Art in the round: Local galleries and museums feature varied art — and potential holiday gifts — this month

Illustrations from Jerry Pinkney’s “The Lion and the Mouse” are part of the Michelson Galleries’ annual celebration of children’s book art.

Illustrations from Jerry Pinkney’s “The Lion and the Mouse” are part of the Michelson Galleries’ annual celebration of children’s book art. Image from Michelson Galleries website

Illustrations from Grace Lin’s “Last Marshmallow” are part of the Michelson Galleries’ annual celebration of children’s book art.

Illustrations from Grace Lin’s “Last Marshmallow” are part of the Michelson Galleries’ annual celebration of children’s book art. Image from Michelson Galleries website

“Lobster Cove” is one of numerous oil landscapes by Northampton painter David Barclay on view this month at the Northampton Senior Center.

“Lobster Cove” is one of numerous oil landscapes by Northampton painter David Barclay on view this month at the Northampton Senior Center. Image courtesy David Barclay

A detail from “Northeast Deconstructed,” at PULP Gallery in Northampton, an exhibit built around selected pages from the journals of 18 different artists.

A detail from “Northeast Deconstructed,” at PULP Gallery in Northampton, an exhibit built around selected pages from the journals of 18 different artists. Image from PULP Gallery

A detail from “Merrily We Go Along,” a collage by Carrie Gelfan that’s part of her exhibit this month at Easthampton’s Oxbow Gallery.

A detail from “Merrily We Go Along,” a collage by Carrie Gelfan that’s part of her exhibit this month at Easthampton’s Oxbow Gallery. Image from Carrie Gelfan website

“Ani with Blue Cat Ears,” oil on canvas by Carrie Gelfan, whose work is on view this month at Easthampton’s Oxbow Gallery.

“Ani with Blue Cat Ears,” oil on canvas by Carrie Gelfan, whose work is on view this month at Easthampton’s Oxbow Gallery. Image from Carrie Gelfan website

“The William Cullen Bryant Homestead,” egg tempera on panel by Jeff Gola, part of a winter exhibit by multiple artists at William Baczek Fine Arts in Northampton.

“The William Cullen Bryant Homestead,” egg tempera on panel by Jeff Gola, part of a winter exhibit by multiple artists at William Baczek Fine Arts in Northampton. Image from William Baczek Fine Arts website

“Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant, Miami, Florida,” a 1980 photo that’s part of “Multiplying Power: Image as Protest in Prints and Photographs” at the Smith College Museum of Art. 

“Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant, Miami, Florida,” a 1980 photo that’s part of “Multiplying Power: Image as Protest in Prints and Photographs” at the Smith College Museum of Art.  Image from Smith College Museum of Art

By STEVE PFARRER

Staff Writer

Published: 11-30-2023 1:10 PM

Still hunting for holiday gifts? Want to check out some new art? You can do both by visiting area galleries this month, which offer a variety of exhibits. Here’s a look at some of the shows.

Michelson Galleries, Northampton — The Eric Carle Museum doesn’t have a monopoly on children’s book art in the area. The Michelson Galleries this fall are marking the 34th anniversary of their Annual Illustration Celebration, an exhibit featuring the work of dozens of children’s book artists.

The Northampton space developed ties with some of those illustrators a dozen years before the Carle opened in 2002 — and over three decades, the artists affiliated with the gallery have won a collective 16 Caldecott Medals and 37 Caldecott Honor Awards.

Among the artists and authors featured in the current exhibit, which runs through Jan. 15, 2024, are some celebrated names who call the Valley home: Grace Lin of Florence, Mo Willems of Northampton, Micha Archer of Leverett, and Aaron Becker of Amherst.

Also, the exhibit showcases many artists from outside the area whose work has been featured previously at the Carle or at Michelson Galleries, such as the late Jerry Pinkney, his son Brian Pinkney, Edel Rodriguez, and Rosemary Wells.

In addition, the exhibit offers special recognition of the work of the late Ed Young, who died in September at age 91. Born in China in 1931, Young turned to illustrating children’s books after working in advertising. A New York Times obituary called him a prolific artist who “infused his illustrations with Chinese tradition”; a Caldecott winner, Young exhibited his work at Michelson Galleries for over 15 years.

