Edgewater’s galleries welcome springtime

Edgewater Gallery in Middlebury launches its 2018 season with “Springtime,” a group show on view for the month of April at both locations (on the Green and at the Falls), featuring new work from four artists, that celebrates the warmth, light and freshness of the new season.
At Edgewater Gallery on the Green, abstract painter and mixed media artist Helen Shulman’s evocative abstract pieces will be on view along with the jewel toned and light filled still life works by Karen O’Neil who is new to the gallery this year. On view at Edgewater Gallery at the Falls will be painter Jill Matthews’ gracefully rendered floral still life paintings and Kay Flierl’s series of barn paintings.
Meet the Artists
Helen Shulman
“Spring is a mood as well as a season,” said Helen Shulman, a graduate of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. “It is the feeling of increasing light, of breaking through and unburdening. In this group of paintings, I am using warm, soft oil colors and cold wax medium to express my response to the sun’s coming up earlier and setting later, the softening of the air, the melting snow. While working on these pieces, I could feel the glory of springtime dusk when seeing the outline of an owl in the still bare trees and hearing the crack of the ice on the pond are both likely and thrilling.”
Shulman’s abstract paintings in this collection are filled with the promise of spring and the energy that comes with the changing season. The Quechee-based artist describes her process by building each piece from within. She starts with a simple framework based on a landscape, or a simple sketch. She then builds a more complicated structure by adding oil colors, layers of wax and other mixed media. She adds, scrapes away, and adds again until the composition, light and surface feel complete. Her goal is to create a painting that easily attracts a viewer; drawing them in and engaging their imagination. Separate sections have to work independently and as a whole.
Karen O’Neil
This is still life painter Karen O’Neil’s debut with Edgewater Gallery. She is a graduate of the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston and lives and maintains a studio in Woodstock, N.Y. She teaches at both The Arts Student League of New York and The Woodstock School of Art.
O’Neil focuses on light and its ability to transcend the physical world in her still life work. Glass objects interest her for their ability to capture light, reflect or absorb it and create an array of colors.
“The infinite variety of winter greys continue to inspire me through early spring,” O’Neil said. “The strengthening cool blue/grey daylight begins to weave itself into my work starting in late February. The crisp clarity of spring light seems to inform my still life paintings as I continue my search for unexpected and powerful color relationships.”
Her paintings are arrangements of colored glassware, flowers, fruits and reflective coffee and teapots. The pieces are close up, dynamic perspectives that capture the beauty of light as it reacts with surfaces and colors in the objects.
Jill Matthews
Jill Matthews was born and raised in Vermont and studied fine art at The University of Vermont. After a brief career as an art educator Matthews decided to focus on developing her own work and returned to painting full time. She has been exhibiting with Edgewater Gallery since 2015 and her serene still-life paintings are a gallery favorite. Matthews maintains her studio in Kennebunkport, Maine.
“My most recent work is an awakening of colors and textures, emerging upon a classic still life composition,” she said of her collection in “Springtime.”
Matthews captures the richness of a vase of blossoms with her subtle and tranquil tones and brushwork. Though Matthews starts with a still life set up, she has learned that her most successful work comes when she moves away from the literal reference and allows her inner feelings to dictate the direction of the composition.
Kay Flierl
Kay Flierl joins Edgewater Gallery as a new artist this year with a collection of barn paintings for the “Springtime” exhibit from a series she calls “Contemplation.” Flierl is based in Denver, Colo.
“Growing up in Wisconsin, barns seeped into my being like sunshine. They took root. And, even today, I get excited at what I might find on a road trip,” Flierl said. “So, I had to ask myself why? I think it’s because an old barn physically displays the cycle of life. From the decay of winter to life anew in spring, the cyclical effect of storms, sunshine, heat, cold, a cool breeze, a tornado… all reveal themselves in the worn out wood and the rusted metal until it looks as though the barn has become one with its environment. A sacred space. A work of art.”
The largely self-taught artist uses a palette that is true to the rural landscape, but also infused with unexpected color accents. The energetic and varied brushstrokes together with her color choices convey her love of these structures and the land on which they stand.
Celebrate the arrival of spring and the beginning of Edgewater Gallery’s 2018 season with “Springtime” — on display for the month of April.
For more info call (802) 989-7419, (802) 458-0098, email [email protected] or visit edgewatergallery-vt.com.

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