September 28, 2018
All photos by Ron Cowie
All photos by Ron Cowie
We had the pleasure of displaying artworks by Rhode Island artists from our gallery roster at This Old House’s Idea House in Narragansett, Rhode Island. Here are a few selected photos from the event.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Exhibition dates: September 26- October 28, 2018
Opening Reception: Friday, September 28, 2018, 5:00- 7:00pm
Location: Jessica Hagen Fine Art + Design, 9A Bridge St, Newport, RI 02840
Gallery Hours: Wednesday- Friday 10:00- 4:00, Saturday 10:00- 5:00, Sunday 12:00- 4:00 or by appointment
Jessica Hagen Fine Art + Design is pleased to announce the opening of Through a Glass Darkly: New Paintings by Christopher Benson, a solo exhibition of imaginary expressionistic landscapes.
“The strength of these paintings can’t be overstated. The work is powerful and compelling… it’s an exciting show,” states Jessica Hagen, gallery owner and director.
Christopher Benson is a representational and abstract oil painter who grew up in Newport, Rhode Island and has lived and worked for long periods in the San Francisco Bay Area and in New Mexico where he has lived with his wife and sons since 2006.
Benson studied painting at RISD in the late 1970s and early ‘80s and completed a BFA in that discipline there in 2005. He has exhibited in galleries and museums for over 40 years, and is a two- time recipient of the Pollock Krasner painting fellowship. His work resides in private and museum collections throughout the US.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
This Old House 2018 Idea House Grand Opening Celebration in Narragansett, RI
Tour a one-of-a-kind coastal home, meet TOH TV crew members and the design and building teams, and enjoy an exhibit of Rhode Island artists.
Narragansett, RI, August 21, 2018 – This Old House and Sweenor Builders are excited to invite the public to celebrate the grand opening of the TOH 2018 Idea House, a one-of-a-kind home in Narragansett, RI, which was recently named New England’s best beach town by the Boston Globe. The celebration will allow visitors to tour the home for a firsthand look at new innovations in custom coastal home building and renovations. The event is open to the public and admission is free. Following are event details:
THIS OLD HOUSE 2018 Idea House
GRAND OPENING CELEBRATION
Saturday, September 8th, 2018
Noon to 4pm
Free parking and a shuttle service will be provided from the Pier Middle School at 235 South Pier Road, Narragansett to the Idea House on Robinson Street
As part of the celebration, the building and design teams are pleased to present a group art exhibition from leading Rhode Island artists. Working in collaboration with Jessica Hagen Fine Art & Design of Newport, signature pieces are incorporated throughout the home’s décor from artists including Kevin Gilmore, EA Kahane, Anne Mimi Sammis and many more. And for fans of the area’s culinary accomplishments, the event will feature local food and beverages including clam cakes and chowder from nearby Monahan’s Clam Shack & Restaurant.
Constructed by Sweenor Builders, the 2,700-square-foot main house plus semi-detached garage with guest suite has classic Craftsman-style curb appeal and thoroughly modern looks inside. Located in the heart of Narragansett’s Historic District and less than a mile from the town beach, it epitomizes what buyers are looking for today: a modestly sized home that lives large in a tight-knit neighborhood, standout details in every room, plenty of bespoke built-ins, and multiple entertaining spaces including an easy-care backyard with luxury amenities designed for “staycation” living.
This Old House announced the project location this past spring, along with the team that includes Wakefield-based Sweenor Builders, Union Studio Architecture & Community Design, Graceke Interiors, and Landscape Creations of Rhode Island. This fourth annual TOH Idea House (and the second to be built by Sweenor Builders) will be unveiled in the November/December issue of This Old House Magazine and in several segments of the 2018/2019 season of the Emmy Award-winning TV series This Old House premiering on PBS this October. A webcam has been capturing the construction process, along with galleries and videos on thisoldhouse.com, and a sneak preview story will run in the October issue of This Old House magazine.
