July 21, 2005
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Lollipops and Hand Grenades
Local artist collective hosts eclectic show, peppers
downtown with weird dolls
by Michelle Saturley
If you’ve happened to
notice a series of thin-limbed, pony-tailed, papier-mâché dolls
strategically located at various spots around Manchester’s downtown,
don’t panic. You aren’t seeing things. The dolls were created by Jason
Bagatta, a member of the Monastery Artists Collective, and they were
meant to pique your curiosity — provided you pay attention. The group of
experimental visual artists hosted its first show on Saturday, July 16,
at a studio located on West Auburn Street, just behind the Omega
nightclub in downtown Manchester.
The startling one-day
show, titled “Lollipops and Hand Grenades,” featured the works of about
12 local artists from a variety of media, including oil paint, drawings,
found object collages, hand-blown glass and art installations. The
pieces came from profoundly personal places of each artist, and demanded
the viewer’s full attention.
The exhibit, a loosely
organized collection that spanned several rooms on the third floor of a
mill building, was held from noon to six, with a reception for the
artists later that evening featuring techno music and experimental
founders, Jaime Grady, and glass blower Aaron Kilby Slater (who leases
the studio space on W. Auburn Street), say they hope to raise awareness
of the group within the community.
“The name ‘Lollipops
and Hand Grenades’ signifies that anything can happen when artists get
together and start experimenting,” Slater explained.
Grady began reaching
out to other artists to form the Monastery Artists Cooperative, located
at 300 Bedford Street, after becoming disillusioned with the mass
marketing and commercialization of art. The Cooperative and the
Collective are two separate groups. The Collective is a more specific
group of nontraditional artists who are looking to make an impact on
Manchester’s art scene through thought-provoking, sometimes shocking,
words and images. The Cooperative, however, is open to any artist in
need of space to think, work and share ideas with the group.
“We would like to
attract nontraditional artists who are looking to become part of a group
where no one person is the leader; there are no students and teachers
but we learn from one another,” Grady said.
Monastery Artists Cooperative hosts an open life drawing class each
Saturday at the 300 Bedford Street location, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. The
class is open to all artists and costs $10 to cover the model’s posing
Grady is already
looking ahead to October, when the group plans to hold an exhibit
focusing on masks. The group is also exploring the possibility of
hosting a youth program.
For more information
about the Monastery Artists Cooperative or Collective, call Jaime Grady