08
Dec
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’ ‘Scapes’ exhibit opens at Wild Oats in Williamstown

’ ‘Scapes’ exhibit opens at Wild Oats in Williamstown

By TELLY HALKIAS
Posted: 12/08/2010 12:47:39 PM EST

‘Radishes, Onion and Lime’ by Bennington, Vt., artist Viola… (Courtesy Viola Moriarty)
Wednesday December 8, 2010
A grocery store might seem like a peculiar place to host an art show. Wild Oats in Williamstown has been doing so for several years, and its latest exhibit features two local artists, one from each side of the area’s north-south divide.
Viola Moriarty of Bennington, Vt., and Barbara May of North Adams opened “’Scapes,” an exhibit at the cooperative grocery store that gives both women, who have been friends for years, a chance to complement each other’s work.
“I believe our work goes together well, and we have always supported and encouraged each other,” May said recently just before the show opened. “By sharing a show, we can each produce quality work, and still put up enough for the viewer to get into that special place where the contemplation of colors, forms, compositions lifts us out of the boring, rushed everyday grind and allows us to pause a moment and hopefully enter that timeless place, if just for a little while.”
The show originally was to be called “Veggiescapes,” in keeping with its venue and the original inventory that Moriarty planned on bringing solo, inspired by her long-standing friendship with Steve and Karen Trubitt of True Love Farm in Shaftsbury, Vt.
But once both artists decided to partner, the name was changed to “’Scapes” in order to include a landscape or still life.
“It’s kind of a play on ‘garlic scapes’
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and on landscapes and veggiescapes and whatever scapes,” Moriarty said. “Fire escapes. Cityscapes. You could put in just about anything, and since I never have my work done ahead of time when I set up the show, I need names that are flexible.”
Both women agreed that it’s more fun to show together with the right person than to do solo exhibits. They concurred that making art is such pervasive and deep, solitary work that it’s enjoyable to collaborate with a trusted friend and colleague.
“We are good friends (who) support each other in living an artistic and beautiful life, and are both really family oriented,” Moriarty said. “We draw together every Wednesday night, and we talk a lot about our own desires artistically and how that relates to our families. We are both motivated in our lives by similar values and ideas.”
Enter the food co-op
Exhibiting and selling artwork also can be prohibitive for an individual artist because of the framing and marketing costs and by having many pieces committed to one venue for a period of time. By joining forces on a show, Moriarty and May can split the marketing costs and logistics, such as the exhibition’s hanging.
Both women are sharing a concurrent exhibit of nudes at Stone Soup in Adams, and they came to the Wild Oats show at the invitation of volunteer curator Arlene Curtiss, who teaches at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams. Renate Kopynec, the store’s operations manager, explained the local co-op’s interest in art.
“We are a community store with empty wall space in its cafe,” Kopynec said. “We fill it with a revolving display of community artists’ works. Since 2005, Wild Oats has had between one and three artists displaying their work on a monthly basis.”
May, a former dental technician and small business owner, came to North Adams from Illinois 21 years ago with her husband, chiropractor Peter May. She claims to have “drawn since I was able to,” but it has only been since her business career ended that she has devoted serious time to her craft. May is contributing six pieces to “’Scapes.”
“My prints were created from watercolors I did a few weeks in a row at the Harriman Airport in North Adams,” May said. “They are views that I painted day after day, as the weather blew in and out, and as that summer went by.”
Moriarty, a retired educator and recent breast cancer survivor, moved to Bennington in the 1990s with her husband Jon Lev, now superintendent of the North Berkshire School Union. Moriarty has offered seven works to benefit the cause, an endeavor that she emphasized had a practical as well artistic aspect.
“Now that Barb and I are both full-time artists and homemakers, we want to work together on these kinds of bread-and-butter shows in local venues,” Moriarty said. “Though we both, of course, prefer making art to exhibiting and selling, we need to do those things for our work to be self-sustaining and sustaining to our families.”
Moriarty added that she and May understood the importance of working with small businesses and nonprofits, and they would prefer their shows to be in local settings with money going to support their neighbors’ businesses.
“Exhibiting together in such venues is good for our own ability to make art and for supporting our regional communities,” she said. “Our art and methods may be very different, but it’s also easy to promote your friend’s work when you really like it as we do.”
“’Scapes,” runs through December at Wild Oats, located on Main Street in Williamstown. For more information, visit
vimorpainter.wordpress.com.


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viola moriarty

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

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

Elm Street Market, Bennington

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

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