Innovative ideas and building techniques employed throughout include products from Idea House sponsors, including: AdvanTech, Aeratis, American Standard, Andersen Windows & Patio Doors, Aquor, Baird Brothers Fine Hardwoods, The BILCO Company, Bryant Heating and Cooling Systems, Champion Power Equipment, Circa Lighting, Clarkson Lighting, DaVinci Roofscapes, Discover Personal Loans, DXV, Eldorado Stone, GCP Applied Technologies , Glidden, Gorilla Glue, GROHE, Grothouse, Haas Door, House of Antique Hardware, Leviton, LIFESPAN Solid Select, Merola Tile, Olympic Stains, Panasonic, Real Cedar, Rinnai, ROCKWOOL, Schluter-Systems, Sleep Number, VELUX, Walpole Outdoors, ZIP System Sheathing & Tape. Contributors include: Arnold Lumber, Article, Cabot House, Cosentino, Cynthia Brown Studio, Fast-Growing-Trees.com, Finlandia Sauna by Country Saunas by Design, Hayneedle.com, InstantHedge, Jessica Hagen Fine Art & Design, Jorgenson Lockers, Malabar, Miele, O&G Studio, Orbit, Ortal, SBC Cedar, Signature Custom Cabinetry, Inc., Smith & Noble, Soake Pools, Sodco, Superior Walls, Samsung, Unilock, Zoom-Room.
To learn more, visit https://www.thisoldhouse.com/narragansett-idea-house-2018-idea-house. For additional questions, please contact Ann Gardner at email@example.com.
About This Old House Ventures, LLC
This Old House Ventures, LLC, is America’s No. 1 multiplatform home-enthusiast brand, providing trusted information and expert advice through its award-winning television shows, This Old House and Ask This Old House, its highly regarded This Old House magazine, and its inspiration- and information-driven digital properties, including thisoldhouse.com. This Old House and Ask This Old House are produced by This Old House Ventures, LLC, and are presented on PBS by WGBH Boston. National underwriting for This Old House TV is provided by GMC, The Home Depot, State Farm Insurance Company, Marvin Windows & Doors, Gorilla Glue, HomeAdvisor, Festool, and HomeServe USA. Established as This Old House Ventures, LLC, the company is headquartered in Stamford, CT, with offices in New York, Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta, Toronto, and Concord, MA.
About Sweenor Builders
Based in coastal Rhode Island, Sweenor Builders Incorporated is an award-winning builder of luxury custom homes. The firm’s portfolio features a full range of in-house design/build and interior design services, as well as collaborations with New England’s leading architects. Founded in 1989, the company has become one of Southern Rhode Island’s most sought-after builders thanks to the guiding principles of its President and CEO Jeff Sweenor. He surrounds himself with craftsman who share his passion for delivering rewarding client experiences, and quality homes that last for generations.
About Union Studio Architecture & Community Design
Union Studio was founded in 2001 with the goal of making an impactful civic contribution to communities of all types through exemplary architecture and urban design. The firm served as the architects on the Concord Riverwalk project and received an Honorable Mention from the New England Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) for their work on the project. The Union team embraces a traditional, pedestrian-friendly approach to design featuring vibrant, beautiful spaces that help to enrich our communal and civic life.
About Graceke Interiors
Based in Narragansett, RI, Graceke Design is an interior design company serving RI, MA, CT, and New England. Owner Kristen Martone is known for adding a classic touch of East Coast ambiance to her work. A graduate of Rhode Island School of Design, she prides herself on crafting elegant, comfortable spaces that celebrate the unique ways her clients want to experience “home.” Kristen began her relationship with Sweenor Builders as a project consultant. The successful collaboration quickly bloomed into a full-time partnership. Today, she manages interior design needs for Sweenor while continuing to lead and operate Graceke Design and its portfolio of clients.
About Landscape Creations of Rhode Island
Landscape Creations of Rhode Island works with New England’s top landscape architecture firms, and the most discerning clients, to construct extraordinary landscapes. Based in Saunderstown, RI, the firm’s projects range from urban oasis gardens to sprawling coastal estates, and everything in between. Jon Zeyl founded the company in 1988 and continues to lead it today. He holds a degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Rhode Island and is a licensed contractor in RI, MA, and CT. Certified in various disciplines such as horticulture, coastal management, and invasive plant management. Jon is supported by an expansive field crew including some of the industry’s most reliable and capable craftsmen.
