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The Next Generation

January 12, 2007 - February 11, 2007

Saturday, January 13, 2:00 – 5:00 PMGallery Talk at 2:00 PMJoin us for a celebration of young artists committed to their careers and eager to share their “spin” on the world they inhabit. Sons, daughters and nephews of artists, students mentored by their professors, curators spotting the new and talented, gallery directors launching emerging artists and a few of my favorite interns showcase their talent in the Carla Massoni Gallery this January.

Ken Castelli, Jessica Dunn and Jonathan Mort are the progeny of Gallery artists Marc Castelli, Marcy Dunn Ramsey and Greg Mort.

After graduating with dual degrees in History and Art from St. Mary’s College, Ken Castelli returned to Chestertown to continue his work with furniture designer and Gallery artist Vicco Von Voss. Ken’s wicked sense of humor is evident in his political cartoons and an ongoing comic/graphic novel. But it is the rapid development of the Eastern Shore that has spawned a series of paintings exploring the “point of no return” as it relates to rural development and the choices one makes in experiencing the environment

Jessica Dunn received a BFA in Sculpture from Rhode Island School of Design. Currently living in New York, Jessie has worked professionally for the last nine years as a carver in wood, clay and wax. Since childhood she has been making prints on her mother’s press and her new work features “hands” acting as conductors of Divinity through artistic inspiration and healing powers.

Jonathan Mort, a portraitist and painter, has dozens of commissions to his credit and an impressive roster of private collectors for his landscape paintings. He received a BA degree from Franklin and Marshall College with a major in Art and a minor in Classical Archeology and Ancient History. He is currently living in Providence, RI and is a Masters Candidate in the Field of Architecture at Rhode Island School of Design.

Larry Schroth, Director of the Gallery and exhibiting artist, nominated his nephew Nathaniel Ward for the Next Generation exhibit. Nate received his BFA in Photography and Imaging from NYU Tisch School of the Arts where he also minored in Anthropology. He was awarded the Leon and Michaela Constantiner Fellowship in Photography and Imaging. Nate currently lives and exhibits in New York City. He will feature work from his “Buy Me Something” project.

Robbi Behr, Matthew Swanson, Katherine Collier, Kaitlyn Ruitenberg and Raphael Sassi all have connections to Chestertown. Raph is the son of Chestertown potter/teacher Doug Sassi.Robbi is the daughter and Matthew the son-in-law of sculptor, potter and ikebana arranger Seiko Behr. And, Katherine and Kaitlyn have ably assisted the Gallery as interns.

Raphael Sassi received a BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Drawing. He earned an MFA in Drawing from the New York Academy of Art, the Graduate School of Figurative Art and was awarded a one year Post Graduate Residency Fellowship at the Academy. While still in high school, Raph walked away with national awards, grants, scholarships and has been a finalist in juried exhibitions from Chestertown to Chelsea. His work is in the Peterson Collection of Contemporary Realist Art and the private collections of Eric Fischl, Margot Gordon and Marcello Aldega. In November, Richard Johnson’s column Page Six/New York Post reported on Raph’s sell-out show “Girlfriends.” Raph will feature work from his “Subway Series.”

Robbi Behr met her husband, Matthew Swanson, when both were students at Williams College. Robbi graduated cum laude with a triple major in Art, Art History and English. She was awarded a Graduate Fellowship to Savannah College of Art and Design where she received her MFA in Illustration. She has exhibited internationally and recently returned to Chestertown where she is teaching at Washington College. Together with Matthew, Robbi recently launched an independent book company – Idiots’ Books. Matthew, who graduated magna cum laude from Williams, with a double major in English and Religion spent the last ten years in higher education administration. He is now writing full time. Both will collaborate on an installation piece and exhibit prints from their books. (Robbi illustrated our invitation!)

Last year Katherine Collier took a leave of absence from Yale University to study painting in earnest. She took classes in figure and oil painting at the Maryland Institute College of Art to augment the drawing courses begun at Yale. Katherine returned to Yale in September and is expected to graduate with a BA degree in Classical Civilization this May.

Kaitlyn Ruitenberg, an aspiring artist and undergraduate at Washington College is developing her BA thesis under the guidance of Monika Weiss. Kaitlyn’s studies of abandoned structures slowly decaying in the rural landscape convey a haunting quality in the dark shadows and gentle beams of light she captures in her photographs.

When last in Manhattan, I visited Allen Sheppard’s gallery in Chelsea and was immediately drawn to the work of Zaria Forman. When Allen heard of our exhibition, he recommended Zaria without reservation. She is the daughter of Rena Bass Forman, an internationally renowned photographer, and one of the talented young artists Allen is promoting. Zaria received her BS in Studio Arts from Skidmore College, studied at SACI in Florence, and has exhibited in numerous solo and group shows. Zaria by her own description has her head in the clouds — you will be amazed by the results.

Out of the hundreds of young artists that curator and art critic Deborah McLeod sees in her travels, she nominated J.T. Kirkland. J. T. received a BS from Centre College in Kentucky. He has exhibited in numerous juried/curated shows throughout the US and was a semi-finalist for the Janet and Walter Sondheim Prize. Utilizing wood in its unaltered state, J.T.’s beautiful, reductive wall sculptures/paintings have won critical acclaim.

Greg Waddell recently juried a project at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. When he arrived he was entranced by a large sculpture in glass and fabric created by undergraduate student Sara Horne. Through the combined efforts of the Dean, Greg and Sara, her work will be installed in the Gallery for our show

My daughter, Anne Leighton Massoni, a Gallery artist and currently Assistant Professor and Area Head of Photography at Memphis College of Art, nominated one of her former students from Marshall University – Makiko Sasanuma. Makiko initially studied Photography/Studio Art at Otis College of Art and Design. She graduated cum laude from Marshall University with a BA in Journalism and was awarded an MFA in Photography from Ohio University (Anne’s alma mater). In 2006, Makiko was awarded an Artist-In-Residency Fellowship at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts. She is currently pursuing her career in video and photography while working in New York.

We’ll be painting on the walls (literally!) and hanging work from the ceiling! Some works encompass an entire wall, while others measure 6”x6” — with a little luck and a lot of ingenuity — we’ll turn it into a coherent exhibit and appropriately honor these young artists. Join us on Saturday, January 13, 2007 for the opening. Don’t miss the Artists’ Talk at 2:00 pm.


January 12, 2007
February 11, 2007
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