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Abstract Expressionism in The Age of Climate Change: Artists Mary Therese Wright, Ellen Cone Maddrey, Tina Olsen, John Loggia discuss the exhibition ‘Becoming The Landscape’

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118 Elliot will host an artist’s talk and reception on Saturday, November 25, from 3 to 5 pm. The artists, Mary Therese Wright, Tina Olsen, Ellen Maddrey, and John Loggia, will discuss the works in their current exhibition, “Becoming the Landscape,” inviting questions and reflections from the audience. Refreshments will be provided.

This is the first collaboration of these local artists whose works are deeply intuitive and reflect the natural world through personal expression. Through this first collaboration these artists have discovered their shared process and the communication between their paintings.

These works reflect the larger art movement towards landscape painting and emotional expressionism. The artists share a reverence for nature as a refuge but recognize the anxiety that accompanies climate change and the significant transformation it causes and will continue to cause. Since Irene, their art has evolved to reflect this tension; we turn to nature as an asylum and at the same time are confronted with its erratic and diminishing elements. Yet nature continues to show resilience, and as we strengthen our relationship with the environment, we can enhance our own ability to face climate change.

The discussion will encourage participation from the attendees concerning our emotional and physical connection to the mountains, trees, water and stones of our earth, the anxiety surrounding climate change, and the way that this tension can be expressed with color, shape, and texture. The relationship between the works will be explored, as well as the individual artists’ processes and inspirations.

Mary Therese Wright’s artwork and community-based projects have been shown throughout the United States since 1989. A lifelong artist, Wright founded Gallery Wright, a brick-and-mortar retail exhibition and teaching space, co-founded Campicaso@, a traveling artist-run educational organization and has led workshops  for over 30 years. Wright has a keen interest in materiality whether painting, printmaking, or metalsmithing. Her current work is a response to the vibrant colors and dynamic shapes of nature. She lives in Jacksonville, VT. She states:

I have spent more time in conversation with Lake Whitingham and its trails than I have with most people I know. My paintings are a reflection, a portrait of sorts, of that relationship. 

Ellen Cone Maddrey came to painting later in life, after careers as a lawyer and elementary school teacher, but her inspiration is embedded in the mountains and seas of her childhood home, Seattle. She allows the emotions and colors that arise as she treks the trails and swims in the waters of Vermont to guide her hands as paint connects with canvas. Maddrey states, “Through my painting, I continue to learn about myself as part of the brilliant life that surrounds us.” She and her husband, Wendell split their time between Montclair, NJ and Wilmington, VT.

Tina Olsen, a lifelong artist and poet, has been a creative arts therapist, taught art at The Walden School, and exhibited her work both in New York and Vermont. She lives in Brattleboro, Vermont with her partner Schuyler Gould. Tina has a deep emotional connection with her work, referring to it as therapeutic creative expression. She works in both watercolor and oils, and her work reflects her interest in the line between abstraction and reality. She refers to her painting  in this poem excerpt:

I paint as if it were a Holy thing. 

I surrender to it and 

become a Holy thing. . . . 

And the marks I make
are the footprints of that Holy Thing. . . . 

John Loggia has been painting and working in the arts since 1979, when he worked as an artist’s assistant to Dan Flavin and other major minimalist artists. He maintained a practice of drawing and painting while working in film as a production designer and producer, most recently on the documentary Fire Music, released in 2021.

From 1984 to 2000, Loggia ran a multipurpose art and music space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. In 2015, John opened 118 Elliot, an arts and education center in Brattleboro that he still runs with his partner. Loggia is also a musician who has played with jazz greats including Daniel Carter, Jeff Lederer, Blaise Siwula and Bonnie Kane, among others.

II8 Elliot  is a collaborative environment for the creative arts and education. Programming includes film showings, gallery exhibitions, musical performances and conferences as well as physical culture classes. 118 Elliot also provides a modern, fully accessible space in the heart of historic downtown Brattleboro for community use at affordable rates. It is home to the National Endowment for the Humanities-supported Brattleboro Words Project and has its interactive Brattleboro Words Trail landscape mural maps and community audio stories as a permanent exhibit until the murals move to the new Brattleboro Amtrak station opening late 2024.

118 Elliot, 118 Elliot Street, Brattleboro VT 05301


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