About Jessica Hagen Fine Art & Design
Founded in 2005, Jessica Hagen Fine Art & Design is located in beautiful Newport, RI and features contemporary works created by living artists throughout the Northeast and beyond. Hagen curates the gallery’s collection of painting, sculpture, photography, ceramics and jewelry, presenting numerous exhibitions every year. For the TOH 2018 Idea House, Hagen curated a special collection exclusively featuring Rhode Island artists to give the home a sense of place and celebrate the Ocean State.
The Jessica Hagen Gallery is thrilled to announce that one of our represented artists, Mira Nakashima, has bested her own personal auction record with her Claro Walnut dining table and Conoid chairs. We are immensely proud of this significant accomplishment!
The article below was originally published online Architectural Digest. Click here to see the article on the original site.
A different Nakashima has earned her well-deserved time in the auction spotlight: Mira Nakashima—the daughter of acclaimed woodworker George who has run the family's studio in New Hope, Pennsylvania, since her father's passing in 1990—saw a world record for her exceptional Claro walnut dining table and set of eight Conoid chairs, a signature Nakashima model. At the Freeman's design auction in Philadelphia last week, the set sold for $150,000—surpassing its high estimate of $80,000—a world record for any work made by Mira (both under her direction or in collaboration with her father).
Though she has contributed to the field of craft furniture and expanded her father's legacy, works by Mira often don't have the cachet that they deserve, which is financially reflected in auction results. Examples aren't hard to find; in Freeman's design sale alone, a set of six Conoid dining chairs by George fetched $26,250, while a set of five Conoids by Mira realized only $8,750. Plus, a smaller (and less remarkable) table by George with a set of only six Conoid chairs fetched $187,500 at Freeman's last October, and carried a much higher presale estimate of $100,000–150,000.
It makes the younger Nakashima's new record all the more exciting. "What's happening with the market is that really advanced collectors are acknowledging that Mira's contributions are just as valued and worthy of collecting as George's work, and in terms of modern and contemporary design generally," says Tim Andreadis, head of the 20th-Century Design department at Freeman's, who adds that an A or A-plus work by Mira can be had for the same price as a B-level work by George. "Mira really brought her own design voice to the process, and many of her best works are approaching, if not equal to, some of the best works George created, even though there are some differences to observers in those pieces. People are realizing that it's not just a familial legacy, it's an artistic one."
Though Nakashima pieces frequently appear at auction as George (and now Mira) managed a prolific studio—45 lots alone appeared at Freeman's design sale—only certain pieces garner special attention. The now record-holding table, which was commissioned by Pennsylvania-based design collectors Dr. Steven J. Weber and Pati Doyle-Weber, is a technical masterpiece.
Upon visiting George Nakashima's studio in the late 1980s, the Doyle-Webers fell in love with a piece of wood: a massive slab of Claro walnut (a Western U.S. variety typically found in California, rarer than the typical cherry or black walnut) over nine feet long with the remnants of a small lead bullet shot into the tree's side. "Other woodworkers would dig out that bullet so they'd have a cleaner surface to work with, but these are the sort of things that George really liked," Andreadis explains. "It spoke to the tree's history, and he wanted to honor that. That's his philosophy—these trees lived lives that were worth revering and preserving in their afterlives as pieces of furniture."
Though George passed away a year after the Doyle-Webers studio visit, Mira began construction on the table herself. The project took three to four years to complete, both due to the technical manpower required for construction and the backlog of orders subsuming Mira's studio after her father's death. The result, however, was worth the wait. The nine-by-six-foot table puts the Claro walnut grain on full display, punctuated with eight laurel and American black walnut butterfly joints. "Little details like that really excite the Nakashimas' market," adds Andreadis.
The Doyle-Webers were so obsessed with the table, they built an entire house around it. As their commission was completed, the pair were concurrently building a new home in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Their biggest requirement? A raised dining area with enough room for their new table. Andreadis says, "The entire home ended up being fit with custom works by the Nakashimas with this table really being the crown jewel."
