At The Crary

BY ROB ANDERSEN

randersen@timesobserver.com

Two new shows at the Crary Art Gallery will open with a public reception on Friday, Aug. 16, from 6 to 8 p.m. The works will be on display through Saturday, Sept. 7, and the gallery is, as always, free and open to the public.

The exhibitions are entitled “Instants,” by Adela Arrufat; and “Gifts of Nature,” by Stephanie Neely.

“Adela studied art in New York, in addition to her work in Barcelona. She currently paints a sort of realism referred to as genre painting, since it portrays daily living situations we all understand,” according to Thomas Paquette, Crary board vice president.

“They are all touching works of people we can assume she knows well, or at least for us stand-in for people we know well. They evoke an emotional response, sometimes sympathetic, sometimes humorous. There will be drawings in the show, too, illustrating how she arrives at her finished oil paintings,” he continued.

He said, “Adela Arrufat’s paintings and drawings originate in Spain. She is from Barcelona and will travel here for the opening reception. We were given information about Adela’s works by her brother’s mother-in-law here in Warren (Peggy Morgan) and told that since she had a show in New York City last year, the Crary may be able to arrange to show the works here. Since we would rarely have an opportunity to host an international solo show so conveniently, and since the quality and nature of the work was up to our standards in any case, we were happy to put it on our calendar.”

With regard to Neeley’s art, Paquette said, “Stephanie Neely’s works are oversized, lush portraits of flowers in oil pastels. She has a long history in art, but is professionally trained in botany and law, which she teaches.

“She is making steps to have art her full-time occupation, and this show at the Crary is a kind of national debut for her. She lives in Charlotte, NC, and shows with a prominent gallery there. Her work is of such universal appeal that the Crary Board of Directors voted strongly to bring her works to Warren while we still can.

“What makes her work special is not just her attention to detail that comes with her botany degree, but a keen knack for using vibrant colors to convey the essence of those flowers or glass or whatever else she chooses to paint.”

He continued, “For Stephanie, and like Adela, showing at the Crary is a great commitment of energy. Both artists had to deliver their works from a great distance, at their own personal expense. This can be quite expensive, especially when it involves building crates or international shipping or fine art transportation services.”

“The Crary gets applications from all over the country, even with the stipulation that it is a volunteer-run non-profit museum which has no budget for transporting artwork. These artists are not alone; our last show, Anne Fallin’s watercolors, cost her nearly $4000 just to ship the works. The artists are always grateful to sell works which helps them defray what it costs them to show these works – free to all of us in Warren,” he concluded.

In January, the gallery began running two shows simultaneously. Artists from all over the country apply to have their work shown at the Crary, but there are not enough slots in the calendar to accommodate them all. The Crary Gallery board of directors’ solution was to host simultaneous shows, as well as two-person and group exhibitions.

Gallery hours during exhibitions are 11 to 5 p.m. Thursdays, 11 to 8 p.m. Fridays, 11 to 5 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 4 p.m. Sundays.