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  • 3S Artspace reopens Gallery with two exhibits: 50 Views of the Piscataqua featuring works by Rachel Burgess / Abstraction featuring works by MJ Blanchette, Rebecca Klementovich, and Kathleen Robbins

    PORTSMOUTH  — On Friday, July 24, visitors will once again be welcomed into the Gallery at 3S Artspace for two exhibitions: 50 Views of the Piscataqua and Abstraction. Exhibits at 3S Artspace remain free and open to the public.

    “It has been nearly four months since we've been able to welcome visitors into the galleries at 3S Artspace,” said Beth Falconer, Executive Director of 3S Artspace. “Since then, we've hosted virtual exhibitions and art sales, which have been wonderful ways to bring art into people’s homes and stay connected. Still, there's just nothing like viewing art in person. We're thrilled that our reopening aligns with previously scheduled exhibitions that celebrate local artists and the local landscape.”

    “As we all continue to move through this difficult time, we want to continue to be able to support local talent and reflect on how the natural beauty around us is helping to pull us through. The two Gallery exhibits we’re reopening with provide a welcomed respite and refresh for your senses. They’re evocative, moody, colorful, and invite you to pause for a moment and take a breath,” said Falconer.


    50 Views of the Piscataqua:
    Using drawing and monotype, Rachel Burgess creates iconic landscapes of Maine and Massachusetts in her 50 Views of the Piscataqua series exploring the connection between memory and storytelling.

    “I’m influenced by the popular, illustrative quality of traditional Japanese landscape prints, as well as by their vertical format, their graphic colors and their use of foreground, middle-ground and background elements,” Rachel Burgess said. “I chose to work serially because I wanted to tell a single, unfolding story, representative of the ongoing narratives we weave about ourselves and where we come from.”

    Burgess is fascinated by the discrepancy between what we see and how we remember it. The results are images of places as seen through her mind’s eye, fabricated versions of real scenes.

    Her work in the series titled “Green Light” is based on a night last November when she and her son were walking on the beach on Gerrish Island. 

    “I realized that the colors in the sky and the reflections in the sand were getting more and more striking, and I wanted to record the moment, but I didn’t have a sketchbook. So I did what I sometimes do, and broke the scene down in my mind,” Burgess said. “A simple composition – sky, lighthouse, river, sand. 8 colors, the darkest being the shore, the lightest being the river. A hint of pink above the tree-line; a dot of green for the lighthouse. Then I shut my eyes and reviewed the scene a couple of times, kind of like when you repeat lines you are trying to memorize. After a few minutes everything changed, and I had to commit to the information I’d filed away...A few weeks later, back in New York, I made this print.”

    To make most of her landscapes, Burgess begins by sketching outside, on location.

    “I never work from photo reference, because I’m trying to capture my response to a place, rather than the place itself,” Burgess said. “Then, in a print studio, I create a monotype based on my drawing. Monotype is a form of printmaking that yields a single, irreproducible image. It’s a little like making an oil painting on paper. I use oil-based inks to mix my colors, similar to oil paints. Then, using rollers, and sometimes my hands, I paint my scene on a piece of plexiglass.”

    Burgess continues to distill the composition until it stops resembling a specific place and becomes abstract, archetypal.

    “Then I lay a sheet of paper over the painting and run it through a printing press, so that the painting gets transferred to the paper. Afterwards, I wipe the plexiglass clean so it can be used again,” Burgess said. ”I am left with a work on paper that is a mirror image of the original, and that, like a memory, replaces everything that led to its creation.”




    Walking the line between figuration and abstraction, Abstraction explores the non-objective role abstract art plays in culture, perception, and psyche. Using diverse subject matter, three painters created work reflecting their personal experiences.

    MJ Blanchette’s artistic process involves allowing stream of consciousness and instinct to take over.

    “Although thinly painted, there’s layer upon layer of history lurking beneath these paintings. In the beginning, a purely emotional response to the world spinning around me allowed a slightly more unencumbered process with regards to color, shape, mark-making, and value,” Blanchette said. “This process isn’t altogether different for me, however, these paintings are perhaps the most viscerally rendered pieces I’ve made. It’s impossible to understate the way in which current events informed and impacted the work.”

    Rebecca Klementovich also builds layers into her artistic process.

    “My process for this series has been going in between the use of oil and acrylic. They both behave differently when doing subtle washes for the underlying part of the paintings,” Klementovich said. “I paint four layers for each piece which produces little bits of mysteries of color on the canvas. The emotionally driven titles I’ve given each piece bring the viewer to their own personal metaphors of storms, battles, love, and perseverance. I chose bright color palettes to revolutionize the tall ship paintings from the past-- these tall ship pieces are not in gold frames, they do not have traditional ship colors, and the rare subject matter is women.”

    A common thread in the artists’ work in this group exhibit is found through the experience of painting during a global pandemic.

    “As the pandemic unfolded, each day’s news was more horrifying than the day before. The chaos was palpable and it inspired and informed all of this work. I tried to remain open throughout the process to allow for direct emotional responses to the world unraveling around me,” Blanchette said.

    “My paintings are most successful when I use a limited palette and mix all the neutral and grey shades; it keeps the painting united,” Kathleen Robbins said. “For this exhibit, some bright color entered the scene around May when I turned to still-life florals. This was a response to the pandemic, and a desire for a glimpse of new beginnings, and the promise of summer.”

    “What binds this body of work together is our eternal curiosity as artists to create the next painting, to examine and interpret our environments, and to do so in a very personal way. I had some advice from John Imber, a mentor of mine many years ago, that sticks with me every day. After a visiting critique, his parting words were, ‘Paint something that no one has ever seen before,’” Robbins said. “Each artist in this show, over a period of many months and painting through a pandemic, did just that.”



    YART Sale: Off The Wall Edition in the Lobby Gallery:

    July 24 - August 2, the Lobby Gallery walls will have around 80 pieces of art available for purchase and to take home on the spot. All pieces for sale will reflect a 30-60% discount off fair market value prices. From early painters to established and collected artists, the YART Sale has something for everyone: acrylics, gouache, graphite drawings, watercolor, pigmented resin, oils, charcoal, and more.

    “Back in February, our call to 2D artists for work for the YART Sale offered a chance to sign up on a first come, first served basis to spring clean artists’ studio inventory and make space for new work. 3S Artspace reduces commission for our YART Sale events like this new ‘Off The Wall Edition,’ allowing the public to score great deals and artists to retain more revenue,” said Beth Falconer.



    3S Artspace staff has implemented enhanced health and safety measures as advised by the state of New Hampshire and the CDC. For example, visitors will be limited to 10 people at a time in the Gallery and masks will be required. Visitors can learn more in the “Health & Safety” section of the 3S Artspace website.

    Coinciding with the Gallery exhibits, 3S Artspace is launching a virtual Gallery experience (at www.galleryat3S.org) for those who are not ready or able to visit 3S Artspace in person as a way to stay connected to 3S from home. The virtual exhibits will have a 3D virtual tour of the Gallery space, as well as photos of works from both exhibitions.



    ? Gallery exhibition dates: July 24 - September 6, 2020. Free and open to the public.

    ? More info on Abstraction: https://www.3sarts.org/gallery/abstraction

    ? More info on 50 Views of the Piscataqua: https://www.3sarts.org/gallery/50-views

    ? Visit 3S Artspace’s virtual Gallery:  www.galleryat3S.org
    ? More info on the YART Sale: Off The Wall Edition: https://www.3sarts.org/gallery/lobby-yart-sale
    ? More info on 3S Artspace’s reopening: https://www.3sarts.org/c