Photographer Nancy Grace Horton began showing her work at Jessica Hagen Fine Art + Design in February 2018, after she contacted the gallery about her photographs in the Domestic Affairs show at the Newport Art Museum. We jumped at the chance to exhibit Nancy's work which is fresh, clever, technically excellent and above all, thought provoking. Nancy Grace Horton's photographsfrom her Ms. Behavior series will be on display at the Newport Art Museum through May 6, 2018 and are are available for purchase through Jessica Hagen's gallery. Jessica recently interviewed Nancy about her work and we invite you to read the Q & A!
When I was in Junior High I visited the Dominican Republic and had a memorable experience. Two women wore flowers on their heads and were smoking cigars. They came after me after I dared to take their picture. That’s what got me hooked.
For me, photography is a dance of colors. It is an experience, making a composition that represents visual beauty and conveys a message. That is the connection I look for in visual art making. The joy is for me is at the point where play can begin.
Margaret Bourke White is one of my first influences. I was immediately drawn to her confidence, skill, and creativity, and to the obvious strength she had to have to break into a male dominated world. She photographed big business, the military, and world leaders with a large format camera. Her compositions are perfection, and her sense of framing is controlled and deliberate.
The approach I most enjoy is bringing elements together—scheduling a model, having a basic idea that revolves around location, clothes, and props—then visually exploring until I find the way to speak.
I am a traditional photographer, in that I crop in the camera rather than after the image is made. So I do some careful work before taking a shot. For Ms. Behavior I use a Hasselblad with a prism, which means I look down into the top of the camera, where the image appears reflected right to left. To compose the image I move my whole body around, doing a little dance to fill my square box. My goal is to get all my thoughts on the subject to collide at one time in the image. I’m thinking about everything, but I’m thinking about nothing.
My interest has always been in making images that provoke a response, to trigger the viewer to think. The stories and reactions that Ms. Behavior elicits vary greatly between viewers. They become a collection of experiences and opinions that reflect who we are as a culture. This makes the work more poetic to me; the work does not have a specific message, but one that can be interpreted in different ways.
Glad to hear it. That’s what it’s supposed to do. The power of an image ultimately comes from the viewer’s response. I want to rope the viewer in and make them think.
Good question. That’s not an age group that I often find in my audience. But the descendants of the 50s-era wives often react, remembering their mothers and grandmothers. By the way, I understand that the “bra burner” story is false. It was a journalist’s attempt to turn a beauty contest article into a showcase for women’s liberation. The goal was to imply that if American men could burn their draft cards in protest against the war, then women could burn their bras in protest against their constricted roles in society. It makes a powerful story.
It feels like an eruption against male dominance, it’s the uproar of other. And it’s not just about women. The word “feminism” is evolving a new meaning, enveloping everyone other than the privileged while male.
I’d like to see history/herstory re-written. To expand the story, to tell more stories, to show the various types of people who have made great achievements, I want to learn about all the people who were left out of history.
I’ve always been interested in gender roles, and I don’t imagine that will change any time soon. There’s plenty of material to work with.
Jessica Hagen Gallery is pleased to announce that internationally acclaimed photographer Elliott Landy will be exhibiting a collection of his iconic images of underground rock and roll superstars.
His images of Bob Dylan and The Band, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Joan Baez, Van Morrison, and many others. He documented the music scene during the late 60's & 70's which culminated in the 1969 Woodstock Folk Festival of which he was the official photographer.
During this period, he also photographed the Newport Folk Festival.
The term "sacred" has religious implications and I don't set out to make religious objects or generally use that kind of symbolism in any way. If that quality exists in my work then I have to think that it is only because it triggers something in the viewers subconscious. I think a lot of deeper meaning can be expressed through a form or arrangement of forms and I certainly take great care to be aware of the possibilities as I'm putting a piece together but generally speaking there is no conscious effort made on my part to imbue a piece with that kind of meaning or to make something with that specific goal in mind.
I am reminded of a something I heard the poet Ann Carson say in an interview recently when she was asked basically the same question. She answered by saying, (paraphrase) "If your way of life is writing then anything can be a sentence". I love how casual that sentiment is and it certainly works that way in my "way of life". Inspiration can come from anywhere at anytime so my job is to just be as aware as possible. The trick lies in editing the inspirations and then dissecting the one(s) you think are expandable to find out what really drew you to it or it to you.
