Art — MAA Gallery mixes it up

MAA Gallery mixes it up


By Michelle Saturley


New show boasts diversity, boldness


The Manchester Artists Association Gallery kicked off its new exhibit on Thursday, March 10 with an opening reception. Several of the featured member artists were in attendance, fielding questions on their displayed work.

This is the third exhibit held at the gallery located at 1528 Elm St. since the MAA acquired the space from the Manchester Art Commission late last year. Gallery director Nancy Johnson, also a featured artist, says that the group is slowly building a fan base.

“We are all very excited at the way the gallery has come together,” Johnson said. “It has infused a new energy in the MAA, and at every meeting, there are so many new ideas. But for now, we are taking baby steps. It is, after all, a new business, so we have to grow slowly over time.”

Johnson said the gallery’s first priority is to become a part of the surrounding community   — hence the public reception and the availability of the artists. This was also the impetus behind the inclusion of a miniatures display. Oil, photography and collage works are all available for a more reasonable price in a smaller package.

“Miniatures are a great way to start your art collection, or to find something to give as a gift to someone,” Johnson said.

The miniature display will run through May — timed for Mother’s Day.

Painter Kim Roth, a member and a featured artist at the exhibit, says the gallery has breathed new life into many of the participating artists.

“If you look around, you will see artists having conversations with art patrons,” he said. “These interactions with the audience usually do one of two things: either the artist feels validated to keep doing what he’s doing, or he feels encouraged to completely turn around and try something new.”

This was evident in a bold new painting by Gia Kramer, who has been on the local scene for a handful of years, painting still life and vignettes. Her newest piece, “Divided We Stand,” is an image of an American flag being burned. Kramer infuses the canvas with rich colors and textures, but the piece is also political in nature. It was one of the most talked-about paintings of the evening.

Other notable pieces include three fascinating found object installations by James Chase, one of the newest members of the MAA, as well as digital photographs by Lynda Elliott, Cal Smith and Michael Lizak.

“This is probably the most diverse show we’ve done here,” Johnson said. “I think it’s a great thing. It shows that there is definitely room, in MAA and in the city, for a variety of styles and media. I also think it draws in a wider variety of patrons.”

The MAA Gallery’s new exhibit will run through May. Another special reception will be held on Thursday, Apr. 28, 5-8 p.m., to coincide with the Open Doors Trolley Tour. For more information on the MAA Gallery, call 785-6437.

—Michelle Saturley

2004 HippoPress LLC | Manchester, NH