction

remind us we are alive. The purpose of art to me is to help us see into a part of ourselves that is sleeping. I hope to help people find that beast inside that has been dormant and wake it up.

What influences your work? Why?


So much influences my work, books, music, art, the political or social climate, stories people share with me, or the state of constant endurance that is human existence. Sometimes I read a story in the newspaper and think “That is just so messed up, I want to say something about that”. Other times I draw on deep personal pain and the work feels born out of emotion.
Lately I have been listening to a lot of Hole. I adore Courtney Love’s rage. I am also reading a book called Trauma and Recovery by Judith Lewis Hermanand before that I was reading a banned BDSM novel, The Story of O. What I am reading will often become a part of the narrative of a work. Sometimes I will be influenced by the beat or lyrics of a song. Music will create images and nonlinear stories in my mind and they often come out in the painting.
Once I get these images onto the canvas I have to figure out how to organize the pile of thoughts to make sense for the viewer.

Why are you a member of Hera?


Women centered spaces don’t really exist anymore. Women’s bookstores and bars have vanished. While Hera Gallery is no longer just a women's space it was founded by women and is still primarily draws female members.
The art world is really misogynistic and run by straight, white men. I have no interest in being part of an institution that will probably fetishize my work, and isn’t going to understand or value my viewpoint. I seek out spaces and organizations that are going to reflect, or at least engage, my visual interests. I like seeing the strong and capable female leaders of Hera, and I enjoy being surrounded by other creative women. It is important that we preserve matriarchal spaces like Hera, so that women have the opportunity to engage in dialogue without male influence.





#MeetTheArtistsMondays

Hello! We haven't been using our blog for some time and we have decided to revive it so that we have a place to archive and share a new project, #MeetTheArtistsMondays. On Mondays, beginning Monday June 10 we will be publishing brief but informative artist interviews with Hera artists and artists who are exhibiting at Hera. There will be shared on social media and this blog will serve as an archive of artists who are in some way part of Hera Gallery. We hope you enjoy!