Lost In The Night Garden

New Work by Claire B. Cotts
August 6 - September 24, 2011

Reception: September 3rd, 6-9 pm

Inspired by forms from the natural world, artist Claire B. Cotts tries to capture in her paintings a fleeting feeling or moment in time:  a warm summer night, the thrum of cicadas, the occasional low flash of a firefly, dim light filtering through water, floating fronds of pond weed, thistle seed blowing up into the air.

Embedded within the paintings are fragments of ideas about faith, memory, and hope.  Disorder and entropy are countered by balance and structure; the tangle and chaos of vines intermixed with off-kilter, tenuously balanced blocks and small hopeful symbols of structure -a seed pod, a bud, a branch, the dormant bulb of a daffodil.

The paintings are meditations on the nature of belief and hope --that countering the pull and tug of gravity and decay there is a sense of illimitable potential in the smallest, most humble of things -

Speaking of her work, the artist shared:

"When I am painting, when it is going well, I can disappear into that world, in that state of trance and total absorbtion.  It is the same feeling I have when I work in my garden, completely absorbed and lost in it.  I love painting large.  I want the viewer to have their field of vision filled by them, small as a bee, lost in a garden. Or to experience that sense of wonder one has, pressed up against a window in an aquarium, immersed in that world which is usually hidden to us, swaying kelp, floating jellyfish, sea anemone.

I'm interested in the unspoken, unseen - what is beneath the surface.  I hope the paintings express that, and convey the feeling of constrained joy I have when I make them- the nervous breath-held mix of tension and happiness a child has while stacking up books and blocks and toys into a precariously swaying tower." 

Claire b Cotts has been exhibiting her distinctive, richly layered figurative and abstract canvases for over twenty five years.  Her work has been exhibited nationally, and is represented in numerous private and corporate collections.  Cotts lives and works in Berkeley, California.

In the Rear Gallery

Andy, The Factory, and Me: Photographs by Raeanne Rubenstein (through Sept. 3rd)

Andy, The Factory, and Me, is a collection of celebrity photographer Raeanne Rubenstein's rarely-seen photographs of Andy Warhol and his many celebrity friends and superstars. As an aspiring young photographer in the 1970's, Raeanne Rubenstein shot for many of the most popular magazines of her day.  Her beat was the flamboyant artists and musicians who lived and worked in New York City's famed Lower East Side, home to the Fillmore East, Abby Hoffman, Jimmi Hendrix and so many other now-legendary characters. Her clients included then-alternative magazines like the Village Voice and Rolling Stone, and later, mainstream magazines like Life and People. One momentous day, she was sent on an assignment to photograph a hot artist who was making a big name for himself in the worlds of advertising, art and music--Andy Warhol. Rubenstein and Warhol hit it off, and for over a decade she became a fixture at Warhol's Factory, both as friend and documentarian.  She captured Warhol with the legends of his day, from Federico Fellini to Halston, from Lou Reed to superstars Viva and Jackie Curtis, and was there when he directed and shot films, took polaroids, painted and even, invented Interview Magazine.  Rubenstein's photographs offer a unique glimpse into her experiences at The Factory, Warhol himself, and his coterie of assistants, musicians, mirth makers, and hangers on.