It depends on the piece. In a commissioned piece you automatically have a direction so that's kind of like a jump start. There are those rare times when I'll have an idea and just make it but it usually ends up a little weak because I haven't put the idea through all the mental and physical exercises. There is that cliche about a sculpture being inside a block of stone and the artist just has to remove everything that is not the sculpture to expose it, but that is not the way I work. Generally speaking, my work comes through careful consideration of materials and use of them for the essential qualities they possess.
I do like to mix materials when possible and I usually use stone, wood and metal. My primary medium is stone as it is the one I have the most experience with but it is often times not enough to express what I'm trying to express so I have to introduce another player. Materials are my color palette, texture pallette, light palette, weight palette, strength palette, form palette and on and on.
Yes, I usually have two or three going at the same time.
Aside from the obvious distinctions there is no differentiation. It is all sculpture to me and the process is virtually the same and I love being able to do both.
I came to art through architecture so I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Carlo Scarpa, Aldo Rossi, Tadao Ando, Alvaro Siza and especially Peter Zumthor. As far as artists, early on I loved the work of Barbara Hepworth, Constantin Brancusi and of course Isamu Noguchi. Then I got into the work of the so called "minimalists" like Donald Judd, Robert Irwin, Richard Serra, Robert Smithson, and Michael Heizer. I also love Maya Lin's work for existing between art and architecture and lately the Korean artist, Lee Ufan. The artist who influence my work the most is the lesser known but equally gifted, Rich Brothers. I was lucky enough to have a studio next to Rich's for a number of years, and I learned a lot from him and he drew the artist out of me.
That's simple and the same answer applies to both: It's getting to express my true nature.
Hunt Slonem is an American painter and sculptor best known for his Neo-Expressionist paintings of bunnies, birds and butterflies. He maintains a large studio in Brooklyn, NY filled with his paintings and sculpture, an impressive collection of antiques and fifty-plus birds who provide him constant inspiration.
Mr. Slonem’s work is in a multitude of museum collections including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art, as well as many corporate and private collections in the US and abroad. Hunt Slonem has received extensive media attention: CBS Sunday Morning, The New York Times, ArtNews, and Architectural Digest (to name but a few) have all profiled Mr. Slonem not only for his artwork, but also for his collection of historic homes that he has restored, decorated and filled with works of art.
Jessica Hagen Fine Art + Design was founded in 2005. For the past eleven years the gallery has built a reputation for excellence in contemporary art. The gallery exhibits painting, sculpture, photography and jewelry by many of the finest American artists working today. Jessica Hagen Fine Art + Design is open to the public Thursday through Sunday and by appointment everyday but Monday. More information about the gallery is available at www.jessicahagen.com.
Image attached: Cobalt Bunnies by Hunt Slonem 60 “ x 60” oil & diamond dust on canvas
Cobalt Bunnies by Hunt Slonem 60 “ x 60” oil & diamond dust on canvas
The artist’s studio: part think-tank, church, laboratory, sanctuary, factory and depending on the day, torture chamber. As an art dealer, I visit the studios of the artists that I represent. Aside from helping my clients, studio visits are the absolute best part of my job. It’s a privilege being allowed into the inner sanctum of someone’s creativity. An artist’s studio is a very personal space and being inside is like walking around their soul. It’s all there- what influences and inspires them- from music to special objects, as well as their works in progress, tools and supplies and triumphs and failures. It takes courage to be an artist. It’s a career where rejection is part of the deal; paintings don’t always sell, sculptures remain on the pedestals or the latest and greatest idea falls flat… But in spite of that reality, artists press on. They head into the studio again, where it’s safe to wear their hearts on their sleeves and try new things, not always knowing the outcome. This kind of bravery is endlessly awe-inspiring to me and I admire every artist that I represent. Pictured here are several of their studios. I hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I did visiting them.
Love. When it comes to art, I love it. I went to school to study painting and I design and make jewelry. I help artists as their representative to collectors and curators. Sometimes, I'm their coach and cheerleader. It is more than just a job, because that would mean I could quit and do something else. How do you quit being who you are? Art connects everything that matters in my life. I’m the mother of two incredible children, now 12 and 14. Raising them in the presence of art has been instrumental in helping shape them into thoughtful, creative and open minded people. Being their mother is for me the ultimate creative endeavor and love is at the heart of it.
