Beyond the Horizon

27 11 2017

Beyond the HorizonI am drawn to the opening of Beyond the Horizon, landscapes by Ashby Carlisle and Rick Silberberg, because it is being held in a building designed by Sol LeWitt, whose work I’d seen recently at Mass MoCA. Once inside The Main Street Gallery in Chester, I am impressed by the crowds and enthusiastic response to the artists. I overhear one woman say to another, “Look at this trio of paintings, reasonably priced. You could get the group of them.” Although the price list is above my means, as I walk around, I am tempted.

At the reception, there is the requisite wine, cheese/crackers, dips, and jazz duo. Carlisle’s work calls to me; the nature scenes are simple upon initial view but more complex as I scrutinize them. Paper collage, wire, soldered or rolled paper buds; suggestion of movement, weather, pain or joy. Pastels suggesting sunsets or rises, water, sky. Cleverly disguised wire holders that merge into the piece to provide horizons, the edge between land and water or water and air. Paper bits with words or letters or perhaps even computer code, only discernable upon close inspection.

I overhear a conversation among three women about aging wisely, and join in. One well-dressed woman explains she’s part of a discussion group using the book by Rabbi Rachel Cowan and Dr. Linda Thal. She and I chat; she’s just celebrated her 82nd birthday and I congratulate her. She’s here as a friend of Silberberg and owns one of his pieces but would like to meet Carlisle. I introduce them, although I’ve never met Ashby before (I recognize her from the pre-event publicity). Ashby and I continue talking as our octogenarian moves on. Turns out her husband is one of the musicians; she’s moved her studio to New London, my home town, so I sense our connection growing.

I hear my name and a friend has arrived so I mingle; turns out Diane has sung with one of the musicians and I tell her that’s Ashby’s husband, which she didn’t realize. Here we are, making lovely, connecting loops between my worlds. I do love how life flows when we let it!

This show continues through January 26, 2018, Monday through Friday, 10am-3pm. The Main Street Gallery, 55 East Kings Highway, Chester, CT


20 11 2017

Mass Moca ticket

A friend texts on a Friday night: “Wanna go to MASS MoCA with me tomorrow?” Sure, I think, getting out would be a healthy thing and I like MASS MoCA. We arrange transportation details and, first thing Saturday AM, we start off.

The time in the car flies by, as we catch up on each other’s life since we last spoke. His mom had grown up in North Adams, so this is a home-coming for him, although he’d never been to the museum before. I love the Sol LeWitt material, mainly the concept of prescribing a piece of art in the way LeWitt does.

MASS MoCA Turrell Fred AlbertA highlight of the visit is James Turrell’s Perfectly Clear. We are part of a timed entrance into this space, where the docent explains that the back wall appears to continue on, but actually is alarmed on its edges because there is a five-foot drop. With special paint enhancing the experience of light, this exhibit requires us to don protective clothing. (Small aside: MASS mOCA BOOTIESI am so overwhelmed with the instructions and light that I quickly slide the provided blue covering on my head, only to be gently corrected by the docent that these are for my shoes. Oops.) We enter the exhibit and it feels foggy, entrenched in thick air and I look at my hands to confirm they still are visible – it is so convincing. As the light show continues, when I close my eyes, I see the complementary colors. A very fascinating experience.

I am totally enthralled and curious about Dawn DeDeaux’s digital drawings, particularly one of a lace dress and another of a figure cloaked in a quill-covered garment. A new medium for me, and I strike up a conversation with a student who has used this method in one of his classes. He describes the process and I wonder how much of this is true art and we get into a discussion about that. If I use a typewriter, word processor, or hand-write, it is still words coming from my head. But if I use a computer to generate strokes and color, shading and such, am I doing graphic design or art? Ah, I certainly am not one to make those types of decisions.

My legs are tired but my companion wants to see ALL the buildings because he’s not sure when he’ll return. So, we streak through the Sol LeWitt and a few other floors before we (or at least I) collapse in the car for our two-hour trip home. Grateful for the proximity of this eclectic quirky museum.

Hiking for Friendly’s: Case Mountain and Manchester Friendly’s

17 11 2017

15 November 2017

Manchester Case Mt overlook 11.15.17

Frosty, brisk, but sunny when Cherry and I meet to head to Manchester, one of our four remaining Friendly’s sites. We arrive by 9:30; I’d hoped it would take longer to get there, so it would be warmer when we started. But here we are, Case Mountain. The trailhead map calls it Highland Park, the printed material I have indicates it’s a short but steep walk to the overlook, and the return trip can be extended by taking the Carriage Road. OK, we agree, we will take the longer route or else our lunch will start before 11AM.

We climb up, catching our breath occasionally, as we talk local politics. National news. Refugees. Deportees. Difficult subjects for such a beautiful day. Frosty edges on fallen leaves. Quiet in the woods. Within a half hour, we reach the overlook and gaze at the juxtaposition of the up-close natural setting compared with the stick-looking buildings of Hartford in the distance. Several people walk by with their dogs and we become engaged in conversation with the owner of Harry, an exuberant Australian Shepherd. He (the owner) is interested in our Hiking For Friendly’s project and shares some wonderful childhood memories of eating there and then going to bowling every Saturday morning, or trying to consume an Awful-awful. As a Wilbraham Academy student, he was aware that the Blake brothers, Friendly’s founders, helped support his school also. He shared that Friendly’s hired a young man-gone-wrong that he and his wife had sponsored. We have found an audience.


Manchester Case Mt Harry and Kirk 11.15.17We are invited to join him and Harry on their travels in the southern portion of the park, which will extend our hike significantly and we agree. We head off on more obscure trails that wind through glacial erratics and above water-filled gorges. We talk of their trip to New Zealand waterfalls and our guide shares photos from his phone. Harry’s love for water. How dogs keep us fit. Our hiking plans when we finish Friendly’s. Harry and his owner leave us at the southern tip of the park and Cherry and I meander back towards my car.

Cherry talks about an upcoming church convention. Her cat’s excitement of finding a mouse in her house. I share my need for distraction and busy-ness. At some point, I worry, as the trail leader, that we may be off course, but we encounter others walking toward us who reassure us we are close to the parking lot.

We find the Carriage Trail and wander along Chase Pond, which is lovely this time of year. Still, peaceful, hint of fall reflections. Near the road, we find the waterfall and remnants of Highland Park. And we are back to the car, five miles later.

And it’s almost 1PM and we are starving. Friendly’s sounds even better than usual! We reach the Buckland Hills restaurant and glide into our red bench seats. The waitress comes and we are all ready; no, don’t bring our waters and then take our order! Cherry has the tuna (probably not again, she confides later) and I splurge with the 1300-calorie honey BBQ chicken and bacon on brioche. I do manage to save half for later (which turns out to be 4PM, I admit sheepishly) and we enjoy our sundaes.

Manchester Friendlys 11.15.17Cherry shares with me, and our waitress, her conversations with the Cromwell Friendly’s manager about celebrating the end of our Connecticut Friendly’s tour in the spring… only three more to go! Wow, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel!