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Holiday Showcase & Masters' Circle Exhibits

Salem Arts Association is excited to close our 2021 exhibition schedule with a showcase of our member artists. It's a great opportunity to consider the gift of art for your friends, family, or to treat yourself to something beautiful. Our current Salem Arts members are exhibiting their best work showing the community what we have to offer in all of our diverse styles and artistic disciplines.

On display through December 18, 2022 

Opening Reception Friday November 18, 6-8 PM. 

Our Guest Juror: Gretchen Sinnett

Gretchen Sinnett is an Associate Professor of Art History and Chair of the Art + Design department at Salem State University.  Her courses explore how art and visual culture both reflect and help shape the societies from which they emerge.  She believes that close looking and visual analysis benefit students in all disciplines and especially enjoys teaching courses that draw students from across the university.  For many years her American art students have conducted a civic engagement research project with the Danvers Historical Society, providing hands-on experience with art and material culture.  Her scholarship focuses on representations of girlhood and adolescence in 19th-century American art.  She lives in Melrose with her husband, two Siamese cats, and her son when he is home from college. 

Masters Circle Awards

Ray Gilbert, Tree of Life

The dynamic symmetry drew me to this painting.  Controlled chaos appears to burst from the white rectangle at the canvas s center.  Orbs skitter, float, and perhaps bounce, while spirals wait to spring, releasing the energy humming within their coils.  A denser, shadowy realm pulsates below, while a sky-blue background lightens the top half.  The painting seems to convey vigorous forces of growth, whether they be human, vegetal, or cosmic.  Swatches of newsprint visible below the paint further activate the surface and draw the viewer in.  Orderly lines of text contrast with lyrical branching forms, perhaps raising questions about where different modes of communication – the visual, the verbal, the tactile – meet.

- Gretchen Sinnett, Guest Juror

Ricky Corbett, Emanuele

This portrait captured my attention because it initially provokes confusion about the medium.  Is that photograph across the room actually a drawing?  The beautifully modeled features and convincing play of light across skin, hair and fabric create an illusion of effortlessness.  Looking at the ear made me think about how I tell my students to look at parts of the body that sometimes seem beside the point - joints, ears, fingernails - when assessing how convincingly artists we study depict the human figure.  I appreciated the tension in the sitter s slightly furrowed brow and set lips, augmented by the cropped hair, which anchors the figure in the frame.  At what is the figure gazing with that slight look of consternation?   

- Gretchen Sinnett, Guest Juror

Robert Beauvais, Untitled #2

I was attracted to the uncanny quality of this print.  Are we looking at a closely cropped human body, a section of landscape, or non-objective forms?   We get a sense of the artist s hand in the slightly wavering quality of the outlines, and the nervous energy of the black squiggly lines emerging from the pink crescent activate the image.  The rough edges of the paper visible along the frame undulate slightly as if in response to the dynamic lines.  The print s texture – the dappled ivory and stippled charcoal gray - play off the heavy-weight paper s nubbly quality.  The scale of the image in contrast with the sheet of paper draws the viewer closer, as if we can solve the mystery if we just lean in.

- Gretchen Sinnett, Guest Juror


Sarah Marquesen, The Good Fight 

I found this painting s joyful palette infectious.  It made me think about the ways that art not only reflects but can also help shape communities and societies. 

- Gretchen Sinnett, Guest Juror

Jack Walsh, Tree Limb

I enjoy the elegant proportions and sinuous incised branches on this vase.  I imagine the soaring birds flickering in the sunlight.

- Gretchen Sinnett, Guest Juror

Robert Beauvais, Untitled #3

This photograph made me think of the view through a kaleidoscope.  I like the way the slender birch trees seem to embrace the abstracted core.

- Gretchen Sinnett, Guest Juror

Holiday Showcase Awards

Patricia Scialo, Bonsai #1

This work s subtle gradations of gray and tactile quality attracted me, and I wanted to find out more about its process.  (I also wanted to touch the waxy, creased surface but restrained myself.)  The dark tonality across the bottom creates a sense of rootedness as we gaze up into the branches and shadowed leaves.  Figure and ground meld as the thrusting branch seems to merge with the silver border along the right side, and the bark s essence appears to have infiltrated the surrounding space causing it to buckle and bulge.  The rough edges, with their burnt or melted quality, evoke time s vicissitudes as the tree grew up and into its unpredictably gnarled and beautifully melancholy form.  

- Gretchen Sinnett, Guest Juror

Liza Jean Sovie, Kimono

I was drawn to this dress because of the non-traditional material and the way it embodies a series of oppositions.  It is both decorative and functional with the delicacy of the blossoms contrasting with the stiffness of the plastic fabric.  The line of stitched Xs running diagonally from the shoulder to the hem and the opaque cummerbund offset the curving organic lines of the printed flowers.  I imagined the dress as a sort of camouflaged armor; moving through a crowd, the stiff plastic  fabric” would protect one s personal space.  And those dangling buttons would jingle softly as the wearer traversed the room, introducing a multi-sensory element to the piece.  Finally, the semi-transparent plastic made me think of an Alice in Wonderland scenario in which a figure grows out of a greenhouse - arms, legs, and head emerging from a riot of blossoms.

- Gretchen Sinnett, Guest Juror

Thomas Darsney, George

As an historian of American art how could I not be drawn to a painting with a giant George Washington peering out at me, especially since the artist based the visage on Gilbert Stuart s iconic  Athenaeum Portrait?” Situated amongst sculptures from the Greco-Roman cultures whose political systems influenced our nation s founders, the President stares out levelly at us.  The prismatic view through the glass display case suggests the shifting quality of historical interpretation.  The intense pink highlights on our first President s cheeks stand out amongst the loosely brushed facial features, making me think of pridefulness and shame.  I am reminded that this venerable figure represents our nation s highest ideals but also some of our deepest failings.  Unmoored from the plinth, is Washington s buoyancy a hopeful sign during a period when many Americans question our nation s health?

- Gretchen Sinnett, Guest Juror


Janet Schwartz, Bird on a Wire

The mimetic glare of sunlight on the building façade in this pastel initially drew my eye.  The shadows of the utility pole and lines create an evocative sense of presence through absence.  

- Gretchen Sinnett, Guest Juror

Carol Prost, Friends

I was attracted to the energetic line work and vibrant colors in this work.  It made me want to pen a fable to go along with it.

- Gretchen Sinnett, Guest Juror

Charles Lang, 2 Left

The spare elegance of this still-life caught my eye.  The jug extending slightly beyond the edge of the chest on which it rests activates the painting, preventing stillness from becoming stasis. 

- Gretchen Sinnett, Guest Juror

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Phone: 978-745-4850 

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and New Years Day 
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