‘Five Seasons’ Artists exhibit works at Main Street Arts in Saxtons River
“Abandoned Gas Station” by Charlie Hunter.

‘Five Seasons’ Artists exhibit works at Main Street Arts in Saxtons River

SAXTONS RIVER — Selected works by nationally-known, locally-based artists Eric Aho, Charlie Hunter, Julia Zanes, Michele Ratté and Donald Saaf will be on display at Main Street Arts in Saxtons River beginning with a public reception on Friday, Oct. 9, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Light refreshments will be served.

The exhibition is part of Main Street Arts' presentation of the artists, poets and composer involved in MSA's “Five Seasons Project.”

The Project is a celebration of community and the arts centered around The Saxtons River Suite, composed by Carol Wood, which will have its world premiere at MSA with the Vermont Symphony Orchestra Ensemble and Counterpoint on Saturday, Nov. 7. The Project engages the local artistic talents of a composer, four poets, five artists, and a landscape designer, all with international reputations and all with deep ties to the land and culture of Vermont and New England.

Aho, Hunter, Zanes, Ratté and Saaf each contributed a large scale work in the form of a traditional “theater curtain” painting, a type of large scale canvas that was used to decorate the stage in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century theatrical productions. Each painting in the series celebrates a particular aspect of a given season of the year; spring, summer, fall, winter, and (being set in Vermont) mud seaason.

“As wonderful as they are, the Theater Curtain paintings these artists have created for Main Street Arts only hint at the range of their skills or breadth of artistic vision,” said MSA Director Margo Ghia. “This exhibition is a chance for people in the region to see a broader selection of works from five people who are among the best contemporary artists in the United States, who just happen to have a connection to Main Street Arts and a love of our area. It's a privilege to have so much talent on display at the same time.”

The artists whose works will be displayed include:

• Eric Aho, who studied at the Central School of Art and Design in London, England and received a BFA from the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston. In 1989, he participated in the first exchange of scholars, in more than 30 years, between the U.S. and Cuba. He completed his graduate work at the Lahti Art Institute in Finland supported by a Fulbright Fellowship in 1991-92 and an American-Scandinavian Foundation grant in 1993. Aho lives and works in Saxtons River.

• Charlie Hunter, a resident of Bellows Falls who was raised in Weathersfield Center. He has a degree in Art from Yale University and his paintings can be found at finer galleries across the United States. With works frequently depicting the murky decay of infrastructure in small town America, Hunter says that his goal “is to paint beautifully that which is not traditionally considered beautiful.”

• Julia Zanes, who lives in southern Vermont and has been working as a professional artist since graduating from The Art Institute of Chicago. Since 1990, she has shown at The Clark Gallery in Lincoln, Mass., and many private, corporate, and public collections. She majored in film and has always been interested in the place where narrative word worlds and abstract visual worlds meet.

• Michele Ratté, a graduate of Dartmouth College, who furthered her art training by studying with Ray Nash and Holly Wolff at the Broadbrook Mountain Farm School, and with Michael Mazur at the Fine Arts Work Center, in Provincetown, Mass. She developed a method for permanent printing of precious metals onto textiles, and was awarded a U.S. patent for the invention in 2006. Her work has been exhibited in the United States, United Kingdom, and Japan, and is in private collections in the U.S. and France.

• Donald Saaf, a painter, sculptor, musician and children's book illustrator who studied painting at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and has lived and worked in Oaxaca, Mexico, New Orleans, and Nova Scotia, where he was greatly influenced by the folk art of those regions. His work is included in many private and public collections. A former resident of Saxtons River, Saaf resides in Southern Vermont with his wife, painter Julia Zanes and their two boys.

The exhibition will run through Nov. 9 at Main Street Arts, which is located at 35 Main St. in Saxtons River. For more information on this show and on other exhibitions performances and classes, call 802-869-2960 or visit www.mainstreetarts.org.

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