Northampton Senior Center — Northampton painter David Barclay is the latest artist to exhibit work at the Northampton Senior Center, and with winter fast approaching, his expansive and colorful landscapes offer an antidote to increasing cold and diminishing daylight.

“Rushing and Standing Still: An American Collage,” which opens today (Dec. 1) and runs through Dec. 30, includes two dozen oil paintings that capture locales ranging from California’s Yosemite National Park to Monhegan Island in Maine. That’s not all: the exhibit includes “portraits” of two iconic U.S. cars, another subject of interest to the painter.

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“Capturing the raw beauty of our natural world is a joy, and painting vintage cars is an exercise in nostalgia,” Barclay said in a statement.

Beginning as a watercolorist before moving on to acrylic and now oil paint, Barclay says his experience as a photographer has also helped build his compositional skills in painting. His landscapes are often centered around water, and his portfolio includes local icons like tobacco barns in Hatfield as well as portraits of European villages.

There will be an artist’s reception Dec. 8 at the senior center from 5 to 7 p.m.

PULP Gallery, Holyoke — The newest exhibit at PULP is something of the visual art equivalent of CDs featuring a musician’s alternate versions of songs, or demos or outtakes from the studio — a look at the inspiration for, or an early version of, a finished work of art.

“Northeast Deconstructed,” which opens Dec. 2 and runs through Jan. 7, 2024, is based on selected pages that have been taken from the art journals and sketchbooks of 18 different artists; over 300 pages worth of material has been compiled on 18 separate grids on the gallery walls.

“Deconstructing” all these artists’ books “has been an emotional process,” as the gallery notes on its website.

That process makes for an eclectic exhibit, however, with all kinds of artwork, sketches, mysterious drawings and more. One group of images consists of colored, rectangular grids that overlap, like a more sophisticated version of drawings from an old Etch A Sketch toy; the thick, painted lines have also been created on graph paper.

Another artist has filled her journal with cartoonish looking figures, while a third offers what appears to be detailed graphite images of surreal or ruined landscapes. Another collection includes pencil studies for larger works of rural landscapes and scenes. Then there are multiple colored images of what appears to be a human heart.

There’s an opening reception for the exhibit Dec. 2 from 5 to 8 p.m.

Oxbow Gallery, Easthampton — This month the member-supported gallery is featuring the work of Carrie Gelfan in its main space, while the smaller area will showcase small works by multiple artists — holiday gifts, anyone?

Gelfan, whose exhibit is entitled “Processions, Collages and Paintings,” is a painter for whom drawing is also a key component of her work. A resident of Westminster, Vermont, Gelfan concentrates on figurative images, creating portraits and groupings of friends and family members, some based on direct observation and some from old photos.

Her paintings can contain folkloric elements, and her most recent work, including her collages, also echoes that theme. “Merrily We Go Along,” a collage measuring 24 x 100 inches, depicts varied human figures, some clothed, some nude, moving from right to left against a backdrop of old newsprint. For good measure, there’s a cat thrown into the procession.

Animals, in fact, are also one of Gelfan’s subjects; her work can present elements of abstraction as well as hints of cubism. Some paintings appear like old photo negatives, with darkened, ghost-like figures with staring eyes and white outlines.

An artist’s reception takes place at the Oxbow tonight (Dec. 1) from 5 to 7 p.m.

William Baczek Fine Arts, and Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton — The Baczek Gallery is featuring a winter show into February 2024 that offers work from multiple artists, from landscape and still life paintings to photos and abstract prints.

There’s seasonal work here, such as Scott Prior’s “Dog Walking at Winter Twilight,” an oil on panel painting, and Jeff Gola’s egg tempera painting of the William Cullen Bryant Homestead, set amid a snowy backdrop. But paintings by Robert Sweeney and Jana Brike, among others, are full of warm-weather scenes.

And at SCMA, a number of long-running exhibits are approaching their end points. A good one to check out is “Multiplying Power: Image as Protest in Prints and Photographs,” a collection of prints and photographs, primarily from the U.S. in the 20th and 21st centuries, that document public movements and social change.

In a 2016 photo, for instance, a protester in North Dakota holds aloft a sign against the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline, slated to cross Native American land, while an image from 1980 depicts three women nonchalantly juggling small balls outside the Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant in Miami, Florida, a target of numerous protests over the years.

The exhibit runs through January 2024.

Steve Pfarrer can be reached at spfarrer@gazettenet.com.