Anything that comes from a place of love has the power to heal, nourish, and restore hope. This is both an issue of faith and personal experience for me. Insisting on art in my home has created touchstones for love and grounds me during times when the world seems upside down. Collecting art is not just about hanging a picture on the wall, it's about building relationships in the context of encouraging self expression. The old adage "Be Yourself" is the motivation behind every work of art; it takes courage and commitment. And that is a great way to live our lives.
Recently, I exhibited a selection of the gallery’s painting, sculpture and jewelry as part of Gardener’s Day at historic Blithewold Mansion in Bristol, Rhode Island.
The featured speakers were The Fabulous Beekman Boys of Beekman 1802. Most of the 150 + attendees had never heard of the Beekman Boys but, because of my upstate New York roots, I am a longstanding fan of all things Beekman.
The Beekman 1802 farm is located in Schoharie County a short distance from my grandparents’ farm (sold when I was a teenager) in the very small town of Sharon Springs- population 547.
From this rural town, the Beekman Boys have turned Beekman 1802 into one of the fastest growing lifestyle brands in the country. It all started in 2007 when two New Yorkers Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge purchased the Beekman Farm on a weekend visit upstate and then promptly lost their jobs in the recession. With a $1 million mortgage, they had to somehow make the farm profitable and Beekman 1802 was born, first with goat’s milk soap (with the help of a neighboring farmer whose dairy goats needed a new home because their farm was lost).
Now, Beekman 1802 produces and sells a variety of products from farm- made specialty foods, and cookbooks, to clothing and gifts handmade by local artisans. They have a bricks and mortar mercantile shop in Sharon Springs and pop up stores all over the country as well as a significant online presence.
Their efforts revitalized the economy of Sharon Springs. Friends and neighbors are the farmers, artisans and soap makers creating the products that made Beekman 1802 an American success story synonymous with quality, hand made and, locally grown goods.
Their new book Beekman 1802 Style was just published and I’m happy to report that we share the same design philosophy: mix modern/contemporary with antique/historic and everything sings! Of course I had the boys sign my copy…
If it sounds like I’m gushing, it’s because I am… The Beekman Boys’ hearts and minds are in the right place- the same place that gives rise to beautiful paintings, sculpture and art of all kinds… I’m proud to be their biggest fan.
Stunning, inspiring, stimulating and, fabulous…. there's no shortage of superlatives to describe artist Hunt Slonem or, his country house in upstate New York. Overlooking the Hudson, the second empire style Cordts Mansion sits on nine glorious acres of emerald lawn with majestic old growth trees, perfectly framing the river view.
I was surprised to find myself feeling a little nervous when I arrived at the driveway. Hunt’s bigger than life reputation precedes him. I wanted to meet the person responsible for such beautiful, colorful and captivating paintings. For the past two months I have been selling Hunt’s work in my gallery and was excited to finally meet him.
The fact that Hunt’s country house is located in Kingston, NY right next to the even smaller village of Woodstock, my beloved hometown, made this trip even more exciting.
If you know me even a little, you know I’m homesick for Woodstock every day. Even though I love living in beautiful Newport, RI -- it doesn’t change where my roots are. I had such a great time talking with him and touring his home.
As I was walking up the steps of Hunt’s front porch, I thought: “It just doesn’t get any better than this! It’s a beautiful day in the Hudson Valley, I’m here to meet Hunt and, this is my job!”
Hunt is one of the most uplifting people I’ve had the pleasure to know. How could it be any different? This man spends his days painting birds, bunnies, flowers and, butterflies. He has an unapologetic, all-out enthusiasm for life which is evident in everything he creates.
I had blast talking with him and touring his home. The three hours spent together flew by in an instant. We chose more paintings for the gallery, I could have stayed longer without seeing everything there was to see.
I left even more excited about Hunt’s work and our upcoming 2016 show at the gallery than when I arrived… and this is my job.
My gratitude list for being in business 10 years
A good landscape tells a story....