Alla Prima: 3 minutes to 3 Hours

Monday, July 27, 2009

Viola Moriarty’s “Alla Prima” Opens at South Street Café

BENNINGTON, VT — “Alla Prima: Three Minutes to Three Hours,” Bennington painter Viola Moriarty’s exhibit of her most recent work, opens with a reception at South Street Café, 105 South Street in Bennington, on Saturday, August 1, from 6 to 9 pm.

Moriarty has launched an annual exhibition of her work at South Street Café for nearly every year since she took up the brush seven years ago.

“As has been the case the past seven years, (with the exception of summer 2007, when I was deep into chemo), this exhibit is a benchmark of where I am now with my work,” says Moriarty, who is also breast cancer survivor. “It is the end of seven years of painting and the beginning of a new cycle.”

She adds, “This work represents for me a year of figuring out how to work with the fact that my hands still go numb a lot and I drop things. Sometimes it’s my brain that’s numb and it’s anyone’s guess what can happen. But having the art work to work on every day, well, I can only say that I am so very, very fortunate. I always have something to work on, something that makes my heart pound and my mind start piecing together, something that reminds me that I am exactly the person I am supposed to be and this is my work.”

The exhibit includes Moriarty’s most recent sketches, rendered in oil, watercolor, gouache, and pastel. The sketches are all alla prima (an Italian term meaning “all at once,” referring to artwork created in one session), and were completed in a range of three minutes to three hours total working time. She notes that the minimalist sketches are more limited and simplified than her previous work, and that most were completed in the company of various artist friends and sketch groups.

“At the same time, they represent some of my favorite alla prima work to date. No matter what the subject, they are self-portraiture, a record of evolution this past year. The work is personal and meaningful — and as much about the people who walk in to the café or the studio, about this incredible area, and about my process as an artist. There are some familiar faces in the human-scapes as is my custom at this yearly exhibit… more of the ‘merry pranksters’ [referring to her previous exhibit of community portraits] I am so lucky to paint. And there are some familiar places in the landscapes as well.”

Moriarty also notes that the exhibit is her way of celebrating the community landmark’s 15th anniversary. She made friends with then-owner of South Street Café Lin Bootle upon moving to Bennington 11 years ago. Bootle was succeeded by Robin Andrew, another close friend, who sold the business in August 2008 to Lauryn and Matt Starkie-Kreuder before moving to Alabama.

”I didn’t know how it was going to feel to hang work in there with new owners,” says Moriarty, “but I see that Lauryn and Matt love the café, that they have beautiful people working there, that they are making it their own and finding a way to continue the history of it being the center of gravity in our community, but they are doing it with their own sexy flavor! We all love that place, so I am honored to continue the tradition of my yearly summer showing.”

Moriarty says that this opening reception will be particularly special because it is the first time her parents, John and Colleen Lubischer of Colorado, will be able to join her for an opening — along with Moriarty’s visiting sister and nephews.

“I’ve never gotten to have my dad and mom at an opening here in the town where I have made my art and my life,” she says. “It feels really auspicious for me to get to share this particular opening and exhibition with them. I owe my work ethic and my deepest sense of who I am to my parents, and it will be so beautiful for me to have them come to the café and to meet everyone while celebrating this work.”

“Alla Prima: Three Minutes to Three Hours” will be on view at South Street Café throughout the month of August. Moriarty is also exhibiting a small series of nine abstract color explorations, “blocks of colour,” at Panda Garden restaurant in Manchester through the middle of August. She also recently contributed her first sculpture to North Bennington’s 12th annual Art Park, organized by fellow artists Fred X. Brownstein and Vanessa Brownstein. The Art Park, which opened on July 18, showcases the works of 20 local artists through October 10.

Moriarty will mount a larger exhibit of her color works, incorporating 26 pieces, at the Spiral Press Café in Manchester Center in October. She is also planning an exhibit in Williamstown, Mass., in the near future. Visit vimorpainter.wordpress.com for more information about Moriarty, her work, and future exhibits. For more information about South Street Café, visit http://www.southstreetcafe.com or call 802.447.2433.

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viola moriarty

(American, b. 1958)
Modern Expressionist Painter
2012-13 Recipient of the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant

Upcoming Exhibitions

Current and ongoing: New Works, Allegro Ristorante in Bennington on Main Street.

Elm Street Market, Bennington

Spiral Press Cafe, Manchester, Vermont (2013) details TBA

Please click this link to see review of this blog: http://citiesofthemind.org/blogr-violamoriart/

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